Blackened shrimp is a spicy meal with bold flavors and it only takes about 20 minutes to make. This simple recipe features pan seared shrimp in a simple homemade blackening seasoning. It’s so easy and delicious!
If you enjoy spicy Cajun or creole food like jambalaya, then this recipe is perfect for you. Not only is this a delicious meal, but it’s also one that’s quick and ridiculously easy to make.
From prep to plate, it is ready to eat in less than 20 minutes, making it the perfect choice for dinner on a busy weeknight.
What Does Blackened Mean?
Actually, this word has two meanings. You see, it is both a method of cooking as well as a dry blend of spicy seasonings.
Chef Paul Prudhomme is the genius behind both the blackened cooking method, and the blackening spice blend. Although, through the years and interpretations of many other chefs and homecooks, the blackening spice blend gained some variations.
The blackening cooking process involves dredging meat in butter, coating it in spice blend, and then pan searing it in a preheated pan, at high temperature. Shrimp cooks quickly anyway, but when it’s placed into a searing hot pan, it can be ready in 4-6 minutes!
Blackening spice usually includes a combination of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried, basil, dried oregano, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper.
Originally, only fish and shrimp were blackened. In the modern days, we see more recipes like those for blackened chicken.
How Spicy Is This Shrimp Recipe?
This dish has, for lack of a better term, enjoyable heat. The heat level is noticeable, but not in an overly spicy, burn your throat way. The only sources of spicy heat are from black and cayenne pepper.
Cayenne pepper is the one responsible for the level of heat in this recipe. If you want it less spicy, use less cayenne pepper, and vise versa.
Quick and Easy Blackened Shrimp
Perfecting this meal requires two important steps: using the correct blend of spices and ensuring that the cooking pan is preheated and hot enough.
Because it retains heat for a long time and evenly, the best pan to blacken shrimp in is a cast iron skillet.
Aside from the seasoning blend, you only need two ingredients to make this recipe: good quality unsalted butter and fresh shrimp.
I use shrimp with the tails on because it makes them easier to hold, but you can remove them if you want to.
How to Make Blackening Seasoning
To make the seasoning for the blackened shrimp, simply add the dry spices to a small bowl and use a whisk to combine them.
If you want to make the blend spicier, feel free to use an additional pinch of cayenne pepper.
Depending on the the shrimp, you may need to peel and devein them. If you don’t know how to do it, I have step-by-step instructions and video in my post on how to peel and devein shrimp.
If you have a little extra time, use clarified butter or ghee to blacken shrimp. As a result, it will be much easier for you to cook the shrimp without burning the butter.
The process of clarifying butter involves removing the milk solids and water from unsalted butter. What’s left behind is a flavorful fat that resists burning at high temperatures like regular butter can. It’s very easy to make, too.
How to Make Clarified Butter
Add 4 ounces of butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Be sure to use unsalted butter.
As the butter melts, you will notice a foamy white substance floating on the surface.
When you see the foam, use a small spoon to skim it off. Try to avoid removing any of the actual butter itself from the pan.
After you remove all of the foam, pour the contents of the pan into a glass measuring cup and allow it to sit for a minute or two. You’ll notice that the milk solids are sitting on the bottom of the cup and the golden clarified butter will be on the top.
Slowly pour the butter into a smaller glass measuring cup, stopping when you reach the milk solids. Discard what’s left in the larger measuring cup.
That golden liquid is what you’ll coat the shrimp with to create this delicious blackened shrimp dinner!
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- 1 lb uncooked shrimp
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper add more if needs to be spicier
- If you bought shrimp in shells, make sure to shell and devein the shrimp first. (Detailed instructions here.)
- Pat clean shrimp dry with a paper towel and add them to the mixing bowl.
- In another small bowl, mix together all the ingredient for the blackening seasoning.
- Add melted butter to the shrimp and toss to coat them evenly.
- Sprinkle blackening seasoning over the shrimp as you gently mix. Make sure that shrimp is evenly coated in seasoning.
- Preheat a cooking pan over medium-high heat. (Make sure that the pan is completely preheated before adding shrimp.)
- Add a tablespoon of butter and add shrimp after it's melted. Make sure the shrimp are in one even layer.
- Cook shrimp until pink and opaque on one side and then flip to the other side. Cook shrimp just until they are pink and opaque on that side as well. Depending on the size, shrimp will take 4-7 minutes to cook altogether.
- Take them out of the pan as soon and they're cooked and serve with your favorite sides or over pasta.
- If you have a little extra time, it's better to use clarified butter to make blackened shrimp. It does take a few minutes to make and not 100% necessary. Try it anyway if you have a little extra time.
- Add 4 ounces of butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Be sure to use unsalted butter. As the butter melts, you will notice a foamy white substance floating on the surface. Remove all of the foam (but not the butter) and pour the contents of the pan into a glass measuring cup and allow it to sit for a minute or two. You’ll notice that the milk solids are sitting on the bottom of the cup and the golden clarified butter will be on the top.
- Slowly pour the butter into a smaller glass measuring cup, stopping when you reach the milk solids. Discard what’s left in the larger measuring cup.
- That golden liquid is what you’ll coat the shrimp with to create this delicious blackened shrimp dinner.