This cajun shrimp rice skillet recipe is an easy weeknight dinner that's packed with flavor the entire family will love! Made with fluffy spiced up brown rice and flavorful shrimp and kielbasa sausage and comes together in under an hour.
I love this cajun shrimp recipe because it's all made in a single skillet, it's loaded with flavor, and it actually fills my husband up making my life a whole lot easier! This recipe is great for a quick family meal and even the leftovers are delicious.
Be sure to check out my bang bang shrimp recipe too! They're also one of my husband's favorite meals and are so versatile.
- Loaded with cajun flavor
- Requires only 4 main ingredients
- Comes together in under an hour
- Made in just one skillet
- Perfect for a quick weeknight meal
Ingredients and substitutions
- Vegetable broth - used to cook the rice. You can use any other type of broth like chicken or bone broth or just water.
- Shrimp - fresh shrimp work best but you can also use frozen. Make sure to peel and devein them if needed.
- Kielbasa - adds some additional bulk to the cajun dish. You can swap this with andouille sausage or another smoked sausage or leave out completely. Pederson's Farms has a no sugar added kielbasa that is always so good! I find it at Whole Foods and Sprouts.
- Olive oil - any type of oil will work in this cajun shrimp recipe.
- Long grain brown rice - I like to use brown rice in place of white whenever I can to add some additional fiber and nutrients. White rice will also work in this recipe, however, you will need to use less liquid and reduce the cook time. See frequently asked questions section below for details.
How to make cajun shrimp
You will need a wooden spoon or spatula and a large skillet. I used a cast iron but a non-stick will also work.
Step 1 : Prepare the cajun seasoning
Mix together all the seasonings in a shallow dish or bowl with a spoon until well combined.
Step 2 : Cook the onions
Add the olive oil to the pan with the garlic, diced onions, and about half of the seasonings. Heat over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
Step 3 : Cook the rice
Add the rice and vegetable broth into the pan. Stir to coat the rice in the liquid and then place the lid on top and allow the rice to simmer for at least 15 minutes until soft and fluffy.
Step 4 : Add the shrimp and sausage
Pour the remaining seasonings over the shrimp and toss to coat. Then add the shrimp and kielbasa to the skillet with the rice and turn the heat down to medium low. Stir the meat into the rice so it's well distributed and then place the lid on top of the skillet.
The heat and steam from the dish will cook the shrimp and warm up the kielbasa quickly. Once the shrimp has turned a nice white-pink color, remove the skillet from the stove.
How to serve and store
Top the dish with chopped green onions if desired. Serve while still warm in bowls and enjoy!
To store, allow the dish to cool down completely and then transfer to an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
When ready to enjoy, heat the dish up in a pot on the stove with about ½ cup of broth and cook until the rice becomes light and fluffy again. You can also microwave a single serving in a bowl with a splash of broth in 15 second intervals, stirring in between.
- Stir the rice occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add more liquid if needed. Because I used brown rice in this dish, a few cups of broth is needed to soften the rice. You want the rice to be soft and fluffy so if your rice is still a little stiff, add more liquid and it will soak it right up.
- Customize the seasonings to your preference. If you're making this dish for some small children, scale back on the cayenne spice and add more paprika (it's not hot).
- Be sure to watch the shrimp carefully once you add them to the dish because they don't take long to cook. Once they are no longer translucent and have a light pinkish color, they're done.
Frequently asked questions
Cajun food is known for their spices. Typically this includes a combination of garlic, paprika, cayenne, pepper, and oregano. It has a bold flavor with a slight kick of heat.
This dish is served with spiced up rice alongside cooked sausage. It's best served in one big bowl making it an easy weeknight meal.
Yes, white rice will also work in this recipe. You will need to reduce the broth to just 2 cups and the rice will cook faster so I would check it after 10 minutes of simmering.
Typically a smoked sausage like andouille is what is found in cajun dishes. However, kielbasa is sometimes easier to find and works just as great. It also isn't as spicy as some andouille sausages.
For more easy weeknight meals, check out my:
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Cajun Shrimp Rice Skillet Recipe
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- ⅓ cup diced white onion - about ½ small onion
- ¾ cup long grain brown rice
- 3 cups vegetable brown
- 1 lb shrimp - peeled and deveined
- 7 oz kielbasa - I used Pederson's Farms no sugar added kielbasa. Andouille sausage will work too.
- Green onions - to tpo (optional)
- Mix up the seasonings in a shallow bowl or plate until well mixed. Set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil, garlic, and white onion. Spoon in about half of the seasoning mixture (about 1 Tbsp) and mix into the onions. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Add the brown rice and vegetable broth to the skillet and stir to coat the rice in the liquid. Place the lid on top of the skillet and let the broth come to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the rice to simmer for at least 20 more minutes until soft and fluffy. If using white rice, this may only take 10 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, sprinkle the rest of the seasonings over the shrimp and toss to coat. Once the rice is done, place the shrimp and kielbasa in the skillet and mix into the rice with a spatula. Place the lid on top of the skillet and allow the shrimp to cook for about 5 minutes. The shrimp will be done when they are no longer translucent and have a light pink-ish color.
- Sprinkle some chopped green onions on top of the dish and serve warm.