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Cajun Shrimp Pasta

4.87 from 15 votes
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posted: 09/23/23

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Cajun Shrimp Pasta is going to be your new favorite weeknight night meal! This easy 30 minute meal will win you over with perfect cajun seasoning and the best cream sauce.

overhead of skillet of Cajun Shrimp Pasta ingredients on a cooling rack with toasted bread sitting beside

My very favorite types of meals to make for you are the ones that taste like you ordered them at a restaurant, but they come together in 30 minutes. This delicious recipe, based off of my Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta, is one you are sure to love.

READER REVIEW

My family absolutely loved this recipe. Even my finicky eaters.

How to Make Cajun Shrimp Pasta

This is a brief overview of how to make this delicious dinner recipe. For the full recipe with all of the measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Make the pasta. It’s best to start boiling the water right away and then multi-task and start the rest of the recipe. See all my tips on making pasta below.
  2. Prepare the shrimp. Toss the shrimp with cajun seasoning and olive oil.
  3. Sauté the shrimp until cooked through. This will take about three minutes on each side. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and then give it a quick rinse so the residual cajun seasoning doesn’t burn.
  4. Make the cream sauce. Melt the butter and add in the garlic, making sure not to burn it. Whisk in the flour, making a roux. Very slowly add the heavy cream. Finally, melt in some cheese and add some more cajun seasoning.
  5. Finish off the dish. Toss in the cooked pasta and return the shrimp to the pan. Top with freshly diced tomatoes and parsley.

Cooking Pasta

While it may seem like the easiest thing in the world, there are a few tips that make pasta turn out perfectly every time.

  • Make sure you use enough water. There should be ample room for the pasta to cook and expand.
  • Bring the pasta to a roaring boil. You want to see big giant bubbles before you add the dry pasta.
  • Add salt to the water. I like adding about one teaspoon of kosher salt for every pound of pasta that I’m boiling.
  • Set a timer. There is nothing worse than overcooked pasta. I like to set a timer so that my pasta is perfectly al dente – cooked but with a little bite still left to it.

Using Frozen Shrimp

I love keeping frozen shrimp on hand. It is great in so many recipes and makes this a meal you can make last minute. If you are lucky and live near the sea, you can absolutely use fresh shrimp in this recipe. For frozen, follow the package instructions for thawing the shrimp or thaw it in your refrigerator overnight.

plate of Cajun Shrimp Pasta with glass of white wine and garlic bread sitting beside

Cajun Seasoning Recipe

This Cajun Seasoning Recipe is a delicious and easy spice mixture that is perfect for dozens of recipes! Make a little bit for one recipe or a big batch to keep with your spices.

Cajun Seasoning

What makes this dish flavorful and perfect is the Cajun Seasoning. As mentioned above, I love using my own because I can control everything that goes in it. My recipe has instructions to make a large amount or just enough for one recipe.

In my cajun seasoning post, I go into detail on why I use each spice and how you can control the flavor of it by making your own. That said, don’t skip making this because you don’t have time to throw together the seasoning. You can use store-bought seasoning and still love this!

How to Make a Roux

The thing that makes this dish creamy is the roux. A roux is the combination of a fat, such as butter here, and flour. The fat coats the flour, and helps keep it suspended in the sauce, preventing the sauce from separating. The trick is to add the liquid to the roux slowly. I like adding just a few tablespoons at a time in the beginning. I wait to add more until what I have just added is absorbed.

skillet of Cajun Shrimp Pasta ingredients

Half and Half

The backbone of the sauce is half and half. In the UK, this is known as half cream. It is essentially half heavy cream and half whole milk. In fact, if you can’t find it, you can combine those two to replace it.

Shredding Cheese

One of the key components of that creamy sauce you are making is the Parmesan cheese. It adds creaminess, flavor, and perfection. I highly encourage you to shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in preservatives which make it difficult for it to melt. It is absolutely worth your time to shred your own.

Storing Leftovers

Leftovers of this recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. My husband and I actually love cold leftovers of this almost more than the original. If you’d like your leftovers warmed up, add them to a skillet with a little cream over low heat, stirring often until everything is warmed through.

