This Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe is such a great comforting seafood dish that is made with white wine, rice and shrimp.
Cajun cuisine is known for its bold and spicy flavors, and this dish is no exception. It combines succulent shrimp, aromatic vegetables, and a perfect blend of Cajun spices, all simmered together with fluffy rice. The result is a dish that is hearty, flavorful, and oh-so-satisfying.
Whether you're a fan of Cajun cuisine or simply looking to spice up your weeknight dinner routine, this Cajun Shrimp and Rice recipe is sure to impress. It's a one-pot wonder that brings together the rich and vibrant flavors of the Louisiana Bayou in a convenient and delicious way.
- What is Cajun Shrimp and Rice?
- Why you will love Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe
- What is the easiest way to peel and devein shrimp?
- Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe Ingredients
- How to make Cajun Shrimp and Rice
- What rice is best?
- What to serve with Cajun Shrimp and Rice
- Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe Variations
- How to store Cajun Shrimp and Rice
- Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe Top tips
- Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe
- Food safety
What is Cajun Shrimp and Rice?
Cajun Shrimp and Rice is a classic dish that originates from the Cajun and Creole cuisine of Louisiana, particularly the southern regions of the state. It combines tender shrimp, aromatic vegetables, flavorful spices, and fluffy rice to create a hearty and satisfying meal.
The dish typically starts with a base of the "holy trinity" of Cajun cooking, which consists of onions, bell peppers, and celery. These vegetables are sautéed until tender and fragrant, providing a flavorful foundation for the dish. Garlic is also often included to add an extra layer of aromatic goodness.
Why you will love Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe
- Bursting with Flavor: Cajun cuisine is renowned for its bold and vibrant flavors, and this recipe is no exception. The combination of Cajun spices, aromatic vegetables, and succulent shrimp creates a flavor profile that is rich, spicy, and utterly delicious. Each bite is a harmonious blend of savory, smoky, and slightly tangy notes that will awaken your taste buds.
- Easy and Convenient: The Cajun Shrimp and Rice recipe is a one-pot wonder, making it a convenient option for home cooks. With minimal prep and simple cooking techniques, you can have a satisfying meal on the table without much effort. It's a great recipe to add to your weeknight dinner rotation when you're looking for something flavorful and fuss-free.
- Versatile and Customizable: While the recipe provides a solid foundation, Cajun Shrimp and Rice is also highly versatile. You can adapt it to suit your personal preferences and dietary needs. Feel free to adjust the spice level, add extra vegetables or protein, or even incorporate your favorite Cajun-inspired ingredients to make it uniquely yours. It's a dish that encourages creativity in the kitchen.
What is the easiest way to peel and devein shrimp?
- Start by holding the shrimp with one hand and the tail with the other. Gently twist and pull the tail to remove it from the body of the shrimp.
- To remove the shell, use your fingers or a small paring knife to make a shallow cut along the back of the shrimp. Carefully peel off the shell, starting from the cut you made and working your way down to the other end. If you prefer, you can also leave the tail intact for presentation purposes.
- Once the shrimp is peeled, it's time to devein it. Look for a dark, sometimes gritty, vein that runs along the back of the shrimp. This vein is the digestive tract and can be removed for aesthetic and cleanliness reasons.
- To devein the shrimp, use the tip of a paring knife or a shrimp deveiner tool. Make a shallow incision along the back of the shrimp, following the line of the vein. Use the tip of the knife or the deveiner tool to lift and remove the vein. Rinse the shrimp under cold water to ensure any remaining debris is washed away.
- Repeat the process for each shrimp until they are all peeled and deveined.
Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Olive oil
- Cajun Seasoning
- White wine
- Chicken Broth
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Cajun Shrimp and Rice
Combine the shrimp, olive oil, parsley, and lemon juice into a bowl and stir. Marinate for 15 minutes.
In a large pot over medium high heat, add butter and wait for it to shimmer. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Deglaze the pot by adding the white wine. Keep cooking on medium-high heat, until the wine has cooked off. Pour in the rice and chicken broth, and season with salt and pepper.
Reduce heat, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add in the marinated shrimp to the pot, cover, and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the shrimp is pink and opaque.
Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon slices if you please.
