Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

This Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta is so yummy, my husband has been begging me to make it again.  It is packed with flavor and the way you cook the shrimp makes it taste amazing.  If you aren’t a fan of too much spice you can cut the cajon seasoning down.

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe

This Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta reminds me of the delicious food we ate on my husband’s work conference in New Orleans last fall.  There are so many yummy cajun/creole recipes that are unique to that area that I am dying to learn how to cook.  I keep kicking myself that I didn’t buy a cookbook while I was there.  I guess I am just going to have to go back!


Back to this Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta, there is a reason why you don’t use pre-cooked shrimp.  If you do, you will be sorry.  The shrimp will be overcooked and rubbery.  Also, buying fresh or frozen is usually less expensive than buying pre-cooked shrimp. I found a great article on preparing and deveining shrimp frozen or fresh shrimp after I made this mistake of trying this recipe with pre-cooked shrimp.  I’ve included some highlights here, but you can find more information and photos here at


Check for Freshness

  • Fresh shrimp should smell clean, refrain from shrimp that smells of ammonia.
  • At the fish market, fresh shrimp should be stored in or on ice.
  • If you purchase frozen shrimp, avoid shrimp that was peeled and deveined prior to freezing. The practice of cleaning the shrimp before freezing may cause a loss of flavor and texture.
  • Be aware of leakage or frozen surface ice on frozen shrimp. These are signs that the shrimp has been defrosted and refrozen and should be avoided.

Preparing Shrimp

  • “Refresh” frozen shrimp by soaking in salted water, 1 to 2 tbsp of salt to 1 quart of water.  The best way to keep shrimp fresh while preparing them is to keep them in ice water. Return the cleaned shrimp to the ice water until you are ready to cook them. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel before cooking.
  • The black vein that runs along the back of shrimp is the digestive tract. Typically, whether veins are in or out, seldom is there a flavor difference unless the vein is large and contains a high volume of grit and digested material. It is removed more for the appearance than taste. The decision to remove the digestive tract is based on personal preference.
  • Prepping shrimp can be as simple as rinsing them in fresh water. If the recipe calls for removing the head, gently pull of the head and discard. Most often, shrimp is purchased with the head already removed.
  • To remove the shell, begin by holding the shrimp firmly and pulling off the legs.
  • An alternative technique is to remove the legs at the same time the shell is removed. Using your thumbs, peel back the sides of the shrimps shell. Pluck away any legs that remain after the shell has been removed.
  • Peel the shell away from the body. The tail of the shrimp can be removed at the same time by simply holding the body of the shrimp and pulling away the tail. The shell will come off with the tail. Removing the tail is optional.
  • To devein the shrimp with a small utility knife, make a shallow cut down the back of the shrimp to expose the vein.
  • Once the vein is exposed, pull the intestine out with the knife, a toothpick, or your fingers.

We’ve had some great suggestions from some of our readers on additions they have made to this Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta.  Here are their tips:

  • Add capers.
  • If you like it spicier, use a red Fresno pepper instead of a red bell pepper.
  • Use fresh cherry tomatoes as a garnish.
  • Use chicken instead of shrimp.

Serves 4-6

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

This creamy cajun shrimp pasta is packed with flavor. The way you cook the shrimp makes it taste amazing. This recipe was inspired by a New Orleans dish.

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  • 1 lb. unccoked shrimp (remove shells, tails and veins)
  • 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c. red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 8 oz. linguine, cooked al dente


  • Stir together and coat the shrimp in cajun seasoning. In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the seasoned shrimp and sauté until shrimp begins to turn pink. Add the red pepper and minced garlic and sauté another minute or two.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add the cream, parmesan cheese, basil, and pepper and simmer for about 10 minutes (I like to cook the pasta while this is simmering).
  • Toss in the cooked pasta and stir to coat.


Just for fun, I added some pics from our trip below to help you get in a “Nawlins” mood while cooking. Here are a few fun pictures from our trip to New Orleans, such a beautiful and unique city full of great culture and music.

IMG_9349 IMG_9354 IMG_9386 IMG_9400 IMG_9412 IMG_9434


  1. carrian says:

    THe hubs looooves shrimp, maybe this should be for father’s DAY!!

  2. Heather says:

    My husband loves to order cajun pastas when we go out to eat so I don’t know why I’ve tried to make one before. He LOVED this recipe. We ended up using chicken because I didn’t have shrimp, but we definitely need to make it again with the shrimp. Great recipe!

