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December 7, 2023

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Want an easy pasta dish that feels cheffy without being overly elaborate? Our Cajun shrimp pasta is a super-flavorful, easy-to-make recipe, ready in a jiffy the next time company calls.

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    a bowl of homemade cajun shrimp pasta sprinkled with fresh parsley and crushed red pepper flakes
    Photography by Gayle McLeod

    More easy to love shrimp recipes

    The Best Cajun Pasta Shrimp

    Shrimp, noodles, and Cajun spices are a winning combination. Add to that lemon, cream, and Parmesan and you’ve got our new favorite Cajun shrimp pasta recipe. It’s a lovely dish that’s as great for guests as it is an easy family dinner. Like all of our pasta nights, we like to serve this with a big salad (this Corn Salad would be fab), and a crunchy loaf of Garlic Bread.

    pasta, shrimp, olive oil, lemon juice, spices, sugar, tomatoes, tomato paste, cream & parmesan in prep bowls

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    Ingredients You’ll Need For Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

    • Pasta – We like penne, fettuccini or farfalle.

    • Shrimp – Large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed.

    • To season the shrimp – Olive oil, lemon juice, Cajun seasoning, and salt.

    • For the sauce – Garlic, chicken stock, sugar, tomatoes, tomato paste, heavy cream, parmesan, Cajun seasoning, lemon juice and reserved pasta water.

    raw shrimp being tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, cajun seasoning & salt in a glass bowl
    shrimp seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, cajun seasoning & salt being cooked in a skillet
    chicken stock being poured into a pan with olive oil, garlic and sugar
    garlic, chicken stock, sugar, tomatoes, tomato paste, cream, parmesan, spices and lemon juice cooking in a pot

    How to Make Cajun Pasta With Shrimp

    • Cook the pasta. We like our noodles al dente.

    • Season the shrimp. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with olive oil, lemon juice, cajun seasoning, and salt until coated.

    • Cook the shrimp. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook until pink and cooked through. Shrimp cook quickly!

    • Make the sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.

    • Add the shrimp and pasta. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss until coated. Cook until the pasta is tender and coated in the sauce. Stir in the shrimp and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    • Serve! Sprinkle with parmesan, parsley and red pepper flakes, if using.

    cajun pasta sauce in a large pot being stirred with a wooden spoon
    pasta and shrimp being tossed in a pot with homemade Cajun pasta sauce

    How to Store Leftovers + Tips

    • Leftovers are best eaten within a couple of days when stored in the fridge. We don’t recommend freezing these leftovers, because freezing will change the texture of the cream sauce and it might break when it is reheated.

    • Different brands of Cajun seasoning vary. We like Tony’s for this recipe. You can leave out the lemon and/or sugar, but we love how this brings extra flavor and balance to the cream sauce.

    • Should you peel shrimp before cooking in pasta? Yes! This makes the entire dish a lot easier to eat. Our Cajun pasta with shrimp recipe calls for one pound, about 24 peeled, deveined and tails removed shrimp.

    • Substitute or add sausage for a little variety.

    • Want more info about buying shrimp?This post has some great tips about how to shop for shrimp.

    Cajun Shrimp Pasta 8

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    Cajun Shrimp Pasta

    • Serves: 6
    • Prep Time:  12 min
    • Cook Time:  25 min
    • Calories: 507

    Ingredients

    • 12 ounces pasta (we like penne, fettuccini or farfalle)
    • 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed (about 24)
    • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
    • 1½ tablespoons cajun seasoning, plus more to taste
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • ½ cup chicken stock
    • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
    • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
    • ¾ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
    • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
    • ¼ cup minced flat leaf parsley, for serving
    • Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)

    Method

    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the water and drain the pasta.

    2. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the cajun seasoning, and ½ teaspoon of the salt until coated.

    3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.

    4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Once the oil is glistening, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and sugar and simmer until reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, heavy cream, parmesan, remaining ½ tablespoon cajun seasoning, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.

    5. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss until coated. Cook until the pasta is tender and coated in the sauce. Stir in the shrimp and season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce gets too thick add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.

    6. Divide the pasta between 6 shallow bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan, parsley and red pepper flakes, if using.

    Nutrition Info

    • Per Serving
    • Amount
    • Calories507
    • Protein21 g
    • Carbohydrates44 g
    • Total Fat26 g
    • Dietary Fiber2 g
    • Cholesterol172 mg
    • sodium2123 mg
    • Total Sugars3 g

    Cajun Shrimp Pasta

    Questions & Reviews

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    • Holly Chapman

      Easy. Fast. TASTY! Made 3/4 of a recipe (yes, I mathed) as I had a 12 oz bag of shrimp. I used an entire can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and added a couple handfuls of spinach, because there were no sides... Will definitely make those additions again. If I hid it well enough in the fridge I will be enjoying a serving for my lunch this week! Yield was 2 dinner serving and a modest serving for (my!) lunch. Another winner!

      HAHA! Hope you got to enjoy those leftovers Holly. So happy you loved this one!

    • Kyle D

      Made this tonight, it was delicious and came together easily. I had a lot of liquid left over after cooking the shrimp so I had to reduce the sauce for a longer time but that worked just fine.

      Would definitely make this again!

      Thanks Kyle, so glad you loved this!

    • Erika Munch

      Excellent. Just as good heated up as leftovers.

      Thanks Erica, so glad you loved it!

    • Jenn D

      This had great flavor. My husband and I both really enjoyed it.

      Thanks Jenn, we are glad you both enjoyed it!