Cajun Shrimp

4 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Cajun Shrimp is a quick and easy seafood dish of tender, juicy shrimp tossed in a homemade seasoning with bold spices and sauteed in butter.

Just like Shrimp Etouffee, this amazing Seafood Recipe is filled with incredible flavor from the Bayou. It’s a quick and delicious meal perfect for a weeknight Dinner.

Cajun Shrimp cooked and garnished shrimp on plate with lemon wedges

If you are looking for an easy and quick dinner, you can’t go wrong with this delicious Shrimp Recipe! It has tons of bold, spicy, and slightly earthy flavor thanks to the Cajun seasoning and butter. Plus it cooks up in just minutes for a flavorful, tasty dinner in no time at all. The bold flavors go with all kinds of sides making it a versatile main dish for all your favorite weeknight meals.

Cajun Shrimp ingredients in separate bowls

The homemade spice blend for this dinner recipe comes together with basic pantry spices like cayenne pepper, garlic, smoked, paprika, and oregano. If you have store-bought Cajun seasoning, you can use that as well. But, making it yourself not only lets you control how bold the flavors are, but you can double up the recipe for extra seasoning. Save the leftover spice blend for the next time you want to make Cajun Butter Shrimp, use it to season your side dishes for an amazing dinner filled with a bold burst of flavor in every bite.

This bold, flavorful shrimp is the perfect main dish to serve with simple side dishes like your favorite type of rice. White Rice and Brown Rice have a milder flavor to soak up all the buttery shrimp and let the bold flavors shine. Or try a more flavorful rice pilaf like our Popeye’s Cajun Rice, which is a copycat of their famous dirty rice. Check out our “How to Serve Cajun Shrimp” section for some more delicious ways to serve this succulent shrimp dish.

Cajun Shrimp seasoning shrimp collage

What is Cajun Seasoning?

Cajun Seasoning is a traditional spice blend that gives dishes a wonderful depth of flavor and a bit of heat. It’s typically made with garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, and a handful of other spices. The delicious flavor profile was developed in the American South, specifically the Louisiana region, from Acadian immigrants.

Cajun Shrimp before and after cooking shrimp in skillet collage

How to Make Cajun Shrimp

  • Prep Seasoning: Add the salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme to a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk the spices until blended and there are no clumps.
  • Season Shrimp: Season the cleaned, raw shrimp with the prepared Cajun seasoning. Toss until the shrimp are evenly coated in the spices.
  • Cooking Time: Add unsalted butter to a large, heavy skillet. Turn the stove top to high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the shrimp in small batches so as not to overcrowd. It should only take about 2 minutes of cooking on each side to finish the shrimp. Serve the cooked shrimp with rice and garnish with minced parsley and lemon wedges for a wonderful light dinner.
Cajun Shrimp cooked and garnished shrimp in pan with lemon wedges

Easy, Delicious Rice Dishes

FAQs for Cajun Shrimp

Do I have to peel the shrimp before cooking it?

Yes, you should peel and clean the shrimp before cooking it. Since the shrimp is cooking quickly and not simmering in any broth, you want the seasoning to go directly on the shrimp meat otherwise it won’t really pick up the flavoring.

How to peel and devein shrimp?

To quickly peel and devein fresh shrimp, start by pulling off the head and legs with your hands. Then it should be easier to pull off the shell, starting at the head end and pulling away from the body. Discard the shells after removing them. Then use a small knife to cut a shallow line down the back of the shrimp. The black line running down the back is the vein. Insert the point of the knife beneath the vein and remove it. Note that you should peel and devein raw shrimp while it’s cold.

How do you know when shrimp is done cooking?

The cooked shrimp should develop an opaque, light pink color. It’s best to cook it in batches so you can tell when it’s done and it doesn’t overcook. Once it’s done, remove the first batch of shrimp from heat and set it to the side. It should take 2-3 minutes tops to cook jumbo shrimp, flipping once halfway through cooking.

Cajun Shrimp cooked and garnished shrimp on plate with lemon wedges and rice

Key Ingredients

  • Cajun Seasoning: If you have a stocked spice rack, you likely have all the necessary ingredients for homemade Cajun Seasoning. All you need for the classic Cajun flavor is kosher salt, garlic powder, paprika, ground black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, and dried thyme. After whisking the simple blend together, you’ll have the ultimate flavoring for your shrimp recipe.
  • Butter: Cooking Cajun Shrimp in butter makes crisp and juicy shrimp with a rich flavor. Use unsalted butter since there is already salt in the seasoning blend so your shrimp isn’t too salty.
  • Shrimp: You’ll want 2 pounds of shrimp for this recipe. Extra large or jumbo shrimp will work best and make about 4 good sized portions. You can either buy the shrimp already shelled and deveined or do that yourself during the prep time. 

