Homemade Seafood Gumbo with shrimp, crab, Andouille sausage, and okra is a spicy Cajun-inspired meal served over rice or grits. This recipe is worth the cooking time required to properly develop all of the flavors. Authentic gumbo starts with a dark rich roux made from bacon drippings.
Why you'll love this recipe:
Gumbo is one of those seafood dinner recipes that is worth the time and effort.
- Real authentic flavor: Cooking this scratch is not for the faint of heart. Not only will it take a lot of your time and patience, but shrimp and crab can be costly. But, if you want to make a flavorful gumbo that will make you feel like you're in Louisiana for Mardi Gras, well then, you can't go wrong with this recipe.
- Easy to make: Although seafood gumbo is time consuming, the recipe is easy to follow. Scroll down to find tons of step-by-step photos that walk you through every step of the recipe.
- Fantastic leftovers: Leftover gumbo tastes fantastic because it gives the flavors even more time to develop. Plus, it freezes exceptionally well, so don't hesitate to double the recipe.
Exact quantities are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Roux: made from bacon drippings and all-purpose flour
- Vegetables: The Holy Trinity of vegetables: onion, celery, and green bell pepper. Garlic, okra, and diced tomatoes are also added.
- Beef broth: tastes even better when you make your own beef stock.
- Meat and seafood: Andouille sausage (chicken or pork) along with shrimp and crab
- Seasonings: gumbo file powder (more details below), Cajun seasoning, hot pepper sauce, bay leaves, thyme, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and salt
How to make Seafood Gumbo:
Detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
Step 1: Make the roux
Whisk together flour and bacon drippings in a Dutch oven and cook in 300°F oven for 90 minutes, whisking every 15 minutes or so. This amount of time is necessary to develop the deep flavors and rich color.
Chop the vegetables:
While the roux is cooking, dice onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic by hand or by pulsing in a food processor.
Cook the gumbo:
- Cook sausage and veggies: Once the roux is done, place the Dutch oven on the stove. Add the onion mixture along with the sausage and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Simmer: Slowly add beef broth to the mixture in the Dutch oven. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen anything that may have stuck during the cooking process. At this point, you will add the sugar, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, tomato paste, and okra. Let that mixture simmer for an hour.
- Add seafood and seasonings: Add shrimp, crab meat, gumbo file powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for an additional hour over extremely low heat.
- Add salt to taste. I never specify the amount because I feel it's based on personal preference, but start out with a small amount, taste, and continue adding until the flavor is right.
Filé powder, also called gumbo filé, is a spicy herb made from the dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree. It is used in Louisiana Creole cuisine and is a necessary ingredient when making seafood gumbo.
Filé is one of the ingredients used to both thicken and flavor this recipe.
You can find filé powder at some specialty stores. You can also easily order it online.
Cooking tips for best results:
- The roux is important. Some would say it is what defines an authentic gumbo. To make roux, you typically combine equal parts of flour and fat and this mixture is cooked to a golden brown color. The roux in a gumbo is different, however, in that you cook it much longer to really develop the flavor and a darker color. I cook my gumbo roux in the oven, however it can be done on the stovetop as well.
- Storage: Leftover gumbo can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. It can also be frozen and thawed in the refrigerator before reheating. To reheat, transfer gumbo to a saucepan and heat over very low heat on the stove.
What readers are saying:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Wow! This recipe is beyond fabulous and very authentic! It took me a little longer to make the roux but the results were perfection! Thank you for such an incredible recipe!!! If you are hesitant to make gumbo (like I was), thrust the recipe and try it! You’ll be so glad you did!- Marisa February 18, 2021
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I have made this twice and it is REAL GUMBO. Absolutely fantastic. Even better the next day. This is now in my recipe book as the only gumbo I’ll make from now on. Thank you!!!- Cherie Randall May 02, 2020
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I was stationed in Germany when l became best friends with someone who was from Louisiana. Your Seafood Gumbo recipe is the one she taught me over 30 years ago! It’s 5 Stars!! Thank You So Very Much for sharing such a Amazing Comfort Food.- Winifred Garcia December 11, 2018
What to serve with gumbo:
This meal is typically served over rice.
I recommend cooking a medium or long grain white rice. Cook the rice with the least amount of water so that it's not very soft and can hold up well against the sauce. If you've never used your Instant Pot to cook rice, it works perfectly!
Though not as common as rice, you can also serve it with grits.
You can't go wrong with a batch of sweet and spicy jalapeno cornbread either.
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!
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup bacon drippings
- 1 medium onion
- 1 small green bell pepper (or half of a large bell pepper, stem and seeds removed)
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ pound Andouille sausage (chicken or pork, sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces )
- 1 ½ quarts beef broth
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (Tobasco)
- ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 10 ounces frozen okra
- 1 ½ pounds uncooked shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 8 ounces lump crabmeat (I used frozen and thawed)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons gumbo file powder
- salt (amount varies by preference)
- Make the roux: Whisk together flour and bacon drippings in a Dutch oven and cook in 300°F oven for 90 minutes, whisking every 15 minutes or so. This temperature should be hot enough to develop a rich dark roux without burning it, but if it smells like it's burning, reduce the temperature. Alternatively, if after one hour the roux has not darkened, increase the temperature to 325°F.
- Chop vegetables: While roux is cooking, pulse onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic in a food processor. You want the cut pieces to be small as if you were dicing them with a knife. Alternatively, you may dice with a knife and cutting board.
- Cook sausage and veggies: Once roux is done, place the Dutch oven on the stove. Add onion mixture along with the sausage. Cook over medium-low heat. You want to cook the vegetables and sausage while not burning the roux. Stir occasionally. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Simmer: Slowly add beef broth to the mixture in the Dutch oven. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen anything that may have stuck during the cooking process. Stir well to combine ingredients and bring to a simmer. Add sugar, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, tomato paste, and okra. Reduce heat to the lowest setting to maintain a simmer and cook for one hour.
- Add seafood and seasonings: Add shrimp, crab meat, gumbo file powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over extremely low heat until seafood is cooked through.
- Add salt to taste. I never specify the amount because I feel it's based on personal preference, but start out with a small amount, taste, and continue adding until the flavor is right. Serve gumbo over a medium or long grain rice or grits.
This recipe was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don't worry - the recipe hasn't changed!