Shrimp Gumbo

March 5, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: It was snowing this morning so I thought this would be a good night to make a hearty soup. I had some shrimp in the freezer so my thoughts turned to gumbo. In Louisiana, gumbo is practically religion. I wanted a lightened-up version of traditional seafood gumbo, and this is what I came up with. As with most soup, the seasonings can be adjusted according to your taste. (And as you all know by now, I didn't put a bay leaf in because you-know-who hates bay, but bay leaf is great in gumbo, so go for it.) - drbabs drbabs

Food52 Review: This may be the perfect weeknight gumbo. Drbabs, a former New Orleansian herself, has streamlined and lightened the Cajun classic while still pulling in all the right flavors and kick from a smoky dark roux and well-chosen cocktail of spices. By design, this recipe could be made year-round from pantry staples, but you can always put a little Mardi Gras in it by adding andouille or tasso. - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 2-4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 55 min


  • 2 cups cooked white or brown rice, kept warm
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined; shells rinsed and reserved
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 large onions, chopped fine
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, put through garlic press
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh is best but since it's winter, I used Pomi chopped tomatoes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste and as described in the recipe
  • 5 dashes Tabasco sauce to taste, and to be used as a condiment
In This Recipe


  1. First make a roux. In a large cast iron dutch oven, heat the grapeseed oil over medium-low heat. Sprinkle flour over the oil and stir till it's completely blended. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium low heat, until the flour-oil mixture browns and is dark caramel-colored. (Be careful not to let it burn.)
  2. Stir in the onions, celery, and garlic. Sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few turns of freshly-ground pepper. Stir well. Cover dutch oven and let vegetables cook in roux until softened.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, put shrimp shells into a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water and good pinch of salt. (Shrimp shells should be barely covered; add more water if they're not.) Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat so that it simmers. Continue to simmer until shells are bright pink.
  4. To the vegetables in the dutch oven, add the tomatoes, thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne, lemon, and Worcestershire sauce. Strain the shrimp stock into the soup, stir, and let simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the shrimp and let simmer in the soup till just firm and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes, depending on size. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
  6. Stir in chopped parsley, a couple of drops of Tabasco (a little goes a long way!) and serve in bowls with a large scoop of rice.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
  • This recipe is a Community Pick!

More Great Recipes:
Soup|Stew|Cajun/Creole|Paprika|Seafood|Shrimp|Thyme|Parsley|Celery|Oregano|Cast Iron|Winter

Reviews (89) Questions (4)

