Shrimp Gumbo – A rich, thick, and flavorful seafood stew made with homemade shrimp stock, beautifully browned roux, shrimp, sausage, gumbo file, and aromatics. Then it’s simmered until nice and thick for crave-worthy, mouthwatering goodness. Pour it over your perfectly cooked rice, or dip your crusty bread in its luscious sauce for the ultimate dining experience.
A full-blooded Southerner must have gumbo running through their veins. LOL. 😜 The spicy, rich goodness is totally addictive.
I love shrimp gumbo so much that I eat it quite regularly, alternating it with other gumbo recipes, of course. I can’t help it! Because every spoonful is a soul-satisfying delight that truly comforts your soul. Aah! Simply irresistible! ❤
The Ultimate Southern Favorite, Gumbo!
I love gumbo most because you can taste and feel the love as you slurp a spoonful of its flavorful homemade broth. The intense flavor tells you how much love it took to achieve because of its deep and delicate savory flavors.
And, of course, it’s even more delicious with Creole Seasoning and the holy trinity —bell pepper, onion, and celery— bringing you authentic Southern flavors. What’s not to love? Indeed, a special home-cooked meal at its finest!
Yeah, I know, it’s quite a list, but it’s so worth it because you can already tell how good our Cajun Shrimp Gumbo will be. And with all these herbs and spices, it’ll surely be a party in your mouth.🤩 Below are the main ingredients for this gumbo goodness!
- Shrimp – I prefer medium to large shrimp for this Cajun shrimp gumbo recipe because they are tastier than the jumbos. And they are also pleasant to look at, not too big or too small, just right. 😉
- Creole Seasoning – My very own Imma flair that goes in almost every Southern dish is super easy to make at home with my Creole Seasoning recipe. It’s so perfect seasoning for this recipe. ❤
- Smoked Sausage – The smokey flavor adds an iconic touch to our classic gumbo recipe. For a quick substitute, you can use either Chorizo or Kielbasa sausage.
- Butter and All-Purpose Flour – These two essential ingredients make our roux. Our beautifully browned roux will also thicken our gumbo while adding buttery goodness. But if you prefer the old-fashion way, you can use okra as a thickener. Dice the okra and add them to the simmering gumbo for ten minutes before turning off the heat.
- The Holy Trinity (Onion, Garlic, and Celery) – Saute these guys until the onions are translucent and beautifully caramelized, and the veggies’ exceptional aroma fills the kitchen air. And don’t forget to see how to simplify chopping or mincing onions and garlic.
- Gumbo Filé – Aside from thickening our sauce, it also adds a distinctive tea-like flavor to our dish giving us the authentic gumbo flavor.
How to Make Shrimp Gumbo
Prep the Shrimp
- Peel and Devein – Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Then gently devein the shrimp by making a small slit at the back to access the vein with a pairing knife or manually with your fingers. (Photo 1)
- Gather the Heads and Shells – Keep all the heads and shells because we’ll use them for the broth. Set aside.
- Season the Shrimp – Season the shrimp with Creole Seasoning, salt, and pepper, and adjust to taste. (Photo 2)
- Sear – Heat the pan over medium heat and add oil, then cook the shrimp until their color turns bright orange. Set aside. (Photos 3-4)
Make the Shrimp Stock
Note: The ingredients for the stock are not included in the recipe. If you prefer to use already made stock, by all means, do so.😉
- Saute – Add a teaspoon or two of butter or oil to a saucepan. Then add onion, garlic, and celery, and saute. (Photo 5)
- Add Water and Season – Saute for 5-7 minutes, constantly stirring to prevent burning. Add the shrimp shells with aromatic herbs, like bay leaf and thyme, and stir. Then add 7 cups of water and season with Creole seasoning. (Photo 6)
- Boil and Simmer – Bring to a boil, lower heat, and let it simmer for 10-20 minutes. (Photos 7-8)
- Sieve and Set Stock Aside – Remove from heat and strain using a sieve. Set stock aside.
