Blackened Shrimp Easy Recipe
These delicious Blackened Shrimp are the perfect versatile and fast weeknight meal. Try them in tacos, lettuce wraps, on pasta, rice, or simply on their own!
What Are Blackened Shrimp?
Blackening is a style of cooking that is most often associated with Cajun cuisine. Using a gorgeous mix of bold spices and a touch of herbs, the shrimp are completely coated in the spice mix before letting them sizzle on a hot skillet.
This mixture includes brown sugar which begins to caramelize the second it hits the pan, which helps the spice mixture cling to the shrimp and get crispy. So good!
How Spicy Is This Shrimp Recipe?
This dish has, for lack of a better term, enjoyable heat. The heat level is noticeable, but not in an overly spicy, burn your throat way. The only sources of spicy heat are black and cayenne pepper.
Cayenne pepper is the one responsible for the level of heat in this recipe. If you want it less spicy, use less cayenne pepper, and vise versa.
How to Make Blackened Shrimp?
First, mix your blackening seasoning well in a small bowl. Dump the mixture over your shrimp and stir until each one is coated generously. Set the shrimp aside for 30 minutes to marinate and soak up all those amazing flavors.
Next, heat a skillet up to medium-high heat. You can even go all the way to high heat if you want a nice dark crust. Coat the pan in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and arrange the shrimp in the pan in one layer. Let them cook for 2 minutes and then flip. Cook for another 2 minutes, add your garlic, and let it toast up in the pan for 30 seconds.
That’s it, you’re done! It doesn’t get any easier. Top these shrimp with some chopped up cilantro and serve with lime wedges. YUM!
We used frozen shrimp for this recipe, but you can use pre-cooked. Cook them for only 30 seconds on each side so that they don’t get overcooked.
How to Make Clarified Butter
Add 4 ounces of butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Be sure to use unsalted butter.
As the butter melts, you will notice a foamy white substance floating on the surface.
When you see the foam, use a small spoon to skim it off. Try to avoid removing any of the actual butter itself from the pan.
After you remove all of the foam, pour the contents of the pan into a glass measuring cup and allow it to sit for a minute or two. You’ll notice that the milk solids are sitting on the bottom of the cup and the golden clarified butter will be on the top.
Slowly pour the butter into a smaller glass measuring cup, stopping when you reach the milk solids. Discard what’s left in the larger measuring cup.
That golden liquid is what you’ll coat the shrimp with to create this delicious blackened shrimp dinner!
How to Serve Blackened Shrimp?
We served these as shrimp tacos, but you can enjoy them in so many different ways! Make a low-carb lunch or dinner by using them in lettuce wraps, top your rice or pasta with them, or just grab a fork and eat them as is!
Can these be grilled? Could they be baked?
This blackened Cajun shrimp recipe works great on the grill or in the oven. The only adjustment you will want to make is to melt all the butter and toss it with the shrimp and spices instead of leaving some for the pan. On the grill, the shrimp will take 1-2 minutes per side.
Sometimes it is nice to place them on a skewer to make it easier to flip the shrimp. They can overcook in the time it takes to flip each individual shrimp. For the oven, spread the shrimp our on a baking sheet covered in foil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook for 8-10 minutes until shrimp are opaque.
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Ideas for Serving Blackened Shrimp?
There are so many different ways to serve this spicy shrimp. These are some of the ones I make most often, but honestly, the possibilities are pretty endless. They also make a killer appetizer for parties and the holidays. I almost always include them in my holiday appetizer spread.
- Tacos: Warm up some corn tortillas and create a quick slaw with shredded cabbage, cilantro, and lemon juice. Pack the tortillas with the shrimp, crunchy slaw, and a few slices of avocado and you have some amazing blackened shrimp tacos.
- Rice Bowls: Since this dish is typically served with rice (since it sops up the delicious Cajun butter), making a rice bowl is another great option. Start with a bowl of brown rice. Then add black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, and your blackened shrimp. Squeeze lemon or lime juice over the top and sprinkle on some fresh cilantro.
- Salads: It’s always fun to create restaurant-style salads at home and this shrimp is an excellent way to elevate a standard salad. I like to make a Cobb inspired salad. Start with a big bowl of crispy lettuce. Then add diced tomatoes, red onions, cooked turkey bacon, blue cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and avocado.
- Pasta: A Cajun-style blackened shrimp pasta dish is hard to resist with the spicy and creamy sauce studded with tomatoes and bell peppers. Start by cooking the shrimp as the recipe instructs until just opaque and set aside. Then set the shrimp aside. Add then a diced bell pepper and half a diced onion to the same pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until tender. If they begin to stick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water, turn the heat down to low and add a can of diced tomatoes (undrained) and a 1/4 cup of cream cheese. Make some extra blackening seasoning and add that to the mixture. Cook until cream cheese melts and the sauce is formed. Taste and season if needed. Then toss with 8 ounces of pasta.
- Spaghetti Squash Boats: Follow the same recipe as above but make it with spaghetti squash instead. Toss everything with the spaghetti squash and serve in the spaghetti squash halves if desired.
- Lettuce Wraps: If we have leftovers, which almost never happens, I usually make lettuce wraps with corn, black beans, and avocado. Quick, easy, and delicious.
- A skillet with blackened shrimp and a red and white napkin.
Is there a way to make these for zero points?
For those on Weight Watchers, you can make these for zero points by leaving out the butter and cooking them in a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. The butter will add richness to the dish, but they come ut great either way.
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