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Cajun Crawfish Etouffée

Crawfish Etouffée is a simple yet tasty and homey plate of crawfish tails smothered in a rich gravy, served over rice. It's an iconic dish in South Louisiana in both Cajun and Creole cuisines.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Dish, Sauce
Cuisine: Cajun, Creole
Keyword: Crawfish Etouffee
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 234kcal

Here's What You Need

  • 2 pounds Louisiana crawfish tails See Recipe Notes
  • 12 tablespoons Butter divided
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup Yellow Onions diced
  • ½ cup Bell Peppers diced
  • ½ cup Celery chopped
  • 5 - 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 bunches green onions chopped-in all
  • 4 cups crawfish stock In all-see Recipe Notes for substitutions

Herb and Spice Blend

  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Basil
  • ½ teaspoon Thyme
  • ½ teaspoon White Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Creole seasoning plus some for the crawfish tails
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 bay leaves

Here's What You Do

  • 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.
  • Place about 3 cups of the seafood stock in a stockpot to warm (reserve the remainder if needed to thin the etouffée at the end).
  • 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 peanut butter, about 5 to 8 minutes. (See Recipe Notes)
  • Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers (the Trinity) to the roux. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and stir the vegetables until all coated with the roux.
  • Once the Dutch oven has cooled somewhat, return to a medium heat and continue to stir occationally for atotal of 15 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and about half the green onions; continue to sauté until aromatic-about 1 to 2 minutes; add about ½ of the Herb and Spice mix and both bay leaves and mix well to combine; continue to sauté about 5 more minutes.
  • 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.
  • When the veggie/roux mixture is ready, mix it into the boiling stock. Usung a slotted spoon, mix in 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.
  • Allow the gravy to medium boil for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the stockpot and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn the heat to medium high under the cast iron Dutch oven 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.
  • When the butter is foaming, add about ½ to ⅔ of the reserved green onions (saving some to sprinkle on top of the etouffée 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.
  • Sauté about 2 to 3 minutes stirring constantly; you’ll see some liquid developing from the butter and rendering the crawfish. (See Recipe Notes).
  • Add the gravy mixture to the crawfish tails and mix well. The liquid from sautéing the tails in the butter will thin out the gravy.
  • 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 20 minutes.
  • If the gravy is getting too thick, place the cover on the pan while it simmers. Add some of the reserved stock if you need to thin the gravy.
  • When you have the consistency you want, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and shake the pan back and forth, don’t stir, until the butter is melted into the etouffée-then give it one final gentle stir.
  • Remove the bay leaves and serve over white rice.


This recipe makes approximately 2 quarts of etouffée depending upon how much stock you end up using. Nutrition values are based upon eight 1-cup servings. 
You can use Crawfish tails leftover from a crawfish boil or frozen tails from a supermarket or seafood markets, generally in 1 pound packages.
I highly recommend only Louisiana crawfish. Avoid imported crawfish. See my article Cajun Crawfish Etouffée for more information on imported crawfish.
Frozen crawfish (as well as leftover crawfish tails) will already be cooked (parboiled), so we won't cook them very long in this recipe.
You can order Louisiana Crawfish Tails online. Check out the vendors I list in my Crawfish Etouffée article.
Leftovers? Leftover Crawfish Etouffée can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, or frozen for 2 to 6 months. If freezing, allow the etouffee to cool completely, then store it in a shallow airtight container, such as a vacuum-sealed bag, and place in a 0-degree Fahrenheit freezer. To reheat, let the etouffée defrost in the fridge overnight, then warm slowly in a saucepan over medium heat.
Crawfish are low in calories, fat, and cholesterol and are high in protein and a bunch of vitamins. That's right-they are good for you!
Serving suggestion: Crawfish Etouffée is typically served as an entree over cooked long-grain white rice. However, it's also fantastic served as a sauce over fried or broiled catfish, shrimp, stuffed peppers, and just about anything else you can think of. 
Here are some common ingredient substitutes for this recipe:
  • Butter: Substitute vegetable oil to make the roux. (Bacon grease also works!)
  • Other proteins can be substituted for the crawfish and are quite common variations of etouffée: Shrimp, chicken, rabbit. Check out my Crawfish Etouffée article for more information about these versions. 
  • If you don't have crawfish stock, you can substitute chicken stock, either commercial or homemade or commercial seafood stock.
  • Use long-grain white rice with your etouffée! If you prefer, basmati or brown rice can be substituted. I generally use par-boiled rice, like Uncle Ben's Converted, but non-parboiled long-grain rice is perfectly fine. 


Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 835mg | Potassium: 272mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1243IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg

This recipe came from www.firstyouhaveabeer.com.