Crawfish Etouffee | Easy Authentic Recipe

This crawfish etouffee is simple and fast to make and makes a fabulous dinner recipe. Inspired by a Louisiana trip, The sauce is rich, buttery, and full of flavor.

It’s no secret that we have very global tastebuds. Coming from a mixed-race background, we grew up eating cuisines from around the world.

Some of our childhood staples differed greatly from our peers: our regular weeknight dinners included Hunan chicken, beef bulgogi, and sofritas.

During the cooler months, mom would whip up our definition of comfort food, a crawfish etouffee

What is an etouffee? 

Etouffee is a French word meaning “smothered” specified for a slow cooking method using a pot or Dutch oven with a lid.

It’s a popular dish in Cajun or Creole cuisines. We make it using vegetables, chicken broth, and crayfish, and has a mild and rich flavor. 

You may have seen it at Caribbean or Portuguese restaurants, but it is so easy to make it yourself at home! 

Why this etouffee recipe will be a comfort food staple: 

  • Flavorful. The slow cooking method adds maximum flavor, resulting in the most perfect comfort food dish.
  • Easy to customize. Change up the spices, add some chili, or use different vegetables: the possibilities are endless!
  • Quick and easy. This recipe requires minimal hands-on time and the skillet does all the hard work!

By the way, if you like hearty stews, you’ll like to try our jambalaya or shepherd’s pie

What is crawfish etouffee made of?

The base of this dish is very simple and uses basic pantry ingredients. Depending on where in the world you are located, crawfish may be a little hard to come by, but you can easily swap it out for shrimp or crab. Here is what you’ll need: 

  • Crawfish. Fresh or frozen crawfish works. If you don’t have or can’t find crawfish, shrimp, or chopped shrimp works.
  • Butter. A must for any rich etouffee. 
  • All-purpose flour. To thicken the mixture. 
  • Vegetables. Celery, bell peppers, and onions.
  • Chicken broth. Use all-natural chicken stock, not bouillon cubes.
  • Water.
  • Tomato paste. Also known as tomato concentrate.
  • Cajun seasoning. A must for any good Etouffee.
  • Cayenne pepper. Add flavor and heat.

How to make it

While this dish screams fanciness, don’t let it intimidate you- it is easy to make and follows a simple 3-step process.

Step 1- Make the roux

Start with melting butter in a large skillet and add some flour.

butter and oil in Dutch oven.

Cook and mix it over a low flame for about 10 minutes or until the color is similar to a light caramel. Then, add pepper, celery, and onions and mix until coated well. 

Next, add chicken broth, tomato paste, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. 

vegetables in Dutch oven.

Step 3- Add the crawfish

Now, reduce the flame and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

etouffee broth.

Remove bay leaf, add crawfish and bring it to a simmer.

adding crawfish to etouffee.

Remove the pot from heat and serve with rice.

Louisiana crawfish etouffee.

Tips to make the best recipe 

  • Don’t use crawfish tails if they don’t have curls. Straight tails mean dead tails before boiling, which can cause food poisoning. 
  • Avoid adding unnecessary salt to the dish; crawfish and chicken broth are both naturally salty.  
  • Stir continuously during the cooking process so all the ingredients can meld naturally and yield a more flavorful dish. 

Storage instructions

  • To store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
  • To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled leftovers in a shallow container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.  
  • Reheating: Either reheat in the microwave for 30-40 seconds or in a non-stick skillet. 
Louisiana crawfish etouffee.

What goes with crawfish etouffee? 

Because the etouffee is very similar to a stew, simple carbs are the best to pair with it. We typically serve it over rice, but here are some other fun ideas to try: 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between gumbo and etouffee? 

Gumbo is a thick and hearty soup, with a thinner consistency. Etouffee, on the other hand, is a stew and contains more vegetable-based ingredients.

When is crawfish season?

The season typically begins in November and ends around July. However, the weather plays an important role.

crawfish etouffee recipe.
  • 2 lbs crawfish fresh or thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter chopped
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup celery finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 14.5 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • Add the butter and the large skillet and place it over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and stir together until a roux is made.

  • Add the celery, peppers, and onion, and mix into the roux. Add the broth, water, bay leaf, Cajun seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Bring everything to a boil.

  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. After 5 minutes, add the crawfish and cook everything together for 5-10 minutes, or until the etouffee has thickened.

  • Remove off the heat and serve immediately.

TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  TO FREEZE: Place the cooked and cooled leftovers in a shallow container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.   TO REHEAT: Either reheat in the microwave for 30-40 seconds or in a non-stick skillet. 

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 647mg | Potassium: 284mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 1875IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg | NET CARBS: 15g

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