This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Homemade Crawfish Étouffée is full of tender seafood, smothered in a spicy Cajun tomato-based sauce, and served over rice. It is Southern comfort food at its best!

This New Orleans classic can easily be made at home with this quick and easy recipe. I love to make a big batch and freeze it for when I crave spicy Cajun food!

bowl of crawfish etouffee with white rice.

Crawfish Étouffée satisfies all of my cravings.

The flavor is intense and the combination of the succulent crawfish tail meat paired with the creamy tomato-based sauce is heaven to my taste buds. My recipe has just the right amount of spice too.

Why I love this recipe

  • Classic Louisiana dish – If you’re looking for a special recipe to celebrate Mardi Gras and need a Cajun classic to feed your family, a good etouffee will do the trick!
  • Works with shrimp or langostino – If you live in South Louisiana, heaps of fresh crawfish tails are abundant. Elsewhere, they can be hard to find. Shrimp Étouffée or Étouffée of langoustine is very similar to this Cajun crawfish etouffee recipe and they only differ slightly in taste and texture.
  • Cooks fast – This thick stew only takes minutes to make, so it’s a great option for busy weeknights.

Ingredients needed

Exact quantities can be found in the recipe card below, but here is a summary for your shopping list.

  • unsalted butter
  • yellow onion, green bell pepper, and celery (the Holy Trinity of vegetables)
  • Cajun or creole seasoning
  • all-purpose flour
  • diced tomatoes
  • chicken stock
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • hot sauce
  • cooked crawfish or Langostino
spooning crawfish etouffee over white rice.

How to make Crawfish Étouffée

  1. Sauté vegetables: Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it begins to slightly brown around the edges. Sauté the onion, celery, and green peppers in the hot butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir only to prevent burning. Add the Cajun seasoning and stir to combine.
  2. Make the roux: Sprinkle the flour onto the vegetable mixture, stir to coat, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. This is considered a blonde roux since it doesn’t require a long period of time like the roux in gumbo.
  3. Add sauce ingredients: Stir in the tomatoes; cook until tomato juice begins to brown on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Whisk chicken broth into the vegetable mixture, stirring with a flat-bottomed wooden spoon until smooth. At this time, add the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and reduced to a gravy consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
  4. Warm seafood: Stir crawfish (or langostino) into etouffee sauce. Since the seafood is already cooked, cook it in the sauce over low heat just until it is heated through. Remove the pan from heat and taste. Season with salt, to taste.

Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions or fresh parsley.

Recipe variations

  • Instead of chicken broth, try using seafood stock or crawfish stock made from crawfish shells for a richer flavor.
  • In lieu of hot sauce, cayenne pepper will give a nice spicy kick.
  • The acid from a squeeze of lemon balances nicely with the salt and the Cajun spice blend. Lemon juice isn’t part of the recipe but always tastes great with seafood.

Storage and reheating

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Try to consume within 3-5 days. This recipe freezes well and should be thawed in the refrigerator before reheating.

Because of the seafood, etouffee must be heated gently; low and slow. Either simmer on the stove over very low heat or heat in the microwave on 50% power in one minute increments.

close up of etouffee with langostino.

Étouffée FAQs

Can you use shrimp instead?

Shrimp étouffée is made the exact same way as my crawfish étouffée recipe here, except you use shrimp instead of crawfish.
If you’re starting with cooked shrimp, you only need to heat them in the sauce until they are heated through. If you’re starting with raw shrimp, you’re going to want to cook them in the sauce until they are pink and fully cooked through. This should only take a few minutes.

What is an étouffée sauce?

Simply put, etouffee is a dish found in both Cajun and Creole cuisine, where shellfish cooked in a flavorful sauce is served smothered over rice. As you might imagine, etouffee is popular in the New Orleans and surrounding areas.
The sauce generally starts with a light roux of flour and butter along with the “holy trinity” of Cajun vegetables which are onion, celery, and green pepper. You’ll find this flavor combination in tons of Cajun dishes.
Sometimes tomatoes are added, which is exactly what I did for this recipe.

How do you pronounce étouffée?

The word étouffée is influenced by the word étouffer which means to smother. Also, the French word estuver translates to the word stew.
Etouffée is basically defined as a Cajun stew that smothers rice.

What is the difference between étouffée and gumbo and jambalaya?

