The smell of New Orleans’ cuisine will fill your house as you snuggle up to a bowl full of this Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo. With its’ rich, chocolatey brown color (all thanks to a homemade roux!), spicy Cajun flavors, and bites of andouille sausage and shrimp in every bite. This classic Louisiana recipe is perfect for a Mardi Gras celebration or enjoying all year-round!
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo Recipe
My grandpa, more affectionately known as “Papa”, turned 82 this past weekend.
Papa played football for Tulane, sent a few of his kids (and then grandkids!) to LSU, roots for the New Orleans Saints, has been in more Mardi Gras parades than I can count, and has quite the affinity for a big bowl of authentic shrimp gumbo.
Not to mention, he has never been able to resist tapping his foot when a jazzy tune comes on.
He encompasses the characteristics of a man who has lived in Louisiana a large majority of his life.
Every year around Christmas we visit my Nanny and Papa in a town just outside of New Orleans.
And just about every year we have the pleasure of enjoying true, authentic, Cajun cuisine.
Albeit to say, my taste buds have become accustomed to the flavors of real Cajun food.
So you have my word, this Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Gumbo will be just that… authentically Cajun.
What is Gumbo?
Gumbo typically starts off with a dark roux, has the “holy trinity” of bell pepper, onion, and celery, and then a protein or two such as chicken, shrimp, or sausage.
It is then served over a bed of white rice and sprinkled with additional file powder or hot sauce.
Gumbo differs from jambalaya in that it is more of a roux-thickened stew or soup. Jambalaya is rice-based and more similar to a Spanish paella.
What is a Roux?
A roux is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat. A lighter roux is used to thicken soups and stews while a darker, chocolate brown roux is what gives gumbo its unique flavor.
It is cooked over a low heat for an extended period of time, and whisked constantly until it darkens in color and gets richer in flavor.
You’ll find the basics below, but if you want a few more details you can learn more about how to make a roux.
Don’t feel like slaving over the pot that long? No worries! You can also purchase a pre-made roux here.
It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but the majority of these are relatively simple to find at most grocery stores. Here are the basic ingredients you’ll need:
- Sausage – Andouille sausage is the best to use since it inherently has a ton of flavor and a spicy Cajun kick. If you can’t find andouille sausage you can also opt for regular link sausage but you may need to adjust the spice level of the gumbo to make up for the lack of heat.
- Shrimp – Large, 20-24 count shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined are the best to use. If you have the time you can go through the process of peeling and deveining them yourself – but let’s be real – this gumbo recipe already takes while to make so why not skip a step!
- Roux – Read more below about how to make a roux from scratch.
- Holy Trinity – You’ll need a green bell pepper, celery, and a sweet or white onion.
- Dried herbs – Dried oregano, thyme, and a bay leaf.
- Ground spices – Cayenne pepper and paprika give the gumbo a spicy kick.
- Tomatoes – Canned diced tomatoes are preferred, but tomato sauce or stewed tomatoes may be used if that’s all you have available.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Don’t leave this out! This gives the gumbo a really deep and rich flavor.
Cook’s Note: While a mirepoix is a combination of onions, celery, and carrots, the Cajun “holy trinity” uses green bell pepper in place of the carrots.
How to Make a Roux
When making a roux from scratch you will need equal parts flour and fat. Regular all purpose flour will definitely work and some brands of gluten-free flour may work. But just know, certain brands of gluten-free flour will not thicken up as easily as the gluten-filled kind.
For the fat you can either use butter, oil, or any other type of animal fat such as bacon drippings or sausage grease.
Making Roux for Gumbo:
- Place a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add butter or oil. If using butter, let it melt completely and wait for it to start sizzling slightly.
- Sprinkle in flour and begin stirring immediately with a wooden spoon. You’ll notice the roux beginning to thicken up rather quickly.
- Stir constantly at this point to prevent it from burning. The roux will start to thin out slightly after a few minutes and you can slow down how often you’re stirring it.
