This Cajun Shrimp Pasta is sweet, spicy, and so creamy! Penne pasta, tender-crisp veggies, and juicy shrimp are tossed with a homemade Cajun seasoning and coated in a rich sauce.
Pasta in a creamy sauce is always good, right? There’s just no denying that one. 😉 But add a blend of sweet, spicy, delicious seasonings and it takes that pasta to a whole new level of YUM.
This Cajun shrimp pasta is the perfect pasta dish. Penne noodles tossed with shrimp and veggies in half-and-half and parmesan? I mean, come on!
Want to give your Cajun shrimp pasta an even bigger flavor twist? Try my Cajun shrimp and chorizo pasta recipe!
What is cajun seasoning made of?
Cajun seasoning is a spice mixture containing spices such as garlic powder, paprika, salt, onion powder, cayenne, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and pepper!
It’s slightly sweet, it’s perfectly spicy, it’s ridiculously flavorful, and it makes this Cajun shrimp pasta SO GOOD!
This recipe is packed with veggies, pasta, cheese, shrimp…it’s got everything!
- Unsalted Butter – melted and used to cook the veggies.
- Yellow Onion, Green Bell Pepper, Red Bell Pepper, Orange Bell Pepper, and Baby Bella Mushrooms – a delicious, colorful veggie blend that adds texture, flavor, and gives this pasta dish an extra boost of nutrition.
- Garlic – adds a subtle nutty flavor to round out the sweeter flavors from the veggies.
- Half-and-Half – the base of our sauce. Half-and-half creates a rich, cream sauce without being overly heavy. Want it even creamier? Use heavy cream!
- Parmesan Cheese – thickens our cream sauce while also providing a sharp, salty flavor. Use finely grated parmesan for the smoothest texture.
- Shrimp – use raw, peeled and deveined with tails taken off. If using frozen shrimp, be sure they’re completely thawed before proceeding with the recipe.
- Penne Pasta – cooked al denté according to package directions.
- Homemade Cajun Seasoning – Garlic Powder, Paprika, Salt, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Oregano, Thyme, Red Pepper Flakes, and Black Pepper. This blend of spices make up a sweet, spicy, super flavorful seasoning mix!
How to make
This creamy, cheesy, perfectly spicy shrimp pasta dinner is ready in 40 minutes!
- Mix garlic powder, paprika, salt, onion powder, cayenne, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and pepper in a small bowl. This is your Cajun seasoning.
- Melt butter in a sauté pan then mix in onions, pepper, mushrooms, garlic and half of the Cajun seasoning. Cook until crisp-tender.
- Stir in half-and-half, parmesan, and the rest of the Cajun seasoning then bring to a simmer. Mix in shrimp and simmer again.
- Toss with cooked pasta, let sit so the sauce can thicken, then serve and enjoy!
What pasta to use
Any pasta would be great in this cajun shrimp pasta recipe. I use penne pasta, because I love how the sauce gets into the middle of the tubes and also coats the outside of the pasta.
However, I think any pasta you have on hand will work. Try, rotini, rigatoni, linguine, etc. Whatever pasta you use, be sure it’s cooked al denté.
Do you use fresh or frozen shrimp?
Fresh or frozen shrimp can be used in this recipe. Whatever you use, use large shrimp that’s been peeled, deveined, with the tails removed. I find that smaller shrimp become easily overcooked while the sauce thickens.
If using frozen shrimp, be sure to thaw it completely before proceeding with the recipe.
How to thaw frozen shrimp
I always recommend following the directions on whatever package of shrimp you have, but the general rule of thumb is to submerge the shrimp in cool water for 10-30 minutes or in the fridge overnight.
What to serve with cajun shrimp pasta
This pasta dish is packed with everything you could want in a meal: pasta, veggies, and protein from the shrimp. If you’re looking to bulk up the meal even more with a side dish or two, here are some ideas:
How to store
Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then microwave or heat on the stovetop until warmed through.
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
Equipment for this recipe
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper omit or reduce if you don’t like spice
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes omit or reduce if you don’t like spice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 orange bell pepper diced
- 1 (8 oz) package baby Bella mushrooms diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 2 cups half and half plus more for thinning out the sauce, if desired
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 16 oz large raw shrimp peeled and deveined with tails taken off
- 1 pound penne pasta cooked al denté according to package directions
- Cilantro and green onions optional as garnish
- Place garlic powder, paprika, salt, onion powder, cayenne, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Set aside.
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Melt butter in a large straight edged sauté pan over medium heat.
- Stir in onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and about half the cajun seasoning.
- Cook until the peppers are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Add half-and-half, parmesan, and remaining cajun seasoning.
- Bring to a simmer, add in shrimp, then simmer for 3-5 minutes or until shrimp is cooked.
- Toss with cooked pasta.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes if you want the sauce to thicken.
- Re-season and thin with more half and half, if necessary, then serve and enjoy!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.