Baked shrimp with creole sauce is a comforting soul food dinner, full of jumbo shrimp and garlic and simmered in a spicy, herby, buttery sauce. Make sure to serve them with something that will sop up all that lush jus.
Adapted from Deborah VanTrece | The Twisted Soul Cookbook | Rizzoli, 2021
Growing up with a Louisiana-born grandfather had its advantages at dinnertime. He made the best gumbos, boudin sausage, and fried fish in the entire world. To this day, whatever ability I have to cook up some incredible Louisiana Cajun fare, I credit to his influence. One dish I favor in particular is NOLA (as in, New Orleans, Louisiana) barbecue shrimp. I’ll whip this up at the drop of a hat when I’m hungry and want a little spice in my life. It’s rich and decadent, but simple to make.–Deborah VanTrece
Baked Shrimp with Creole Sauce FAQs
Can I eat shrimp heads?
Good question—we’ve urged you to buy and cook head-on shrimp for the flavor. But then what? Removing the head from cooked shrimp is a messy job, so let’s make it worth it. We should tell you that eating the entire head is only really advised if you’ve deep-fried the shrimp, making the shell softer. In a recipe like this one, you can definitely go the extra step and suck out the innards of the head. If you’ve ever been to a crawfish boil, you know what we’re talking about. Anthony Bourdain extolled the deliciousness of it and who are we to argue? Or save them and make the best seafood stock you’ve ever had.
How do you know when shrimp are cooked?
Shrimp cook quickly so you need to keep your attention on them. It doesn’t take long for even the largest shrimp to start turning pinkish and curling into a C shape. When that happens, they’re just about done.
Baked Shrimp with Creole Sauce
- 4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium (2 oz) shallot minced
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade Creole seasoning
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 3 pounds (18 to 20 count) jumbo shrimp, shell and heads-on
- Rice crusty bread, or biscuits, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter, stir in the olive oil, and add the shallot and minced garlic. Simmer until the shallot is translucent and the garlic turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, oregano, parsley, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, and Creole seasoning. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors meld. Add the bay leaves and continue to simmer until dark and slightly thickened, about 15 minutes more.
- Pile the shrimp in a 9 by 13-inch(23-by 33-cm) baking dish or roasting pan, pour the sauce over the shrimp, and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the shrimp, stir, and bake until cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
- Remove from the oven, discard the bay leaves, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving with rice, bread, or biscuits, if desired.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This baked shrimp with creole sauce was a hit in my house. This is the real deal iconic dish and could not have been easier to prepare. I highly recommend that you buy the freshest shrimp you can get and leave them intact as the shells and heads along with the fresh herbs have the most flavor and you’ll be wowed. I also prefer Irish butter.
I used the sweet paprika and made the Creole seasoning from the site which is awesome. I found that cranking up the heat of the oven to 425°F degrees made the process go a bit quicker and resulted in more of a “grilled” quality. Great easy-peasy summertime dish. I served this with some crusty bread for dipping and washed it all down with some ice-cold Coronas with lime.
Holy buckets, this is delicious—and easy. I’ve made this type of barbeque shrimp in the past, but this recipe for baked shrimp with creole sauce blows the others out of the water (pun intended). Let me start by saying that my shrimp did not have the heads on—I would’ve had to go to a bait shop to get that here. Anything about a bait shop reminds me of Hurricane Irma when we lost power for a week and there was squid and head-on bait shrimp in the garage freezer that my husband “forgot” about. I’ll never forget it. So, I used just over 2 pounds of headless wild-caught Gulf shrimp from the local fish market.
I also didn’t have any parsley, so I left it out. I used sweet paprika and fresh bay laurel leaves from my backyard. I served the shrimp with cheesy grits and green beans like my mother used to cook (bacon, onions, a little sugar, and a little vinegar), & homemade toasted coconut pudding for dessert. My husband ate two plates, I had to force myself to stop at one.
Originally published June 25, 2021
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This is the perfect recipe to prepare for summer guests. As we joyfully anticipate the return of friends around the dining table, sharing food and conversation, baked shrimp with Creole sauce will be making an appearance again on our first menu in the garden. While it does take some time to simmer and requires a mild level of concentration…it’s the kind of dish the host can prepare while sipping wine and having witty conversation. This recipe calls for a Cajun spice mix, and I used Leite’s Culinaria version.
The entire house had a wonderful aroma of something intriguing and delicious during the process. The shrimp simmered perfectly in the smoky, sultry sauce with just enough pepper and heat to perk up your tastebuds. We served a heap of them on white jasmine rice to soak up the flavors of the sauce. The final dish is decadent and satisfying without being overly rich. We plated the dish with a lemon wedge to provide a bit of extra acidity and paired it with a spicy, peppery Shiraz. Delicious!