This hearty one-pot 30-minute Cajun Shrimp Fried Rice brings the fabulous spicy flavours of Louisiana to your dinner table! An easy, full-flavoured recipe using sausage, shrimp or prawns and leftover rice.
A great way to use leftover rice
This Easy Cajun Shrimp Fried Rice is a spicy, wholesome, easy weeknight meal. It's a one-pan, 30-minute meal with the flavours of New Orleans!
This Cajun shrimp with rice recipe would also be a fun dish to serve at a dinner party with friends. Place a large bowl or platter of this southern-flavoured rice dish in the middle of the table, and invite your friends to dig in and serve themselves!
While Cajun flavours go well with chicken, as in this recipe for Grilled Cajun Chicken Thighs with Zesty Quinoa, they also complement seafood. I love Cajun seasoning, and I use it a lot, for example in these recipes for Cajun Shrimp Stuffed Avocados and Grilled Cajun Prawn Kabobs with Pineapple.
Today, however, with prawns from my freezer and leftover rice, I made this one-pot Easy Cajun Shrimp Fried Rice. So tasty!
Origins of Cajun Cuisine
Before our last trip to Nova Scotia, I read about the history of the Acadians from this part of the country, how they were expelled from Canada by the British in the 1700's, and where some of them settled in the bayous of southern Louisiana.
"Acadians" became shortened to "Cajuns" and, as we all know, a fabulous cuisine developed there in the south.
The Acadians were known to be industrious farmers, hunters and fishermen leading a simple life off the land. Today's Cajun cuisine reflects those roots. It uses simple ingredients, often stretching a meal with rice, and due to Louisiana's location near the Gulf of Mexico, it often features seafood.
Cajun flavours begin with the triad of celery, onions and peppers, along with a spice mix of cayenne, garlic, paprika and herbs.
This dish is similar to Jambalaya (which actually had its roots in Spanish Paella.) The main difference between the two is the rice. Fried rice uses cooked rice so it's much quicker to prepare than Jambalaya, where the rice cooks along with the vegetables.
- olive oil: for browning the sausage and sautéing the shrimp and veggies
- andouille sausage: substitute chorizo if you can't find andouille
- red bell pepper
- Cajun seasoning: homemade Cajun Seasoning Mix, or store-bought
- cooked rice: use your favourite variety
- large shrimp or prawns (about 20 to 24) Wondering how to buy shrimp? See A Complete Guide to Cooking Shrimp and Prawns.
- sea salt
- green onions
- cilantro: or parsley, for garnish and extra flavour
How to make Cajun spice mix in minutes
You can buy pre-made Cajun spice mix, but it's simple to mix your own. It uses ingredients you probably already have in your pantry: salt and pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, thyme and red pepper flakes. See How to Make Cajun Seasoning Mix for the best proportions to use.
This shrimp with rice recipe is a great way to use up leftover rice. However, I purposefully cook and freeze extra rice to have on hand to make this quick and easy dinner.
- First, brown the andouille sausage (available in specialty delicatessens or butcher shops). Remove it to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
- Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute without stirring. Next, stir and flip and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the skillet and add to the bowl with the sausage.
- Sauté the celery, onion and pepper.
- Next, season with garlic and Cajun seasoning, then add the rice.
- And finally, add the sausage and cooked shrimp, heat through, garnish and serve!
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly in a covered container.
So easy! And so good!
🔁 Possible Variations
While andouille sausage is traditional in Cajun cuisine, you can easily substitute chorizo sausage.
Leaving the tails on the prawns or shrimp is optional. Prawn shells add flavour and they look attractive, but some people don't like to have to get their fingers in their food to remove the tails. You decide!
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Add a healthy green salad to your meal, or try this refreshing Kiwi Cucumber Salad with Walnuts and Mint. This crisp heart-healthy salad contrasts beautifully with this spicy rice dish.
Cover and refrigerate any leftovers of this New Orlean's style shrimp fried rice promptly. Reheat in a covered dish in the oven at 350°F for 15-25 minutes or until heated through.
So, when you're looking for something different to spice up your meal plans, try this one-pot 30-minute Cajun Shrimp Fried Rice. You might also like this Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir Fry and Indonesian Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng), more 30-minute meals!
This post was originally published in 2017. I have tweaked the recipe and updated it with new photos and information to make it more useful.
I adapted this recipe from Food Network's Cajun Crawfish Fried Rice.
Easy Cajun Shrimp Fried Rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 7 oz andouille sausages, thinly sliced, or chorizo
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 ½ tsp Cajun seasoning, store-bought or homemade*
- 2 cups cooked rice, cooled
- 12 oz prawns or large shrimp (about 20 to 24) cooked and peeled
- sea salt to taste
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Add sliced sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Remove from skillet with tongs or a slotted spoon. Set aside in a bolw and cover to keep warm.
- If there isn't enough oil left from browning the sausage, add a little more. Add shrimp. Cook for 1 minute without stirring, then stir and flip and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the skillet and transfer to the bowl with the sausage.
- If necessary, add a little more oil to the skillet and cook the celery, onion and red pepper, stirring until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning, and stir while cooking for about 1 minute.
- Add the rice and continue stirring while cooking until rice is warm, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked shrimp and sausage and cook, stirring until heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Check the seasoning, adding sea salt if necessary. Garnish with green onions (scallions) and/or cilantro and serve immediately.