Cajun Fried Shrimp

Celebrate Mardi Gras in style this year with a batch of this Cajun Fried Shrimp + Spicy Dipping Sauce!

Celebrate Mardi Gras in style this year with a batch of this Cajun Fried Shrimp + Spicy Dipping Sauce!It’s funny thinking back to how we met some of our best friends.  I actually met one of my best friends via email.  It’s true.  During my sophomore year in college, I got a random email from a guy down at LSU.  He was in the same fraternity as me, and it turns out he was a huge Duke fan.  He was basically throwing out a long shot to see if there was any way he could get up to Duke to see a basketball game.  I responded and explained that our ID cards served as our tickets to the games, so the chances were quite slim. 

Nevertheless, we stayed in touch via email over the next couple of years.  Sure enough, the year after I graduated, I managed to get some tickets to a game over Christmas break.  (Duke sells the student section tickets during break as most students are back at home.)  My buddy came up and had front row seats to his first Duke game.  He went all out and borrowed my facepaint and game “costume” (i.e. blue hair, hat made from an old basketball cut in half, jersey, etc.)…and he made it on tv.  Good times!

Celebrate Mardi Gras in style this year with a batch of this Cajun Fried Shrimp + Spicy Dipping Sauce!But this post isn’t about Duke basketball.  This post is about Mardi Gras.  Remember when I mentioned that this guy went to LSU?  He had invited some of us down for Mardi Gras my junior year, but we didn’t make the trip.  Then my senior year rolled around.  I was sitting downstairs in a friend’s room talking about how much fun it would be to go to Mardi Gras…and then I remembered the offer.  I called my buddy up, and sure enough, he told us to come on down!  So about 3 hours later, a few of us piled into a car and made the roadtrip from Durham, NC to Baton Rouge, LA.  We had an amazing time down there…so much so that I actually ended up moving to Baton Rouge a year or so later.  If you’ve never visited south Louisiana, then put it on your list of places to go!

Celebrate Mardi Gras in style this year with a batch of this Cajun Fried Shrimp + Spicy Dipping Sauce!One of the things that stood out at me the most from that Mardi Gras trip was the people I met.  Everyone down there was so friendly!  We met my buddy (who later was a groomsman in my wedding) and then headed off to New Orleans for the weekend.  We stayed with people who didn’t even know us, but they welcomed us in and fed us like we were lifelong friends!

And the food.  The food.  The food in south Louisiana is amazing!  I’m talking King Cake…and Shrimp Etouffee…and gumbo…and red beans…and the list goes on and on.  I fell in love with Cajun and Creole cooking, and it’s been a staple around our house ever since.  (We live in upstate New York, and it’s not easy to find good Cajun food this far from Louisiana.)

Celebrate Mardi Gras in style this year with a batch of this Cajun Fried Shrimp + Spicy Dipping Sauce!I’ve always loved fried shrimp, and this Cajun Fried Shrimp is definitely a recipe to bookmark!  We don’t fry food very often around here.  Fried food isn’t exactly healthy, plus frying is just a mess.  But sometimes it’s worth it.  Sometimes you just need Cajun Fried Shrimp!  This Cajun fried shrimp is really quite easy to make, too.  You just mix up a buttermilk marinade of sorts and let the shrimp rest for 30 minutes.  Then just dip ’em in a flour + cornmeal mixture and fry ’em up.  Laura and I ate these (along with the spicy dipping sauce) for dinner next to some sauteed veggies.  I’m thinking I want to make these Cajun Fried Shrimp again and then create a fried shrimp po’boy.  Mmm…po’boys…

Celebrate Mardi Gras in style this year with a batch of this Cajun Fried Shrimp + Spicy Dipping Sauce!Fat Tuesday is quickly approaching, so grab some beads and “Laissez les bon temps rouler!” (Let the good times roll!).  Cheers!

Looking for a fun way to take these Cajun fried shrimp to the next level?  Put ’em in a Fried Shrimp Po’boy!

Celebrate Mardi Gras in style this year with a batch of this Cajun Fried Shrimp + Spicy Dipping Sauce!

