Our 21 Favorite Cajun and Creole Recipes

New Orleans Style Jambalaya
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Cajun and Creole cuisines have deep ties to the state of Louisiana. In the United States, Creole food arose in and around New Orleans. (The word “Creole” derives from the word "criollo," meaning "born in the colonies"). Cajun recipes are rooted in the cooking of the Acadians, a group of French Canadians that resettled in Louisiana west of New Orleans in the late 1700s (The word “Cajun” derives from the word “Acadians”). Today, both cuisines have influenced each other and are embraced throughout the state, especially in the melting pot of modern New Orleans. From a traditional Jambalaya with Andouille Sausage, Chicken, and Shrimp to Vietnamese-inspired Sesame-Crusted Beignets, here are some of our favorite Cajun and Creole recipes.

01 of 21

Barbecue Shrimp Po’boy

NOLA Barbecue Shrimp Po’ Boy

Frederick Hardy II / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

Smoky, spiced shrimp are the heart of this classic New Orleans-style po’boy sandwich. The wonderfully spiced sandwich is from chef Erick Williams, who was introduced to Cajun and Creole cooking through his late Aunt Daisy's husband, Stew.

02 of 21

Jambalaya with Andouille Sausage, Chicken, and Shrimp

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Missie Crawford

Smoky, gently spiced andouille sausage and a spoonful of Creole seasoning give deep flavor and mild heat to this jambalaya, while the trinity of onion, green pepper, and celery provide a classic aromatic base to the dish. Using parboiled rice helps the meal come together in under an hour.

03 of 21

Monday Night Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice Recipe
Victor Protasio

“Red beans and rice, our traditional Monday repast, represents one of the city's ever-present weekly menu options,” says New Orleans author Pableaux Johnson. In this hearty, low-maintenance meal, red beans develop a creamy consistency as individual beans burst and release their inner starchiness to the cooking liquid. 

04 of 21

Couche Couche (Cajun Breakfast Cereal)

Couche Couche (Cajun Breakfast Cereal)

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Dickey / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

A lightly fried cornmeal cereal served with cane syrup–sweetened milk, couche couche is a truly Cajun dish. It’s a product of the Deep South, where local ingredients like cornmeal and cane syrup are used to make the dish and is typically only served in Cajun homes.

05 of 21

Sesame-Crusted Beignets

Sesame-Crusted Beignets

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Josh Hoggle

When chef Nini Nguyen makes her wonderfully chewy beignets, she gives them Viet-Cajun spin with evaporated milk and toasted sesame oil. The rich yeasted dough is rolled onto a bed of sesame seeds; once they are fried, the result is a golden, crisp, and airy beignet with satisfying, toasty flavors. 

06 of 21

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole
Greg DuPree

When he was still the chef at the legendary Commander's Palace in New Orleans, Emeril Lagasse was an expert of "haute Creole" cooking, a complex blend of Creole and Cajun, and came up with this now-classic recipe. The spicy Creole sauce has layers of flavor built on a foundation of the Cajun flavor trinity — onion, celery, and green bell pepper. 

07 of 21

Fried Oysters with Remoulade

Fried Oysters with Remoulade Sauce
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

These crunchy fried oysters are an elegant, fun appetizer. They are served with a creamy remoulade made with mayonnaise, horseradish, capers, hot sauce, and Creole mustard — the perfect dipper. Serve the crispy oysters as an appetizer, or turn this into a meal and make oyster po'boys. 

08 of 21

Louisiana Lump Crab Cakes

Cajun Crab Cakes Recipe | Mosquito Supper Club
Denny Culbert

Melissa Martin of Mosquito Supper Club in New Orleans shared this recipe from her book, Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou. “When you grind shrimp in a food processor, it becomes sticky, and just a small amount will hold crabmeat and smothered vegetables together well enough to form into patties,” she advises. “You’ll need a pound of crab meat for this recipe.”

09 of 21

Creole Crawfish Pie

Creole Crawfish Pie

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Dickey / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

Across south Louisiana restaurants, street food stalls, and eateries, numerous chefs and cooks all claim to offer the best crawfish pie — flaky, buttery hand pies filled with herbs, aromatics, and, of course, Louisiana crawfish tails. This version from Angie Provost, a Creole sugar cane farmer in Louisiana, is a double-crusted pie containing a rich crawfish and green bell pepper filling.

