Classic Shrimp Étouffée

shrimp etouffee, creole style

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 55 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
402 Calories
14g Fat
29g Carbs
40g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 402
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 322mg 107%
Sodium 1440mg 63%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 40g
Vitamin C 26mg 132%
Calcium 165mg 13%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 759mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a Creole-style shrimp étouffée made with tomatoes, fresh shrimp, and the "holy trinity" of onion, celery, and bell pepper. If you're looking to jazz up mealtimes, this is a really tasty dish to start with. 

Étouffée is a French word means "smothered" or "suffocated." As you can see in the photo, the shrimp is smothered with a combination of chopped vegetables and tomatoes in a rich brown roux.

The brown roux and the addition of tomatoes are typical of a Creole étouffée.

Most Creole and Cajun seasonings are made with a generous amount of salt, so taste and add salt, if needed, just before adding the shrimp.

Serve with a tossed salad, and French bread or rolls.


Click Play to See This Traditional Shrimp Ètouffèe Recipe Come Together


  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped

  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper, or a combination of green and red

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 8 ounces clam juice, or shrimp stock

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning, preferably salt-free

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 dash salt, to taste

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 2 cups cooked rice, hot, for serving

  • Fresh parsley, chopped, or green onion tops, sliced, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Creole shrimp etoufee ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. First, clarify the butter. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Let it simmer until the foam rises to the top. Once the butter stops making crackling noises and there is no longer any foam rising to the top, remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Most of the solids will be on the bottom. Skim off any foam with a spoon. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. 

    Melt butter in saucepan
    The Spruce
  3. After clarifying the butter, you will have about 4 to 5 tablespoons for the roux.

  4. Chop the onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Set aside.

  5. Put the clarified butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat and add the flour. 

    Add clarifying butter and butter in saucepan
    The Spruce
  6. Cook, whisking constantly, until the roux is golden brown, about the color of peanut butter. 

    Cook roux until golden brown
    The Spruce
  7. Add the chopped vegetables to the roux and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes. 

    Add chopped vegetables to roux
    The Spruce
  8. Add the clam juice or shrimp stock and tomatoes, along with 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning, ground black pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until the vegetables are softened. 

    Add the clam juice or shrimp stock and tomatoes, with Creole seasoning, bay leaf, and ground black pepper
    The Spruce
  9. If the sauce mixture seems too thick, thin it with a little more clam juice, shrimp stock, or some chicken broth.

  10. Taste and add more Creole seasoning and salt, as needed.

  11. Add the shrimp and continue cooking for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through. 

    Add shrimp and cook
    The Spruce 
  12. For each serving, put a big scoop of rice in the center of a deep plate or shallow bowl. Spoon the shrimp étouffée around the rice. Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped parsley or green onion tops. Serve with a simple tossed salad and crusty French bread or rolls. 


  • This is a great make-ahead recipe. Prepare the sauce, but don't add the shrimp. Just before dinnertime, make the rice. Bring the sauce to a simmer, add the shrimp, and continue with the recipe.

How to Store

  • If there is any étouffée leftover, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three days.

Creole vs. Cajun

  • The difference between creole and cajun is that creole is tomato-based and tomatoes in it, whereas cajun cooking does not.