89 Reviews

Rhonda35 April 17, 2018
Delicious and easy!
Author Comment
drbabs April 17, 2018
amanda R. November 8, 2017
I made this tonight - super easy and delicious. I did amp up the seasoning a bit and used butter instead of grapeseed oil to start the roux. Great recipe, easy to follow and even though it seems intimidating at first, it's really not.
Author Comment
drbabs November 8, 2017
Thanks, Amanda. I'm so glad you liked it.
salena May 4, 2014
just wanted to thank you for this easy and delightful recipe. It just seemed perfect for tonight, springtime, cooler than expected, but warm enough to eat in our outdoor space, a wonderful starter. The gumbo was light but had tons of flavor.
Author Comment
drbabs May 4, 2014
Thank you, salena, for commenting. I so happy you enjoyed it.
Jordan M. April 4, 2014
Making this tonight, adding orange bell pepper for some color, and a little extra garlic. Yum!
Bevi March 4, 2014
Delish, drbabs! I made this today for Fat Tuesday, and added a pound of andouille sausage that I browned in the pot. Just a touch more grape seed oil, and then it was onward and upward! Thanks for a delightful meal!
Author Comment
drbabs March 5, 2014
Hi Bevi! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
LYNN L. November 11, 2013
Can easily find lots of different file powders on AMAZON!
fearlessem November 5, 2013
Made this tonight, with the addition of Tasso. So delicious, and so easy! Thank you!
Author Comment
drbabs November 5, 2013
I'm so happy that you enjoyed it!
Arpy February 3, 2013
I make a gumbo with andouille, oysters, shrimp, okra and whatever fresh fish I can find to throw in there. I call it my six million dollar gumbo. I love the simplicity of this one. A couple of questions--would file' be a good addition? I use it in my concoction. Thanks.
Author Comment
drbabs February 3, 2013
Yes, I've added file when I've had it. I hope you enjoy! (Yours sounds fabulous.)
Corky_H January 12, 2013
I found this dish over the top deelish! Couldn't believe how fast it went together after the roux was made. Think I needed a minute more on the roux for more color but was afraid of burning. I will do this again and again! Big thank you;)
Author Comment
drbabs January 12, 2013
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for commenting.
Aktommey October 1, 2012
I adore this recipe! I took Arathi's advice and sauteed andouille in my dutch oven and wiped it clean before making the roux. Added okra in toward the end of softening my onions and celery. Added two spoonfuls of tomato paste in with the shrimp shells. Love love love the flavor. Shocked at the short time it takes to make delicious gumbo!
Author Comment
drbabs October 4, 2012
Oh, I just saw this. What great suggestions--i'm glad you enjoyed it.
Tarragon June 6, 2012
My husband loves shrimp, and this recipe really delivered! I had everything on hand and this was pretty easy to put together, even on a weeknight. We both really enjoyed the meal, and your recipe will now go into my weeknight shrimp rotation. Thanks for posting this!
Author Comment
drbabs June 6, 2012
Oh, Tarragon, I'm so happy you and your husband enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know.
lorigoldsby April 3, 2012
My mom called and asked for my old gumbo recipe and I couldn't find it...after searching here, I can't remember if my recipe called for shrimp stock...but it does now!
Author Comment
drbabs April 4, 2012
Hi, Lori--thanks for letting me know! (This is very simple shrimp stock...)
littlesister February 22, 2012
I just made this for a Fat Tuesday dinner with my husband and a friend and it was really good. It took some time, especially to get the shrimp peeled, but it was certainly not difficult. I did add okra and andouille which may have caused it to take longer with the extra chopping. This will be my new go-to gumbo recipe - thanks for sharing this!
Author Comment
drbabs April 4, 2012
Hi littlesister--sorry i missed this before. Yes, shrimp peeling and deveining can be a pain, but otherwise, it comes together pretty easily. I like your additions a lot--I recently added andouille to it myself. Thanks for commenting!
lyonesset February 11, 2012
Tasty, comforting, spicy and easy! Loved it, really happy to find an accessible gumbo recipe which I could throw together in well less than an hour. Someday I might move on to the more complex versions - but then again, I could just tweak this one to add other goodies. Yum!
Author Comment
drbabs April 4, 2012
Thanks, lyonesset, I'm glad you liked it!
molls T. January 22, 2012
I'm somewhat of a novice and I wanted to test my rather boring limits and this came out great!
Author Comment
drbabs January 23, 2012
I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know!
chop C. December 4, 2011
Very delicious. Used a bit more tomato and celery. Red pepper flakes instead of cayenne. Put some chorizo sausage in that had been on the grill. I also confess that I was thinking about shrimp creole originally but did your gumbo. I decided to cook down the gumbo more to make something of a "crumbo". The GF raved about it.
Author Comment
drbabs December 14, 2011
I just saw this--thanks for commenting--what great adaptations! I'm so glad you and your GF enjoyed it.
PFossil July 1, 2011
This is so delicious, and relatively quick to put together. If I decide to use andouille next time, you andouillers -- when do you put it in? Would you chop it up and cook it with the vegetables? Thanks.
Author Comment
drbabs July 2, 2011
True confession: I've never made it with andouille--I've never found it here in New York, and my husband doesn't eat pork. But, yes, I think I'd saute it with the vegetables. Thank you so much for trying my recipe--I'm really glad you liked it!
Arathi September 25, 2011
I sliced the andouille and browned it in the pot before making the roux. It didn't render a whole lot of fat, so i just wiped the pot clean with a paper towel and then made the roux in the same pot. Then I just threw it back in shortly after adding the shrimp stock and let it simmer with everything else. The other thing you can do is, if you're adding okra and sauteing it in a separate pan (I do this and just add it to the gumbo towards the end) you can brown the andouille in that pan first - I did this the second time I made it.
kmartinelli May 15, 2011
Oh this is just the gumbo recipe I've been searching for! It is simple but still flavorful and I can't wait to try it! I have almost all of the ingredients on hand, including andouille chicken sausage in the freezer. I also have some frozen okra so may add that as well.
Author Comment
drbabs July 2, 2011
Hi--I just saw this--thanks so much! I hope you liked it. I love okra in gumbo also!
Arathi March 17, 2011
drbabs, I made this a couple of days ago and it was excellent! I added andouille and okra and threw in some file powder I happened to have at the end. It was so, so good! Thank you so much for the recipe, I will make this again and again.
Author Comment
drbabs March 18, 2011
Your version sounds wonderful! Wow--file powder--I haven't had that in the house in ages! I'll have to get some the next time I'm in New Orleans.
melissav March 7, 2011
Just had this for dinner and IT ROCKED! So so good. This one is a keeper.
Author Comment
drbabs March 7, 2011
I'm so happy that you liked it!