New Orleans Crawfish Bread
New Orleans Crawfish Bread is a Jazz Fest favorite! Can’t make it to Jazz Fest this year? Make a batch of this crawfish bread at home instead!
There aren’t many times when you can listen to a classic New Orleans brass band followed by Shaggy followed by Dave Matthews Band. But that’s exactly what happens at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Jazz Fest is held each year in late April, and I had the chance to go a couple of times back when I was living in south Louisiana. From Dixieland to second-line drumming, New Orleans was at the center of the jazz revival that started in the mid-twentieth century.
Jazz Fest was initially created in 1970 as a chance to celebrate local musicians. However, the festival soared in popularity, and now it features an eclectic (and awesome) mix of local musicians playing next to nationally known performers. I went to Jazz Fest in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina had devastated the city just months before. It was amazing to see fans and musicians come together to support one of the great American cities. (Jazz Fest is a major tourist event in New Orleans, and it brings significant revenue to the city and region.)
While the music might be the main calling card at Jazz Fest, the food is certainly not far behind. Like any good event in south Louisiana, Jazz Fest is marked by same delicious local favorites. In the application to be a food vendor, the rules strictly prohibit all “carnival food.” So you’re not likely to find corn dogs and elephant ears at this festival. (I have no issues with corn dogs and elephant ears, btw.) Jazz Fest also requires all food vendors to be full-time Louisiana residents – I like that the festival maintains this local flare!
Jazz Fest even has a food tab on their homepage…after all, it’s south Louisiana. You know good food will play a key role! In addition to the classic boiled crawfish, you’ll stumble across some other amazing foods as well. I’m talking alligator po’boys, softshell crabs, jambalaya, jalapeno bread, muffalettas, crawfish beignets, catfish meunière. The list goes on. Talk about one heck of a delicious list! Another food icon at Jazz Fest? New Orleans Crawfish Bread.
New Orleans Crawfish Bread
You know how you crave pumpkin and pecan pies at Thanksgiving? Perhaps gingerbread around Christmas? And then a good grilled hamburger on Memorial Day? Well, crawfish bread is like that for me. Crawfish bread is so iconic to Jazz Fest that I often crave this delicious recipe every Spring…right around the time of Jazz Fest.
So what exactly is crawfish bread? Well, you start with good Louisiana crawfish tails. Crawfish are a quintessential food in south Louisiana, and peak season is typically March, April and May. Perfect timing for crawfish boils in the backyard on those early Spring days!
Like many good Cajun recipes, New Orleans Crawfish Bread starts with sauteing up the holy trinity of Cajun cooking – onion, celery and bell peppers. From there, you simply add some cream cheese, Cajun seasoning and shredded cheese. (I used Cabot’s pepperjack cheese. It’s a creamy cheese that melts well and brings a punch of spice – perfect for Cajun recipes!)
That mixture gets spread onto a halved loaf of French bread and baked in the oven for about 15 minutes. Once it comes out, you’ve got one heck of a delicious appetizer! We’ve served this New Orleans Crawfish Bread as appetizers, but we’ve also eaten it as a main dish alongside some roasted veggies. No matter how you serve it, I promise it won’t last long. Enjoy! (Oh, and crawfish bread absolutely tastes better when you’ve got Preservation Hall Jazz Band playing in the background!)
Did you make this New Orleans Crawfish Bread at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)…I’d love to see your version!
New Orleans Crawfish Bread
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup white onion finely diced
- 2 stalks celery finely diced
- 1 small green bell pepper finely diced
- 1 small red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 16 oz. crawfish tails see note
- 8 oz. cream cheese cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- 4 oz. pepperjack cheese shredded
- 1 large loaf soft French bread halved lengthwise
- chopped Italian parsley
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- Using a large skillet, add butter and olive oil; place over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add onion, celery and bell peppers; stir until well combined. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until bell peppers have softened slightly.
- Add garlic; stir and continue sautéing for 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
- Add wine, Cajun seasoning, crawfish tails and cream cheese; stir until well combined. Continue sautéing, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese has fully melted and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Once cooled, add green onions and pepperjack cheese; stir until well combined.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread mixture evenly on top of two halves of French bread.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
- Switch oven to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until top of mixture has browned slightly.
- Remove from oven and top with chopped parsley.
- Slice and serve warm.
Looking for more tasty Cajun recipes? Check out some of these other favorites, too:
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Jazz Fest sounds super fun!! I’ve heard off and have seen crawfish before (on tv), but have never had. I know that I’d love this. After all, seafood, bread, cheese and seasonings…all pretty delicious, if you ask me! P.S. I like corn dogs too 😉 Have a great week, David!
Crawfish are awesome! They’re iconic to the Gulf Coast, but I imagine you could probably substitute shrimp as I don’t know how easy it would be to find crawfish up in your area. This bread is delicious! Also, I love me a good corn dog, too. Haha!
What fun times! I love events that are so closely tied with food. This crawfish bread sounds so tasty. I can see all the flavors and creaminess. What a great way to celebrate Jazz Fest!
Yes! I love events that are tied to food as well. Of course, every event in south Louisiana is tied to food…so maybe that’s why I love it down there so much! 🙂 This crawfish is really, really tasty! I know it might seem odd to mix cheese with seafood, but this one is delicious. Thanks, Kathy!
