This easy Cajun shrimp recipe takes just 5 minutes on the stove for a big payoff in flavor! Whip it up as a quick weeknight dinner.

Cajun Shrimp

Shrimp are one of the simplest paths to a fast and easy dinner, and this recipe makes them taste irresistible in minutes. Try this Cajun Shrimp! Toss these babies with a little Cajun seasoning and sauté them up in a skillet. The flavor is so savory, garlicky and irresistible, you’ll hardly believe the prep time: it takes only 5 minutes to put together! Pair it with a quick veggie side or salad and you’ve got dinner. This one is a big favorite over here, on its own or in Cajun Shrimp Pasta.

Want to grill it instead? Try Grilled Cajun Shrimp.

What’s in this Cajun shrimp?

This Cajun shrimp recipe is inspired by the flavors of Cajun cuisine, a style of cooking developed by the Acadians: French colonists living in Canada who were deported to Louisiana in the 1700’s. Over the centuries this developed into a classic cooking style, similar to but distinct from Creole cuisine.

This recipe is not an authentic Cajun recipe, but uses the flavors common in this cuisine to make quick and easy pan-fried shrimp. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Shrimp: fresh or frozen, deveined and tail on
  • Cajun seasoning: homemade or purchased
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
Cajun shrimp

The type of shrimp to look for

There are loads of options when it comes to shopping for shrimp at the grocery. Here’s what to look for in this Cajun shrimp recipe:

  • Medium to large shrimp: Medium is labeled as 41 to 50 count, and Large as 31 to 40 count (the number of shrimp per pound).
  • Wild caught: Fish that is wild caught in your country is usually a sustainable choice. There are also quality options in well-regulated farms; see Seafood Watch Consumer Guide.
  • Tail on or peeled: tail on looks the nicest out of the pan! But you can do peeled to make it easier for eating (or, make sure to have a boil for discarded tails)
  • Fresh or frozen: Both are similar in quality! Frozen shrimp can be as high quality as fresh if it’s frozen as soon as it’s caught.

Cajun seasoning: homemade vs purchased

Here’s the important part of this Cajun shrimp recipe: the seasoning! If you can, we like it with homemade Cajun seasoning. But you can use purchased to make the prep time even quicker! Just keep in mind: purchased Cajun seasonings vary in heat level. Here’s what to know:

  • Homemade seasoning: This homemade Cajun seasoning has incredible flavor: it’s got paprika, garlic and onion powder, thyme, fennel seed, cumin, and cayenne. A big plus to this recipe? You can customize the heat level to your liking. Air on the low side of the cayenne, or use even less if you’re very sensitive to heat.
  • Purchased Cajun seasoning: Store-bought seasoning mixes can vary in heat level, so give is a little taste before adding. It really depends on the brand! Because our homemade seasoning is not as hot as most store-bought brands, you can use more of it when you season your shrimp.
Cajun seasoning

How to make Cajun shrimp (basic steps)

This Cajun shrimp recipe is so fast and easy, it will be done in about the time it takes you to read these words! Here’s the basic idea (or jump to the recipe below):

  • Season the shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry, and season it with Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder, and salt. Seasoning in advance helps the spices to be evenly distributed, vs dumping them right into the pan (it can get clumpy).
  • Saute the shrimp: Add olive oil to your largest skillet, and sauté the shrimp about 1 to 2 minutes per side until cooked through.

Fast and easy side dishes for Cajun shrimp

Once your Cajun shrimp is done, what to serve it with? Because this recipe is so lightening fast, we wanted to find our fastest side dishes that pair with it. Here are a few sides to go with shrimp:

And that’s it! Let us know what you think of this Cajun shrimp in the comments below. Or head to Cajun Shrimp Pasta for another spin.

Cajun shrimp

This Cajun shrimp recipe is…

Gluten-free and pescatarian.

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Cajun Shrimp

Easy Cajun Shrimp

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This easy Cajun shrimp recipe takes just 5 minutes on the stove for a big payoff in flavor! Whip it up as a quick weeknight dinner.



1 ½ pounds medium shrimp, deveined and thawed if frozen (tail on or peeled)

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons purchased Cajun seasoning OR 1 ½ tablespoons homemade Cajun seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Pat the shrimp dry. In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, the Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder.
  2. In your largest skillet* (cast iron or stainless preferred), heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side until just opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs. Once cooked through, serve immediately.


*Want to grill it instead? Go to Cajun Grilled Shrimp.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cajun inspired
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Cajun shrimp

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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