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.
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
- 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.
- Remove from the oven, discard the bay leaves, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving with rice, bread, or biscuits, if desired.
*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. But 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.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
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 is 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!
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.
Originally published June 25, 2021