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Here’s how to make the best blackened shrimp, full of Cajun flavor! It’s fast to cook on the grill or stove for an easy, healthy dinner.

Blackened shrimp
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Here’s a way to cook shrimp that you’ll find yourself coming back to again and again: blackened shrimp! Blackening is a Cajun cooking technique that’s all about the spices. Combine homemade blackened seasoning with grilled or pan-fried shrimp, and you’ve got a mix of savory, herbal, and salty flavors that makes it over the top irresistible! You can grill it or cook on the stove, so it works for easy weeknight meals or grilled dinners on the patio.

What’s blackening?

First of all, what’s blackening? It might sound like it’s all about the color of the outside (blackened), but that’s only part of it! Blackening is a style of cooking in a cast iron skillet with special spices until the outside is crispy and blackened. It’s a Cajun style technique that was popularized by celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme of Louisiana.

Chef Paul created a recipe for blackened redfish in this 1980’s cookbook that took the world by storm. Since then, thousands of Cajun and Creole chefs have been influenced by his style of cooking. The technique has gone on from fish to be used on shellfish, meat and poultry as well. The key to it all is the blackened seasoning, a blend of spices used to get that Cajun flair.

Blackened shrimp

Homemade blackened seasoning: what you need!

This blackened shrimp recipe uses our homemade Blackened Seasoning to infuse Cajun flavor into the shrimp. While it might sound like it’s spicy, it’s more about the complexity of the ingredients and nuance of the flavors. If you’re looking for a spicy Cajun hit, use our Cajun seasoning instead. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for blackened seasoning:

  • Smoked paprika or sweet paprika
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Oregano
  • Celery seed
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper
Blackened seasoning

How to make blackened shrimp: grill or stove!

This blackened shrimp recipe can be made in a few different ways: on the grill or on the stove! Either way, you’ll want to get a nice blackened char on the outside. Here’s a bit more about each:

  • Stovetop shrimp: Cooking it this way is most classic: especially if you use a cast iron skillet! You’ll want to get the pan very hot and keep the shrimp in a single layer so that each gets charred. Don’t overcrowd the pan!
  • Grilled shrimp: This method easily picks up the blackened char on the grill and infuses a little smokiness in the flavor. It’s a little easier than the stovetop method, and great for summer.

Variation: try spicy Cajun shrimp

This blackened shrimp is fairly mild: it’s not full of heat! While the seasoning blend does have a little cayenne, it’s not too noticeable in this shrimp. If you’d like it to be spicy shrimp, you can do one of two things:

  • Double the cayenne in the blackened seasoning. This brings more heat to the party.
  • Try Cajun seasoning instead. Use 1 tablespoon of our Cajun seasoning, and it’s got a nice back-end burn.
Blackened shrimp

Best shrimp to use: frozen or fresh?

Either frozen or fresh shrimp work for this blackened shrimp. In fact, sometimes frozen shrimp can be even fresher, if it’s frozen right when it’s caught. Alex and I try to keep a bag of frozen on hand for quick and easy dinner recipes. The only hard part about frozen shrimp is…you have to make time to thaw it! Here are a few options depending on when you think of it:

  • Day before: Place the frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Day of: Place the frozen shrimp into a large bowl with very cold water. Stir the bowl every 5 minutes to break up clumps of shrimp that freeze together. The shrimp should be defrosted in about 15 minutes.

What to serve with blackened shrimp

Want to make a meal out of blackened shrimp? Here are a few ideas on how to serve it. While they aren’t all authentically Cajun in vibe, they work for an easy, healthy dinner:

This blackened shrimp recipe is…

Pescatarian, gluten-free, and dairy free

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Blackened shrimp

Blackened Shrimp

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
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Here’s how to make the best blackened shrimp, full of Cajun flavor! It’s fast to cook on the grill or stove for an easy, healthy dinner.


  • 1 pound large shrimp, tail on and deveined (we like 2630 per pound size)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning*
  • Lemon, for serving


  1. Thaw the shrimp. Then pat the shrimp dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
  2. Place the shrimp in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with blackened seasoning. Mix with your hands to combine.
  3. Grilled method: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees). Place the shrimp directly on the grates and grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side until bright pink and cooked through.
  4. Stovetop method: Heat 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or stainless steel skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp in 2 batches, making sure they are in a single layer. Cook 2 minutes on one side until lightly charred, then turn with tongs and cook another 20 seconds until opaque. For the second batch, add a bit of olive oil if necessary to coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. Squeeze with fresh lemon juice from several wedges of the lemon, to taste. Serve immediately.


*This blackened seasoning is not spicy. If you’d like spicy shrimp, add more cayenne to the blackened seasoning mixture or use our Cajun seasoning instead.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled or Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cajun
  • Diet: Low Calorie

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About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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