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Best Crawfish Étouffée Recipes

Best Crawfish Étouffée Recipes

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Crawfish Étouffée Shopping Tips

Southern food is a mixture of Native American, Creole, and European influences. Staples of this comfort food include corn (in all its forms), honey, chicken, pork, and seafood, all easily found at any neighborhood grocery store.

Crawfish Étouffée Cooking Tips

Southern and comfort food is often rich and heavy, be sure to include lots of greens and vegetables with these dishes.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¾ cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup celery, diced
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • ½ pound crawfish, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked rice

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, garlic, green pepper, and celery cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream of mushroom soup, cream of celery soup, and water. Season with paprika, mustard seed, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir in crawfish. Bring to a simmer, then stir in green onion and parsley cook until crawfish are done. Serve over cooked rice.

Crawfish Étouffée

Just think of it: Fresh Louisiana crawfish tail meat swimming in a lightly thickened butter sauce infused with spices and aromatics over a mound of white rice. This is the purest expression of Cajun cooking I know and love. It’s that time of year, and in case you missed it, here is my recipe.

Crawfish Étouffée in a rich stock is a classic Cajun recipe. (All photos credit: George Graham)

But the time-honored recipe for crawfish étouffée is under assault. There is a most disturbing trend in South Louisiana cooking these days that is gaining acceptability among traditionalists–cream of mushroom soup in crawfish étouffée. This is nothing short of sacrilege, and it must be stopped at all cost.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to experiment. I enjoy an occasional contemporary twist on a classic. A grits and grillades with gator meat recipe is a prime example of how far I am willing to expand the boundaries of Louisiana classics. But this can opener-enabled madness borders on the ruination of the entire culinary heritage of Cajun and Creole culture.

It is not the first time classic Crawfish Étouffée has come under attack. I recall the tomato paste assault some years ago that had to be rebuffed by the true bayou traditionalists. And now, the time-saving, tin-can cheapsters are pouring on the soupy extenders that rob flavor and render a pound of tail meat utterly inedible.

Crawfish Étouffée should always be a centerpiece dish to showcase the unique flavor and texture of Louisiana crawfish. Treated lightly, this buttery mixture envelopes the tail meat with a rich, flavor-filled coating of golden goodness.

From time to time, depending on the availability I do use frozen cooked Louisiana crawfish tails, but in season, there is no substitute for fresh-picked tail meat. When eating boiled crawfish at a restaurant I always save the shells and take home another 3-pound order. The next day, I remove and reserve the tail meat and wash all the heads and shells of excess spice. These shell pieces are simmered in a large pot of water to reduce down into an intense crawfish stock that is a key to the perfect étouffée.

Crawfish Etouffee

Mulate's Cajun Restaurant's Crawfish Etouffee recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.


  • 1 1/4 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 2 stalks celery - diced
  • 1 small bell pepper - diced
  • 1 lb peeled crawfish tails
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  1. Melt butter or margarine.
  2. Add diced onions, celery, and bell pepper.
  3. Saute' on medium heat until vegetables are translucent &ndashapproximately 15 minutes.
  4. Add crawfish and Mulate's Cajun Seasoning - stir well.
  5. Cook covered on low heat for approximately 15 minutes.
  6. You may add chopped parsley or green onions just before serving - do whatever you like!
  7. Serve over white rice.

Variation: Add 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup just before adding the crawfish.

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7 Crawfish Etouffee Serving Suggestions

My husband prefers crawfish etouffee served as a stew in a bowl.

I prefer it over spinach pasta, a serving idea I learned from a little Creole restaurant in Tampa’s Ybor City back in the 1990’s.

My friend Paula Jager, founder of Crossfit Jaguar, who inspired this recipe, likes it over grits presoaked in limewater or chopped and cooked cauliflower for a grain free option.

Possibly the most popular and common way to serve this dish is over white rice. Of course, you may use brown or wild rice too if you prefer it. But, no matter which you choose, be sure to soak the rice first before cooking.

This process ensures far greater digestibility and nutrition absorption. In the case of white or brown rice, it also helps eliminate toxins. For example, the heavy metal arsenic is a common contaminant in paddy grown rice.

Cooking Cajun Crawfish Etouffee

The first step is catching the crawfish. Okay, not everyone has access to fresh crawfish like in Louisiana.

So those that want to enjoy this cajun crawfish etouffee recipe have to resort to other measures.

If you don&rsquot have access to fresh crawfish at the local market, you can find whole, frozen crawfish in the freezer section of some grocery stores.

A bowl of crawfish tail meat diced and ready to be added to the roux.

When crawfish are in season, you may be lucky enough to even find them in the butcher case.

Once you have your crawfish, it is time to get the meat out. First hold the body and the head and twist in opposite directions.

The head will detach and you can begin to pull back the shell of the tail. Once you can reach the meat, pull firmly and the meat will come out in one whole piece.