Cook the Gumbo
- Cook the Sausage – Heat a little oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add your sausage and brown for 3-5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Make the Roux – Pour in the remaining oil, butter, and flour, and cook on medium heat, stirring continuously for 10-15 minutes or until it turns a rich dark brown color – just like chocolate. Check out this post on How to Make a Roux. Please don’t walk away from the stove during this process because it might burn. (Photos 9-10)
- Add the Aromatics and Saute – When you have achieved the desired color. Add the onion, garlic, celery, thyme, green pepper, and bay leaves to the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes – stirring frequently. (Photos 11-12)
- Boil and Simmer – Add 6 cups of the shrimp stock, bring to a boil, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then, add the shrimp and simmer for 2-3 more minutes. (Photo 13)
- Add Gumbo File – Stir in the file powder, chicken bouillon, Creole Seasoning, paprika, green onions, and chopped parsley. (Photo 14)
- Adjust the Seasoning – Adjust the thickness of the soup and flavor it with broth or water and salt.
- Serve and Enjoy – Serve with cooked rice and enjoy.
- Protein-Rich Gumbo – Besides sausages, you can add more protein, such as chicken and pork tenderloin, and more seafood options, like crab, lobster, prawn, oyster, and fish. See my other scrumptious gumbo recipes: Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo.
- Spicylicious – Adding more heat won’t hurt. So for starters, you can add a dash or more of cayenne or pepper flakes or a splash of hot sauce and sriracha for more oomph. Or go heat crazy with the Scotch bonnet, serrano, jalapeno, or habanero. Have you ever had a flame-throwing party?🥵
- Nutrition-Packed – Your dish, your rules! So add as many veggies as you want. My favorites are zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, tomato, and mushroom. Or you can stick to vegetarian gumbo by omitting the shrimp and sausages, then replacing chicken bouillon and broth with its veggie counterpart.
- Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, and Keto-Friendly Gumbo – This is as simple as substituting roux with more chopped okra thrown in ten minutes before it’s done, and you’re good to go. Oh yes! 👌
Tips and Tricks
- The success of your gumbo depends on your roux’s success. So, take your time and cook your flour-butter mixture until it is fragrant and its color turns a beautiful golden color (like milk chocolate). Make sure to stir it continuously because you want to avoid lumps and burning your roux.
- You can find gumbo file in your local grocer’s spice aisle. If you can’t find it, no worries because you can leave it out or throw in some chopped okra.
Pro Tip: An authentic gumbo has to have either okra or gumbo file.
Serving and Storage Instructions
I usually cook in big batches and freeze the leftovers because this technique is great for busy moms like me. So I can always serve my family a sumptuous home-cooked meal on a weekly rotation without breaking a sweat. Oh yes! And Cajun gumbo is one of them. Yaay, for freezers! Such a life-saver or, should I say, food-saver? 😜
- Store – Let the leftover seafood gumbo cool completely before transferring it to a clean and dry airtight container.
- Refrigerate – If consuming immediately or in the following days, store your leftover gumbo in the fridge for three days.
- Freeze – If you have enough leftovers, put what your family can eat in one meal in heavy-duty freezer-safe resealable bags, so you have easy storing, freezing, and thawing. But don’t forget to write what it is and the date on each bag. If properly stored, you can freeze it for up to six months.
- Reheat – When ready to serve, thaw the frozen gumbo in the fridge overnight or place the bag in a tub or bowl of water. Once thawed, transfer to a pot and heat on medium-low, covered. Prevent scorching by stirring occasionally and adding more broth or water if it gets too thick. You can also reheat it in a microwave.
Pro Tip: If making it ahead, don’t add the shrimp just yet because they don’t freeze well. They tend to get tough and rubbery after freezing and reheating. Just cook the shrimp separately and add them when ready to serve your gumbo, except for the shrimp heads and shells because they go in our broth.
Note: Consume reheated gumbo immediately and discard any leftovers. It’s not safe to store and refrigerate or freeze it again.
Authentic gumbo has the Creole holy trinity – onion, bell pepper, and celery – and is thickened with okra, gumbo file, or roux. To be authentic gumbo, it must have okra or gumbo filé. Whether it has seafood or not is immaterial, but seafood does make it better.😉
It’s all in the sauce, babe! From the buttery roux, meaty proteins, veggies, and aromatic herbs down to the intensely flavored spices, all make our gumbo rich, thick, and very tasty.
