Cajun Shrimp and Rice

4.91 from 11 votes

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This shrimp and rice dish is a treasure trove of seafood, tender peppers and onions, and fluffy rice. With the heat from the spices, sweetness from the vegetables and brown sugar, and savory crunch from the bacon, there’s a bit of everything all in one pot!

overhead: shrimp and rice in a skillet with bacon, rice, and herbs

There’s something about spicy seafood that really screams “summer” to me. While you can whip up this shrimp and rice recipe any time, I really recommend you give it a try when all of these ingredients are in season. 

Starting in May and all through the summer months is when you’ll get the plumpest, market-fresh seafood and crispy, juicy bell peppers and onions! 

The heat in Cajun shrimp and rice comes in with those Louisiana-style spices and herbs. It’s not too much spice. Just enough to stimulate the senses and keep you coming back for more!

Cajun blend is probably one of the most used seasonings in my spice cabinet, though sometimes I like to replace it with my homemade Old Bay! I use it in other seafood dishes, like my blackened mahi mahi and to liven up my crab dip, and, of course, in dirty rice.

closeup: my shrimp and rice recipe mixed with bacon, cajun rice and herbs

Tip From Kevin

Don’t over cook your shrimp

It’s essential to keep an eye on the shrimp while cooking and adjust the timing as needed. Shrimp are cooked when they turn pink and opaque with a slightly firm texture. Overcooking shrimp can make them tough and rubbery

overhead: cut bacon lardons, jumbo raw shrimp and rice in small bowls

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

(Be sure to check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and quantities)

  • Shrimp If using frozen, let them thaw entirely and pat dry before using.  
  • Long Grain Rice Basmati or jasmine are both excellent in one-pot dishes like shrimp and rice.
  • Cajun Seafood Seasoning This blend is a good mix of heat and herbs. Its rich and savory flavor is perfect for seafood! Seafood
  • Bacon – Crispy, savory bacon is great for incorporating texture and salt into the dish.
  • Chopped Vegetables My shrimp and rice dish includes sauteed green bell pepper, onion, and celery. Try also plum tomatoes, scallions, and other bell peppers as desired.
  • Herbs & Seasonings – I go light with additional seasonings: one bay leaf, some dried thyme, chopped parsley, and a bit of salt
  • Tabasco I find the vinegary flavor of Tabasco goes beautifully with seafood. My next top choices would be Louisana, Cholula, or Tapatio. 
  • Chicken Broth – You can use either broth or stock, or substitute with vegetable broth.
  • Brown Sugar Brown sugar can be substituted with white if needed.
  • Dry White Wine – Go with a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. For a non-alcoholic substitute, use white wine vinegar. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – This can be substituted with white wine vinegar or even plain lemon juice.
overhead: cajun holy trinity in small glass bowls: celery, onion and bell peppers chopped

How to Make Shrimp and Rice

  1. Prepare & Season the Shrimp. Peel and de-vein the shrimp. Season with 1 teaspoon of Cajun seafood seasoning and set aside. 
  2. Render the Bacon. Add the bacon to a Dutch oven and cook until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and leave the bacon fat in the pan. 
  3. Sauté the Vegetables. Add the chopped vegetables to the pot with the bacon fat and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute.
  4. Season & Make the Rice. Pour the chicken broth, hot sauce, and vinegar into the Dutch oven. Toss in the rice, brown sugar, bay leaf, remaining Cajun seasoning, thyme, and salt, and stir. Once combined, increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover with the lid, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 18 minutes. 
  5. Cook the Shrimp. Uncover to add the shrimp and wine to the Dutch oven. Stir, cover, and cook for another 3 minutes until they are pink and opaque. 
  6. Garnish & Serve. Add the crispy bacon back to the shrimp and rice, sprinkle with parsley, and serve!
  • Dutch Oven – The best pot for one-pot dishes is a Dutch oven, hands down. You can sautee, simmer, and serve all in one vessel. And a good enamel Dutch oven is so easy to clean, too!

Storing and Reheating

Leftover Cajun shrimp and rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

You can reheat shrimp and rice on the stovetop, stirring over medium-low heat until warmed through. It’s important to very gradually reheat the shrimp so that it doesn’t dry out. 

If you decide to microwave it, do so in short, 15 to 20-second rounds.

closeup: cajun shrimp and rice with cooked bacon

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you cook raw shrimp?

Remember that shrimp cooks fast. You absolutely do not want to add it too early in the process lest it become dry and rubbery. 

Medium shrimps take roughly 3 minutes to cook. Larger shrimps take closer to 5 minutes, and very large shrimps might take up to 7 minutes. 

Your shrimp and rice dish is done as soon as the shrimp are pink all the way through.

Can I make this shrimp and rice recipe with brown rice?

I haven’t made this specific shrimp and rice recipe with brown rice, but it’s certainly possible. The amount of liquid can stay the same, but you’ll need to increase the amount of time simmering to give it enough time to cook through.

Should you keep the tails on shrimp for Cajun shrimp and rice?

That’s entirely up to you. I think it’s a hassle to remove the tails from my shrimp while I’m trying to eat it with rice. 

But if you want to leave the tails on for that extra bit of moisture and flavor (and, let’s face it, a really great presentation!), then go for it.

overhead: shrimp and rice in pan with rice, herbs and vegetables
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overhead photo: cajun shrimp and rice in large pot

Cajun Shrimp and Rice

4.91 from 11 votes
This shrimp and rice recipe is a quick one-pot meal bubbling over with plump, spicy shrimp, sautéed vegetables, and Cajun-seasoned rice.
Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes


  • 1 lb shrimp (medium) peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cajun seafood seasoning divided
  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped


  • Season raw shrimp with 1 teaspoon of cajun seafood seasoning. Set aside.
  • In a Dutch oven, render bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towel. Leave bacon fat in pan.
  • Add onion, green pepper, and celery and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Add bay leaf, brown sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, remaining cajun seafood seasoning, thyme, salt, rice, and chicken broth. Stir to mix and bring to a boil. Cover with lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 18 minutes.
  • Add shrimp, wine and stir to incorporate. Cover with lid and cook for about 3 minutes. Shrimp should be pink and opaque.
  • Before serving add the crispy bacon and a sprinkle of parsley.



Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 308mg | Sodium: 1195mg | Potassium: 487mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 935IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 209mg | Iron: 4mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: Southern
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): cajun shrimp and rice


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 4 stars
    Made this dish last evening and we loved it! the next time I will reduce the vinegar and sugar so the two aren’t quite so pronounced in the final flavor profile.

    1. 5 stars
      I should have given this a 5 star rating. My wife wrote “Excellent” on the recipe and said we would have to do it again!

      1. So sorry for the late reply as I have been away on a much needed vacation outside the USA. Needless to say, about your comment…Thanks so much Mike. Appreciate you coming back top let me know!

    2. So sorry for the late reply as I have been away on a much needed vacation outside the USA. Needless to say, about your comment… Appreciate you coming back top let me know Mike. Glad you could adapt to your preferences!