Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp

If you have been to New Orleans, then you have probably had New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp. If you haven’t heard of it, this is a classic dish originating from the 1950’s said to have been first created at Pascal’s Manale restaurant. The shrimp have never been near a barbecue grill, smoker, and certainly not near barbecue sauce. Instead the head on shrimp are sauteed in copious amounts (think at least a pound) of butter, along with Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper. There are many variations of this famous recipe which can also include beer, onions, garlic, hot sauce, lemons and rosemary.

One thing that all of the recipes for this dish have in common is that it is extremely messy. You better roll up your sleeves and have lots of napkins to wipe away the butter that drips down your elbows as you pull apart the shrimp. It is served with crusty bread to soak up all that butter. Needless to say it is delicious.

Over the years I have adapted this dish to be served at a dinner party without having to pay for our guests dry cleaning bills. My Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp has great taste without the mess. I have taken liberties with the ingredients and preparation but it is still in keeping with the wonderful food found in New Orleans. I serve this dish with Herbed Rice.

Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp

Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp

  • 8 to 12 colossal sized shrimp
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 inches of anchovy paste, from tube
  • 2 inches of tomato paste, from tube
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 2 tsp. Tabasco or to taste
  • 1 Tbs. Wondra (flour). Wondra is a special instant flour that doen’t create lumps. Regular flour can be used in its place
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • broth from shrimp shells*

*Peel and devine shrimp but leave tail. Place shells in 1 cup of water and bring to boil. When shells have turned pink, remove from heat, discard shells and save broth to use thinning, if necessary.

Melt butter and olive oil in saute pan, add onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add shrimp and saute about one minute on each side until they turn pink. Remove shrimp from the pan. Add anchovy and tomato pastes and stir to incorporate. Sprinkle Wondra over and stir to cook the flour but do not let brown. Add wine, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and stir until a sauce consistency. If mixture gets too thick use shrimp both to thin. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Add shrimp back to the pan along with the lemon juice and cook for approximately one minute more on each side. Serve immediately.

Herbed Rice

  • 1 c. rice
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a bouquet of herbs, stemmed and chopped fine*
    *A Bouquet of Fresh Herbs, Thyme, Oregano, Sage and Tarragon

    I use thyme, oregano, sage and tarragon in equal amounts. It is important is use a lot of fresh herbs in this recipe.

Add chopped herbs to a large bowl, along with the butter, salt and pepper. Cook rice (approx. 20 min.) to desired doneness. Drain and add to bowl. Toss and serve.

This is a spicy, flavorful dish to be enjoyed anytime of the year. Put on some jazz music, have a few friends over and have a good time.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

60 thoughts on “Spicy New Orleans Style Shrimp

    1. Hi Kathy, Wondra is a quick-mixing flour made by Gold Medal. It comes in a round blue container that you can find in any grocery store. I use it for all sauces because you don’t have to worry about lumps. You can use regular flour in its place.

  1. We have an abundance of fresh herbs right now and I love that you are able to use so many of them in your rice dish! I really like your shot of the herbs too, they really pop against the white background! I don’t like shrimp but I wonder if this would be tasty with any other types of shellfish?

    1. I have only made this dish with shrimp but give it a try and let me know how it turns out. It think it might be delicious with chicken. Since you have an abundance of fresh herbs, please give the rice a try. It is so good. Before I close down the cottage, I’m going to cut a large bunch of those same herbs and turn it into compound butter for this winter.

    1. Hi Kathleen, I do hope you give it a try. If you think it might be too hot from Tabasco, you could adjust the amount and serve the Tabasco on the side.

  2. Whoever came up with the idea of putting tomato and anchovy pastes in tubes deserves some sort of culinary award! I save all of my raw shrimp shells in a bag in my freezer to be used, like you, in some recipe. This recipe makes me so very glad I’ve done that. Great post!

    1. Hi John, I agree…I don’t know what I would do without the tubes of tomato paste and anchovy paste. It certainly does save a lot of unused portions of both being thrown out like we had to before we had the tubes. I hope everyone saves their shrimp shells. They add so much flavor to some dishes.

  3. Karen this looks AMAZING! I developed an allergy to seafood about 8 years ago…and never got the chance to try this dish….but I love shrimp and can imagine how delicious it is! Your pictures are a dream….

    1. Thank you Ann, for your lovely compliments. What a shame to have developed an allergy to seafood. If you think you might like the flavors of this dish, you could try using chicken. I think it really might be very good. If you think about it, gumbo is just as good with chicken as it is with seafood.

  4. We go to New Orleans twice a year and I don’t think that we have ever had BBQ shrimp there! We always eat where the locals eat as you really get good authentic food at these places. I guess we will have to try some BBQ shrimp in NOLA next month! Your recipe sounds great!