- Cook roux over medium-low heat for at least 20 minutes or up to 30.
*Cook’s Tip: The lighter the roux the more thickening power it will have, but the darker the roux the more flavor it will give your gumbo.
How to Make Gumbo
While authentic gumbo is normally known to be complex, it is actually a rather easy recipe to make. It just takes a little bit of time and patience. These are the steps you will follow when making a true, authentic, Cajun shrimp gumbo (see recipe card for full recipe):
- Sauté sausage in a separate skillet. Remove sausage from pan once cooked through and let drain on a paper towel lined plate. (step 1 above)
- Add the holy trinity of celery, green bell pepper, and onion to the Dutch oven with the homemade roux. Sauté until vegetables become tender. (step 3 above)
- Pour in broth, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoning ingredients. (step 4 & 5 above)
- Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 30-40 minutes.
- Add shrimp and sausage. Cook until shrimp are done and their tails begin to curl. (step 6 above)
- Remove bay leaf and serve shrimp gumbo over rice.
Shrimp and sausage gumbo is most traditionally served over a bed of white rice. (You can cook white rice in your Instant Pot, too!)
You can also serve it over cauliflower rice if you’d prefer a lower-carb option.
Many recipes also call for including a dash or two of file powder just before serving, but this is totally optional.
File powder is simply ground sassafras leaves that gives the finished dish a really earthy flavor.
Additionally, you can add extra hot sauce, such as Tabasco, if you want your gumbo spicier.
Shrimp gumbo will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
The flavors meld together and actually get better with time!
You can also freeze leftover shrimp and sausage gumbo.
And actually, I highly encourage doubling this recipe and freezing the extra for later. (Since it takes almost 2 hours to make it!)
Simply package it up in a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 3-4 months.
Want more Cajun recipes?
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo Recipe
Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo that is made the authentic way by beginning with a roux, adding the "holy trinity", and tossing in andouille sausage and fresh Gulf shrimp. This gluten-free gumbo recipe is perfect for a Mardi Gras dinner party or enjoying year-round!
- 12 oz. andouille sausage cut into ½-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup butter or oil
- ⅓ cup flour all purpose
- 1 small sweet onion finely diced
- 1 small green bell pepper finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 4 cups chicken broth regular sodium
- ½ cup diced tomatoes canned drained
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. thyme dried
- ½ tsp. oregano dried
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. paprika
- 1 ¼ tsp. salt to taste
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound shrimp peeled, deveined, tails removed
- Fresh parsley optional
How to Make Roux for Gumbo:
Place a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add butter or oil. If using butter, let it melt completely and wait for it to start sizzling slightly.
Sprinkle in flour and begin stirring immediately with a wooden spoon. You’ll notice the roux beginning to thicken up rather quickly.
Stir constantly at this point to prevent it from burning. The roux will start to thin out slightly after a few minutes and you can slow down how often you’re stirring it.
Cook roux over medium-low heat for at least 20 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
How to Make Gumbo:
Sauté sausage in a separate skillet. Remove sausage from pan once cooked through and let drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Add diced celery, green bell pepper, and onion to the Dutch oven with the homemade roux. Saute for 6-7 minutes or until vegetables become tender.
Add crushed garlic and continue sautéing for an additional minute.
Pour in broth, tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
Add thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Mix until well combined.
Bring gumbo to a boil. Once ingredients are boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Allow gumbo to simmer for 35-40 minutes, uncovered, or until it is reduced by almost half.
Add shrimp and sausage. Stir to combine. Continue simmering for 6-7 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through, opaque, and their tails begin to curl.
Remove bay leaf and serve shrimp gumbo over rice with fresh parsley.
- Regular all purpose flour works the best and it can be bleached or unbleached. Some gluten-free all purpose blends will work but not all of them.
- If you’re pressed for time you can also use a store-bought roux instead. Just make sure you grab a dark roux and not a light for the most flavor.