This recipe for shrimp and rice has all the spicy, mouth-wateringly deliciousness you expect from Cajun cooking, and it can be made in just 30 minutes with minimal clean-up required. Try this one-pot flavor sensation today!
Cajun cuisine holds a special place in my heart and my kitchen. This rich, culinary tradition has brought us classic gems like Cajun Dirty Rice, Cajun Shrimp and Sausage, and Shrimp Etouffee.
Today’s recipe for Cajun shrimp and rice is another such jewel. The perfectly curated blend of Cajun herbs, spices, and veggies transform regular shrimp and rice into a delectable dream.
This already irresistible dish then gets topped off with plenty of crispy bacon. It’s bursting with so much flavor, you’ll hardly believe how easy it is to make!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Shrimp – Medium-sized shrimp are my top pick for shrimp and rice recipes. Any size will work, just be sure to adjust cooking time.
- Cajun Seasoning – A pungent, spicy, aromatic blend that adds a depth of warmth and flavor.
- Bacon – Salty, sweet crispy bacon bits are the ultimate edible garnish.
- Veggies – Onions, green pepper, and celery are known as the “Holy Trinity of Cajun Cooking.”
- Herbs – Thyme, bay leaf, and garlic add complexity while harmonizing the flavors of the dish. Parsley adds fresh flavor and a vibrant pop of green.
- Brown Sugar – Offers a touch of balancing sweetness.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Adds flavor and acidity. Sub in equal amounts of lemon juice or white wine vinegar if needed.
- Tabasco – I prefer hot, vinegary tabasco for this shrimp and rice dish, but you can substitute in Louisiana hot sauce, Cholula, or Tapatio.
- Rice – Go for plain long grain or sub in basmati or jasmine rice.
- Chicken Broth – Chicken or vegetable broth are equally acceptable.
- Wine – Delivers a nice finishing dash of flavor and acidity. You can also use white wine vinegar.
HOW TO MAKE CAJUN SHRIMP AND RICE
1. Season the Shrimp. Put the raw shrimp in a small bowl. Season with one teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning and set aside.
2. Cook the Bacon. Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven, rendering until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, setting it aside on a paper towel. Keep the fat from the bacon in the pan.
3. Add the Vegetables. Transfer the celery, onion, and green pepper to the Dutch oven and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss in the minced garlic and saute for another minute.
4. Season & Simmer. Stir in the chicken broth, rice, brown sugar, vinegar, Cajun seasoning, thyme, hot sauce, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for about 18 minutes.
5. Add the Wine and Shrimp. Mix in the shrimp and wine, stirring to combine. Cover and cook for about another 3 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and opaque.
6. Garnish & Serve. Sprinkle crispy bacon and chopped parsley on top before serving. Enjoy!
What is Cajun Seasoning Made Out Of?
Most store bought brands of Cajun seasoning contain a combination of black, white, and cayenne peppers along with onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. You will also find blends with salt, cumin, mustard powder, chili pepper and more.
My DIY recipe for Cajun Seasoning is technically Creole seasoning, due to the addition of dried aromatic herbs like oregano and thyme. The foundational Cajun spices remain the same, though, and you can make shrimp and rice recipes with either.
Why are these two spice blends so similar? The term Cajun refers to the first French colonists that migrated from Acadia, Canada to Louisiana in the 1700s. Creole, on the other hand, refers to the descendants of these settlers who were born in the region, particularly New Orleans.
How Do I Store Leftover Shrimp and Rice?
Store any leftover shrimp and rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stove. Avoid the microwave as it might make the shrimp rubbery.
Is it Necessary to Devein Shrimp?
Technically speaking, you don’t need to devein shrimp. This small black line that is often visible in larger shrimp is a portion of their digestive tract, and it is completely safe to eat.
However, there are a couple of reasons to remove them. The two primary reasons are visual and textural. The veins are unsightly and sometimes carry gritty sand with them.
Luckily, deveining shrimp is not a difficult process. Just follow these simple steps:
- Start by carefully removing the shells from all your shrimp.
- Use a paring knife to gently scrape down the curved back of the shrimp, then use the tip to extract the thin, grayish vein.
- Completely remove the rest of the vein with a pair of kitchen tweezers or your finger.
- Repeat the process with the remainder of the shrimp. Give them a nice rinse with cool water and pat dry.
OTHER ONE PAN MEALS TO MAKE
If you like the flavors in the Cajun shrimp and rice, I know you’ll love my recipe for Cajun Shrimp and Grits.
Or, try one of these other one pan meals that are just as easy to make:
This recipe post, originally published on Kevin Is Cooking September, 2020, has been updated with new content, photos and/or video in March, 2023.
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Cajun Shrimp and Rice
- 1 lb shrimp (medium) peeled and deveined
- 1 1/2 tsp Cajun 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 parsley chopped
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- Season raw shrimp with 1 teaspoon of cajun 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, cajun 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.
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.
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.
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!
This was great! Bacon for the win. I like that variant better than the andouille sausage you’d find in jambalaya. Will definitely repeat.
Thank you Barbara! I am glad you enjoyed it! I cannot wait to make it again myself!
Your shrimp and rice dish sounds great Kevin. I’m interested to see what the sugar and vinegar addition does as I make something similar. Thank you for the inspiration.
Indeed, enjoy Karen!
This sounds like some seriously flavor-packed Cajun food, YUM!
This was so tasty! Loved the shrimp and rice with the flavors of the bacon and all of the seasoning! So good!
Amazing dinner! Spice is just where I like it
This looks like an amazing recipe to try. Adding the ingredients to my list so I can try it.
This was a really good recipe. Hats off to you Kevin! I prepared it as is written. It is not “in your face” spicy but has a subtle hint of burn. The only note for the next time, and there will be many next times, is the addition of more salt. Personal preference.
I am so glad you enjoyed it! I hope you like it more each time!
Definitely a must-try recipe! Love all the bold flavors; looks delicious!
This was such a great change from our normal dinner routine. My kids were so excited at the bacon that they willingly tried the shrimp. It was a total win!
This dish is so spot on!! I am going to try it with lobster and crab next time and keep you posted. Thank you again Kevin for the great eats!!!
Yes let me know! Thank you!