Similarities: All three are considered to be main dishes in Cajun cuisine. They all use the holy trinity of vegetables: onion, celery, and bell pepper.
Differences: Jambalaya is a dish that consists of meat, vegetables, and rice. It’s all cooked together to form one cohesive dish. Gumbo is a mixture of meat and/or shellfish with vegetables in a thickened stock that’s served alongside rice. Gumbo, however, more closely resembles soup than gravy. Etouffée is one type of shellfish that is mixed with a sauce that closely resembles a gravy and that mixture smothers rice.
Creole vs. Cajun food

homemade crawfish etouffee with rice.

Étouffée vs gumbo vs jambalaya

Similarities: All three are considered to be main dishes in Cajun cuisine. They all use the holy trinity of vegetables: onion, celery, and bell pepper.
Differences: Jambalaya is a dish that consists of meat, vegetables, and rice. It’s all cooked together to form one cohesive dish. Gumbo is a mixture of meat and/or shellfish with vegetables in a thickened stock that’s served alongside rice. Gumbo, however, more closely resembles soup than gravy. Etouffée is one type of shellfish that is mixed with a sauce that closely resembles a gravy and that mixture smothers rice.

Creole vs. Cajun food

According to Louisiana Travel, Creole cuisine uses tomatoes and proper Cajun food does not.

Cajun and Creole are two distinct cultures, and while over the years they continue to blend, there is still a vast distinction in Louisiana, and both have their own unique stories. A vastly simplified way to describe the two cuisines is to deem Creole cuisine as “city food” while Cajun cuisine is often referred to as “country food.”

If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!

You can also follow along on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes to satisfy any foodie craving!

Crawfish Étouffée

Prep20 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Total35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Crawfish Étouffée, full of tender seafood bites smothered in a spicy Cajun tomato based sauce and served over rice, is Southern comfort food at it’s best! This New Orleans classic can easily be made at home with this quick and easy recipe. I love to make a big batch and freeze it for when I crave spicy cajun food! 

Video

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun Spice Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes diced or canned
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash hot sauce Tobasco
  • 12 ounces cooked crawfish or substitute with langostino
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • cooked medium or long grain white rice for serving

Instructions 

  • Sauté vegetables: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to slightly brown around the edges. Sauté the onion, celery, and green pepper in the hot butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir only to prevent burning. Add the Cajun seasoning and stir to combine.
    sauteed onions, peppers, and celery with Cajun seasoning.
  • Make the roux: Sprinkle the flour onto the vegetable mixture, stir to coat, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
    Flour sprinkled on top of vegetables to make roux.
  • Add sauce ingredients: Stir in the tomatoes; cook until tomato juice begins to brown on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Whisk chicken broth into the vegetable mixture, stirring until smooth. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and reduced to a gravy consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
    thickened sauce for Crawfish Étouffée recipe.
  • Warm seafood: Stir crawfish (or langostino) into etouffee sauce. Since the seafood is already cooked, cook it in the sauce just until it is heated through. Remove the pan from heat and taste. Season with salt, to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving.
    Adding cooked crawfish to etouffee sauce.
  • Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions.

Notes

Can easily replace crawfish with same quantities of cooked shrimp and/or langostino.

Nutrition

Calories: 175kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 572mg, Potassium: 387mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1345IU, Vitamin C: 22.5mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 1.4mg

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

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This recipe was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don’t worry – the recipe hasn’t changed!

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you’re in the right place! Stick around… I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Ask a question or leave a comment. I'm happy to help in any way and I love hearing what you think about the recipe. Be sure to leave a rating!

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

22 Comments

  1. I live by New Orleans and they have Dark Etouffee and it has a rich flavor. Sadly this did not 🙁 I added some kitchen Bouquet but the flavor just is not there.

  2. Really enjoyed this recipe, I added a little more flour to thicken it a bit more. Definitely adding to the rotation!

  3. You call for a bay leaf in your ingredients list but I don’t see where you include it in your recipe. When is it added in?

    1. Oh my gosh! You’re the first person to find that mistake. I’m so sorry!!! I think my intention was to use a bay leaf but when it cooked up so quickly, I never did but I forgot to take it out of the ingredient list. Will remove now. Thank you for letting me know!

  4. 5 stars
    First time making this. Not going to lie from pictures I was skeptical. But fear not! It’s THE BOMB!!!!!