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Shrimp creole in a black skillet.

Shrimp Creole

When you can't get to New Orleans, cook New Orleans. This fun and effortless recipe for Shrimp Creole is loaded with tender shrimp and tomatoes all simmered in the holy trinity of ingredients, true Louisiana style.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Creole
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 200kcal


  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large onion chopped (1 1/2 cups, see note 1)
  • 1 large green bell pepper chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 2 ribs celery chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 cup shrimp stock or chicken broth (see note 2)
  • 2 bay leaves (see note 3)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 2 pounds large raw shrimp peeled and deveined (see note 4)
  • 2 teaspoons Minced fresh parsley
  • Hot cooked rice for serving


  • In a large heavy pot over medium heat, melt butter until foaming. Whisk in flour and cook until blonde in color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Add onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Stir in tomatoes with their juice, shrimp stock, bay leaves, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove bay leaves, garnish with parsley, and serve over rice.


  1. The Holy Trinity: In Cajun and Creole cuisine, the "holy trinity" is the flavor base for many recipes: Equal parts green pepper, onion, and celery. It's similar to other humble beginnings all over the culinary world: French Mirepoix (carrot, onion, celery) Spanish Sofrito (onion, garlic, tomato), and Italian Batutto (carrots, onion, celery + fennel/garlic/parsley).
  2. Shrimp stock: If you've been saving shrimp shells in the freezer, you might be able to make your own. Otherwise, a simple chicken stock will do.
  3. Bay leaves: Don't leave these out. They're crucial to getting that Creole flavor just right.
  4. Shrimp: Buy raw shrimp in the shell if possible. Before you cook, clean the shrimp and make stock with the shells. Raw shrimp are the best in this recipe (pre-cooked shrimp will turn rubbery). Thaw frozen shrimp overnight in the refrigerator or in a bowl in the sink with a trickle of cold water running over them.
  5. Make it the night you eat it: Cooked shrimp doesn't reheat very well. If you absolutely need to make ahead, cook the sauce (but don't add the shrimp) and refrigerate for up to 4 days before you plan to eat. Then reheat in a pan and add the shrimp. Dinner in minutes!
  6. Garden tomatoes: This recipe is one of the ways I use up late-season tomatoes from the backyard. That way I save the canned tomatoes for the winter.
  7. Okra: Some cooks add a few handfuls of frozen chopped okra to the sauce to simmer into the tomatoes. Okra also acts as a natural thickener.
  8. Hot sauce: This dish can take all the vinegar-based hot sauce (Crystal, for example) that you dare put on it. Serve it on the side so everyone can spice it to their liking.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 286mg | Sodium: 1351mg | Potassium: 311mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 463IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 3mg