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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.

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 dishes 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.

spices

Mix to blend.

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.

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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

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili 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

Instructions

  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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Comments

  • Easy, with ingredients on hand, and the result was delicious !!

    • — On one word AMAZING !!! on January 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • Made this recipe for dinner tonight. Left us thinking we had missed something! We had not! This was no where near this shrimp dish even in a less expensive New Orleans eatery. It was good sautéed shrimp, but NOT New Orleans at all. Must have had some “New York” influence.

      • — Jimmy Bevis on July 4, 2021
      • Reply
  • Oh my gosh paprika and ancho chili instead of Cayenne pepper? No black pepper? Sugar?!?! This is sacrilege!

    • — Boudreau on January 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • Family really enjoyed recipe!!! Their only request was more sauce to soak into the rice. If I double the sauce would that affect the overall flavor?
    If double the sauce I’m assuming double Worcestershire, Lemon Juice, and water?

    • Hi Scott, You can double the sauce, but you’d need to increase butter and garlic, too. I’d use a whole stick of butter and an extra garlic clove. Hope that helps!

      • Hi! Mom with a picky eater here. Is this recipe terribly spicy? This recipe sounds amazing and I would love to try it, but am afraid my picky little girl might think it is spicy. Thanks for all your awesome recipes, I am a huge fan 🙂

        • — Chrissy on March 8, 2021
        • Reply
        • Hi Chrissy, While the dish isn’t overly spicy, if you’re concerned, you can use regular chili powder instead of ancho chili powder, which isn’t spicy. Hope you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on March 9, 2021
          • Reply
  • If I want to reduce the amount of butter do I need to make other tweaks to the recipe? Thanks!

    • Yes, depending upon how much you reduce the butter, you could reduce the other ingredients proportionally. Hope you enjoy!

      • Thank you! While awaiting your reply, I made your shrimp with broccoli. It was delicious! This one is next on the list…

  • This meal has the fragrance and flavor of an Indian Cusine, not a New Orléans Cusine. My mom commented on this meal ‘this is a New Deli type meal, not a New Orléans type meal.’

    • Uh huh. Was it delicious?

  • We loved this shrimp recipe. It’s even better that all ingredients are on hand. It was a perfect after work meal. I served it with couscous… delicious! Thank you for your flavorful, easy recipes that make me look like a rockstar!

    • Glad you enjoyed! 🙂

  • Any advice on doubling the recipe?

    • I think this would double nicely, but I’d use two pans so you don’t crowd the shrimp. Hope you enjoy!

  • Jenn, I didn’t want to go to the store this evening. I looked in the freezer and found a half pound of frozen shrimp from Argentina. I decided to google ‘Cajun shrimp barbecue recipe’ and yours popped up. It looked as quick and easy as I wanted and decided to try it. I followed you recipe and served the BBQ shrimp over rice accompanied by steamed broccoli and cauliflower. It did not make me pull the page marker from my Paul Prudhomme Cookbook, but it was very good for a quick 30 minute meal. It paired well with a Mondavi Fumé Blanc. I will use your recipe again.

  • Absolutely delicious! I used all the spice and sauce ingredients with only 1 lb of shrimp; served with roasted green beans and plenty of crusty bread for dipping in the tasty sauce. We loved this shrimp and will definitely be making this again!

  • Easy recipe but where does the BBQ sauce come into this recipeif it’s BBQ shrimp. Thanks

    • — Debbie Darlin’
    • Reply
    • Excellent question! New Orleans BBQ Shrimp has actually very little to do with barbecue. In Louisiana, it refers to shrimp sauteed in a Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce. Hope that clarifies!

  • This note is on this recipe but it is for your general email box.

    I loved your old website because, unlike all the others, I didn’t have to read through all of the recipe history and emotions. I could just click on “recipe” or check the “reviews.” I really don’t want to have to go through all of a chef’s blog to get to a good recipe. That’s why I love Ina and Lidia. It’s not about them. It’s about the food. I have recommended your website to many many people. I have your cookbook. I love your recipes. You are an amazing chef and have contributed so much to my family.

