This Cajun Shrimp Alfredo combines the creamy richness of Alfredo sauce with the bold flavors of cajun seasoning and succulent shrimp to create an impressive dish.
If you're a pasta fan and crave a little spice in your life, then this dish is perfect for you. It's a spicy twist on a classic pasta dish.
The shrimp are cooked with butter, garlic, and cajun seasoning before being tossed with green chili and cilantro. Once the creamy, cheesy penne alfredo is cooked, pop the spicy shrimp on top, and dinner is ready. Serve it with a quick salad for a delicious meal.
These notes are here to help make this recipe a success; they cover some but not all ingredients; for a complete ingredient list, check out the recipe card below.
Shrimp: I like to use Large or Medium Large peeled shrimp for this recipe. By the count, this is 31/25 count shrimp or 36/40 count shrimp.
Cajun seasoning: I make my cajun seasoning, but you can buy your favorite brand.
Butter: I used salted butter as it is what we usually have at home. Feel free to use unsalted butter, but use your sauce for seasoning.
Garlic: The recipe states two cloves, but as I always say, garlic should be measured with the heart, so add more or less as desired.
Cream: Heavy cream, or double cream, is perfect for this recipe. Half and half doesn't work in this recipe as it doesn't thicken. If you want to use half and half, you'll need to thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry.
Pasta: I like penne because it holds the sauce, and you can stab it with the shrimp. But feel free to use a long pasta like fettuccine.
Parmesan cheese: Buy fresh parmesan and grate it yourself. This will give you the smoothest sauce. Pre-shredded cheese has an anti-caking agent coating it, and this gives your finished sauce a grainy texture.
We've tested this recipe at least 3 times to ensure it works well for you, have a look at our tips for getting the best dish you can!
- The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of salt in the pasta water. This assumes you are using a large saucepan and at least 4 quarts of water.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water. This helps to finish the sauce.
- As you mix your cooked pasta with the Alfredo sauce, add some reserved pasta water until you have a thick glossy sauce that coats the pasta.
- Grate the parmesan yourself; this will give you the smoothest sauce.
- Remove the pan from the heat before you add the cheese; this helps it melt more evenly.
Why You'll Love This Cajun Shrimp Alfredo
- It is so easy to make.
- It is the perfect mix of creamy, comforting pasta with a punch of spice from the shrimp.
- It makes the perfect date night dinner but is still quick to make.
These are all just suggestions and things that have worked in our test kitchen, but it is your dinner, so adapt it to suit your family. That is the beauty of cooking; we can all create our own delicious meals.
- Add veggies: Add sliced bell peppers, corn, chopped cherry tomatoes, or spinach to the shrimp.
- Add more seafood: Add squid, lobster, crab, scallops, or firm fish like monkfish and halibut to the pan when cooking the shrimp.
- Add meat: Add some andouille sausage or cooked chicken to the shrimp to add extra protein to your dish.
- Make it spicy/mild: Add extra cayenne pepper to spice up the end dish. Or just mild cajun seasoning and no cayenne pepper to keep the dish mild.
Serving Suggestions for Cajun Shrimp Alfredo
Sides: Serve this pasta with a green side salad and a chunk of good bread. We tend to use pane di casa or ciabatta.
Wine: The spicy shrimp and cheesy pasta work perfectly with a Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Or for red, pick a light Pinot noir.
For more shrimp pastas try:
- Shrimp Tomato Pasta
- Salmon and Shrimp Pasta
- Shrimp and Scallop Pasta
- Spicy Shrimp Pasta
- Lemon Pepper Shrimp Pasta
- Bacon Shrimp Pasta
- Shrimp Chorizo Pasta
If you make this Cajun Shrimp Alfredo, please come back and comment. You can also tag me on social media.
Any questions about the recipe? Use the comments section below.
Get the Recipe
Cajun Shrimp Alfredo
For the pasta
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 12 oz dried pasta
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion , very finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan (see note 1)
- salt and pepper
For the shrimp
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 3 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper , optional (see note 2)
- 1 lb raw shrimp , shelled and deveined (see note 3)
- 2 tablespoon water
- green onion , chopped
- fresh cilantro leaves
- red chili , sliced
- parmesan cheese
To cook the Alfredo
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add the salt and the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the packet suggests. When cooked, reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water and drain.1 tablespoon salt12 oz dried pasta
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.4 tablespoons butter
- Add the chopped onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft.1 small onion
- Add the cream and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.1 cup heavy cream
- Remove the skillet from the heat and slowly stir in the grated parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste.1 cup freshly grated parmesansalt and pepper
- Add the drained pasta and ¼ cup of the pasta water. Toss gently so the pasta is coated in the sauce. Keep turning the pasta in the sauce until it is fully cooked. Add more pasta water as needed.
To cook the shrimp
- Place a heavy skillet over low heat. Add the minced garlic, butter, and salt.2 cloves garlic3 tablespoon butter¼ teaspoon salt
- Once the butter has melted, add in the cajun seasoning, brown sugar, paprika, and cayenne pepper (if using).2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning1 teaspoon brown sugar1 teaspoon paprika¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Stir together, and once sizzling, add in the raw shrimp, stirring to coat in the seasoned butter.1 lb raw shrimp
- Cook the shrimp for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until just cooked through.
- Add the water to the pan and mix well to release anything from the bottom of the pan.2 tablespoon water
- Remove from the heat and serve on top of your creamy pasta.
- Garnish with green onion, fresh coriander, chopped chili or parmesan as desired.green onionfresh cilantro leavesred chiliparmesan cheese
- You want to buy a block of parmesan for this recipe and grate/shred it yourself. Pre-grated cheese will leave you with a grainy sauce.
- Cayenne pepper gives this recipe a mild kick. If you like it spicy, you can increase the amount to taste. Or leave it out entirely if your cajun seasoning is spicy or you want a mild dish.
- I like to use Large or Medium Large shrimp for this recipe. By the count, this is 31/25 count shrimp or 36/40 count shrimp.
Nutrition is per serving