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New Orleans-Inspired BBQ Shrimp

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This sautéed barbecue shrimp in a Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce is one of those dishes you can throw together at a moment’s notice.

Bread in a bowl with New Orleans-inspired barbeque shrimp.

New Orleans BBQ shrimp has actually very little to do with barbecue. The Louisiana dish refers to sautéed shrimp in a garlicky, Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce. Typically made with copious amounts of butter, the shrimp are cooked and served with the shell on and then peeled at the table. It’s a rich and delicious dish but not very practical for a weeknight family dinner. This is my super-simple, easy-to-eat version. Butter is still the main ingredient in the sauce but I’ve scaled the amount way back, and the shrimp are peeled before cooking. If you keep shrimp in your freezer, it’s one of those shrimp recipes you can throw together at a moment’s notice. Bonus: kids love it!

What you’ll need to make New Orleans-Inspired BBQ shrimp

bbq shrimp ingredientsBefore we get started, a few words on buying shrimp. While fresh seafood is obviously superior to frozen, I always buy frozen shrimp. Fact is, unless you live on the coast, it’s near impossible to find truly fresh shrimp. The “fresh” shrimp you see in the seafood case at the supermarket is typically thawed frozen shrimp, and you never know how long it’s been sitting out.

Almost all shrimp are cleaned and flash frozen shortly after being caught, so for the freshest shrimp, you’re better off buying frozen and defrosting it yourself. For this recipe, I buy extra-large frozen shrimp labeled “shell split and deveined.” Come dinnertime, all I have to do is run the shrimp under warm water to quickly defrost and then peel.

Step-by-step instructions

To begin, add the paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, salt, and sugar to a bowl. Note that ancho chili powder is not the same as regular chili powder. Chili powder is a blend of spices, while ancho chili powder is a pure chili powder made from ground ancho peppers with deep rich flavor and mild to medium heat.

Unmixed spices in a bowl.

Mix to blend.

Spatula in a bowl with mixed spices.

Toss the shrimp with the spices until evenly coated.

tossing shrimp with spices

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.

melting butter in skillet

Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about a minute. Do not brown.

sautéing garlic

Add the shrimp.

adding shrimp to skillet

Continue cooking until almost done but still opaque in spots. Keep the heat at medium so the shrimp cook gently; if shrimp are cooked over high heat, they can seize up and become tough. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and a few tablespoons of water.

partially cooked shrimp

Continue cooking for a few minutes more until the shrimp are cooked, then scatter the thinly sliced scallions over top.

cooked bbq shrimp with scallions

Serve with buttered rice or toasted baguette slices.

Bread in a bowl with New Orleans-inspired barbeque shrimp.

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New Orleans-Inspired BBQ Shrimp

This sautéed barbecue shrimp in a Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce is one of those dishes you can throw together at a moment’s notice.

Servings: 4 - 6
Total Time: 20 Minutes


  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds extra large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 scallions, dark green parts, thinly sliced


  1. Mix the paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Add the shrimp to the spices and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for one minute. Do not brown. Add the shrimp and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are almost cooked but still opaque in spots, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and water and cook until shrimp are done, 1 to 2 minutes more. Scatter the scallions over top and serve.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 209
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 21 g
  • Sodium: 928 mg
  • Cholesterol: 216 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Hi,
    I’ll start by saying I’m a chef who has spent some time working in New Orleans. My wife found this recipe and made it for dinner last week. We like the end product, however I wouldn’t call this New Orleans style. First and most important ancho chilies aren’t used in bbq shrimp. Second Crystal hot sauce is a MUST in bbq shrimp. I personally use considerably more Worcestershire. Also the butter should be added at the end and stirred in to emulsify. Nice dish just not New Orleans.

    • — Chef G on January 24, 2024
    • Reply
    • Chef G, thank you for speaking on behalf of all New Orleans professional chefs and cooks, and home cooks. We all make ‘New Orleans Shrimp’ exactly the same and never punt because of the ingredients we have on hand or the palates of those we cook for. Crystal hot sauce? Cooks across the country will have to order it online. This recipe is designed for home cooks everywhere and uses pantry staples.

      • — Chris on February 22, 2024
      • Reply
  • Whoa! As good a recipe as I have been able to find. A true surprise!