    A major reason for this is not just your recipes, but because of the efficiency of your previous website. I am a professional and an incredible cook, and I highly value great organization without having to go through fluff. I would have never followed you if your website was like it is today. I don’t need to hear and see all of the additional information before the recipe. It should be after the recipe. Loved the recipe shortcut link at the top!!

    I hope I can do this new website. I have avoided all others that present their opinion before their recipe. Please, Jenn, reconsider. Would love the recipe link back up at the top.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Charlene, There is still a “jump to recipe” button — it’s the little recipe card right on top of the photo (to the right). You can also jump straight to the reviews by clicking on the drop-down arrow next to the stars. Hope that helps!

  • Yum! We loved this! And the next time I made it we didn’t have shrimp so I substituted catfish filets. That made a different dish, but it was equally delicious. My husband said we should have it often, and it’s so easy that I’m sure we will. Served the catfish with your butternut squash polenta as you suggested. Perfect!

  • Loved this recipe and served over grits!

  • Flavorful, easy after work meal! The balance of flavors was perfect. We were in the mood for some comfort food and had shrimp in the freezer. While I prefer fresh , this is good recipe to use with frozen because the spices conceal some of he frozen flavor. I soaked the shrimp in coconut milk and little baking soda to neutralize any iodine/freezer taste and then rinsed and proceeded with the recipe. I cut the butter in half and added a splash of sherry at the end but those changes weren’t necessary , just based on my pantry. Also added some fresh diced tomato. Served with cauliflower Mac and cheese and arugula stewed in ham stock. Will mak again !

  • Wanted something quick and different with the shrimp I had in the fridge and this really fit the bill. Have no idea why Bryant gave this a 1 star as this was very flavorful with the right balance of spice, acidity and sweetness and I love the fact that Jenn lowered the fat content in this. Emeril’s recipe is a heart attack on a plate and more time consuming. Anything tastes better with tons of fat. My husband loved it and he is very picky on flavors and taste.

  • Absolutely one of the worst shrimp recipes we have ever tried. Shrimp were totally bland and flavorless. Of course I am from New Orleans, but if you want anything near the real thing try Emeril’s recipe and leave this one alone.

    • I agree with you on Emeril’s recipe being better. This was just okay for us. Not horrible; not great. I kind of feel $30 worth of fresh shrimp were lost to a fair to middlin’ recipe that was missing depth of flavor.

      • We made this recipe and thought it was missing something… flavor, missing flavor. What did we do wrong. We used new and fresh ingredients.

        • — Jace Kole on November 6, 2021
        • Reply
        • Hi Jace, I’m sorry that you found this to be lacking in flavor. If you didn’t make any changes to the recipe and used fresh ingredients, it may just not suit your tastes. Sorry it was a flop for you!

          • — Jenn on November 7, 2021
          • Reply
    • Not knocking Emeril’s recipe, but that one takes at least an hour, working fast with prep. This one takes 20 minutes, uses fewer pans, and is quite good. Got the shrimp on sale for $7/lb. Great recipe for a weeknight meal. Will go into the rotation.

  • I love this recipe but made a few changes that I think improve the taste, after sticking exactly to the original recipe the first time. First of all, I used a whole stick of butter and doubled the other ingredients. I did not toss the shrimp with the spices but added the spices, worcestershire sauce, and a couple of bay leaves to the melted butter and garlic, heated gently for 5 minutes, then turned up the heat and cooked the shrimp. The last time I made this recipe, I used unshelled, deveined shrimp. I think these changes make a great recipe even better!

  • Any way to Skewer and grill the shrimp to achieve a simalar flavor?

    • Hi Carla, I do think you could get away with skewering and grilling the shrimp. I’d brush just a little of the sauce on the shrimp before grilling and then serve the rest (the majority) of it on the side. (Make sure to pour a little bit of the sauce for brushing on the shrimp into a separate bowl so you don’t contaminate the remainder of the sauce.) LMK how it turns out!

  • Delicious and easy!

  • Fast, simple and delicious! This was a great Lent friendly option!

  • Can you substitute olive oil for butter?

