Crawfish Pie

April  2, 2015
11 Ratings
Photo by Gabrielle Geiselman
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Crawfish Pie is a double shelled savory pie filled with onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic, breadcrumbs, butter, and crawfish mixed together with milk and lots of seasonings.  It's a delicacy in a very small part of the South limited mainly to Southern Louisiana and, even within that, common only to the rural areas with a greater preponderance of inhabitants with Cajun heritage. —Belle Année

What You'll Need
  • For the crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted, diced cold butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp cold buttermilk
  • For the filling:
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 Bellpepper (red or green or a combo)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 pound pack Louisiana crawfish tails (do not rinse, preserve any liquid)
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsely, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Tony Cachere's or Old Bay seasoning
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • red pepper
  • white pepper
  • 1 egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
  1. For the crust:
  2. To make the pie crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to work it into the dry ingredients quickly, until the butter pieces are the size of peas.
  3. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Use a fork to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect.
  4. Divide the dough in two and gently knead into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  1. For the filling:
  2. To make the filling, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic, give it a quick stir, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, being very careful not to let the garlic burn.
  3. Add the milk and crawfish tails (along with any liquid that came out of the bag). Give a gentle stir, being careful not to over mix the crawfish tails (as you risk breaking them up). Add the parsley, green onions, breadcrumbs, Tony Cachere’s or Old Bay seasoning, and salt and peppers to taste; bear in mind that the blend of all four is important to round out the seasoning
  4. Cook for 5 minutes until the entire mixture is warm. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Keep in mind the seasoning doesn't change while the pie is cooking, so you want to have plenty of flavor at this point. Turn the heat off and cover the mixture while you start on the crust.
  5. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375° F. On a well-floured surface, roll one of the disks of dough to about 1/8-inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a 9-inch to 11-inch pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan. Prick with the tines of a fork a few times all over.
  6. Spray one side of a piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray and place, greased side down, onto the bottom crust. Fill with dry beans or pie weights and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until just golden brown. Lower the heat to 350° F.
  7. Spoon filling into the pie crust. Roll out the other disk of dough in the same manner as the first and lay it carefully over the filling, crimping the edges with a fork to seal the top and bottom crusts. Prick pie with tines of a fork a few times so steam can escape while baking. Brush the top of the pie with the egg white and water mixture and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. If your crust starts to turn brown too quickly, remove it from the oven and cover with aluminum foil, then return it to the oven.
  8. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with a green salad and crisp white wine.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jeff Cotten
    Jeff Cotten
  • Lisa Staes Herring
    Lisa Staes Herring
  • Scribbles
  • Catherine Brame
    Catherine Brame
  • Belle Année
    Belle Année
Jessica Bride is the creator of Belle Année, a food and lifestyle blog dedicated to eating, drinking, living and loving in New Orleans and London.

14 Reviews

Jeff C. April 12, 2020
Absolutely loved making this, so delicious. The only question I have is about how the filling is supposed to setup, mine was quite runny. I deviated from the recipe by adding some andouille sausage, skipping the celery (I know, sacrilege), and my grocer was out of green onion. Other than that I used the 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and waited about 10 minutes before eating. Is the delicious goopy filling supposed to be as wet as mine turned out?

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Lisa S. October 14, 2019
This is the only recipe I’ve tried for Crawfish Pie, and it will be only recipe I ever make. This was amazingly delicious! We had crawfish pie in NO a few years ago, and often talk about it being the best food we ate on our trip. This crawfish pie tastes just like we had in NO! I made it exactly as written. I will definitely make it again, and again!
Scribbles February 6, 2016
Loved reading this story and seeing a traditional receipe. My family is from NO and, somehow, it became tradition when someone died after the burial service at the cemetery to go out for crawfish pie. I know that sound weird. Maybe it has to do with my maternal grandmother been Acaidian. I haven't made one in years so I may give it a go. Thanks for the memories.
irishchef September 2, 2015
What binds the filling? There's no eggs or starch of any kind other than bread crumbs. It seems like it would too wet.
Belle A. September 3, 2015
Hi Irish Chef! No, there is no egg or starch - the breadcrumbs bind it. It works!
Claudia September 2, 2015
This sound wonderful, however I am allergic to Lobster but not Shrimp. I have never risked Crawfish since I am not sure what my reaction might be.

Have you ever substituted Shrimp or something for the Crawfish?
Belle A. September 3, 2015
Hi Claudia! I have never substituted anything for crawfish but I do make a ground beef pie that is similar. If you google Natchitoches meat pies you can find a great recipe.
CharlieH April 27, 2015
I am wondering about adding Tony Chachere's and salt. Chachere's is already loaded with salt.
Belle A. April 27, 2015
Hi there! You definitely need to check it for salt. I usually use Tony Chachere's seasoning but for this recipe I based it on Old Bay because that is so much easier to find.
Dick February 13, 2022
I used both, so it was near a double amount. It's still cooking, but tasted good going in. I need practice on pie shells.
Catherine B. April 16, 2015
I live in Louisiana and cook with crawfish frequently. I've never had them "break up". Crabmeat will if stirred or handled too much. What did you mean about the crawfish?
Belle A. April 20, 2015
Hi Catherine. Okay -- the back story is this. About a decade ago (definitely longer) I was working in the kitchen of a restaurant in Baton Rouge. On my prep list for the day was a large batch of the sauce for Crawfish Fettuccine. It called for 5 lbs of crawfish tails. I spent a little over an hour preparing the dish, something I had done dozens of times before, but at the end, when I dipped a spoon in to test it, there were no crawfish left. Seriously. None. They had broken up into tiny flecks of red and all but disappeared. Now, this was just when Chinese crawfish were infiltrating the Louisiana market and I chalked it up to stocking and assumed I must have pulled Chinese crawfish.

Fast forward about five years and I was making crawfish pie - by this time I was sure to only use Louisiana Crawfish - I was making a few of them at once and so I was having to mix a large batch of crawfish together with breadcrumbs, milk and seasoning. (Back then I added the crawfish before I added the breadcrumbs). I gave it several big stirs, not being particularly gentle, but also not *trying* to break up the crawfish. By the time I went to spoon the mixture into the blind baked pie shells the crawfish had, again, broken up. They hadn't disappeared this time but they were noticeably beaten up and broken apart.

So I think it happens when crawfish are frozen, thawed and refrozen. It usually doesn't happen during Crawfish Season but on the outskirts of it I am always extremely wary.

I am from Louisiana and grew up eating crawfish - my best guess is that it would not matter if you were using fresh boiled crawfish but anytime you are using it from the pack I'd be cautious. Better safe than sorry, right?
Belle A. April 15, 2015
Hi Erin! Sorry that got left out. Yes, use 1/2 of a bell pepper either green, red, yellow or a combination. I usually do green and red. -Jessica
Erin April 15, 2015
This sounds delicious. Are there bell peppers in it? They're mentioned in the author notes, and in the corresponding article, but not in the recipe itself.