Cajun Shrimp Pasta, with a spicy and rich cream sauce, is a quick and easy dinner recipe with just the right amount of kick!
This dinner recipe has everything you could possibly want. Tender and succulent shrimp is coated in cajun seasoning which adds just the right amount of flavor. The cream sauce only takes a few minutes to come together and the pasta soaks up all the delicious flavor.
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
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There are two things I can always make for dinner that will have my family drooling: shrimp and pasta. On the nights when I go that extra mile and actually make homemade pasta, we all eat way too much because nothing quite beats the taste of fresh pasta. But, most nights call for a quick and easy dinner, so dried pasta from the store is in order.
I wasn’t sure if my kids would like the cajun seasoning, and although it was more spicy than the foods they typically eat, they simply couldn’t resist the fact that I made sauteed shrimp with pasta in a cream sauce. It’s basically their love language. The apples don’t fall far from the tree!
How to Make Cajun Shrimp Pasta:
This really is a quick and easy dinner recipe perfect for a busy weeknight. Since there is little measuring and no chopping, the entire recipe can pretty much be cooked in the amount of time it takes to cook the pasta. That means you can have a complete dinner ready in a short 10-15 minutes!
- Boil Pasta: Boiling the pasta in salted water. It’s important to use a full tablespoon of salt in your pasta water because the salt will flavor the pasta. Reserve some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce later, if needed.
- Cook Shrimp: While the pasta is cooking, saute the shrimp.
- Prep Sauce: The cajun cream sauce is simply a mixture of heavy cream that you bring to a boil and parmesan cheese that melts in creamy smooth. There’s enough cajun seasoning on the shrimp and in the pan to give the sauce plenty of flavor.
The sauce thickens within minutes and then you simply toss everything together to serve.
What to Serve with Cajun Shrimp Pasta:
Since this Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe is rich and heavy, it goes wonderfully with vegetables. Either a healthy green salad, a side of steamed broccoli or spinach, or Oven Roasted Asparagus are all great choices to pair with this dinner.
The Cajun Shrimp Pasta has so much flavor, the vegetable side dish you choose should be simple and light to help balance everything out.
What type of shrimp is best for Cajun Shrimp Pasta?
Wild caught shrimp has the best flavor and texture. Also, with shrimp, I most often recommend that bigger is better. I’m not a fan of those teeny tiny bay shrimp. Rather than buying fresh shrimp, I often buy frozen shrimp by the pound so that I always have some at the ready in the freezer!
Our Favorite Pasta Dishes:
- Italian Sausage Pasta – One pan!
- Garlic Shrimp Pasta – Quick and fresh!
- Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta – Family favorite recipe!
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad – Make ahead!
- BLT Pasta Salad– Potluck favorite.
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Add salt to pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente doneness. Before draining, scoop out at least 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain pasta and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, cook the shrimp and sauce. Combine shrimp with cajun seasoning and olive oil in bowl. Toss to combine.
- Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add butter and melt. Add shrimp in a single layer and cook until golden brown on each side, turning only once. You may have to cook shrimp in two batches to allow enough room. Once done cooking, transfer cooked shrimp to a clean plate and reduce heat to medium low.
- Add heavy cream to pan and scrape bottoms to release any food that is stuck to the bottom. Allow cream to bubble. Reduce heat to low and stir in parmesan cheese to melt. Add cooked pasta and shrimp and stir to coat. Use reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce if needed.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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I have made this for family and guests and it is amazing! It is easy and the creamy Cajun flavors go together with the shrimp and pasta. We make this dish frequently because it is just amazing
Happy to hear how much your family and guests enjoy this shrimp pasta recipe Fred!
This was yummy. Another time I think I would start with 2 tsp of cajun seasoning. My hubby adds hot sauce to everything and I enjoy spicy food. This was overwhelming. Maybe I have super seasoning? I ended up making second batch of pasta and the sauce and it was still really spicy.
That being said, this was so delicious! It was really quick and easy but I felt it was nicer than most weeknight meals I manage to throw together. Thanks for sharing!
So happy you enjoyed the shrimp Rachel!
I loved your recipe. After tasting I added a little cayenne for a bit more heat. I will definitely make this a lot. Next time I want to try adding a few anchovies to the melted butter before putting the shrimp in the pan. It took me a bit longer to make, but I am a slow cook. I’m sure as I repeat I’ll be able to cut the time down. Thanks so much for this treat.
So happy to hear that Mark! Anchovies sound like a great addition!
Great recipe- I added fresh garlic and andouille sausage and substituted half & half in place of heavy cream.
Wow !! It’s Delicious ! Thank you ❣️
This was AWESOME! I did make 2 minor changes. The first was; I added the Cajun spice and olive oil as per the recipe then put in the refrigerator for about 90 minutes. The second change was I had some homemade garlic butter in the refrigerator so I used that for the ship sauté and for the sauce. My wife re-saved about how good it smelled as I was cooking off the shrimp! I did not want to burn the garlic so I cooked the shrimp a little more than half way through. One the sauce was ready I turned down to a barely simmer and added the shrimp back in to finish in the sauce. Then added the pasta and it was Heaven on a plate! Everyone raves about this pasta! It has earned a place on our family favorites list! I’m glade I doubled the recipe right off because I knew it would be a WINNER!
Those sound like such delicious changes Rob, thanks for sharing with us 🙂
This was really good but two Tablespoons of Cajun seasoning was way too salty so I would cut that amount in half next time depending on the brand you use.
We do not find it salty with the brand that we use. Glad you enjoyed the cajun shrimp pasta!
My boyfriend said it was the best meal I’ve ever made for him. It is simply awesome.
So happy to hear that Kim!
Grated or shredded Parmesan?
You can use either for this recipe. But for this recipe we used shredded and it melted nicely into the cream sauce.
If you use frozen shrimp, do you thaw it first?
Yes Nicole, for this recipe you would want it to be thawed before cooking.
I added another tsp of cajun seasoning cooked the shrimp for about. 2 minutes per side, then I added 1 cup of Rao Arrabbiata sauce to the simmering cream and parmesan, then added the shrimp back into the sauce before I added it to angel hair pasta (the refrigerated kind you only have to cook for 2 minutes, ) it was wonderful, would make it again and again…
That sounds delicious Donna! So happy you enjoyed it.
This was delicious! A hit with the whole family!
So happy to hear that Kelly!
What could I use if I dont have heavy cream?
We’ve only made the recipe as listed Courtney. But you could try making a heavy cream substitute by combining 3/4 milk with 1/3 cup butter. If you give that a try, let us know how it turns out!
I used 3/4 cup of half & half and 1/4 cup of sour cream. I’ll definitely make again but will probably double the cajun spice for more kick.
That sounds like a great idea Mark! Thanks for sharing
Is heavy whipping cream what you use?
Yes, heavy cream is the same as whipping cream. Enjoy Bianca!
Delicious. Made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit. thank you!
So glad you loved it!
Thank you for this super easy, but fancy-seeming recipe that my husband and daughter really enjoyed. (I’m vegetarian, but cook everyone’s meals). Served with roast green beans, and sprinkled with a little chopped parsley it was a win for the cook and the diners.
Thats awesome Vivian! I am glad they enjoyed it!
how many people does this serve? and if I wanted to make the whole box of pasta do I have to double the recipe?
Hi Mandy, this recipe makes 4 servings. If you wanted to double the pasta we would recommend doubling all the ingredients to keep the flavor consistent! This may also increase your cooking time!
What did you do with the 1/2 cup of the pasta water?
Use the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce if needed Sara. Enjoy!
This looks insanely, incredibly good. Yummmmmmy!