    • Emily says:

      My husband was crazy about it too! So glad you guys like it!

  3. Rita Marie says:

    I just reduced this recipe and made it as a small one-person lunch for myself & it was the easiest most delicious and satisfying lunch! So easy to make, and more delicious than a plain ham & cheese sandwich! My husband took a bite of mine and asked me if I’d make twice as much for him for lunch! I’d say a success

  4. Carrie says:

    This looks delicious! Do you think I could use whole milk as a substitute for the cream if I don’t have any available?

    • Emily says:

      That would probably be fine, it won’t be as creamy but a little more healthy. 🙂

    • Ruby says:

      I often sub fat-free half and half for cream very successfully — gonna give it a shot here….can’t wait…….have some Cajun-flavor lovin’ folks in this house!

  5. Barb says:

    This was delicious! I added some chopped red onion to the vegetables, used olive oil instead of butter and chopped green onion on top for garnish. My friend wants me to make it again for her husband to try as she knows he will love it. Thanks for a great recipe.

  6. Paige Flamm says:

    This was Mother’s Day dinner tonight and was delicious!

  7. JM says:

    Excellent meal for the whole family! Everyone had seconds, including my picky children. Added some cornstarch mixed with cold water at the end in order to make the sauce more creamy and less liquid-y. Also, didn’t have any parmesan on hand so I substituted with Havarti — turned out awesome!

  8. Heather says:

    This sounds delicious! Maybe a dumb question, but what do you mean by red pepper? Red bell pepper? I thought red pepper flakes but it says chopped.
    Thank you!

    • Emily says:

      yes, an actual red bell pepper.

    • Mandy says:

      That was not a dumb question at all! Thank you so much for asking, I was wondering the same thing, so it saved me a lot of time and hassle just being able to get the answer in the comments. Making this recipe now, can’t wait to try it!

  9. Isabelle says:

    This sounds so yummy I can’t wait to make it I’ve been wanting to try to make Cajun pasta for the longest and this recipe seems nice and simple I may do chicken and shrimp in mine since everyone in my house loves shrimp except of my sister but I would like her to enjoy it too.

  10. Fran Niederhauser says:

    This was SO YUMMY. Loved it!! I used half and half and thickened it alittle with corn starch. It was delicious!!!!

  11. Denisse says:

    I made this on Valentine’s Day for my boyfriend and he absolutely loved it, so did I !! It was so delicious! I will definitely be making this again. Thank you for this amazing recipe 🙂

    • Emily says:

      So glad you liked it! It’s one of my favorites too!

  12. Dan Leeder says:

    If you’re going to cook the “Nawlins” way, then you need the “Bible” of Nawlins cookin’. You can get it here:

    • Echo says:

      Sounds like a cookbook I need to have – thank you for the recommendation!

  13. Deb Mae says:

    This was awesome, great taste and so easy to make. I did add a 1/2 cup of 7 blend Italian cheese with the parmesan and it was also great. Do you think this would work for chicken?

    • Erica says:

      Yes, I have actually done it with chicken (my husband won’t eat shrimp) and it tastes great! 😀

  14. Taylor says:

    My boyfriend and I made this tonight and it was delicious. I also was unsure what the recipe meant by red pepper, so I went the spicier route. We decided to use red Fresno peppers which made this dish much spicier, but it turned out very good! This is definitely a recipe I will keep!!

    • Echo says:

      We use a red bell pepper in this recipe, but I love the idea of using something with a little more heat in this dish. Thank you for sharing! So glad you like the recipe!

  15. Britney says:

    I love this recipe! So delicious and easy to make! xo

  16. Luis serrato says:

    I add a few capers. To this recipe that give more flavor . an mix carrots. To the pasta. Use fresh cherry tomatoes for garnish

    • Emily says:

      Yum, I’ll have to try that!

  17. Shirnell Jackson says:

    What kind of cream did you use

    • Erica says:

      Heavy whipping cream.. 😉

  18. Whit B says:

    I made this a few months back and i fell in love with it! I was trying to remake it this week and couldn’t remember the exact steps omg ive been searching all week for the recipe im glad i remember the ingredients i put them all in google search and binggg i finally found it again! This time I’ll remeber to write it down lol 😊

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