Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta is a quick and easy pasta recipe for busy nights that comes together in under 30 minutes! Large succulent shrimp are coated with spicy cajun seasoning, then added to linguine and a rich creamy alfredo sauce that results in a delicious creamy spicy shrimp pasta!
Pasta night is a regular occurrence at our house. I love the ease and variations you can whip up, like this Creamy Seafood Tetrazzini, this Easy Lemon Salmon Pasta, or this delicious Filipino Spaghetti. If you’re looking for a creamy, slightly spicy, and comforting meal to warm you up this winter, this easy cajun shrimp pasta fits the bill. An easy, warming recipe that has a bit of a kick to it - it’s totally decadent and the best recipe for a cold night!
Why I love this recipe
- Shrimp and pasta. Is this not the BEST pasta dinner combination ever? Sauteed shrimp with pasta in a cream sauce; this spicy shrimp alfredo is comfort in a bowl.
- Spicy cream sauce. The creamy cajun sauce is the ultimate in decadent comfort food. I can’t get enough of this cajun shrimp alfredo!
- Super easy recipe. This is an easy recipe for shrimp and a super quick and easy dinner. There's very little prep work involved (just a bit of chopping for the onion, pepper, and garlic). Start to finish, this creole dish will be on your table in under half an hour.
- The cajun seasoning. If you’ve followed me for long, you’ll know I love spice. This cajun spice is superb and mixed with the cream sauce and shrimp it makes for the ultimate spicy shrimp pasta recipe. And don't worry about the heat - you can totally customize it to your liking!
- Company Worthy. Even though this simple shrimp recipe is super simple to make, this meal is also great for a crowd or for a dinner with company.
- Pasta. I used linguine in this cajun shrimp alfredo recipe, but you could really use any pasta you like. Linguine is great since it’s a bit broader than regular spaghetti and there’s more room to soak up the sauce, but fettuccine, penne, or even bow-tie would work well here.
- Shrimp. It is a seafood pasta recipe after all! Large shrimp work best for this dish. You can use fresh or frozen. Just be sure to thaw it first if using frozen shrimp. Pro Tip: Buy shrimp that are already peeled and deveined to save some time!
- Cajun seasoning. A key ingredient! It's easy to make your own homemade cajun seasoning but you can usually find premade jars in the grocery store too (Old Bay, Slap Ya Mama, and Tony Chachere's are all popular brands). Just be mindful that the spice level may differ from one mix to another if you’re using store-bought. You may need to adjust the amount you add depending on the level of heat you’re after. (Err on the side of caution and always add a little, then taste before adding more!)
- Garlic. It seasons the shrimp well. And who doesn’t love a good garlicky sauce?
- Sweet Onion & Red Pepper. Not only do these veggies add a bit more texture and color to the dish, but they also help to balance the spiciness of the cajun sauce.
- Diced tomatoes. We’re making a tomato cream sauce here so diced tomatoes are crucial.
- Heavy Cream & Parmesan Cheese. These ingredients form the creamy sauce for this creamy shrimp pasta dish. Be sure to use freshly shredded parmesan cheese here, not the stuff in the green can!
- Pasta water. Don’t throw away the water you cooked your pasta in! This starchy cooking water is a great way to thicken your sauce since it’s loaded with the starch from the pasta. It works fabulously to help bind the sauce and the pasta together, and also helps to thicken your sauce. I use this trick for all of my pasta dishes and this recipe is no exception! Reserve about ½ a cup, and just add a little bit at a time to your simmering sauce. (You’ll only need about ¼ cup for this recipe but I always reserve more just in case!)
How To Make It
This creamy shrimp pasta is so simple to make.
- To start, prepare your pasta. Add a good pinch of salt to your water for flavor and boil the pasta according to the instructions. Reserve about ½ cup of pasta water once the pasta has cooked.
- While the pasta is boiling, make your cajun shrimp. Sautee the sweet onion and red pepper in butter over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add some garlic, cook for one minute more, then add in your shrimp and the cajun seasoning. Stir everything together well to coat the shrimp with the cajun seasoning. Cook the shrimp until it turns pink and is no longer translucent about five minutes.
- Make the sauce by adding the diced tomatoes and cream to the same skillet. Stir to combine, and cook for about 5 minutes longer. (The cajun seasoning used on the shrimp is enough to season the sauce as well.)
- Slowly add a couple of tablespoons, and up to ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to the sauce and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
- Remove everything from the heat, add in the parmesan cheese and the noodles, and stir to combine.
- Top the cajun shrimp linguine with additional parmesan cheese, and parsley if desired. Serve immediately.
FAQs/Tips For Success
- Be careful when adding the cajun seasoning. The level of heat can differ dramatically from brand to brand, so if you’re not making your own, add just a little bit at a time and taste before adding more.
- What's the best type of shrimp for cajun shrimp pasta? Large, wild-caught shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined work best for this dish. You can use either frozen or fresh shrimp. You can find great deals on wild-caught frozen shrimp at Trader Joe's and Costco.
- What type of pasta should I use? Any kind of pasta will work here, but I love a slightly broader noodle like linguine or fettuccine to really soak up the creamy pasta sauce. Bowtie pasta would also work nicely here.
- What type of cajun seasoning should I use for this cajun pasta recipe? You can make your own cajun seasoning or use buy it from the store.
- How can I thicken pasta sauce? Simmer it for a bit longer. You can also add a bit of the reserved pasta water to help thicken the sauce. The starch from the pasta does a great job of adding a bit of creaminess to the sauce.
- What are some variations? This dish is already very rich, but you can add even more flavor and protein by adding sausage to make a cajun shrimp pasta with sausage dish or by adding chicken for a spicy shrimp and chicken pasta. Also experiment with adding different veggies, such as spinach.
What to serve with this creamy cajun shrimp pasta
This is a rich dish so a light side goes great with it. Try a green salad or a light vegetable. And, a nice crusty bread never disappoints!
Did you try this spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below! And please tag me on IG @frontrangefed with a pic - I love to see your creations!
More Easy & Delicious Cold-Weather Meals
- Easy Red Chicken Enchiladas
- Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs With Sausage And Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
- Hoppin John
- Weeknight Mushroom Ragout With Quick & Easy Polenta
- Easy White Bean Pasta
- Easy Vegetable Lasagna
- Chickpea Stew With Orzo And Greens
Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- 1 package pasta linguine or fettuccine recommended
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- ½ sweet onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoon cajun seasoning (plus more depending on your desired level of heat)
- ¾ cup diced tomatoes (drained)
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup reserved pasta water
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Start by preparing your pasta according to package directions. Add a little salt to the boiling water for extra flavor. When pasta has finished cooking, drain the water, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water for later.
- Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over the stove and sautee the red pepper and chopped onion in the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more.
- Add the shrimp and cajun seasoning and cook until the shrimp is pink and no longer translucent.
- Add the diced tomatoes and cream and cook for an additional 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
- Add about ¼ cup of the pasta water to the shrimp mixture and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. This will help thicken the sauce.
- Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir well to combine.
- Serve in bowls, garnished with chopped parsley and additional parmesan cheese.
- Err on the side of caution when adding the cajun seasoning. You can always add more if you want but you can’t take it away. And, depending on what type of cajun spice you use, the heat level can vary dramatically.
- Save your pasta water for the sauce! The water you cook your pasta in retains a ton of starch from the pasta. It’s great to add to the sauce to help bind it to the noodles and thicken it up a bit. I use this trick for all my pasta dishes.
- Use large shrimp for this recipe. Fresh or frozen will both work!