Cajun Fried Shrimp

Celebrate Mardi Gras in style this year with a batch of this Cajun Fried Shrimp + Spicy Dipping Sauce!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 703kcal

Ingredients

For the Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp cream-style horseradish sauce
  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp dill pickle juice
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

For the Shrimp

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • ½ Tbsp black pepper
  • ½ Tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ Tbsp onion powder
  • 3 pounds large or jumbo raw shrimp peeled and deveined but with tails on

For the Breading

  • cups cornmeal
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 cups canola or vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

For the Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce

  • Using a small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together until well combined. (Tip: This Dipping Sauce will taste better if you make it earlier in the day and then cover it and place it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.)

For the Shrimp

  • Using a large bowl, combine all ingredients for shrimp (buttermilk, eggs, hot sauce, mustard, Cajun seasoning, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder). Add shrimp and toss until well coated; refrigerate shrimp for 30 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for breading except for oil and lemons (cornmeal, flour and Cajun seasoning).
  • Working in batches of 4-5 shrimp, remove shrimp from buttermilk mixture and toss in breading mixture. Shake off any excess batter before frying.
  • Using a deep frying pan, add oil and place over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F. (Test oil by dropping a pinch of dry breading into oil. If it bubbles immediately, then oil is ready.)
  • Working in batches of 13-15 shrimp at a time, fry for 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer cooked shrimp to paper-towel (or brown paper grocery bag) lined plate. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
  • Serve with Spicy Cajun Dipping Sauce.

Celebrate Mardi Gras in style this year with a batch of this Cajun Fried Shrimp + Spicy Dipping Sauce!

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32 Comments

  1. YAY!!! A seafood recipe my husband will actually enjoy! He doesn’t care for fish with the exception of shrimp. This recipe has his name all over it!
    Awesome story about your friend. I went to MG during college but didn’t care for it. But that’s no surprise since I’m not keen on large, drunk crowds. I REALLY want to visit New Orleans in the offseason to experience its one of a kind atmosphere. I may not have enjoyed the party of MG but I remember being enchanted by the food. HOW FUN!

    1. You know what’s funny? I used to only like fish and not shrimp. But I think that’s because my little sister liked shrimp, and in my mind that mind I wouldn’t like it. Haha! So Mardi Gras is indeed a huge party. But here’s the thing. Mardi Gras down in the French Quarter is a bunch of drunken tourists. Mardi Gras out in the neighborhoods (where parades roll by before ending in the French Quarter) is a lot more fun. It’s still packed, but not as much pure drunkenness and stuff. But either way, go back to New Orleans during non-Mardi Gras time. It’s really an incredible place, and I miss living down there like you wouldn’t believe! Mmmm…Cajun food = good. 🙂

  2. Hahaha! I love the story of how you met your friend. College really was the best–three hours’ notice for a road trip sooooo wouldn’t work for me anymore but back then I would’ve been patting myself on the back for planning so well haha! I can’t say I’ve ever had real cajun food but these shrimp sound fantastic!

    1. Yeah, I look back at that 3-hour notice for a roadtrip across about 1/3 of the country and I just laugh. That is SO not me now. But that trip ended up working out…so much so that I moved to Louisiana for a bit. I miss it down there. And I really miss the food down there! Mmmm…Cajun food is incredible. 🙂 Thanks, Kels!

  3. I love that trip story! it seems sometimes that the most weird encounters turn out to be the best ones. I love fried shrimp David and I have never had cajun style fried shrimp ever so I might get lucky soon!! I’ll let you know how they turn out! Hugs my friend!

    1. You are totally right, Gaila! I might who would’ve thought that a random spur-of-the-moment road trip in college would lead to me living in south Louisiana? But it was awesome…both the road trip and living down there. So if you’ve never had Cajun shrimp, then you definitely need to try this one. It is so good, and I’m not just saying that! 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend, and I hope you’re doing well!!

  4. I can totally relate– some of the best friendships are started online! I actually met a really good friend of mine through Facebook. I guess it’s a sign of the internet age right? 😉 I visited Baton Rouge a few years ago and loved it! I’m so jealous that you got to live in that area. It must have been a blast! This shrimp looks 100 percent authentic Louisiana. I’m actually gluten-free, so I was thinking of trying this with either gluten-free flour in place of the ap or doubling the cornmeal. Do you have any thoughts on which would work better? Thanks David! Can’t wait to try this!

    1. You know, that’s a really good point, Alyssa. The internet age has totally changed everything from dating to meeting good friends to, well, everything. (I mean look at food blogs, right??) So I seriously miss Baton Rouge and south Louisiana. It’s such an amazing place down there!