10 of 21

Curry Shrimp Étouffée

Curry Shrimp Etouffee

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Josh Hoggle

Chef Nini Nguyen’s Vietnamese twist on classic Cajun shrimp étoufée is rich and comforting. Her version is packed with umami and layers of flavor that begin with a homemade shrimp stock and coconut oil-based roux. The savory flavors are deepened with canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and fish sauce, while Sriracha adds a little bit of sweet heat.

11 of 21

Okra Gumbo with Blue Crabs and Shrimp

Okra Gumbo with Blue Crabs and Shrimp
© John Kernick

In this recipe from The Dooky Chase Cookbook, the legendary New Orleans chef Leah Chase used okra — and lots of it — to thicken this no-roux gumbo, along with the traditional Creole trinity of onions, bell peppers, and celery.

12 of 21

Fried Boudin Balls with Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce

Fried Boudin Balls with Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce
Photo by Fred Hardy / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

Boudin is integral to Cajun food culture in Louisiana and Texas, with roots as far back as the 17th century, when the French and Germans settled in the area. These Fried Boudin Balls boast pork, rice, liver, and seasonings that are shaped into balls and fried for a crispy exterior and a light, almost creamy interior.

13 of 21

Shrimp-and-Crab Gumbo

Shrimp-and-Crab Gumbo
© Tina Rupp

This gumbo from New Orleans chef Donald Link owes its flavor to the roux, a mix of flour and oil that’s cooked until it’s coffee-colored. After combining all of the ingredients, the simmering allows for all of the flavors to come together.

14 of 21

New Orleans-Style Jambalaya

New Orleans Style Jambalaya
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

This hearty Creole jambalaya is smoky, aromatic, and just a little bit spicy. Rendered fat from a combination of andouille sausage, bacon, and smoked sausage serves as the base, and the dish keeps building in flavor from there. As a bonus, shells from the shrimp in the recipe yield a shrimp stock that goes in towards the end.

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Andouille, Crab, and Oyster Gumbo

Andouille, Crab and Oyster Gumbo
© Con Poulos

This sensational seafood-packed gumbo comes from TV personality and F&W contributor Andrew Zimmern. It’s terrific in its simplicity, with a foolproof roux (the mix of fat and flour that is the basis for all gumbos) that requires just 15 minutes of stirring instead of the usual hour. 

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Gluten-Free Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

Gluten-Free Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

This gluten-free take on classic gumbo employs toasted mochiko rice flour to replicate the signature roasted roux that is traditionally used to prepare gumbo. Shrimp shells, clam juice, and chicken broth deliver deep umami flavor. After a hefty seasoning and simmering, enjoy over rice.

17 of 21

Creole Shrimp with Garlic and Lemon

Creole Shrimp with Garlic and Lemon
© Quentin Bacon

Eco-minded chefs are cooking with wild American shrimp, but not just for ethical reasons. As New Orleans chef Tory McPhail says, “They taste cleaner and crisper, since they swim in the tides.”

18 of 21

Andouille-and-Sweet Potato Pie with Tangy Apple Salad

Andouille–and–Sweet Potato Pie with Tangy Apple Salad
© Quentin Bacon

This creamy sweet potato filling is actually fairly simple, but Donald Link opts to prepare the crust by hand; he also tosses the salad with mustard greens, which can be tricky to find. In the easy way, make the crust in a food processor and substitute watercress for the mustard greens in the salad.

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Shrimp Po'boys

Shrimp Po’Boys

© Matt Armendariz

Crispy fried shrimp are stuffed into a hollowed-out baguette that's been buttered, toasted, and spread with a zesty sauce. Use more Tabasco in the sauce to suit your taste, or pass the bottle at the table so fire lovers can sprinkle it directly on their sandwiches.

20 of 21

Seafood Boil with Cajun Seasoning

Seafood Boil
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

The secret to a seafood boil packed with perfectly cooked shrimp, king crab legs, and clams? Taking it one step at a time. After you compile everything together, a warm bowl of butter sauce spiked with more Cajun seasoning makes the perfect dipping partner for every delicious bite.

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Blackened Tilapia with Cajun Remoulade

Blackened Tilapia with Cajun Remoulade
© Emily Farris

An easy, do-it-yourself Cajun seasoning that uses spice cabinet staples like garlic powder and paprika boosts the flavor for a homemade remoulade as well as for pan-seared tilapia filets. The entire, delicious meal comes together in less than half an hour. 

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