Today’s Cajun shrimp and rice recipe makes an utterly simple but delicious dish that happens to be one of our favorite ways to cook shrimp.
The shrimp is tossed in the Cajun seasoning before getting quickly sautéed in olive oil, garlic, and butter. The spice mixture sticks to the shrimp and gives it a golden- brown color that is loaded with flavors. The result is succulent, juicy shrimp layered in a distinctive warm and toasty base.
The Cajun seasoning is the star of this recipe. It elevates the shrimp and once combined with garlic and butter, the spice makes your regular weeknight dinner irresistible. Check out our Cajun Chicken Recipe and Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe to further explore the wonders of Cajun.
Cajun Seasoning for Shrimp
Cajun seasoning is a rustic blend made of several ordinary spices found in most Cajun cuisine. The mixture has long been popular for amping up every type of protein — chicken, beef, seafood, you name it. Each Cajun seasoning blend tends to have its own spin, but in general, they all contain:
Various other seasonings and spices like thyme or white pepper can be added to adjust the experience. Some Cajun seasonings even include salt to boost the flavor. If you use a store-bought one, you’ll want to check the label and ingredient list so that you can account for the extra salt it adds to the recipe.
You can also try making Cajun seasoning from the ingredients in your pantry and save it for later use. The homemade variant should be kept in an airtight container and placed in a cool, dry place for maximum shelf life — usually around 6 months.
Is Cajun Shrimp Spicy?
Yes, in general, Cajun shrimp features a nice touch of heat. The chili powder and cayenne pepper are the key components that lend the dish its signature kick.
Is Cajun Shrimp and Rice Healthy?
Our Cajun shrimp recipe is made from scratch with carefully measured ingredients and nutrition in mind, so yes, it is healthy.
Since shrimp is the main ingredient, this recipe is high in protein. One serving of our Cajun shrimp contains up to 36.4 g protein, which is approximately 70% of your recommended daily intake.
Though our Cajun shrimp recipe includes butter and several seasonings, we portioned each element carefully. The amount of saturated fat and sodium aligns with our carefully constructed Dietary Guidelines while still bursting with flavor.
How to Make Cajun Shrimp and Rice
The name Cajun shrimp and rice may make you think it’s a complicated dish to make at home. But you don’t need a bunch of hard-to-find ingredients or any challenging cooking techniques for this recipe, and it takes no longer than 30 minutes of prepping and cooking.
The marination step makes a huge difference in this recipe compared to other versions out there. Toss shrimp in the seasoning mixture early on to bring out the aroma and create a more complex taste. The food will have a depth of flavor that you can’t get purely by cooking shrimp in the spices.
Another important thing is to avoid overcooking the shrimp. You just want the shrimp to cook quickly and char on the outside without turning them into rubber. A short time (2 - 3 minutes on each side) on a hot pan is more than enough. Once the shrimp are no longer translucent and have a beautiful orange, pinkish color, they are ready to be served.
How to Store and Reheat Cajun Shrimp and Rice
To store the cooked Cajun shrimp and rice, we recommend keeping the dish in an airtight container or wrapping it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerated Cajun shrimp stay fresh for 3 - 4 days while frozen ones will last up to 3 months.
Having Cajun shrimp leftovers in the fridge means that your next meal is a breeze. And not to worry, once reheated properly, the dish will retain its original flavor and texture beautifully.
It’s best to heat the shrimp up using a similar cooking technique on the stovetop. Simply add a little olive oil or butter to the pan and warm them up until they’re heated through.
What to Serve With Cajun Shrimp and Rice
We served the succulent Cajun shrimp and rice over a bed of hot rice so as not to waste a single drop of the flavorful sauce. The dish is delicious, versatile, and can be served in different ways to make it a balanced meal.
Our Greek salad is perfect for those heavy, protein-rich mains. It’s lightly touched with vinegar olive oil dressing to tickle your taste buds and balance out the flavor. And there’s still plenty of room for a glass of lemon watermelon juice to liven up your palate, allowing you to enjoy the meal even more.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Emily Rogers is a California-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in Public Health Dietetics. She has had an eclectic career working as a health educator, nutrition counselor, recipe developer, clinical dietitian and outpatient dietitian. Emily is currently a full-time Public Health Nutritionist with the County of Orange where she teaches Nutrition Education and Community Nutrition courses.