Blackened Shrimp

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

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

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.88 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Low Calorie


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

Keywords: Blackened shrimp

More best shrimp recipes!

Shrimp is a great healthy meal choice if you eat seafood. Here are some of our favorite healthy shrimp recipes:

  • Broiled Shrimp or Easy Baked Shrimp It’s got the best flavor, seasoned with garlic and herbs. Add a crispy breading before it’s roasted for an irresistible crunch!
  • Shrimp Pesto Pasta A fast and easy dinner recipe! Cover the noodles in glistening green basil pesto for a meal that pleases everyone. Or try Easy Pesto Shrimp.
  • Garlic Butter Shrimp HUGE flavor in under 10 minutes! A fast and easy dinner for weeknights or entertaining.
  • Creamy Shrimp Pasta Easy to make with the best big flavors: garlic, lemon, and Parmesan. A home run dinner idea!
  • Shrimp and Broccoli Soy sauce and rice vinegar flavor this shrimp and broccoli, which comes together in minutes! Serve with rice or over noodles.
  • Coconut Shrimp Curry Tastes better than a restaurant in under 30 minutes! It’s a Thai red curry flavored with coconut milk and curry paste.
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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