A recipe for a fabulously flavored cream sauce enhanced with the addition of Cajun seasoning that compliments shrimp, chicken, or pasta!
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce
Cajun and Creole food are both native to Louisiana. One of the simplest differences between the two cuisine types is that Creole food typically uses tomatoes and tomato-based sauces while traditional Cajun food employs far, far less.
Cajun food is robust and very rustic food. It's found along the bayous of Louisiana and is a combination of French and Southern cuisines. Think of meals with lots of smoked meats as well as meat-heavy, one-pot dishes like jambalaya or the rice-filled, spicy pork sausage known as boudin.
Creole food is cosmopolitan food, created in New Orleans with European, African and Native American roots. The essence of Creole is found in rich sauces, local herbs, red ripe tomatoes, and the prominent use of seafood, caught in local waters.
Shrimp, chicken, or pasta, it never matters, just give me a really good and 'flavor-layered' cream sauce!
In my never ending quest for a delicious shrimp recipe, I find myself browsing methods I have collected for tasty sauces. I pretty much always want a dish with a garlic cream sauce.
So there are two pounds of fresh shrimp and an unopened container of heavy whipping cream in my refrigerator. These two ingredients alone equal comfort food in my book.
Every creamy garlic shrimp cream sauce method I consider is steering me in the direction of cooking up some Creole. In no time at all, I will have my kitchen smelling like New Orleans with the right cream sauce recipe.
Heavy cream, red pepper flakes, fresh or frozen shrimp, garlic and garlic butter, and some Cajun and Creole seasonings for heat, and I'm standing on Bourbon Street in no time at all.
How This Recipe Came About…
I enjoy dishes with heat now and again. My family does not. So, here and there, I have to sneak in heat when I can. What better way than to piggyback onto a shrimp recipe?
Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice ( to go low carb ). The sweet garlic and pungent bell pepper toned down with a bit of heavy cream makes this a zesty shrimp dish which I can serve to the masses. I have my bottle of hot sauce on the table for those who want to increase the heat. Basically, that's ONLY me!
Things turned out so well that I polished up the ingredient list just last night and am sharing today in the hopes that you will embrace this easy weeknight masterpiece, too. And really, if your lot aren't rice eaters, consider serving over mashed potatoes, over angel hair, or over pasta of any kind.
Do You Have What's Needed For Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce? Check The List!
fresh or frozen medium raw peeled shrimp
heavy whipping cream
freshly grated Parmesan cheese from a block
flat leaf parsley
Cajun or Creole seasoning
yellow or orange bell pepper
hot cooked rice or other starch of choice to serve over
red pepper flakes
replace 1/4 cup of the heavy cream with dry white wine
What Is The Cajun Holy Trinity And How Is It Used?
Simply said, the holy trinity in cooking refers to onions, carrots, and celery sautéed together to create a base for building sauces, gravies, and the like. Both Cajun and Creole cuisine are styles native to Louisiana. As well, both styles are historically heavily influenced by French cooking methods. The trinity is a French flavor base known as a mirepoix.
The trio change just a bit in both Creole and Cajun cooking in that carrot is often replaced with bell pepper. Enhanced with the Cajun spices, possibly some cayenne, hot or sweet smoked paprika, black pepper and white pepper, the Cajun trinity is the very backbone of both Cajun and Creole cuisine.
To use the trinity to build or layer flavors in a dish, the mixture is first sautéed until all of the elements are very soft. This is the longest aspect in terms of time in this dish. Next, supporting ingredients which lend heat and sweet such as garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper, and cayenne, paprika, and flour bring the components to a paste-like consistency called a roux.
Once the sticky roux has cooked for a few minutes…almost scorched a tad…cream is added and the lot is whisked while it thickens over the heat. The resulting smooth olfactory sauce is the base for our shrimp cream sauce today.
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How To Make Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce?
The majority of this quickie dish is prepared on the stove top in a large skillet over medium heat. Kind of like a shrimp Etouffee if you've ever prepared it before.
You'll want to have everything measured out and ready to go because this creamy Creole sauce moves fast once you heat that pan. Shrimp after all take no time at all.
I have added three new recipes to my arsenal just by perfecting this sauce. I used creamy Creole sauce again last week with chicken when we had unexpected company march through the door right at dinner time. Who says I'm not always prepared?
For this dish, preparing the sauce will come first. Once the sauce is complete, I will remove it to a bowl and keep it warm.
I like to wipe the skillet clean and focus on the shrimp. The shrimp will get a healthy dose of heat in this step, but will ultimately be combined with the cream sauce which will tone that heat down slightly.
Is It Better To Use Fresh Shrimp Or Frozen In Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce?
Either fresh or frozen thawed are fine. Of course, any time you can get your hands on fresh, that is absolutely the way to go.
If using frozen, look for raw frozen, not cooked frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator over night. Be sure to rinse them well before using.
How Do I Prep The Shrimp For Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce?
For this recipe, just make sure that the shrimp are raw and peeled and have been thoroughly washed and drained before you begin. Personally, I devein them, too. If you don't care, don't devein.
Once I have washed and drained them, I like to line a bowl with several thick layers of paper toweling. I add the shrimp and pop the bowl into the chiller until the moment I am ready to use them.
Do I Have To Use Unsalted Butter?
Well, that is sort of up to you. I feel that due to the addition of Worcestershire sauce, Kosher salt AND Cajun seasoning (which also contains salt!), it's best NOT to add any additional.
I would be remiss however if I failed to tell you NOT to lessen the amounts of everything I have specified herein. In other words, measure all as I have indicated in the recipe card. The dish is perfectly balanced the way in which it's written 🙂
It may not seem like four tablespoons of butter will make a whole lot of difference, but it is enough to stand out as "salty" with all of the other ingredients in this method.
