Classic Shrimp Etouffee

This classic shrimp etouffee is rich and flavorful and makes a great dish to serve to guests yet easy enough for a weekend dinner.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Bowl of classic shrimp etouffee and white rice, garnished with chopped scallions.

Although this dish is a meal in itself, I like to serve it with a cool and refreshing Israeli Salad, a loaf of homemade Cheddar Jalapeno Bread, and Watermelon Sorbet for dessert.

What Is Etouffee?

Etouffee in French translates to ‘smothered’.  It’s a classic Cajun or Creole seafood stew that’s thickened with a ‘roux’, which is equal parts flour and fat that is cooked until it reaches a deep golden color.  The ‘holy trinity’, consisting of onions, green pepper, and celery, is added along with some type of broth and spices.  This thick stew is then served over rice.

Cajun etouffee does not use tomatoes as the Creole version does.  It differs from the other Louisianna classic, ‘gumbo’ because the roux is considered to be ‘blonde’ or light brown where gumbo’s roux is cooked until it is a deep chocolate color.  The blonde roux gives the etouffee a sweeter, milder flavor as opposed to the deep, nutty flavor the dark roux provides to gumbo.

Let’s Talk About Making A Roux.

Making a roux is one of those intimidating things that really shouldn’t be feared.  With a few tips and a lot of patience, this kitchen technique can be mastered easily.

I learned a great equation while taking a cooking class in NOLA.  A roux is:  Heat + Flour + Fat + Time.

There are four types of roux – white, blonde, medium-brown, and dark-brown. The darker a roux gets, the less thickening power it has.

Infographic of the different colors of roux and how to use them

Tips For Making A Perfect Roux

  • Use a heavy bottom pot.  They conduct heat better and you won’t get little black specks of burnt flour in your roux.
  • Use medium heat.  Don’t be tempted to raise the temperature.
  • Use a high smoke point oil such as peanut, canola, or vegetable oil.  Lard, bacon fat, or clarified butter (ghee) can be used in a lighter roux.
  • Sprinkle in the flour while whisking constantly.  You want the flour to incorporate into the oil.
  • Keep whisking.  You want to keep the flour moving to get an even color on the roux.
  • A proper roux should be stiff, not runny or pourable.
  • Once you add the liquid, don’t let it boil.  It will separate.

What Is A Dry Roux?

A ‘dry roux’ is toasted flour minus the oil or butter.  It can be made by baking flour in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes.  Stir the flour every 5 minutes or so to get even coloring.

Close-up of classic shrimp etouffee

How Much Roux Do I Need?

For one gallon of liquid, you will need:

For thin sauce or soup:  6 ounces of flour  /  6 ounces of fat

For medium-thick sauce or soup:  8 ounces of flour  /  8 ounces of fat

For thick sauces or soups:  12 ounces of flour  /  12 ounces of fat

More shrimp recipes:

Mexican Shrimp Ceviche

Spicy Shrimp Creole

Light And Crunchy Fried Shrimp

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Old School Shrimp Cocktail

Alabama Shrimp And Grits

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

Low Country Shrimp Boil

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Close-up of classic shrimp etouffee


  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Take your tastebuds on a flavor trip to the ‘Big Easy’ with this Classic Shrimp Etouffee.  The succulent shrimp, tender vegetables, and spicy gravy are sure to be a family favorite.



For the shrimp stock:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Shells and tails from 2 pounds of shrimp
  • Tops of the onions, celery, and carrots
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 jar (8-ounces) clam juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 ½ cups unsalted chicken broth

For the Etouffee:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined (retain the shells)
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, optional
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped fresh parsley, as garnish

Sliced scallions, for serving

Steamed white rice, for serving


Make the shrimp stock:

In a large saucepan, pour in the olive oil and heat over medium heat until shimmering – about 2 minutes.

Toss in the shrimp shells and tops of the onions, celery, carrots, thyme, and bay leaf.  Stir to coat with the oil and cook until fragrant – about 5 minutes.

Add the sliced lemons, clam juice, white wine, and chicken broth.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes.

Strain the broth and discard the vegetables and shells.  Set aside to cool.

For the etouffee:

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to turn golden.

Sprinkle in the flour while whisking until it is well incorporated into the flour.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer the roux until it turns a deep golden or light brown color – about 10 minutes.

Add the onions, celery, green pepper, garlic, and dried thyme.  Stir well and cook until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are tender – about 15 minutes.

Pour in the shrimp stock and whisk until fully mixed in with the roux and the vegetables.

Stir in the tomatoes, Worcestershire, and Cajun seasoning.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, hot sauce, and shrimp.  

Return the cover to the pot and allow the shrimp to poach for 5-8 minutes before serving.

Taste to adjust for salt, pepper, and heat.

Serve with white rice and garnished with sliced scallions and chopped parsley.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: New Orleans


  • Serving Size: 8

Keywords: classic shrimp etouffee, NOLA recipes, New Orleans food, Mardi Gras, shrimp recipes, Creole recipes, roux

Please follow and like us: