Killer Cajun Shrimp & Crawfish

Killer Cajun Shrimp
Ok, I’ve finally written down my recipe for Killer Cajun Shrimp – which is now the ONLY reason I would ever move back to California. (My other reason is no longer valid!) Los Angeles is home to the famous, Killer Shrimp, a restaurant that only serves 1 dish…Killer Shrimp. But you do have choices. You can order Killer Shrimp with Bread, Killer Shrimp with Rice or Killer Shrimp with Pasta. Its a rich, divine broth spiced with the most ‘killer’ concoction of peppers and spices. Nestled in the broth is a mountain of massive shrimp that you peel, swirl in the brew and eat. Take a slice of french bread<French Bread, dip it in the broth to mop up all the goodness. You don’t want to leave one drop behind.

How spicy is it? Hmmm….how to describe? Well, its not sharp spicy hot like biting into a habenero, this type of spicy is the slow, complex, lingering heat that you don’t feel until 10 minutes into the meal when you notice that your nose has little beads of sweat.

Beware: its highly addictive and this will probably affect you for the rest of your life. Be prepared to acknowledge and satisfy your cravings for the next 15 years. Keep lots of napkins nearby and don’t expect to have table conversation. Have a few beers handy. If one of your guests don’t like spice, well, then I suggest that they grab a Happy Meal on their way to your house. Don’t be scared off by the bright red broth – the color doesn’t come from the hot peppers, it comes from tomato paste. You can adjust the heat factor based on your taste by using less pepper (but why would you do that?!)

So, what would make this recipe even more KILLER? A version with Crawfish of course!

Killer Cajun Crawfish

The recipe itself is very simple. Active time is only 15 minutes, but you’ll want to simmer the concoction for 1 hour (or more if you have the time)


Killer Cajun Shrimp or Crawfish

Servings: 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:


ยฝ small onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 stick of butter
2 T Dried or fresh rosemary
2 tsp Dried thyme
1 T Dried fennel
2 tsp Celery seed
1 T Crushed red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like it too spicy, you can always add more later)
2 tsp Black Pepper (again, use less if you’re a wimp)
2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1.5 quarts Chicken broth (low sodium and organic – because you already got a whole stick o’ butter in it already, might as well add some sort of health benefit to this dish)
16 oz Bottled Clam juice
1/2 lemon (cut in half just throw both pieces in the broth)
3 oz. Tomato paste
1 cup White wine
2 lbs Shrimp or 4 lbs Crawfish


The Aromatics:
Fry onion, celery, garlic in the butter until fragrant and soft

The Spices:
Place all in a morter and smash (or just quickly run knife through the herbs on cutting board) You want the herbs to still stay whole, but you need to smash them to release its flavors. Add spices to the pot.

The Broth:
Add the broth ingredients, simmer on low for at least 1 hour. Taste, add more salt if needed
1.5 quarts Chicken broth (low sodium and organic – because you already got a whole stick o’ butter in it already, might as well add some sort of health benefit to this dish)
16 oz Bottled Clam juice

The Shrimp or Crawfish:
Just before serving, add and simmer until done (how long depends on how big your shrimp or crawfish are. start with 3 minutes for Shrimp and 7 minutes for Crawfish. Check and adjust with more time if needed)

The Bread:
1-2 loaves French bread, sliced – you can make your own loaves very easily! I always have 2 loaves on hand, 9 times out of 10 we grab the pot with leftover broth and dig in with the second loaf

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Comments 47

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  3. cindy

    oh, mmm! this shrimp recipe looks, well, killer! i adore cajun food…i have stopped allowing myself to buy any more cajun cookbooks because i have so many!

  4. Brent

    This sounds FANTASTIC…..with just one reservation: An entire stick of butter gives me pause. Those of us on low saturated fat diets can dream of swilling such bliss these days. =P

  5. cindy

    hee, hee! that’s what i keep saying when my family looks at me funny for buying yet another cookbook! i have about 175 now, but i still don’t have as many as my mom does!

  6. Rex

    This looks suspiciously like the New Orleans BBQ shrimp recipe with vegetables in it. Spices are almost the same and instead of white wine, original uses beer


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  8. Sonja

    Okay….. I am from Louisiana and this sounds good……. I will let you know how it turns out….. I also snagged the 10 minute Miso…..

    You are funny, articulate and creative…… keep up the good cooking.


  9. Happy Cook

    Oh this look delicious………………next time when i get fresh scampis i am going to do this recipe, i habe put in my favorite
    If i don’t get clam juice can i substitute with something else

  10. AP

    Hi – love your website…quick question on the simmering for an hour…is it done with the lid on or off to reduce the liquid? Great work here…thanks in advance.

  11. Dave

    Bottom line – the recipe picture looks better than it actually tastes! either that or the cooking instructions were not good. I simmered away 2 quarts of liquid for 1.5 hrs and i was still left with soup!

    I would not move from anywhere to anywhere for this! In all fairness – great website and enthusiasm, I just wish that the food tasted as good!

  12. Gandamora Siregar

    Dear SteamKitchen,
    I can not see from which kitchen in China your original cooking information. Pls let me know, i am interested to know. I surely will try one by one. Also my question is if you also have in indonesian lanquaques or dutch ? I am happy to foud this morning your site Htpp:// and so on.
    greatings, G Siregar,

  13. Annie

    i am from calif and simply LOVED and truly MISS “Killer Shrimp”!

