Crawfish Étouffée

published Feb 11, 2024
Crawfish Étouffée Recipe

Save this simple and extra-flavorful recipe because you’ll want to make it every week.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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overhead shot of crawfish etouffee served over a bed of white rice in a light brown bowl topped with herbs.
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe ; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

After a big crawfish boil, there are only two things my family would make with the leftover tails: crawfish omelets or crawfish étouffée. Those weekends were always full of crawfish boiling, peeling, and eating (and accidental eye rubbing), and I miss them dearly. 

These days, when I’m not close to home for crawfish season (which is April through June in Louisiana), I make étouffée with frozen crawfish tails to feel closer to my family. Now, I’m happy to share my recipe with you! (And if crawfish isn’t your thing, no problem — we also have a recipe for shrimp étouffée).

Key Ingredients in Crawfish Étouffée

  • Crawfish tails: Either frozen or freshly boiled crawfish tails will work. For a good frozen option, I find that Walmart reliably stocks Louisiana crawfish tails in their frozen seafood section across the United States. 
  • The Holy Trinity: A mixture of celery, bell pepper, and onion that serves as the base of many New Orleans dishes. 
  • Broth: Seafood or chicken broth gets added to the brown roux to form the étouffée sauce. 
  • Cajun seasoning: Your favorite store-bought or homemade Cajun seasoning will do. If yours has salt, taste before adding more salt to the final étouffée. 

How to Make Crawfish Étouffée

Based on whether you use freshly boiled or frozen crawfish, your tails may vary in moisture, so watch how your étouffée thickens and adjust with more flour if you need to. 

  1. Make the roux. Cook butter and flour until it darkens to the color of peanut butter, forming the base of the étouffée sauce. Then add the holy trinity and cook until the vegetables are tender. 
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until the étouffée is thickened to the texture of gravy and coats the back of a spoon.
  3. Season the étouffée and serve. Taste and season as needed. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley leaves if you like. 
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe ; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

What to Serve with Crawfish Étouffée

Crawfish étouffée is often served with cooked white rice or toasted French bread and garnished with parsley or green onion.

Crawfish Étouffée Recipe

Save this simple and extra-flavorful recipe because you’ll want to make it every week.

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium stalk celery

  • 1/2

    medium yellow onion

  • 1/2

    medium green bell pepper

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 6 tablespoons

    unsalted butter or neutral oil, such as vegetable and canola

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can

    low-sodium chicken broth, or 2 cups seafood broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    Cajun seasoning with salt or Old Bay seasoning

  • 1

    dried bay leaf

  • 12 to 16 ounces

    crawfish tail meat, thawed if frozen (do not drain)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper (optional)

  • Coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)

  • Cooked white rice, for serving

  • Hot sauce, preferably Louisiana (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl as it is completed: Trim and dice 1 medium celery stalk, 1/2 medium yellow onion, and 1/2 medium green bell pepper. Mince 4 garlic cloves (4 teaspoons).

  2. Melt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat, or heat 6 tablespoons neutral oil in the pan until shimmering. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it darkens to the color of peanut butter, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the celery mixture and cook until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth or 2 cups seafood broth, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning or Old Bay, and 1 dried bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add 12 to 16 ounces crawfish tail meat, and simmer until the étouffée is thickened to the texture of gravy and coats the back of a spoon, 12 to 15 minutes.

  4. If the étouffée is too thin, transfer 1 cup of the étouffée into a bowl, add 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, and stir until the flour is dissolved. Return the mixture to the pan, stir to combine, and simmer until thickened. Repeat with more flour as needed.

  5. Taste and season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne as needed. Discard the bay leaf. Garnish with coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves if desired. Serve with white rice and hot sauce if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.