Hint: Prep all ingredients beforehand since the shrimp cooks quickly.
What rice is best?
When it comes to choosing the best rice for Cajun Shrimp and Rice, it largely depends on personal preference and the desired texture of the dish. Here are a few popular rice options that work well:
- Long-Grain Rice: Long-grain rice, such as Basmati or Jasmine rice, is a popular choice for Cajun Shrimp and Rice. It has a light and fluffy texture with distinct individual grains. The grains remain separate even after cooking, providing a nice contrast to the tender shrimp and vegetables.
- Brown Rice: If you prefer a healthier option, consider using brown rice. Brown rice has the outer bran layer intact, providing more fiber and nutrients compared to white rice. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a chewier texture, which can add a nice element to the dish. Keep in mind that brown rice typically requires a longer cooking time and more liquid than white rice.
- Cajun or Dirty Rice Mix: For an authentic Cajun twist, you can use Cajun or Dirty Rice mix. These are pre-seasoned rice mixes that typically contain spices, vegetables, and sometimes meat or sausage. Using a Cajun rice mix can simplify the cooking process while still delivering the classic flavors of Cajun cuisine.
What to serve with Cajun Shrimp and Rice
- Cornbread: A classic Southern staple, cornbread pairs exceptionally well with Cajun cuisine. The slightly sweet and crumbly texture of cornbread complements the spicy flavors of the shrimp and rice.
- Coleslaw: A refreshing and crunchy coleslaw adds a cool contrast to the spicy Cajun flavors. The creaminess of the coleslaw helps balance the heat and provides a refreshing element to the meal.
- Steamed Vegetables: Serve a side of steamed vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, or green beans, to add some nutritional balance to the dish. The vibrant colors and fresh flavors of the vegetables create a visually appealing and wholesome meal.
- Garlic Bread: Crusty garlic bread is a delicious addition to soak up the flavorful juices from the Cajun Shrimp and Rice. It adds a delightful garlic-infused touch to each bite and can be used to scoop up the shrimp and rice.
- Salad: A crisp salad with a tangy vinaigrette can provide a light and refreshing counterpart to the bold flavors of the Cajun dish. Opt for a salad with fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a zesty dressing.
Shrimp: Make sure to buy shrimp that haven’t been previously frozen for best quality, although you totally can use previously frozen shrimp. Ask the fish monger to devein your shrimp before to make your life easier.
Onion: I used white onion for this recipe, although you could use yellow or red onion as well.
Olive oil: I used good quality extra virgin olive oil.
Butter: I used salted butter but you could use ghee or unsalted butter and salt yourself.
Lemons: For best taste, use real lemons and not store bought lemon juice. I sliced the lemons and arranged them at the end.
Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe Variations
- Cajun Sausage and Shrimp: Add sliced andouille sausage to the dish for an extra layer of smoky flavor and heartiness. Cook the sausage along with the vegetables and shrimp to infuse the dish with its distinctive taste.
- Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa: Replace the traditional rice with quinoa for a healthier twist. Quinoa is a protein-rich grain that adds a nutty flavor and a light, fluffy texture to the dish. It's a great option for those looking for a gluten-free or low-carb alternative.
- Creole Shrimp and Rice: Creole cuisine is similar to Cajun cuisine but has its own distinct flavors. Create a Creole-inspired version of the dish by using Creole seasoning instead of Cajun seasoning. Creole seasoning typically includes a blend of spices like paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried herbs like thyme and oregano.
Check out this Lemon Butter Halibut.
- Large Skillet or Sauté Pan: A wide and deep skillet or sauté pan is essential for cooking the shrimp, vegetables, and rice together. Opt for a non-stick or stainless steel pan with high sides to accommodate all the ingredients.
- Cutting Board and Knife: A sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife are necessary for chopping vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, and celery. Ensure you have a clean and spacious surface to safely prepare your ingredients.
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula is handy for stirring and combining the ingredients in the skillet. Choose a heat-resistant utensil that won't scratch your cookware.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are crucial when adding spices, broth, and other ingredients. Have a set of measuring cups and spoons on hand to ensure the right proportions.
- Fine-Mesh Strainer (Optional): If you're using pre-packaged Cajun seasoning, a fine-mesh strainer can help sift out any lumps or clumps before adding it to the dish.
