I’m not going to lie, this recipe is a little spicy. But I promise that you’ll love it! This dish is brimming with flavors of Cajun spices and the shrimp are so succulent with just enough spice to make your mouth water. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner and makes a great appetizer too!
I love to feed my family well rounded, balanced meals but sometimes I feel like I just don’t have the time or energy. As mothers we sometimes get this idea in our heads that a balanced meal is large and elaborate – especially if you were raised on “down home” cooking.
Wouldn’t it be great if we just needed a handful of ingredients to hit a few major food groups in a tasty and quick 20 minute meal? Umm YES please! The crazy thing is, we totally can.
Can you make this recipe less spicy for kids?
Yes, you can! This is easy one of my family’s most requested shrimp recipes. Even my young son loves it, however I do make a small batch just for him. How I do this is by setting aside 5-6 shrimp and leaving them plain – meaning, I don’t put any cajun spices on them at all.
When you get the to point where you remove the veggies and then melt butter in the pan, cook these up by themselves, about 2 minutes per side. When cooking the second side, add in a couple spoonfuls of the veggies.
Plate the cooked shrimp and veggies on top of rice or pasta and then continue on to cook the rest of the spicy shrimp. You may need to add more butter to the pan.
How to make Cajun Seasoning for shrimp
For ease, our recipe simply calls for generic “cajun seasoning“. You can pick this up anywhere. Old Bay is a popular substitute (it’s a little less spicy than traditional cajun seasoning), but even the one from the dollar store will do!
If you happen to have a full spice rack, you can also make your own from scratch.
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1-2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust for your level of heat)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
Mix all of these together and store it in an airtight container.
I like spice and heat so I love using this on just about EVERYTHING. It’s amazing on chicken, ribs, corn, rice, and even popcorn.
NOTE: If you make this mix, you likely will not need to add the additional dried chili’s called for in the recipe. Unless you like it really spicy like me, then keep em in!
What can I serve with this?
This shrimp is excellent over rice, pasta or even a bed of spinach if you’d like to keep it low-carb and keto-friendly. Lemon wedges are optional, but add a nice flavor if desired.
You could also use this as a taco filling, in a crispy French bread po boy or garlic bread sandwich. This is delicious also eaten with cheesy grits or cheese grits.
A lot of people like to include bell peppers, but I am not of fan. If you like them, go ahead and add about 1/2 cup of diced red and green bell peppers at the same time as the onions. If you’d like an even heartier meal, just add your favorite cooked sausage or chicken.
How do you make Spicy Cajun Shrimp?
If you’re looking for a new way to spice up your dinner routine, this recipe is sure to be a hit. It’s easy to make and delicious!
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 whole dried chilis (or red pepper flakes to taste)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 2 roma tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
- 1-2 green onions, chopped
- Lemon wedges for serving (optional)
Peel and devein your shrimp. Make sure to pat dry thoroughly after rinsing.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 tbsp of olive oil and cajun seasoning. Mix thoroughly to coat the shrimp with flavor. Set aside for later use.
Heat the other 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and dried chilis (whole) and saute until fragrant, only about 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Add onion and saute until translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Melt the butter in the same pan over medium high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook the first side until the shrimp begin to curl, about 2 minutes.
Turn and cook the second side an additional minute until a “C” shape forms and shrimp are translucent.
Return vegetables to the pan. Add tomatoes and green onions to the pan and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute.
Remove from heat and serve warm.
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Easy Spicy Cajun Shrimp
- 1 lb shrimp, large or jumbo peeled, deveined and butterflied
- 3 tsp Cajun seasoning Use Old Bay or make your own from spices
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2-3 dried chilis whole
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ cup onion diced
- 2 roma tomatoes seeds removed, chopped
- 1-2 green onions chopped
- Lemon wedges for serving, optional
- Peel, devein and butterfly your shrimp. Make sure to pat dry thoroughly.
- Place in a medium bowl and add 1 tbsp of olive oil and cajun seasoning. Mix throughly to coat shrimp. Set aside.
- Heat the other 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauce until fragrant, only about 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add onion and saute until translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add shrimp in a single layer and cook the first side until the shrimp begin to curl, about 2 minutes.
- Turn and cook the second side an additional minute until a “C” shape forms and shrimp are translucent.
- Return vegetables to the pan. Add tomatoes and green onions to the pan and cook til warmed through, about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and serve warm over rice, pasta or a bed of spinach with lemon wedges, if desired.