Cajun crawfish etoufee ready to be served over hot rice.

But don&rsquot throw away those shells! The heads and shells will go into a pot with some vegetables to make the best fish stock that you have ever had!

Use this stock to make your Cajun Crawfish Etouffee taste even better!

Check out the printable recipe below and let me know what you think!

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Crawfish Étouffée

Étouffée (pronounced ay-too-fay) comes from the French word &ldquoto smother.&rdquo It&rsquos basically a thick stew served over rice with plenty of crawfish and Creole seasonings. Unlike gumbo which is made with a brown roux, étouffée calls for a blonde roux at the beginning stages of caramelization.

The New Orleans School of Cooking's Crawfish Ètouffée recipe calls for Joe's Stuff TM . You can buy it, their cookbooks and other products at their online store.

Schedule a class now and find out why New Orleans School of Cooking&rsquos classes ranked as the #2 experience in the United States and the #6 experience in the World in the first-ever TripAdvisor Travelers&rsquo Choice Awards!


  • 2 cups stock (crawfish, seafood, clam or chicken)
  • 2 ½ sticks butter, divided
  • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red or green bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tsp. tomato paste
  • 6-8 toes (cloves) garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds crawfish tail meat (use Louisiana if possible Spanish is okay, but never Chinese!)
  • 2 Tbsp. Joe&rsquos StuffTM seasoning
  • Pinch cayenne (you can always add more)
  • ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ stick butter cut into pats for the creaming of the gravy
  • ½ bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • Rice for serving


  1. In a saucepan, heat stock on medium heat. Keep warm.
  2. In a Dutch oven, melt one stick of butter on a medium heat.
  3. Sauté the onions and bell pepper until onions are transparent, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste and garlic. Cook for five minutes then reduce heat to keep warm.
  5. In a large skillet, melt another stick of butter for the roux. Add the flour and whisk continuously on medium fire until a medium brown color. Immediately add the roux to the vegetable mixture.
  6. Slowly add the warm stock and blend. Boil gently until the gravy begins to thicken. Add the crawfish tail meat, Joe&rsquos StuffTM seasoning, cayenne and parsley. Heat for 5 minutes and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Turn off the heat and begin to cream the gravy by adding the remaining half stick of butter, 1 pat of butter at a time to the gravy whisking so the butter will melt. When a pat is almost melted, add another. This gives a beautiful glossy appearance to the gravy.

Hint: Serve over rice and sprinkle with a few green onions for garnish.

Party of 6 or more?

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Latest News

Show Mom She's the Bomb This Mother's Day

Know what your mom loves almost as much as she loves you? Brunch, lunch or dinner out in NOLA Press her and she&rsquoll admit the main reason&hellip

Interactive Map

View our interactive map to find local restaurants around the greater New Orleans area. » Learn More

Crawfish Etouffée

There are so many schools of thought on how to prepare a proper crawfish etouffée. Some say with a roux, others think not. Some add tomatoes, others say there is no place for tomatoes in it. Some use the Trinity, others only part of it. One thing I think that we all can agree on is that it should be uncomplicated.

For a seafood etouffée, crawfish is traditional, although shrimp or crab can be substituted. It is a totally different taste experience from the crawfish, however, since the fat from the crawfish do contribute both a distinct flavor and a bit of color. I would suggest giving it a taste and maybe bump up the seasonings a bit. Maybe even add a dab of tomato paste also.

Etouffée is also always best made with freshly boiled crawfish of course, but peak crawfish season is rather short-lived, and generally they are consumed at big boils, so rarely are there any leftover. Even for our access to them, crawfish etouffée is often made with frozen crawfish tails, rather than fresh. That's perfectly acceptable, however, avoid the imports. They are frankly pretty bad and don't do justice to a good etouffée. You just can't beat the taste of Louisiana tails, so you should always look for this seal on a package of frozen crawfish when possible.

If you are forced to use imports, try the tip at the bottom of the recipe. It won't be like quality Louisiana crawfish, but it may help.

I start my etouffée with a very simple light colored roux, using a 1:1 ratio of flour to oil, or in my case, butter.

Add in the basic trinity and a little garlic.

Cook and stir that until the veggies are tender and then add a good stock, seafood stock if I have it in the freezer, chicken broth or even just plain water, if I don't.

Work the stock in a little at a time until it's nicely incorporated, then add Cajun seasoning, a little salt and pepper, and give it a quick 15 minute simmer.

Add in the crawfish tails and the fat from the package, taste, adjust seasonings, and finish with a little parsley and green onion.

Cook and stir that until the crawfish are heated through. Fill a bowl, add a scoop of rice, some fresh French bread and a side salad.

