Cajun Crawfish Étouffée
Crawfish Etouffee is a simple yet tasty and homey plate of crawfish tails smothered in rich gravy, served over rice. Its a staple in South Louisiana in both Cajun and Creole cuisines. Sprinkle some chopped green onions on top and serve with a green salad and some fresh, crunchy french bread.
Servings Prep Time
12Servings 20minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
12Servings 20minutes
Cook Time
Herb and Spice Blend
  1. Place the crawfish tails in a bowl and sprinkle with some creole seasoning and set aside. Chop the yellow onions, peppers, celery and set aside in a bowl for later. Chop the green onions and set aside. Chop the garlic and set aside. Mix the Herb and Spice Blend in a small bowl. Set the butter aside to soften and the flour for the roux.
  2. Place about 3 cups of the seafood stock in a stock pot to warm (reserve the remainder if needed to thin the etouffee at the end).
  3. Place a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add 8 tablespoons of butter until bubbly, then add the flour and whisk continuously to make a medium roux, the color of light chocolate milk. (See Recipe Notes)
  4. Add the onions, celery and green peppers (the Trinity) to the roux, and continue to stir still over medium-high heat until smooth and moist, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add about half the green onions and all the garlic; continue to sauté until aromatic-about 1 to 2 minutes; add about 1/2 of the Herb and Spice mix and both bay leaves and mix well to combine; continue to sauté about 5 more minutes.
  6. While the veggie/roux mixture is finishing up, turn the heat to high under the stock pot and bring the stock to a rolling boil.
  7. When the veggie/roux mixture is ready, mix it into the boiling stock with a slotted spoon, one spoonful at a time, stirring until the whole spoonful is fully dissolved. Continue this until all the veggie/roux mixture is incorporated into the stock, making sure to return the stock to a full rolling boil in between spoons. Set the cast iron pot aside, do not clean it.
  8. Allow the gravy to remain at a high boil for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat, cover the stock pot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Turn the heat to medium high under the cast iron pan used for the roux and add 2 tablespoons of butter. As the butter melts scrape up any fond that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  10. When the butter is foaming, add about 1/2 to 2/3 of the reserved green onions (saving some to sprinkle on top of the etouffee when serving) and sauté a minute or two, then add the crawfish tails and about half of the remaining Herb and Spice Blend. Mix well until all the crawfish are coated with butter.
  11. Sauté about 2 to 3 minutes stirring constantly; you’ll see some liquid developing from the butter and rendering the crawfish. (See Recipe Notes).
  12. Ladle the gravy mixture into the crawfish tails and mix well. The liquid from sautéing the tails in the butter will thin out the gravy.
  13. Mix well, taste for spice and add more if needed. When this comes to a heavy simmer, lower the heat to a slight simmer for about 15 minutes uncovered while the flavors all come together. If you think it is getting too thick, place the cover on the pan while it simmers; if it’s still too thick, add some reserved stock to thin it out.
  14. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and shake the pan back and forth, don’t stir, until the butter is melted into the etouffee-then give it one final gentle stir.
  15. Remove the bay leaves and serve over white rice.
Recipe Notes

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The roux will continue to brown somewhat after you add the Trinity, so you may want to add them when the roux is just a little lighter than you want.

Frozen crawfish tails will already be parboiled, so it is not necessary to cook them for a long period of time. If you are using leftovers from a crawfish boil, then the tails are completely cooked.

Etouffee refers more to a method of cooking. The crawfish are smothered in a rich gravy.  So it should be no surprise that given the bounty of Louisiana, this recipe is also great with shrimp, chicken or even rabbit.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have some fresh crawfish available, you can find frozen tails in a lot of better supermarkets or seafood markets. They generally come in 1 pound packages. I highly recommend that you use Louisiana crawfish, but read the labels-often times what you find is crawfish from China. To me, its the fat in the Louisiana crawfish that makes them sweet. The Chinese crawfish taste bitter to me and not sweet like the ones from the Bayou State. If you have to use Chinese or anything except Louisiana, rinse them well prior to use, let them drain, then pat them dry with paper towels.  You can also buy Louisiana crawfish online at sites like Cajun Grocer or Tony’s Seafood (no affiliation with either company). You can also get some great Louisiana Crawfish Tails with the ease of Amazon-ordering by clicking this link.

If you don’t have crawfish stock, you can substitute chicken stock, either commercial or homemade or commercial seafood stock.