Easy Cajun Shrimp

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This spicy Cajun shrimp is made with a homemade spice mixture made with spices you already have in the pantry. Ready in just 15 minutes, this is a great meal for a busy night.

159 CAL 1g CARBS 4g FAT 31g PROTEIN 2
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Easy Cajun Shrimp made with homemade seasoning takes less than 15 minutes to make. These smoky spicy shrimp can be used in so many different ways - rice bowls, tacos, skewers, and more. 

These days I am all about quick meals and these tasty Cajun shrimp are at the top of the list. They are everything you want in a meal with a touch of spice, some smoke, and just enough butter to make it taste indulgent. Since they cook in under 10 minutes, they are also the perfect meal when you don't feel like cooking. 

On those busy nights when I don't want to cook, this is the meal I make. It starts with the Cajun shrimp.  Then I grab some frozen rice and combine it with a can of drained black beans and some store bought pice de gallo. Squeeze some extra lemon or lime juice over top and if you have time, add an extra veggie. You can also just add some greens. My kids like it with corn. Mine usually includes some avocado. 

These shrimp also make a great appetizer and are a fun twist on a classic shrimp cocktail. The Cajun seasoning makes them unexpected and they taste great room temperature or chilled. Instead of cocktail sauce, serve them with some skinny ranch or a yogurt based dip, like tzatziki, to cool off the shrimp. 

Shrimp in cajun seasoning cooked in a pan with lemon and parsley.

What to serve with Cajun shrimp?

There are so many different ways to serve this Cajun shrimp and tons of side dish options to make this a delicious, easy dinner. Here are some favorites:

  • This is delicious with some grilled corn on the cob and coleslaw. 
  • Make quick rice bowls using regular or cauliflower rice, black beans, and some cooked vegetables like zucchini or green beans. 
  • Turn these Cajun shrimp into tacos with corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, and mango salsa.
  • If you are a fan of Cajun pasta dishes, combine these tasty shrimp with cooked pasta. Toss the pasta with a can of diced tomatoes, some cooked peppers and onions, cream cheese, and an extra sprinkling of Cajun seasoning. 
  • Turn this into a big delicious salad with chopped greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, black beans, corn, and lots of Cajun shrimp.
  • Turn them into shrimp tacos with a creamy cilantro avocado slaw. 

How to make homemade Cajun seasoning?

Although you can buy Cajun seasoning in the store, making your own is just as easy plus you get to control the level of spice. Start with a small amount of cayenne pepper if you don't like things spicy and then add to taste. You can also make it extra garlicky, add extra oregano for more herbal notes, or use sweet paprika for less spice. 

  • 1.5 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

This spice blend can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place. 

Can I make this with frozen shrimp?

This will work with frozen shrimp just make sure to defrost them first. If you have the time, let the shrimp defrost overnight in the fridge. If you are in a rush, place the shrimp in a large bowl and fill it with cold water in the sink. Let the water continue to drop in slowly. Check the shrimp after 10 minutes and then should be defrosted. If not, give them another five minutes. Drain and dry. 

Also if you are wondering whether you should buy frozen or fresh shrimp, most shrimp is actually frozen to start unless you live very close to where it is fished. Almost all shrimp is flash frozen soon after it is caught. When you see it "fresh" in the store, it is usually just defrosted frozen shrimp. Therefore, I always recommend just buying the most affordable option. 

Can I make Cajun shrimp on the grill?

This recipe translates easily to the grill. The best option is threading these onto skewers so that you don't lose any shrimp between the grill grates. Then simply grill the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Shrimp are read when they are opaque, pink, and plump. 

Easy Cajun spiced shrimp in a bowl with fresh lemon slices and parsley and Cajun seasoning on the side.

How to know when shrimp is cooked?

Many people struggle to cook shrimp and find that it gets chewy or overcooked. Shrimp cooks very quickly and it continues to cook after you remove it from the heat. To make sure your shrimp is overcooked, you want to remove it as soon as the shrimp gets pink and is opaque all the way through. Usually, this only takes 2-3 minutes maximum per side. If the shrimp begins to really curl up and form a circle, it is probably overcooked. It should only curl in slight C shape when cooked. 

More shrimp recipes

The Recipe
Cajun shrimp coated in seasoning in a bowl with parsley and lemon.

Easy Cajun Shrimp

159 CAL 1g CARBS 4g FAT 31g PROTEIN 2
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  • 1.33 lbs raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1.5 tbsp Cajun seasoning (more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon

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Toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Raw shrimp in a bowl with Cajun seasoning.

Melt the butter over medium high heat in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until pink and opaque.

Cooked cajun shrimp in a skillet.

Remove from skillet. Serve with fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Cajun shrimp in a pan with lemon and parsley.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz
Amount Per Serving
Calories 159
Calories from Fat 34
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 251mg
Sodium 255mg
Total Carbohydrate 1g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 31g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.


To make Cajun seasoning: 1.5 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp kosher salt, 1.5 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 3/4 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste).
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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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