Cajun Shrimp Mac and Cheese – Cajun shrimp are resting atop creamy baked mac and cheese! You won’t be able to resist making this recipe!
What Is Cajun Shrimp?
Cajun shrimp features shrimp coated in a blend of Cajun-inspired spices then cooked until longer pink.
How To Make Cajun Shrimp Mac and Cheese
In a large skillet heat olive oil and add diced bell peppers and onions, cooking just until soft. Remove and set aside.
Add butter to the same skillet and add jumbo gulf shrimp. Season the shrimp with Cajun-spice and heat just until they turn pink, remove and set aside.
While the shrimp is soaking up all the spicy flavor, prepare your pasta.
I chose Campanella pasta because the shape is perfect for capturing sauce and melty cheese, but any curly or ridged pasta will work.
To prepare the sauce, whisk together butter and flour until combined.
Slowly whisk milk and heavy cream followed by a blend of cheeses and stir until smooth. Carefully toss pasta with cheese sauce and cooked vegetables.
From here I like to pour the pasta and the vegetables into an ovenproof skillet or baking dish.
Nestle the shrimp right on top. Tender bread crumbs are sprinkled over the top just before this kicked up mac and cheese gets placed in the oven.
The pasta isn’t baked for long, just long enough for those bread crumbs to crisp up and the cheese sauce to thicken around the curves of each piece of pasta.
Is Cajun Shrimp Spicy?
The heat level in this recipe is totally up to you! My family doesn’t do spice that well, so my seasoning was mild. I find that in general, the pre-made Cajun seasoning jars tend to be mild.
If you like things spicier, toss the shrimp with hot sauce in addition to the seasoning or add a few dashes of hot sauce to your mac and cheese!
This recipe is great for the family or for entertaining, it is a real palate pleaser!
Is Cajun Shrimp Keto Friendly?
As is, no, but this recipe can easily be adapted to adhere to the Keto diet. Omit the pasta and either serve your shrimp with veggies or andouille sausage for a keto meal.
- No Cajun seasoning? Make your own! Use a blend of dried thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, Cayenne pepper, chipotle chili powder, and salt.
- Want to make this a one-pot meal? Instead of preparing your pasta separately, use a deep skillet to cook the veggies and the shrimp and once the shrimp have cooked, fill the skillet with equal parts chicken (or veggie) broth and milk. Bring to a boil, and stir in your past. Cover and cook until the pasta is al dente and the liquid has reduced, Stir in your cheeses and proceed with the recipe.
- This recipe does not have to be baked if you are short on time, Stir the shrimp into the pasta and serve as is.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup diced green pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 lb Key West Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used Private Selection)
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 lb Campanella pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar
- 1 cup shredded jack cheese
- 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes. Add minced garlic, stir and cook an additional minute or until vegetables have softened. Remove vegetables and set aside.
- Add the butter to the same skillet. Add shrimp and Cajun seasoning, tossing to coat. Cook shrimp for 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink.
- Meanwhile prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and flour whisking until combined. Slowly whisk milk and heavy cream and continue to whisk until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture for 3-5 minutes or until it begins to thicken (do not let the milk boil). Whisk in cheese and stir until smooth. Carefully toss pasta with cheese sauce and cooked vegetables.
- Pour pasta into a cast iron skillet that is sprayed with cooking spray. Arrange shrimp over the pasta. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle bread crumbs over pasta.
- Place pasta in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or just until cheese has set Preheat broiler and broil pasta for 3 minutes or just until bread crumbs are golden, and cheese bubbles.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 620Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 20gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 253mgSodium 1547mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 35g