    • — Quick and Dirty on November 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • No to sugar. Just no.

    • — Maggie on May 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jen, I don’t have any ancho chili powder but I do have a batch of Emeril’s Essence mixed up. Instead of making your seasoning mix can I use Emeril’s instead and if so how much? Thanks for another delicious looking recipe.

    • — Terry Gibson on March 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Terry, I think you can get away with it. If your seasoning has salt in it, I would omit the salt in my recipe. Also, make sure to include the sugar. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on March 15, 2023
      • Reply
      • Jen, I went ahead and added 1 1/2 – 2 Tbls. of the Emeril’s Essence and it came out great. We were thinking of adding 1/2 cup beer (lager) instead of the water in with the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice mixture, thinking it would add a little more sauce. (husband likes things saucey) Served Jasmine rice and a salad with a creole mustard vinagrette dressing. Perfect

        • — Terry Gibson on March 15, 2023
        • Reply
        • So glad it came out well — thanks for the follow-up!

          • — Jenn on March 16, 2023
          • Reply
  • Quick, easy and delicious. Made with pantry staples. What more could you want? Once again, thanks Jen.

    • — Kim on January 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • The shrimp in the photo are overcooked because they’re curled into tight O’s rather than C’s. At 3 minutes they would be perfectly done.

    • — Maggie on November 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Judging by everyone’s positive reviews, her cooking time doesn’t seem to be an issue:) The shrimp in the one photo do look overcooked but that doesn’t necessarily mean the recipe isn’t still correct♥️

      • — Bubbles on February 28, 2023
      • Reply
  • We have tried different barbecue shrimps and my husband loves this one the best thank you

    • — Elizabeth on October 31, 2022
    • Reply
  • Absolutely fantastic, follow the recipe and you can’t go wrong. I did this as an appetizer for a high level dinner, everyone wanted more. Don’t forget the french bread. I like to tear into bite size chunks to soak up the leftover sauce. Some recipes tell you to leave shells on but this works fantastic and can be eaten cleanly with toothpicks. Don’t bypass the Ancho Chili Pepper, it’s a key ingredient and get the biggest wild caught shrimp possible. This will compare to any you find in New Orleans.

    • — Doug on May 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is the best recipe out there, my opinion. I make a bit more sauce, and add some smoke flavor, because I serve it over cheesy grits. So thanks for posting this. It is similar to the hickory butter shrimp at the Maple Tree Inn, one of my favorite Chicago south side restaurants.

    • I used smoked paprika. I serve with cheesy grits/polenta too I really love Bob’s Red Mill grits/polenta. I work for years in a mill and we were famous for our grits but they’re not as good as Bob’s!

      • — Ginger Molldrem on September 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • This recipe was great! I made the sauce a day ahead of time so the flavors had time to meld. Made this for Christmas Eve as part of a “7 Fishes” dinner. Guests raved. I’ll definitely make it again.

  • I’ve always made bbq shrimp with shells on, but I have a pound of peeled & deveined jumbo shrimp in the freezer that I don’t know what else to do with. I’ll try your method. My version is more basic — butter, a little olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, S&P, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme. Serve with French bread to sop up all the juice.

    • — Cindy Macolini
    • Reply
  • This turned out fantastic! Definitely going to keep in rotation. Delicious!!!

  • I made this last night for 2. So I halved the recipe. It was absolutely one of the best and fastest shrimp dishes I’ve ever made! I made a cold, lemony orzo filled with fresh veggies and dill. That saucy goodness ran underneath the orzo and it was lip smackin’ good! Served it with a chenin blanc wine. Highly recommend just as written. Thank you!

    • I was drooling reading your review. Thanks

  • Made recipe as written and it was awesome! Will definitely make again often.

  • Hi Jenn,

    OMG – this is so simple, so good!!!!
    I made this last night for dinner, huge hit!!! I was out of rice, so I served the shrimp over pasta, w/ a lemon wedge, and finely chopped flat leaf parsley on top. The “sauce” created through the cooking process was enough to lightly toss the pasta in- this definitely is a new favorite at home.
    Thank you!!!

  • I will be making this for Fat Tuesday!! Every recipe I’ve tried from your website has been amazing – I’m sure this will be the same. Thank you!

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