Crawfish Étouffée

Crawfish Étouffée

It has fresh Louisiana crawfish simmered in a flavorful sauce and served with a scoop of hot rice (or grits). (Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

Lauren Allen

Lauren Allen

1/19/2024

Updated: 1/20/2024

View the print-ready version of this recipe.

Why I Love This Recipe

  • My Personal Favorites—Crawfish étouffée is up there on the list of my favorite dishes of all time. I’ve never wanted to post a recipe until I got it just right–at at least, just the way I like it! There are so many variations of these types of dishes, so I’m so thrilled to share my version with you! (And if you love cajun and creole food, you have to try my gumbo and shrimp and grits recipes!).
  • Easy—This easy étouffée recipe may seem intimidating, but I created this recipe with the home cook in mind. Just follow my steps and I’ll show you how simple it can be!
  • Adaptable—High quality Louisiana crawfish is incredible (and companies like the Louisiana Crawfish Co. will ship it to you), but it is possible to swap it out for shrimp, crab, or chicken if you prefer.

Gumbo vs Étouffée

Gumbo and Étouffée may have some similar ingredients and preparation, but gumbo is more like a soup, made with a darker roux, more broth, and usually more proteins and seafood (like sausage, chicken, shrimp).
Just like with gumbo, there are so many different ways to make Crawfish Étouffée, and just as many opinions about it! (Especially because the Cajun and Creole versions each add their own flare!) This recipe is my take on a basic Crawfish Étouffée that any home cook can make, and I’m so happy with the result!

How to Make Crawfish Étouffée

Sauté Holy Trinity: Add 4 tablespoons butter or oil to a 12’’ cast iron skillet, or dutch oven over medium heat. Once melted, add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Remove veggies to a bowl.
(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

Make Roux: Reduce heat to medium low. Add ½ cup (1 stick) butter to the pan. Once melted, add flour, and whisk to combine. Cook, whisking continuously, for about 10-15 minutes, or until it turns golden, the color of peanut butter. Be careful not to let it burn.
(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

Add Broth: Slowly add the seafood broth, using a whisk to constantly stir until completely smooth. Add veggies back to the sauce, along with seasonings and bouillon. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. You want it the consistency of gravy. (If needed, add 1 – 2 tablespoons more flour by ladling out a big spoonful of the broth into a cup, stir in the flour until smooth, and return to the pot. Cook until thickened.)
(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

Add Crawfish tails and cook until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

Serve this real crawfish étouffée recipe over hot cooked white rice, or with cheesy cooked grits. Garnish with green onion, and serve with hot sauce.
(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

(Courtesy of Lauren Allen)

Storage and Freezing Instructions

To Store: Crawfish Étouffée leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat over medium heat in a pot on the stove.
To Freeze: Let cool completely then transfer to a freezer safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove.

Recipe Variations

  • Crawfish: Crawfish season is December to July. I buy high quality crawfish from the Louisiana Crawfish Co. Alternately, you may find them in the freezer section of the grocery store. Imported crawfish from overseas will not taste as good! Look for “Louisiana” on the label. For Frozen Whole Crawfish, thaw, wash well, and remove meat. Save the shells to make stock if you want. For Live Crawfish, wash, place in pot of boiling water and apply lid. Boil 1-2 minutes, then remove to a bowl of ice water to cool, and then remove meat from shells.
  • Seafood Stock: I buy seafood stock from my local International foods market. You may substitute chicken or vegetable stock. To make your own seafood stock for this recipe, save the shells from whole crawfish and place in a pot. Cover with cold water and add any leftover ends from veggies (carrot, celery or onion) and add a little pinch of dried thyme, basil and oregano. Bring to boil, then simmer, covered for 1-2 hours.
  • Lobster Better Than Bouillon is essential to add depth of flavor–find it at local Asian or International Food Markets– but you may substitute better than bouillon chicken or vegetable base.
  • Creole Étouffée: Add 1 diced roma tomato and 2 Tablespoons tomato paste.

Crawfish Étouffée

Servings 7
Ingredients
  • 1 yellow onion , diced
  • 1 green bell pepper , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , diced
  • 5 cloves garlic , minced
  • 12 Tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups seafood stock* , or a little more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons Better than bouillon lobster base*
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper , ground, or more to taste
  • 1 bunch green onions , chopped
  • 1 lb Louisiana Crawfish Tails
For Serving:
  • 4 cups hot cooked rice , or grits
  • Hot sauce (I like Crystal)
Instructions
  1. Sauté “Holy Trinity” Veggies: Add 3-4 tablespoons butter or oil to a 12’’ cast iron skillet, or dutch oven over medium heat. Once melted, add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Remove veggies to a bowl.
  2. Roux: Reduce heat to medium low. Add 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter to the pan. Once melted, add flour, and whisk to combine. Cook, whisking continuously, for about 10-15 minutes, or until it turns golden, the color of peanut butter. Be careful not to let it burn.
  3. Finish Gravy: Reduce heat to low and slowly add the seafood broth, using a whisk to constantly stir as you pour a slow and steady stream into the pot. Whisk until completely smooth. Add veggies back to the sauce, along with seasonings and bouillon. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. You want the consistency of gravy. If needed, add 1 – 2 tablespoons more flour by ladling out a big spoonful of the broth into a cup, stir in the flour until smooth, and return to the pot. Cook until thickened.
  4. Crawfish: Add cooked crawfish tails and cook until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Serve over hot cooked white rice, or cooked grits. Garnish with green onion, and serve with hot sauce.
Notes
Yield: Makes about 7 cups. Serving size is 1 cup etouffe and ½ cup white rice.
Crawfish: High quality Louisiana crawfish tails are essential for great Cajun Étouffée. They’re pre-cooked, so they’re ready to add to this recipe. Find them in the freezer section of the grocery store, or order them online. IMPORTANT: Imported crawfish from overseas will not taste as good! Look for “Louisiana” on the label. For Frozen Whole Crawfish, thaw, wash well, and remove meat. Save the shells to make stock if you want. For Live Crawfish, wash, place in pot of boiling water and apply lid. Boil 1-2 minutes, then remove to a bowl of ice water to cool, and then remove meat from shells.
Stock: You may substitute chicken or vegetable stock. To make your own seafood stock for this recipe, save the shells from whole crawfish and place in a pot. Cover with cold water and add any leftover ends from veggies (carrot, celery or onion) and add a little pinch of dried thyme, basil and oregano. Bring to boil, then simmer, covered for 1-2 hours.
Lobster Better Than Bouillon is essential to add depth of flavor—find it at local Asian or International Food Markets—but you may substitute better than bouillon chicken or vegetable base.
Make Ahead Instructions: Crawfish Étouffée can be made ahead of time and heated when ready. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat over medium heat in a pot on the stove.
Freezing Instructions: Let cool completely then transfer to a freezer safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove.
Creole Étouffée: Add 1 diced roma tomato and 2 Tablespoons tomato paste.
Nutrition
Calories: 370 kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Sodium: 837mg, Potassium: 298mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 931 IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 81mg, Iron: 1mg
This article was originally published on tastesbetterfromscratch.com. Follow on Instagram.
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Lauren Allen

Lauren Allen

Author

Visit Lauren's food blog TastesBetterFromScratch.com.

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