It is a seasoning made from ground sassafras leaves and is often used to thicken soups and stews. The flavor is somewhere between root beer and green tea, with an aroma similar to eucalyptus. If you’re among those that aren’t crazy about the taste, you can replace it with chopped okra.
What to Serve with Shrimp Gumbo
Nothing beats eating hot gumbo over a heap of steaming rice. Aah! Such is a match made in heaven. The following recipes also make side dishes worthy of our gumbo with shrimp.
More Delicious Southern Recipes to Try
Watch How To Make It
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 1 hr 25 mins
Total: 1 hr 45 mins
- 2 pounds (907g) shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon (4g) Creole seasoning
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) canola oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons (12g) garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped (about ¾ cup)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon (4g) fresh thyme
- 8 ounces (227g) smoked sausage
- ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (32g) all-purpose flour
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 5-6 cups (1-1½ liters) shrimp or chicken stock, may substitute with water
- 2 teaspoons gumbo file
- 1 tablespoon (or 1 cube) chicken bouillon
- 1 tablespoon (12g) Creole seasoning, I used salt-free
- ½ tablespoon (7g) smoked paprika
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons (8g) fresh parsley, chopped
Note: The recipe calls for 5-6 cups of shrimp or chicken stock. If you don’t have time to make your own stock with these instructions, feel free to use store-bought seafood, shrimp, or chicken stock.
Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Then gently devein the shrimp by making a small slit at the back to access the vein. Gently pull the vein with a pairing knife or manually with your fingers.
Keep all the heads and shells because we’ll use them for the broth. Set aside.
Season the shrimp with Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper, and adjust to taste.
Heat the pan over medium heat and add oil. Cook the shrimp until their color turns bright orange. Set aside.
Add a teaspoon or two butter or oil to a saucepan. Then add onion, garlic, and celery, and saute.
Saute for 5-7 minutes, constantly stirring to prevent burning. Add the shrimp shells with aromatic herbs, like bay leaf and thyme, and stir. Then add 7 cups of water and season with Creole seasoning.
Bring to a boil, lower heat, and let it simmer for 10-20 minutes.
Remove from heat and strain using a sieve. Set stock aside.
Heat a little oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add your sausage and brown for 3-5 minutes, remove and set aside.
Pour in the remaining oil, butter, and flour, and cook on medium heat, stirring continuously for 10-15 minutes or until it turns a rich dark brown color – just like chocolate. (Check out this post on How to Make a Roux.) Please don’t walk away from the stove during this process because it might burn.
When you have achieved the desired color. Add the onion, garlic, celery, thyme, green bell pepper, and bay leaves to the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes – stirring frequently.
Add 6 cups of the shrimp stock, bring to a boil, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then, add the shrimp and simmer for 2-3 more minutes.
Stir in the file powder, chicken bouillon, Creole Seasoning, paprika, green onions, and chopped parsley.
Adjust the thickness of the soup and flavor it with broth or water and salt.
Serve with cooked rice and enjoy!
Tips & Notes:
- The success of your gumbo depends on the success of your roux. So, take your time and cook your flour-butter mixture until it is fragrant and its color turns deep brown. Make sure to stir it continuously to avoid lumps and burning your roux.
- You can find gumbo filé in the spice aisle of your local grocery store. For substitutes, use okra, arrowroot powder, or cornstarch slurry instead to thicken our sauce.
- For aesthetic purposes, don’t forget to peel and devein your shrimps.
- Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.
Serving: 1cup| Calories: 248kcal (12%)| Carbohydrates: 12g (4%)| Protein: 8g (16%)| Fat: 19g (29%)| Saturated Fat: 7g (44%)| Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g| Monounsaturated Fat: 8g| Trans Fat: 1g| Cholesterol: 36mg (12%)| Sodium: 732mg (32%)| Potassium: 378mg (11%)| Fiber: 2g (8%)| Sugar: 2g (2%)| Vitamin A: 2202IU (44%)| Vitamin C: 24mg (29%)| Calcium: 81mg (8%)| Iron: 2mg (11%)
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