New Orleans has long been on my list of places to visit but I don’t think I’ll get there any time soon. . .so I’m glad that I can whip up some of this bread and pretend I’m at Jazz Fest! It sounds delicious!
Hah! Yeah, traveling isn’t so much happening this year, is it? We had a trip to Charleston, SC get cancelled recently. We just moved it back a year, but I’m still really bummed about it. You’re right, though! At least we can still make delicious food at home. And I heard something about Jazz Fest going virtual this year – I need to go look that up and see what the deal is there.
A close friend of ours was planning to attend the jazz fest this year – he’s SO disappointed about it. Sounds like an amazing event!
I’ve never had crawfish bread before, but it looks right up my alley. So many New Orleans food gems!!
Oh no! That stinks that he was planning on going this year – I did hear they are moving it to a virtual event. I’m not sure what that means, and I’m sure that it won’t be the same thing, but I might have to go check it out anyways. Perhaps you can make a batch of crawfish bread for your friend and listen to the music online this year? 🙂
I’ve never heard of crawfish bread, but it looks and sounds amazing. I must must admit I’m not a huge fan of lobster rolls (They often tend to be bland and boring), but I’m 100% into this bread cause: 1) a strong flavour and texture profile; 2) cheese; 3) it’s baked. I’m sold – please ship me a dozen! 🙂
You know me, Ben – I like strong flavors. I don’t want my food to be bland. This Crawfish Bread is delicious, and it’s packed with flavor. Now I know it’s probably hard to find crawfish up there in Canada, but I imagine you could use shrimp instead here. Try it out!
That Jazz Fest sounds like so much fun – I love such a variety of music!
This Crawfish Bread looks so packed full of flavour – I love the flavours of New Orleans!
Jazz Fest truly is awesome, Alex! It’s a 2-weekend festival with many of the best names in music. But there’s also a strong local flair as well with local New Orleans musicians and of course local New Orleans food. This Crawfish Bread is a Jazz Fest favorite! 🙂
Love the info about Jazz Fest! I would absolutely love to go one year! The food and the music both sound absolutely amazing. As does this Crawfish Bread! I love the crusty bread and cheese combo, and this sounds like an absolutely delicious Louisiana spin on it! Definitely trying this!
Oh you should totally put Jazz Fest on your bucket list, Shannon! Not only is New Orleans a great city by itself, but Jazz Fest is a great chance to see legends of the music world play right alongside local talent – and it’s not all jazz! And the food? It’s south Louisiana, so of course the food is gonna be good! Crawfish Bread is a staple at Jazz Fest, and this recipe really is tasty. 🙂
Jazz Fest sounds like a good time. This crawfish bread sounds like it would be something I would love.
Oh, this crawfish bread is truly delicious, Dawn! (I mean everything in New Orleans is delicious…haha.) I know it might seem strange to mix cheese with seafood, but it totally works here. Now I’m craving another batch! 🙂
David, I love New Orleans and everything about it. I guess I need to return so I can learn about Crawfish bread! This looks amazing! Such great flavors! I may have to make the shrimp version, we don’t see crawfish too often here in the Pacific Northwest, sadly. But Wow, does this look de-lish!
Hey Laura! You’re absolutely right that crawfish are pretty difficult to find outside of the Gulf Coast. I think shrimp could be used in a pinch for this recipe, but I say you should just make plans to return to NOLA once the quarantine is over. 🙂
this looks heavenly david. how delicious! i’m not sure if crawfish are the same as our yabbies and crayfish but they probably are:) Was the festival cancelled this year? it seems that every festival and fair was cancelled here till next year. such a shame. it is anzac day tomorrow and we are having to stand in our driveways at 6 am rather than going to marches and parades. it doesn’t seem the same … keep well!
So I wasn’t familiar with yabbies until now, but I did a quick Google search and they appear to be similar. Jazz Fest was indeed cancelled this year due to coronavirus. Sad. Everything here in the States has been getting cancelled, too. We’ve had 2 curling tournaments already cancelled along with our yearly vacation. We’re super bummed, but I also get it. Hopefully life will return to normal soon! Happy Anzac Day! 🙂
thanks david. anzac day was very different this year. we all got up and had a driveway commemoration at 6am! it was lovely to see everyone in the street tho.
In a way, that kinda sounds like fun. I mean it’s 6am, but I bet it was fun to bond (distantly) with the neighbors! 🙂
Sounds very tasty and looks very colorful, too!
I followed the link to find out they’ve cancelled this year’s Jazz Fest. Sad sign of the times. Ah well, there’s always next year…
Yeah, I saw that, too, Frank. It’s a bummer all the things that have been cancelled. I mean I get it – we’re trying to deal with something no one has ever dealt with, so I’m ok with it. But man I’m bummed about the stuff that’s been cancelled this year!
At least we have delicious food, though, right? 🙂
I’m with you. Each season brings with it the need for wanting the old traditions. Mardi Gras brings me Cajun food; Spring brings me soft shell, etc, etc. But now I want this. Like really, now!
It’s crazy how much we associate foods with seasons, right?? I mean I always love certain foods – namely burgers! – but spring always means crawfish season. And crawfish season means crawfish bread! This recipe truly is delicious, Abbe. Thank you! 🙂