    • — Sharon McQueen
    • Reply
    • Sure Sharon, that would work. Enjoy!

  • Great recipe. A great twist for BBQ.

  • We love this recipe. So easy. I usually have everything I need for a last minute prep. Even made it for guests who showed up unexpectedly during hurricane Matthew. Always good.

  • Hi Jen,

    OMG the New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp is so easy to make and so delicious! Perfect as is! I always look forward to trying all of your recipes because I know they will always turn out to be a wonderful meal! Your step by step instructions are clear, pictures are really helpful and the food is always delicious! Thank you for taking the time to create and maintain this awesome website! You can tell you love to cook and bake. You make me look like I am an awesome cook! I love it!

    Many thanks,
    Lisa

  • Wow! this is the worst New Orleans BBQ shrimp recipe ever! Bland, no bite, no spice, no tang. This is NOT Nola BBQ shrimp.

    • — Calisha Joseph
    • Reply
  • I just made this for the first time. It is an excellent recipe which I will make again. I used a bit more of the dry spices than called for in the recipe and that worked well to ensure that each shrimp is well coated.

  • Looks like a great recipe, which I will try tonight. I love good BBQ Shrimp Recipes having traveled to “N’awlins” a ton.

    A word about shrimp – I’m a marine insurance broker which specializes in fishing boats, specifically Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Boats. I’ve been to the processing plants and talked a lot with shrimpers. Everything mentioned about the shrimp in the supermarket being thawed is correct. The shrimp are caught and chilled and then frozen once graded and sorted on shore. But, please when going to buy shrimp, look for wild caught domestic shrimp here in the U.S. There are a lot of foreign imports, which are usually farmed Tiger Prawns or Shrimp from Indonesia, India, Thailand, Ecuador and other places. Farm Raised shrimp are subject to different laws than wild caught. Notably, the FDA has not determined yet whether the large amounts of antibiotics poured into the ponds to stem disease is harmful to humans. More studies are being done. Plus, the large amounts of foreign shrimp are far cheaper than their wild caught cousins. The low prices are putting American shrimpers out of business. So, for a more natural product which helps American workers, buy wild.

    Just my piece. Thanks for the recipe and thanks for reading.

    • Good information for those who may not know, and a great reminder for the rest of us.

      • — Mike & Leigh Ann Parkinson
      • Reply
    • Very difficult to find wild caught domestic shrimp. Actually impossible in the Boston area.

      • — Janet P Kunian
      • Reply
      • We live in MetroWest and Whole Foods and our fish market in Marlborough has local wild caught.

  • I have made this a few times and it is wonderful. Since there are two of us home, I halve the recipe, and we still have some leftovers. We like it over rice. With the leftovers, we mix the shrimp and the rice. The rice picks up the flavor from the sauce, and it’s even better.

  • SO easy and SO delicious! I’ve made this several times and never get tired of it.

  • I loved the recipe and want to cook these at a tailgate at the end of the day. If I defrosted and dried the shrimp then tossed them in the spices and “baggied” them in a cooler with ice (early in the morning) would the shrimp still be fresh enough to cook with the other ingredients about 7 in the evening?

    • Hi Kay, As long as the cooler stays cold, they should be fine. Enjoy!

  • Do not expect typical BBQ flavor. DO expect to have a great flavor with shrimp! Very easy to prep – nice change from other shrimp recipes. It’s a keeper!

  • This dish is truly fantastic! I was leary of trying this dish because of the 5 tablespoons of butter. I decided to go ahead with the recipe as is and I’m so glad I did. I served this dish with quinoa and fresh steamed veggies. There were no leftovers. I will make it again and again. I encourage everyone to try it – it’s a love story waiting to happen!!

    • — Lesa Blackburn
    • Reply
  • Absolutely amazing! I added 5 tsp of black pepper, only because that is what I understand that the traditional recipe calls for. Also used a half of a fresh squeezed lime juice in addition to the lemon juice. I served with brown rice and a lime slice. Must admit I was weary of brown rice versus white, even though that’s all that my family eats. But it worked beautifully. Will definitely use this recipe again. And again!

