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When it comes to satisfying our taste buds, Cajun Shrimp Pasta is a go-to dish that never disappoints. This recipe combines succulent shrimp, a rich cream sauce, and a tantalizing blend of spices to create a meal that bursts with flavor. 

cajun shrimp pasta on fork.
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Whether you’re a fan of spicy cuisine or simply looking for a quick and easy dinner recipe, Cajun Shrimp Pasta is a must-try dish that will please the entire family.

Continue reading to see why this recipe works, what it tastes like, and why you should add it to your repertoire of pasta recipes.

Quick and Easy for Busy Weeknights

With its simple preparation and cooking process, Cajun Shrimp Pasta is an ideal choice for easy weeknight meals. In just a few steps, you can have a satisfying dinner ready on the table in no time.

Since there is little measuring and no chopping, the entire recipe can pretty much be cooked in the amount of time it takes to cook the pasta. That means that in 10-15 minutes, you can have a complete dinner.

By following the package instructions for cooking the pasta and sautéing the shrimp in a large skillet over medium-high heat, you’ll have a hearty and delicious meal without the fuss.

The Perfect Combination of Spices

Cajun Shrimp Pasta owes its distinct flavor to the harmonious blend of spices used in the dish. 

The homemade Cajun seasoning, featuring spices like smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion salt, herbs, and black pepper, imparts just the right amount of kick without overpowering the other flavors. 

This heat level can be adjusted to suit your preference, making it versatile for those who enjoy both mild and spicy food.

cajun shrimp pasta with cream sauce in large skillet

A Creamy Sauce That Makes a Difference

The spicy alfredo sauce is the heart and soul of this pasta dish. With ingredients like heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and butter, the sauce becomes velvety and indulgent, enveloping the penne pasta and shrimp in a luscious coating. 

It adds depth and richness to the overall flavor profile, ensuring each bite is a delight for the senses.

Tender Shrimp

One of the highlights of this recipe is undoubtedly the succulent shrimp. The Cajun spice brings out the best in the shrimp, enhancing its natural sweetness while adding a touch of heat. 

If you love Creole flavored seafood, you should check out my Instant Pot Jambalaya and Blackened Salmon recipes too!

Each bite offers a burst of flavor, perfectly complementing the creamy sauce and al dente pasta.

cajun shrimp pasta with cream sauce in large skillet

Versatility in Ingredients

Cajun Shrimp Pasta is highly adaptable to personal preferences and dietary needs. You can experiment with different types of pasta, such as whole wheat or gluten-free options, to make it even healthier. Additionally, you can incorporate colorful veggies like green and red bell peppers, diced tomatoes, or even andouille sausage to further enhance the dish’s depth of flavor.

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How to Make It

  1. This recipe starts by boiling the pasta in salted water. It’s important to use a full tablespoon of salt in your pasta water because the salt will flavor the pasta. Before you drain the pasta, be sure to reserve some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce later, if needed.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, saute the shrimp. They will cook quickly over relatively high heat. You’ll remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside and then use that same pan to make the sauce. 
  3. The cajun cream sauce is simply a mixture of heavy cream that you bring to a boil and parmesan cheese that melts in creamy smooth. There’s enough cajun seasoning ont he shrimp and in the pan to give the sauce plenty of flavor. The sauce thickens within minutes and then you simply toss everything together to serve.
close up of cajun shrimp pasta with cream sauce

FAQs

Can I use a different type of pasta for Cajun Shrimp Pasta?

Yes, you can use any type of pasta you prefer, but penne pasta works well as it holds the sauce and seasonings effectively.

How spicy is Cajun Shrimp Pasta?

The spiciness can be adjusted to your taste by controlling the amount of Cajun seasoning used. It offers a flavorful kick without being overwhelmingly hot.

Can I substitute the shrimp with another protein?

Absolutely! While shrimp adds a delightful seafood element, you can substitute it with chicken, sausage, or even vegetables to suit your preferences or dietary restrictions.

Can I make Cajun Shrimp Pasta ahead of time?

It’s best to enjoy Cajun Shrimp Pasta immediately after cooking, as the creamy sauce may thicken upon refrigeration. However, you can store leftovers in an airtight container and reheat them the next day for a tasty meal.

Can I make my own Cajun seasoning?

Definitely! In fact, with this recipe, it is recommended so that you can control the amount of salt. Making your own Cajun seasoning allows you to adjust the flavors according to your preference. 

Can I make Cajun Shrimp Pasta dairy-free?

Yes, you can substitute the heavy cream and butter with dairy-free alternatives like coconut milk or cashew cream. Vegan parmesan cheese can also be used to achieve a similar flavor.

Can I add extra vegetables to Cajun Shrimp Pasta?

Yes! Feel free to add colorful vegetables such as bell peppers, diced tomatoes, or even spinach to incorporate more nutrients and textures into the dish.

Can I freeze Cajun Shrimp Pasta?

It is not recommended to freeze the dish, as the creamy sauce may separate upon thawing. It is best enjoyed fresh for the optimal taste and texture.

How can I make Cajun Shrimp Pasta less spicy?

If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper or omit it entirely from the Cajun seasoning. Adjust the heat level to suit your taste preferences.

What can I serve with Cajun Shrimp Pasta?