How Long Does Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce Take To Prepare?
I like to take my time with my trinity ingredients and get them chopped very finely, especially the celery. As in practically minced.
Because I am careful to cut small, my preparation time is approximately fifteen to twenty minutes for the trinity alone. Once I am chopped, the recipe moves quickly. All in all I time myself at 35 minutes for the total prep every time.
Plan on 50 minutes to one hour when making this dish. It's even easier on a weeknight if your trinity is already prepared.
That's right. If you're chopping and you chop too much or want to chop additional for a future recipe, pop the overage into a plastic container with a lid, fill with water, cap it and freeze it.
Modifying The Norm To Make It Not Entirely Average…
If you wanted to mix things up and emphasize a bit of Creole, diced tomatoes would be a lovely addition. A single 15 ounce can, drained and added to the mirepoix a few minutes before adding the cream gets you there.
And of course, adding heat any way you like to really make things not entirely average might include the addition of red pepper flakes, cayenne, additional hot sauce at the table, etc. I am using Red Clay Hot Sauce and like to offer a traditional as well as a Verde tableside.
Also, you'll notice in my photos that I dust my shrimp with a combination of smoked sweet paprika and cayenne pepper.
Can Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce Be Made Ahead?
Yes and no. The sauce yes. But I'd save the shrimp for right before you plan to eat.
If planning the sauce in advance, make up to one day ahead and store covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator until one hour before serving. Add to a large skillet over medium low heat and slowly warm the sauce. This is a good opportunity to taste for heat as the sauce warms.
Sauté the shrimp according to the recipe card separately and add to the heated sauce to serve.
Can Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce Be Frozen?
I have attempted this twice and the results were poor both times. That, and the cream tends to break upon thawing and reheating. The heat was also largely lost as were the other standout flavors. I do not recommend freezing.
What To Drink With Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce?
Channeling Shrimp Creole and Shrimp Etouffee for the wine pairing is kind of what is required here. After MANY bowls served with different wines paired, I land on the Washington Viognier grape every single time. It has everything to do with the heat in this dish, mild or otherwise.
Viognier is a white wine grape variety. Viognier has a floral aroma, reminiscent of rose petals and tangerines.
It contains some almond flavors as well and is MUCH LESS acidic than say Chardonnay. It pairs well with vibrant hot spices, like turmeric or chili, and of course the various spices and heat found in Cajun and Creole cuisine.
If we are talking beer, do NOT be hater when I suggest a smoked beer. You read that right - smoked. I have enjoyed this together with both Cajun and Creole dishes and have NEVER forgotten the pure enjoyment of this pairing.
Consider Scruffy’s Smoked Alt which hails from the Cedar Creek Brewery in Seven Points, Texas or Kohlminator German-Style Smoked Bock of Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon Fame in North Olmsted, Ohio. These are THAT GOOD that I will refer to the pairings as 'experiences' rather than compliments!
How To Serve Shrimp In Creamy Creole Sauce?
My thought here is alongside or over top anything you like. Traditionally, an Etouffee would be presented over hot cooked rice, so that is how I serve it every time.
But this dish is also one I could see easily taking cooked hot pasta to the next level. And hey, dirty rice, mashed potatoes, toast points, and cauliflower rice all merit mentioning here.
If You Like This Recipe…
…you might also like:
- Cajun Steak With Grilled Patatas Bravas
- A Cajun Piñata Cocktail
- A Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Bourbon Glaze
- Charleston Shrimp And Grits With Crab Gravy
Charleston Shrimp And Grits With Crab Gravy
Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
- large non-stick skillet
Ingredients for Shrimp In Creamy Cajun Sauce
- 2 pounds shrimp large; raw, peeled, and deveined; thoroughly washed and dried
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream brought to room temperature
- 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese freshly grated from a large block
- 1/3 cups flat leaf parsley fresh, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning divided; I am using Louisiana Fish Fry Cajun Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce I am using Red Clay
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 small yellow bell pepper very finely diced; may substitute red bell pepper or orange bell pepper
- 1 medium red onion very finely diced
- 1 medium celery stalk chopped and very finely diced
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 3 green onions thinly sliced on an angle
- Kosher salt to taste
- black or white pepper to taste
- cooked white rice or other starch to serve over
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
for the Cajun cream sauce
- Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering.
- Add the yellow bell pepper, celery, red onion, and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes. Vegetables will become very soft. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the cream all at once and bring to a boil. Whisk in the hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, and Worcestershire.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking often until thickened.
- Add the chopped parsley, the sliced green onions, and 1 tablespoon of butter for sheen. Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and scrape the sauce into a bowl and keep warm. Use paper toweling to wipe the skillet clean.
for the shrimp
Make sure the shrimp is DRY before cooking
- Return the skillet to the burner and heat another tablespoon of butter and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer and season with the remaining tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. Allow the shrimp to cook for 3 minutes without moving or disturbing it. NOTE if you like things hot, you may wish to add 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the Cajun seasoning.
- After 3 minutes, flip the shrimp and immediately add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Cook an additional 3 minutes. Once shrimp have turned opaque, remove the skillet from the heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp to a bowl. Cover the shrimp loosely to keep warm. Use paper toweling to again wipe the skillet clean.
assemble the dish
if serving this dish over white rice, begin the rice now
- Return the sauce to the skillet and add the shrimp. Heat over low to medium low heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce is lightly bubbling.
- Serve spooned heavily over the prepared rice. OPTIONAL: combine 1/2 teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and dust the plated shrimp prior to serving. Offer additional hot sauce tableside.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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