Can you make Cajun Shrimp ahead of time?

You can coat the shrimp in the seasonings and let it marinate overnight before cooking it. However, you don’t want to cook the shrimp ahead of time because it tends to get rubbery when reheated. You can also mix the spice blend and store in an airtight container in the pantry for about 6 months or in the freezer for up to a year.

Cajun Shrimp cooked and garnished shrimp on plate with rice


  • Spices: You can add some more amazing flavor to the homemade seasoning blend with more common savory pantry spices. Try celery seed, ground dry mustard, ground ginger, smoked paprika, white pepper, crushed chili pepper flakes.
  • Sweet: Balance out all the spicy, smoky flavor with sweeter baking spices like nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, or allspice. For a real sweet and spicy combo, add brown sugar to the spice blend or toss the shrimp in honey before rubbing with the spices.
  • Vegetables: You can add a variety of vegetables to your shrimp recipe. Cook bell peppers, green onion, corn kernels, or zucchini in the pan and cook in butter along with the shrimp. Veggies will not only add flavor but make a quick dinner that’s healthy and low carb.

How to Serve Cajun Shrimp

  • Pasta: Make a delicious, creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta by adding a teaspoon or two of the spice blend to your favorite Alfredo Sauce. Toss the sauce with cooked pasta then serve the shrimp over the pasta.
  • Appetizer: These shrimp would make an amazing spicy starter for your summer parties and backyard gatherings. Serve them with some melted butter with more Cajun seasoning mixed in or cool them off with creamy Tartar Sauce.
  • Seafood Boil: Make a dish similar to a Seafood Boil, but without the actual boiling. Serve the shrimp with Roasted Red Potatoes and Corn on the Cob that has been brushed with butter and seasoned with some of the spice blend. Add some smoked sausage and crusty rolls and you’ve got a delicious shrimp “boil” dish.
  • Po’Boys: Make a popular New Orleans sandwich with this buttery, spicy shrimp. Spread a store-bought remoulade sauce or mayonnaise on a toasted hoagie roll. Add the shrimp and top with shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and Pickle Chips.
Cajun Shrimp cooked and garnished shrimp on plate with lemon wedges and rice

More Flavorful Shrimp Recipes

How to Store

  • Store: Once it’s cooked, your shrimp can be at room temperature for up to 2 hours. To keep leftovers, transfer the shrimp to an airtight container after it is cooled. It can stay good for 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Reheat: It’s best to reheat the shrimp in a skillet to keep it from getting rubbery. Add a little broth to the pan and reheat covered to steam the shrimp for a few minutes until heated through.
  • Freeze: Let the shrimp cool to room temperature before freezing to prevent freezer burn. Store in a freezer bag for up to 6 months.To prevent the shrimp from drying out or overcooking, reheat it from frozen in a skillet.

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Cajun Shrimp cooked and garnished shrimp on plate with lemon wedges

Cajun Shrimp

Cajun Shrimp is a quick and easy seafood dish of tender, juicy shrimp tossed in a homemade seasoning with bold spices and sauteed in butter.
Yield 4 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Cajun
Author Sabrina Snyder


Cajun Seasoning:

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme


  • 2 pounds shrimp , peeled and deveined (13-15 count)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup parsley , finely minced


Cajun Seasoning:

  • In a small bowl add salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme and mix well with a fork.


  • Season the shrimp with the cajun seasoning.
  • Add butter to a large heavy skillet, heat to high.
  • Cook in small batches, 2 minutes on each side.
  • Serve with rice, garnish with finely minced parsley and lemon wedges.


Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 395mg | Sodium: 856mg | Potassium: 658mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 1026IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 165mg | Iron: 2mg
Cajun Shrimp cooked and garnished shrimp on plate with lemon wedges

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. I make this once a week and use the shrimp in my chopped salad. Oh, the flavor is amazing. I have romaine lettuce, cooked bacon, red peppers, cucumbers, blue cheese, grape tomatoes and Cajun shrimp. I make a parmesan dressing, one of our favorite dinners.

    1. Thank you Carol. I so appreciate you taking the time to let us know how you like our recipes along with all the great ideas you have! Thank you for the 5 star review for our Cajun Shrimp recipe.