    I have been looking for recipe to make it… have found a few but with some dissimilarities. Might I ask where you got yours? and that picture looks exactly like it is supposed to! or is that from the restaurant itself?

    folks… this dish is to die for! you gotta try it!

  14. Richard

    I just made it, and it is indeed heavenly! I am ladling up the last few spoonfuls of broth in between typing, it’s just too tasty.

    I had to substitute broth with fish sauce for the clam juice, which makes me wonder how much more sublime the proper dish will taste.

    This one is definitely up there with the Steamed Mussels in Lemongrass Coconut Curry, as one of the dishes I’ll be cooking for years to come, whenever I can’t control the urge to splurge on seafood.

    Thanks, Jaden!

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  17. Deb

    This is a wonderful dish — not just the shrimp, but the fabulous sauce. (Seriously, the sauce alone — well, with bread –but without the shrimp, would be almost worth the effort. My family votes on “should we have this dish again?” and this one get a 10 of 10.


  18. Sandy C.

    My hubby raves about New Orleans type dishes but I have never attempted to make because here in mid-MI there is no really good crawfish (or bad for that matter) or big nice shrimp. I believe you have to live close to the source for theses type of foods or you will get a lesser quality dish and waste lots of dough.

  19. mc3

    so I used to live in So Cal and love, love, love Killer Shrimp…. this recipe is NOT Killer Shrimp. This is good but not as good as Killer Shrimp… I would omit the celery and I think its missing Oregano.

  20. teresa

    Just made this recipe and LOVEEDDD IT!!! You go spunky chinese lady! Love your humor as well. Can’t wait to try your other recipes!

  21. DebD

    Well Jaden, I made this for a dinner party last night, along with another yummy shrimp dish and I have to tell you, it was savored by all at the table! I added another TB, yes, tablespoon of red pepper flakes (no wimps here!). I just wanted to thank you for being a dinner guest last night, even though you weren’t there! And you’re right, one loaf of bread just wasn’t enough!

  22. sissie

    This was sooooo yummy! I love it and so easy to make. It has become one of my family’s favorite… Thank you for sharing this great recipe!

  23. Justin

    I usually never post comments on recipes I find online but I just made this and my god it was insanely good. I called up my cousins and my sister boyfriend to come over to try it and they loved it. thank goodness i doubled the recipe (i have a bad habit of doing that since i always go crazy buying ingredients). I actually used crayfish, shrimp, and little neck clams, This is deffinantly a keeper!

  24. Thomas Vorpe

    Hello All, I am about to try this recipe for the first time. I must warn you that I am a died in the wool bar-b-que shrimp fan from a way back. Im worried that my taste buds will be expecting something it wont be getting……Its now 7:30pm….we will be eating in about 30 minutes…..Ill let you know how my mouth and my wife feels about this dish……..ohhhhhhhh Im sooooo excited…..I havent even taste-tested it yet…but I will adjust for salt right before I summit the shrimp to their final swim…….for their season….


  25. Lady Amalthea

    This sounds wonderful! I think I may have to make a double batch–one with shrimps for me and tofu for my vegetarian partner. I also may just make a batch of the spice mix. Yum!

  26. LD

    Thanks so much for this! Killer Shrimp is one of the few things I really miss about LA — I can’t believe they’re all closed now. That stinks.

  27. Freddy Hoffmann

    Living in Norway, some ingredients is hard to find, so I used Lobster broth instead of Clam juice and served it with fresh baked garlic bread. Awesome taste!

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  29. Swarn

    Bless you. I live in LA and miss my favorite comfort dish sooooo much. now i can make this at home… what? EVEN BETTER!!!!

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  32. Laurel

    Made this for the first time tonight, and took it to a friend’s informal dinner party. I know – I’m not supposed to experiment on my friends, but everyone loved it (except my husband). Even the people who found the broth too hot loved the prawns. Almost every bite of two loaves of bread (one French and one peppercorn/garlic) was gone. My daughter absolutely insists that I have to make it again and several people asked for the recipe.

    Next time, I’ll use a bit less rosemary and I’ll find some way to contain it so I can remove it easily at the end (maybe a tea egg?). When I tested the broth the texture of the spices was unpleasant so I ended up skimming the rosemary out. Either that, or I’ll find a source of fresh rosemary which would probably solve the problem nicely. Oh, and two teaspoons of black pepper was a bit too much for us. It was very finely ground and just a bit too much.

    I’m not sure the fennel was necessary; I added 1/2 tsp of oregano per one of the comments; and used a cup of apple cider because I didn’t have beer or white wine.

    Oh, and did I mention just how amazing my house smelled while the stock was simmering?

    I’ve never been to the restaurant you all are talking about, but this was awesome!

    Now, could you please post a recipe for seafood gumbo?

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  34. Laurel

    I just want to report that I have made this dish several times since that first time, and now I use a giant tea egg to contain all the hard spices. I just take it out before serving and no hard spice bits get in the way of that amazing broth.

    Oh – and the no-knead bread is the BEST!

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  36. Eliana

    I am 13 and I just made this for the fist time.
    I turned out super well and I am really excited to put my new experience on the food blog I am starting.

  37. mary richards

    I have been missing Killer Shrimp!!! Love, love this dish!!!!!
    Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  38. Stephen

    As the kids say…OMG!!! And I will attest to the fact that it is addictive. I always have shrimp in the freezer now and clam juice bottles in the pantry in case the urge comes around, which is at least 2-3 times a month. With homemade bread. Mmmmmmm. Well done Jaden!

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