- Serving Plates or Bowls: Select attractive plates or bowls for serving your Cajun Shrimp and Rice. The dish will look even more enticing when presented on well-chosen dinnerware.
- Kitchen Timer: While not essential, a kitchen timer can be useful for ensuring that the shrimp, vegetables, and rice are cooked for the appropriate amount of time, preventing any components from becoming overcooked.
- Stove or Cooktop: Cajun Shrimp and Rice is typically prepared on a stovetop. Make sure you have a functioning stove or cooktop with adjustable heat settings to cook the dish properly.
How to store Cajun Shrimp and Rice
To store Cajun Shrimp and Rice, follow these guidelines to maintain its freshness and quality:
- Cool Down: Allow the dish to cool down to room temperature before storing. Leaving it out at room temperature for too long can promote bacterial growth.
- Refrigeration: Transfer the Cajun Shrimp and Rice to an airtight container or sealable plastic bag. Place it in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. The refrigerator should be set to a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below.
- Properly Sealed Containers: Ensure that the container or bag is tightly sealed to prevent air and moisture from entering, which can lead to food spoilage.
- Label and Date: If you plan to store the Cajun Shrimp and Rice for more than a day, label the container with the date of preparation. This helps you keep track of its freshness and know when it should be consumed by.
- Storage Duration: Cajun Shrimp and Rice can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. After that, the quality may start to decline, and the risk of foodborne illness increases. If you anticipate not being able to consume it within this timeframe, consider freezing it instead (see next step).
- Freezing (Optional): If you want to store Cajun Shrimp and Rice for longer periods, freezing is a viable option. Place the cooled dish in a freezer-safe container or bag, ensuring it is tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- Reheating: When reheating Cajun Shrimp and Rice, ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any potential bacteria. You can reheat it in the microwave, stovetop, or oven. Add a splash of broth or water if needed to prevent it from drying out.
Cajun Shrimp and Rice Recipe Top tips
- Use Fresh Ingredients: Opt for fresh, high-quality shrimp and vegetables to ensure the best flavor in your dish. Fresh ingredients contribute to the overall taste and texture of the Cajun Shrimp and Rice.
- Customize the Spice Level: Adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning according to your preferred spice level. Start with a moderate amount and gradually increase it if you prefer a spicier dish. Remember, you can always add more seasoning later, but it's challenging to reduce the spice once it's already in the dish.
- Sauté the Vegetables First: Sautéing the vegetables like onions, bell peppers, and celery before adding the shrimp and rice can enhance their flavors and provide a nice caramelization. It adds depth to the overall dish.
- Properly Cook the Shrimp: Shrimp cooks quickly, so be careful not to overcook it. Overcooked shrimp can become tough and rubbery. Cook the shrimp just until they turn pink and opaque, which usually takes 2-3 minutes per side. Remove them from the heat promptly to avoid overcooking.
- Let it Rest: Allow the Cajun Shrimp and Rice to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This helps the flavors meld together and allows the rice to absorb any remaining moisture, resulting in a more cohesive and flavorful dish.
- Garnish and Freshen Up: Before serving, garnish the Cajun Shrimp and Rice with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro to add a pop of freshness and color. Squeezing a bit of fresh lemon or lime juice over the dish just before serving can provide a bright and tangy flavor.
- Double the Recipe: Cajun Shrimp and Rice is a crowd-pleaser, so consider doubling the recipe if you're feeding a larger group or want leftovers for later. It reheats well and can be enjoyed as a delicious meal the next day.
- Add a Creamy Element (Optional): For a creamy twist, you can stir in a small amount of heavy cream, coconut milk, or cream cheese towards the end of cooking. This adds richness and a velvety texture to the dish.
- Experiment with Additions: Feel free to add other ingredients to your Cajun Shrimp and Rice based on your preferences. Consider incorporating diced tomatoes, corn, or cooked sausage to add extra flavor and texture.
- Serve with a Fresh Salad: Balance the richness of the Cajun Shrimp and Rice with a side of crisp, refreshing salad. A simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette or a citrus-based salad pairs well with the spicy flavors of the dish.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove