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This Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta was inspired by a favorite New Orleans dish. The creamy sauce with the slightly spicy, buttery shrimp is to die for!
Featured with this recipe
This flavorful Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe combines the bold and exciting taste of Cajun spices with a rich and velvety cream sauce. The creamy sauce perfectly coats succulent shrimp, creating a dish that is both comforting and delicious. The colorful red pepper and fragrant basil adds a pop of freshness. Don’t miss out on experiencing the perfect blend of creamy indulgence and fiery flavors in this Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe!
This Cajun Shrimp Pasta reminds me of the delicious food we ate 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 am just going to have to go back!
- Raw shrimp – remove shells, tails, and veins
- Cajun seasoning – Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning is the best!
- Red pepper – chopped
- Minced garlic
- Heavy cream
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Linguine – cooked al dente
Check Shrimp 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.
Cooked Shrimp vs. Raw Shrimp
There is a reason why we don’t use pre-cooked shrimp in this recipe. You’ll regret it if you do. Why? 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 frozen or fresh shrimp after I made the 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 recipetips.com.
How to Prepare Shrimp
- “Refresh” frozen shrimp by soaking in salted water, 1 to 2 tablespoons 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.
- Garnish with parsley and oregano or a sprinkle of paprika.
- Add chopped onion sautéed in olive oil, or just a dash of onion powder (and garlic powder too, why not?!)
- Incorporate diced tomatoes while you are cooking, with the red pepper and garlic.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are making Cajun shrimp pasta, something delicious to pair with it are sausages, specifically the andouille sausage – a Cajun andouille sausage is delicious, filled with Cajun spices and flavors that would pair well on the side or even sliced and put into your Cajun pasta. This adds protein to the pasta dish as well as gives it a kick.
Leftovers of this creamy Cajun shrimp pasta recipe will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
More Favorite Recipes from New Orleans
We are big fans of the delicious flavors in New Orleans. We’ve made a bunch of delicious copycat recipes from our visits there. If you love the flavors of New Orleans as much as we do, you’ve got to try some of these recipes!
- Mini Beignets
- Mint Juleps
- Cajun Chicken Po’ Boys
- Pecan Pralines
- Creole Butter Shrimp
- Cajun Style Grill Foil Packets
- One Pot Jambalaya Pasta
- Red Beans and Rice
- Shrimp Po Boys with Creamy Cajun Sauce
Just for fun, I added some pics from our trip below the recipe to help you get in a “Nawlins” mood while cooking. There are a few fun pictures from our trip to New Orleans, such a beautiful and unique city full of great culture and music.
How to Make Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- 1 pound raw shrimp remove shells and veins
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning is the best!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup red pepper chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces linguine cooked al dente
- Place thawed shrimp in a bowl. Coat the shrimp in Cajun seasoning.
- In a large skillet 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 to the pan. 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.
- While sauce is simmering, prepare the linguine according to package instruction.
- Toss in the cooked pasta and stir to coat.
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