Cajun Shrimp Pasta pairs well with a healthy green salad, steamed broccoli, or a side of crusty bread to soak up the creamy sauce. It’s a versatile dish that allows for a range of complementary sides.

cajun pasta in cream sauce with shrimp

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Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Prep5 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Total15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Cajun Shrimp Pasta with a spicy and rich cream sauce is a quick and easy dinner recipe with just the right amount of kick!

Video

Ingredients 

To cook pasta:

To cook shrimp and sauce:

  • 1 pound raw shrimp deveined, cleaned, tail removed (best results if patted dry with paper towels)
  • 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning *see note below, use this quantity if making my homemade seasoning blend; may turn out too salty if using store bought
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese finely grated from a block (a microplane works best); pre-grated or not real authentic parmesan won't melt as nicely

Instructions 

Prior to cooking, prep all of your ingredients. You will want to add the pasta to the water around the same time you start cooking the shrimp.

  • Combine the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning and the olive oil in bowl. Toss to combine.
  • Add salt to pot of water and bring to a boil. At the same time, heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the pasta to the salted boiling water and cook to al dente doneness. Before draining, scoop out at least 1/2 cup of the cooking water. This will be reserved to thin the sauce, if needed. Drain pasta and set aside.
  • As soon as you add the pasta to the water, add the butter to the skillet and melt. Add the seasoned shrimp in a single layer and cook until golden brown on each side, turning only once. You may have to cook shrimp in two batches to allow enough room. Once they are done cooking, transfer the cooked shrimp to a clean plate and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the heavy cream to the pan and scrape the bottom with a flat shaped wooden spoon to release any seasoning that stuck to the skillet. Allow the cream to bubble around the edges. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the parmesan cheese to melt.
  • Add the cooked pasta and shrimp and stir to coat. If the sauce needs to be thinned, add the reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved. Taste and add additional salt, if desired depending on your tastes.

Notes

  • Salt level: I highly recommend making my homemade Cajun Seasoning Mix. If you use a store bought Cajun seasoning blend, which most likely contains much more salt than I use in my blend, you should start with a small amount, taste, and continue to add to your liking. Note: because my seasoning blend is purposely less-salty, you may need to add additional salt to your serving depending on your tastes.
  • Cajun Seasoning: You can decrease the amount of spice by lowering the amount of Cayenne Pepper and/or red pepper flakes.
  • Protein variations: I often like to make this exact same recipe but with a flattened tenderized chicken breast or wild caught scallops. Both are delicious.
  • Parmesan cheese: It is highly recommended that you grate the cheese from a block using a microplane. It will melt instantly in the cream. If you have pre-grated, I recommend mincing it as fine as you can.
  • Double the recipe! You can click the 2x button and it will scale the ingredients to double the recipe. I always double it to feed my hungry family of four with leftovers to spare. My homemade Cajun mix will make 4 Tablespoons of seasoning which is the exact amount needed if you choose to double this Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 429kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 255mg, Sodium: 1919mg, Potassium: 235mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1855IU, Vitamin C: 3.3mg, Calcium: 247mg, Iron: 2.7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This post was originally created for Centsless Meals where I was a contributor. It was originally published in 2019 and has been updated with more information to make the recipe more helpful.

Hi! I’m Krissy.

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363 Comments

  1. If I substitute spaghetti squash for the pasta it will be KETO friendly, increase the nutritional value and lower the calorie count.

  2. 5 stars
    Really a tasty and easy recipe. Even easier if you can find peeled, deveined shrimp. This recipe will definitely become a regular at our house. Good enough for company!

  3. 5 stars
    I was in the mood for TGI Friday’s cajun pasta, but we don’t have that restaurant where we live. I made your recipe (but added chicken) and it SO hit the spot! Someone said they used mushrooms, which I also think would be great to try sometime. I will use less cayenne pepper next time because it’s a little more spicy than I typically prefer, but my husband LOVED the kick to it. Thanks for this recipe! Perfect!

    1. The best bet is to get a block of aged parmesan and grate it yourself. If you buy a pre-shredded pack, it won’t melt as nicely.

  4. Same as all the prior comments. Easy and tastes restaurant quality. I def will add onions or chopped tomatoes and garlic next time. I did add mushrooms and it was so good. Also made the spice myself, very good. Delish and a keeper! Could be made with chicken too

    1. Made this for dinner and LOVED! I didnt have cayenne ☹(I love spicy food) or thyme, but it still turned out great. I also added chicken with the shrimp. Can’t wait to cook this again and try more recipes!

        1. 5 stars
          This came out so good! I cannot have regular milk/cream so I substituted out the cream with oak milk and couldn’t believe it was still creamy and yummy. Also added spinach and mushrooms. Delicious dinner!

    2. 5 stars
      This was a big hit with my friends. I ended up doubling the recipe and everyone just gobbled it up. Would highly recommend!!!

        1. The best method is to use a microplane and finely grate/shred it. If you buy pre-shredded it won’t melt as easily.

      1. I used “Slap Your Mama” Cajun seasoning and it was way too salty. But I did out a lot of salt in the pasta water and didn’t rinse. Wish I had made my own spice mix, but I didn’t have the smoked paprika, only regular paprika. But it would still would have been better, I think .I’ll make my own in the future.

    3. I added an onion, green pepper, red pepper and sausage and it was wonderful. I also added 3 or 4 spoons of spaghetti sauce just for a little more color.