      Hmmm…gluten free. I think that’s doable here for sure. I don’t know how gluten-free flour works as a breading, but I would give that a shot first. I’m thinking all cornmeal might lead to too heavy of a batter. The flour helps keep it light once fried. That’s just a guess, but I’d start there! And I do hope you make this one, Alyssa. It’s SO good! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

    1. No way! What a fun story, Manali. And I love that you described him as your best friend first and then revealed that he’s your husband. That’s how it should be! I actually met Laura online, too, but that has nothing to do with these shrimp. Haha! Thanks so much for the kind words, my friend!

  5. This recipe is definitely for my husband. 🙂 I never met any friend online like through social media, But yes, through my blogging journey I made many friends while blogging, commenting and of course through social media as well.
    Well as far as fried food is concerned, I am very cautious about it being unhealthy and hence I tried to avoid it as much as possible, but at the same time, I must say that some of the fried food tastes really good.

    1. That’s the wonderful thing about blogging and social media…it leads to friends from unexpected places. I mean we’ve never met in person, but I totally consider you a friend, Puja! 🙂 I agree with you about fried food. We don’t it often around here as (1) it’s not healthy and (2) it’s kinda messy to fry food at him. But this shrimp is an exception to the rule! We just try to be good about portion sizes when we do eat fried food. Thanks so much!

  6. Your road trip sounds like a lot of fun – would love to visit South Lousiana one day! Reading this post made me think about how I met all of my friends 🙂 There are some funny stories too and I have met some great people through blogging. Fried food might not be the healthiest food but every now and then it is absolutely fine especially when it looks as delicious as your Cajun Fried Shrimp!

    1. I’ve met some pretty amazing folks through blogging as well, Miriam. It’s kinda funny how that works. We find friends online, and it’s always fun if you get the chance to meet up in person. As far as south Louisiana, definitely put it on your list of places to go. It’s hotter than hot in the summer, so I recommend early spring or late fall. But it’s such an incredible part of the United States down there. And the Cajun food. Oh man is it good! I agree with you about fried food, but we just try to watch portion sizes whenever we eat fried food. That and we serve it up with a ton of veggies on the side. Either way, thanks for the kind words, my friend!

  7. I haven’t had Cajun and Creole food for a long while. Honesty, I’m not a huge fan of breaded food as this exterior might be too thick and soggy – I prefer to feel actually meat/poultry/seafood, right? But it looks you’ve managed to make beautiful shrimp – golden, crisp, and I even see the shrimps’ silhouette haha:) I like you used cornmeal here; I guess this is a winning ingredient here. Very well done, David!

    1. So I think the key is to use cornmeal in your breading, Ben. If it’s all flour, then I agree that the breading often feels too heavy and soggy from the oil. But cornmeal keeps it light and crunchy. Give it a shot! Also, Cajun food is seriously one of my favorites…but you already know that. 🙂 How about I send you some to prove that fried food can indeed be delicious? Deal?

  8. That’s so cool how you guys met! I’ve met some awesome people and made some real friendships via blogging so I guess that’s a similar kinda thing. I’ve never had real Cajun food, but it definitely sounds like I’d enjoy it! Those shrimp sound delicious and I’m lovin’ the sound of that sauce with the kick of horseradish in there! Cheers to an awesome weekend, my friend!

    1. It totally is the same thing, Dawn! Blogging has opened up all sorts of new ways to interact, and I’ve met some awesome folks through the blog. Wait. You’ve never had real Cajun food? Come on down here, and I’ll cook you up some of my favorites! Just be forewarned that I might make you watch Olympic curling while we hang out. 🙂

  9. David, I LOVE the story of how you and your friend/groomsman met! Louisiana has been on my list of places to visit and eat at for a long time – if I can talk Lil Shashi into going there instead of NYC this summer, I might be able to finally scratch it off that list of mine! A friend of mine is from there and when we used to work together, he would bring in King Cake and Shrimp Etouffee and gumbo with EVERYTHING in it and red beans and rice … ahhh those were some good-eating-office days! BTW, I LOVE LOVE Shrimp – but I don’t usually fry them (usually I just buy the fried kind) but this deliciously-cajun-flavor-jammed version is making me rethink my ways! Gosh, I could do some serious damage to that plate – ALL BY MYSELF!!!