Plate of Cajun Shrimp Pasta

What to Serve with Cajun Shrimp Pasta

This is a great filling dish, but if you are looking to squeeze in some vegetables, here are a few ideas:

If you make this Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta or any of my other recipes leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

overhead of skillet of Cajun Shrimp Pasta ingredients on a cooling rack with toasted bread sitting beside
4.87 from 15 votes

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe

Serves: 4 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
This Cajun Shrimp Pasta is going to be your new favorite weeknight night meal! This easy 30 minute meal will win you over with perfect cajun seasoning and the best cream sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound raw shrimp (453.592 grams) thawed and deveined
  • 8 ounces penne pasta (100 grams) cooked according to to package instructions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 3 tablespoons cajun seasoning divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half (354.882 ml) read more about half and half here
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (33 grams) shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • diced tomatoes optional
  • fresh parsley optional

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When finished, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, in a bowl combine the shrimp, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning. Toss to coat.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the shrimp, and cook until pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the shrimp and set aside.
  • In a clean skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn it.
  • Whisk in the flour. Very slowly, whisk in the half and half. You want to just whisk in a small bit at a time, so that you can create a roux. I like to eyeball about 2 tablespoons at a time, only adding more half and half after what you just added is absorbed, going quicker the more you add.
  • Once you have whisked in all of the half and half, stir in the parmesan cheese, melting it to combine. Then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir in the pasta and return the shrimp to the pan. Serve with diced tomatoes and fresh parsley.
Serving: 1.8cups Calories: 608kcal (30%) Carbohydrates: 52g (17%) Protein: 30g (60%) Fat: 31g (48%) Saturated Fat: 13g (81%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 0.2g Cholesterol: 195mg (65%) Sodium: 839mg (36%) Potassium: 509mg (15%) Fiber: 4g (17%) Sugar: 6g (7%) Vitamin A: 3351IU (67%) Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 284mg (28%) Iron: 2mg (11%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
overhead of skillet of Cajun Shrimp Pasta ingredients on a cooling rack with toasted bread sitting beside

did you make this

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions

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  1. mBailey says

    Delicious!!! Made it for dinner quick and easy to follow!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  2. Terri Jones says

    This sounds delicious. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I really hope you enjoy it, Terri!

  3. ERIN says

    Your Cajun Shrimp was phenomenal, truly! Restaurant quality. I love cream based sauces but you started with flour which meant using less cream and we never missed it!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad that you liked this so much, Erin!

  4. Matt says

    If I wanted to add Chicken and Andouille to this recipe, could you offer up any advice? Thanks

  5. Linda says

    5 stars
    Wow! What a success this recipe turned out to be. Used your homemade seasoning and everyone loved it and wanted more.

  6. RoseMary says

    This looks delicious. Can I cook it in a crockpot? I am crockpot crazy and it’s much easier in my back.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi RoseMary! I’m so sorry, but this just isn’t one that translates well to the crockpot. But we have tons of great crockpot recipes that have been well tested. You can find them here: Crockpot Dinners.

  7. Tracy Walton says

    Great recipe, except for the photos of the shrimp. I live in Southwest Louisiana and shrimp is a staple, but never is it served with tails still on in a dish like this. Fried or boiled shrimp maybe. Stay safe❣️

  8. Kate says

    Downloaded a few recipes that intrigued me.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you enjoy them!

  9. Diane says

    the photo of recipe shows chopped tomatoes which are not mentioned in the recipe.

    • Lisa Longley says

      They are listed both in the ingredients and in the final step.

  10. Sarah says

    I want to make this soon. Quick question: would heavy cream be a suitable substitute for half and half? Thank you!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Half and half is just half heavy cream and half whole milk. So heavy cream will absolutely work as a substitute, it will just have a higher fat content than the half and half and therefore make for a richer and creamier dish.

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overhead of skillet of Cajun Shrimp Pasta ingredients on a cooling rack with toasted bread sitting beside
Cajun Shrimp Pasta"My family absolutely loved this recipe. Even my finicky eaters."
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