  • This looks so good…. I would like to prepare a large batch by baking- could you give instructions?

    • — Liz Walkenshaw
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, You’ll have to start on the stovetop…

      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 small pan. Add the garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for one minute. Do not brown. Add garlic and butter to the shrimp toss to coat evenly.

      3. Transfer the shrimp to a large rimmed baking sheet and bake at 300°F for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are almost cooked but still opaque in spots. Remove the shrimp from the oven and stir in the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and water and cook until shrimp are done, a few minutes more. Scatter scallions over top and serve.

  • Made your New Orleans Style Shrimp. I don’t have shrimp lovers (except for me) in the house, so I used chicken breasts (cut up small to imitate shrimp) instead. It was really good and my guys loved it. I served it with cheesy grits and the dinner was a hit.

  • Best ever, I used dried Ancho Chili pods rehydrated them blended into a paste and used it.came out awesome.

  • Have looked all over town and am unable to find “ancho chili powder”. Any suggestions for substitutes. My husband cannot eat very spicy food.

    • Hi Joan, You can try substituting regular chili powder instead, which isn’t too spicy.

    • You can get ancho chili if you have a world market near you in their spice department its a smoky not hot chili poweder

      • You can get dried anchos at most grocers with a Hispanic section, and grind them yourself into a powder. If you want excellent quality dried Anchos or most other peppers, Pendery’s is about as good as sources come for high quality chiles,blends, and spices.

        I usually make BBQ shrimp using the Shrimp Tangipahoa recipe found in John Folse’s Hooks,Lies,and Alibis cookbook. It’s pretty much the King James Bible of LousyAnna fish and game recipes. But this one looks pretty awesome and I look foward to making a batch with it.

        Thanks!

  • I have made these twice using the largest shrimp I could find. Big hit both times! I will continue using this recipe.

  • I’ve made this two times and it was a big hit. I had trouble finding the ancho chili powder so I substituted chipotle chili powder and increased the salt a bit. It was great with a little extra heat. I also paired it with brown rice. Delicious!

  • Very good and simple! To give it more of a BBQ/smokey flavor, I usually sub in smoked paprika and use lime instead of lemon. Use a good chili powder (I grind up hatch or guajillo). Unsalted butter is a must (or leave out the salt).

  • I made this recipe the other day. It was wonderful! So easy and delicious! It will now be part of my menu rotation. Thanks so much for sharing your fantastic recipes! I have shared your site with several family members and friends.

  • Hi Jenn

    I made the New Orleans Style Shrimp tonight and it was quick to make and delicious to eat! Thanks again for sharing.

    Lisa

  • Just read the reviews as well as your notes. Will make when I get the ancho chili powder…I do have cayenned..not sure if that will work..thanks!

    • Hi Lisa, I think it’s a good call to get the ancho chili powder; it has great flavor. Definitely be careful with cayenne — it cannot be used as a substitute for chili powder, as it’s very hot.

  • Hi Jenn,

    Was going to the New Orleans Styler Barbecue Shrimp recipe today and just realized I have chili powder, not ancho chili powder. Can you use chili powder in place of ancho chili powder?

    Thanks.

  • For many years I have made Paul Prudhomme’s version of barbecue shrimp. It was always a one-in-a-blue-moon treat with 1 1/2 sticks of butter for 1 pound of shrimp (serving 2). It’s fabulous, but I can’t wait to try your lighter version. I bet it’s equally delicous!

  • This is just about the best thing I’ve ever cooked! Followed the recipe exactly – AMAZING! Thank you!!

  • These were amazing I made this tonight and my kids loved it!

  • Needs plenty of black pepper.

  • If you are lucky enough to live where you can get fresh shrimp that have not been frozen, save the heads and the shells when you peel them. Toss in a Ziploc Freezer bag and freeze. You can use them later to make your own shrimp stock. I do it all of the time. I live in South Louisiana.

  • This is so good, it is amazing. The first time I made it, used cayenne and the next time I had ancho. The ancho chili powder is milder and worth the trouble of finding. I love this so much that I made up a large batch of the spices to have ready whenever I get the craving for this shrimp.

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