    1. Hi Robin, Thank you for stopping by for a visit. I don’t think you will have any problem finding BBQ shrimp where the locals eat. It is a real New Orleans tradition. I think that if you like New Orleans food, you will enjoy this recipe.

  5. How a beautiful dish it is! Even though the seafood is always a big challenge for me, but this recipe sounds not that complicated! Love it! Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thank you for your visit and your comment. You definitely don’t want to send guests home with drippy clothes. I guess you could serve the original version and supply your guests with ponchos. No, I think I’ll keep my version.

  6. the only thing I ate in New Orleans were Beignets at Cafe Du Mond – the life of a teenager! What is Wondra? I would love to try this dish 🙂

    1. Hi Tandy, How could anyone resist beignets at Cafe Du Mond. I think it is part of the New Orleans experience. I hope you do try this dish. If you do not have Wondra, which is a specially milled flour for sauces, then just use flour as in any other sauce.

    1. Hi Roger, Thank you for your nice comment. When writing this recipe, I forgot that I have readers all over the world who may have never seen or used Wondra. Sometimes called instant flour, it is a special milled flour that is lower in proteins and therefore dissolves quickly in liquids. There is no worry of lumps being created in sauces. Many chefs also use it when sautéing fish. Just use regular flour in it’s place. I will edit my recipe to let others know.

  7. Impressive dish – have never eaten shrmip (prawns!) like this before but we do get some really nice and big ones here so I must make it. And I love “interactive” food i.e. getting mucky when you eat it!

    1. Hi Tanya, Thank you for the compliment. If you don’t mind getting mucky, you can always leave the prawns with their heads and shells on for additional flavor.

  8. I’ve been to New Orleans many, many times and love the bbq shrimp! I haven’t made it in several years now; your recipe sounds heavenly with the wine, lemon juice and anchovy paste! I’d like a big chunk of bread to sop it all up!!

  9. What a fabulous meal. I’ll have to give your shrimp recipe a try. I like it better than the one I’m currently using. You’ve made me hungry for dinner at 9 in the morning :-). Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    1. Thank you Mary, for your very nice comment. It is a real compliment to have you like my recipe over one that you are currently using. Sorry to have made you hungry so early in the day.

  10. This is my husbands hands down favorite meal in the world. Better than a steak it any other seafood. I was first confused to make it a long time ago because of the title barbecued but tour right there is no BBQ here. Just the best convicts ingredients known to man:) your dish looks fantastic! Great post

  11. Hi Karen. I make that messy shrimp dish too. I love it but like your more refined idea for when you don’t want the butter splatters. Thanks!

  12. WOW this looks delicious! I am going to lick the plate clean when I make this – and herbed rice is perfect for me since I am growing quite a selection of fresh herbs and I am addicted to fresh sage now!

    1. Hi Beckie, i am so happy that you stopped by and that you liked this recipe. I try to cook healthy as much as possible. Taste is very important to me so I use the best and freshest ingredients that I can find. The butter in this recipe was drastically reduced but still has great taste.

  13. I have to investigate this wondra flour. Wondra – I mean wonderful! 🙂 – recipe Karen. I luuv spicy cajun style shrimp. This dish looks scrumptious!

    1. Hi Kelly, Thank you for your compliment. I am so surprised that Wondra is a product that people haven’t heard about. It is a wonderful way to thicken sauces and gravies without worrying about lumps. It is perfect when you want the slightest crust on fish or chicken when you pan sauté. Once you give it a try you will use less and less regular flour in those situations.

  14. This looks wonderful. We love seafood and I’m always looking for creative new ways to prepare it! I’m very excited to try this, it sounds delicious!

  15. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten New Orleans-style anything…but it always looks so insanely flavorful! This shrimp is no exception…that sauce…I can tell I’d be addicted to it.

  16. 1. My mom’s name is Karen. Are you my mom?
    2. Way to make me hungry when I’m in class and can’t eat food.
    3. Way to be reading blogs in class, me.

    Can’t teach us damn kids anything.

    1. Hi Rai, You certainly gave me a laugh today. Especially after I checked out your blog.1. No. 2. Sorry about that. 3. Class must be real exciting. Welcome back anytime.

  17. Beautiful – I love shrimps… the bigger the better. Just so “meaty” and delicious. Just a real pain to eat when you have to spend half the time cracking them open to get at the goodness inside. Good job on making it so you can tuck right in! Looks beautiful 🙂

  18. I am a fan of New Orleans’ Cajun cuisine. I had never seen this dish before!! It looks marvelous!! I love the mixture of flavors, and shrimp with a spicy tomato sauce with white rice is always a winner!

  19. We haven’t cooked anything from New Orleans yet, and I like the “less messy” version you have here. It looks so succulent. I’m telling you…your guests and visitors have to love coming by your house! You always come up with such delicious snacks and meals.

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