    1. Uh, yes! Go to Louisiana. It’s seriously a trip you won’t regret. I mean you live in the south, so you’re used to gorgeous Southern mansions and good Southern food…Louisiana just takes this to a new level. 🙂 Man, just reading that list of Cajun favorites made me hungry. The food down there is SO good. We don’t fry shrimp here at home very often either, but this is one of those exceptions. Trust me! Hope you gals are having a great week down there!

  10. Something I regret not having eaten when we visited Vegas a few years ago was fried shrimp! OK so that’s not quite South Louisiana as you mention where all the xcellent Cajun food comes from but having just arrived in the States we
    were in the closest place we could get to it! Still, at least now I can make my own cajun fried shrimp at home! Thanks for this David. Have a great weekend!

    1. I get it, Neil! I’ve actually never been to Vegas, so I’d love to get there someday. But when it comes to fried food, you’ve gotta head to south Louisiana and New Orleans. They know how to fry their food down there! I’ve had some pretty bad fried food in other parts of the country, but some of the best fried fish I’ve ever eaten was down in Louisiana. I’ve gotta say this fried shrimp rivals it for sure! I know fried food isn’t healthy at all, but it’s worth trying this one out…especially since Mardi Gras is coming up! 🙂

  11. Gah, don’t go start talking about po’ boys now!!! Those are some of the tastiest sandwiches out there. I can only imagine if I were to use this recipe for that. Sounds sooooo good!

    Not only that, sounds like that trip to Louisiana was a real sour of the moment adventure! Those can be the best haha. So cool the people and place you can meet up at all because some guy randomly emailed you one day. Great story!

    1. Oh man, I love a good po’boy! Sadly, I can’t find anything even close to a po’boy way up here in upstate New York. Guess I’ll just have to make my own. 🙂 And, yes, these shrimp would be an excellent start to those sammiches! Thanks, Matt…it’s funny how life works out, isn’t it? I mean who would’ve thought that roadtrip would lead to me moving to Louisiana a year later?? Best decision ever though!

  12. I love it that you became such good friends through modern day letters. 🙂 You probably knew each other twice as well as if you’d only met in person. So much more detail when you have to write things out.

    And these fried shrimp? OMGee…how do you clean drool off of a keyboard? Asking for a friend. 😉

    1. Hey! That’s a good point. Modern day letters. I mean that’s kinda what email is, right? Of course, these days email is an “antiquated” form of communication compared to texts, snaps and whatnot.

      I’m not sure about cleaning drool off of a keyboard…but if you figure it out, will you let me know? That could come in handy from time to time! Haha! Thanks, Marissa!

  13. OMG, you found my true weakness. No matter how healthy I’m trying to be Cajun Fried Shrimp is always on my mind. Wow, that’s a weird way to meet someone, I need to be better at emailing people back lol. Duck Basketball is so exciting. Now I want to go to a game. Madi Gras is around the corner, I wish I could be in NOLA. You have some good memories.

    1. Yes! I got to you, Mary. 🙂 Who would’ve guessed that Cajun Fried Shrimp was the way? But now I know! And you’re totally right. I would love (I mean LOVE) to be down in NOLA right now. Mardi Gras is always such a fun time of the year down there in south Louisiana. I miss it!

  14. David – I’m totally with you about fried food – for some foods, like these shrimp, it’s the ONLY way, and it’s totally worth it! That sauce you made for the shrimp sounds out of this world -I’ve found pickle juice adds so much to sauces and dressings, too – it’s a great addition! And there’s no memories like those college road trips! Would love to be in NOLA for Mardi Gras!

    1. Yes! We try to avoid fried foods most of the time, but we still “cheat” now and then…and these Cajun Fried Shrimp were an awesome way to cheat. Plus, we served these with a bunch of sauteed veggies, so I actually didn’t feel too bad about the fact that they were fried. And, yes, I wish I was in NOLA today so bad right now! Happy Mardi Gras, my friend! 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING 🤩🤩 I made it yesterday for Christmas. And the dipping sauce, wow! I don’t like my food spicy, so I didn’t use the cayenne pepper. It was still DELICIOUS!!

    1. Hey Angie! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe – it’s definitely one of our favorites around here, too. There is SO much flavor packed into this one! And thank you also for taking the time to leave a comment, too. Cheers!! 🙂

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