For more of my favorite crawfish recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

Recipe: Crawfish Etouffée

Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups seafood or chicken stock/broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper , to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning , or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning , or to taste
  • 1 pound of crawfish tails , with fat
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley , plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion , plus extra for garnish
  • Hot, cooked rice
  • French bread

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the flour cook and stir for about 4 minutes or until caramel colored. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery cook another 3-4 minutes or until tender, add the garlic and cook another minute. Slowly stir in the stock or broth until fully incorporated. Add the salt, pepper, Old Bay and Cajun seasoning. Bring mixture to a boil reduce heat to a medium low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the crawfish tails, cook and stir until crawfish is heated through stir in the parsley and green onion, reserving a bit for garnish. Serve immediately over hot, cooked rice with fresh French bread and a side salad.

Note: For a seafood etouffée, crawfish is traditional, though shrimp or crab can be substituted. It is a totally different taste experience however, so you may need some additional seasonings. Taste and adjust.

Frozen Crawfish Tip: Use freshly boiled, or Certified Cajun Louisiana frozen crawfish whenever possible, however, if you do have to use an imported brand, or to simply freshen frozen crawfish, place the thawed crawfish in a small container. Whisk 1 to 3 tablespoons of liquid crab boil (depending on heat level desired) with about 1-1/2 cups of ice cold water (or enough to cover the crawfish) and pour over the crawfish. Soak, covered, in the fridge for about an hour. This will add definite spiciness to the finished dish, so you'll want to eliminate or significantly reduce any cayenne, or other Cajun or Creole seasoning you would normally add.

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Nicky’s Crawfish Etouffee

  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 35m
  • Ready In : 45m
  • Add to Recipe Box

Bar none, this is the best crawfish etouffee I’ve ever had that doesn’t require a roux or FRESH crawfish, which I do not have access to in Wisconsin. This recipe utilizes frozen, packaged crawfish tails which are easily attainable in your grocer’s seafood section. I hope you all enjoy it as much as my friends and family.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 pounds peeled crawfish tails
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup fish or chicken stock
  • 1 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • hot cooked rice


Step 1

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Step 2

Add onion and next 4 ingredients (onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic), stirring constantly for 5 minutes.

Step 3

Stir in crawfish and next 7 ingredients (tomatoes, salt, black pepper, seasoning, thyme, onion powder, white pepper, hot sauce), cook 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes.

Step 4

Stir in fish or chicken stock gradually and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5

Stir in green onion and parsley and cook 3 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Best Crawfish Étouffée Recipes - Recipes

While reporting and researching different families’ holiday food traditions for From Their Table to Yours, we realized that some of the best food isn’t just at the newest, hottest restaurant but can also be found in the homes of passionate home cooks like you!

With this inspiration in mind, #HourSharedPlates was born. Throughout November, we asked readers to submit photos of their favorite family recipes on Facebook and Instagram for the first monthly competition. Monique Olivier Getzinger rose to victory with her mother’s Crawfish Etouffee.

Check out upcoming editions for stories and dishes like Getzinger’s, and for more information on upcoming Shared Plates themes.

“I am a Creole from New Orleans and lived the first half of my life there enjoying the traditional, historical, and unique city where family, faith, and food are part of everyday life. The city relishes in the bounty from the bayous and Gulf of Mexico waters and generations have created an enormous variety of delicious dishes that we call our own. My dear mother, who I lost just three months ago, was a wonderful cook and would follow the cooking steps but the ingredient amounts were ‘guessimates,’ and the final product was always delicious. I try to emulate her and put the care and love into my cooking as she did. Crawfish Etouffee is a warm, well-seasoned dish that transports me back home.”

Monique Olivier Getzinger

Crawfish Etouffee (Serves 4-6)

1 stick butter
1 cup green onions
1⁄2 cup onions
1⁄4 cup bell peppers
1 pound crawfish tails
1-2 tbs Creole seasoning (Getzinger recommends Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning and Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blend: Seafood Magic)
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs parsley
1 cup seafood stock
1 tbs plain flour dissolved in 1 cup of warm water
1 can of cream of celery soup
Hot white rice and buttered crusty French bread for serving

Melt butter over medium heat and add finely chopped onions and bell peppers and sauté until vegetables are soft and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan well.

Add the crawfish tails. Add a little water to the bag of crawfish to get all of the crawfish fat and juices and then pour everything into the pot. Add Creole seasoning, garlic, and parsley.

Cook crawfish for a few minutes until fully cooked. Add the seafood stock, then simmer over low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. To thicken the sauce a little, make a flour slurry by adding flour dissolved in hot water. Then add this slurry into the cooking crawfish and allow to simmer. Add one can of cream of celery soup or (pureed) cream of mushroom soup to increase the richness of the sauce. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more.

Additional Creole seasoning may be a put into the sauce to taste. Serve over hot white rice with buttered crusty French bread on the side.

If you happen to have any crawfish left over from a crawfish boil – that would be rare if there are any left – but if so, use the tails for the etouffee. Crawfish tails packaged in one-pound packets from Louisiana are recommended. Do NOT use crawfish tails from China.