This generations-old Seafood Gumbo Recipe is chock-full of tender shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat swimming in a spiced broth that begins with a deep medium flavorful roux! It has that spicy kick that will warm you up all year round. If you love this gumbo, you will definitely love other New Orleans classics like this tutorial on How to make a Roux, Shrimp Etouffee, Red Beans and Rice, and Low Country Boil! But also give my Shrimp Creole or Cajun Clam Chowder a try!
Today’s recipe is brought to you by none other than my good friend Toni Tipton Martin.
Toni’s latest project Jubilee is a collection of recipes written to celebrate the rich history of African-American cooking. And oh man, it is fantastic!
If you love seafood soups and stews, like this Cajun Clam Chowder, you’re going to enjoy this cajun seafood gumbo recipe. Let’s make a bowl together!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Easy-to-follow instructions so you end up with delicious results!
- A delicious gumbo recipe that makes a great addition to your Mardi Gras celebration.
- Packed with rich flavors and plenty of savory seafood.
- A hearty and satisfying bowl of gumbo!
What Is Gumbo?
Gumbo is typically served as a rich soup, sometimes spooned over rice. It has a hearty broth that starts with a roux. It’s often confused with jambalaya, a rice dominant dish that is cooked in a large skillet similar to paella.
Both Gumbo and Jambalaya are staples of Creole and Cajun cooking but they are also both distinctively different. Each dish requires different methods of preparation and varying ingredients.
The differences seem subtle but believe me, these are two very individual dishes.
Gumbo ingredients vary just as much as anything else. In this seafood gumbo recipe, these are the crucial ingredients that start off this gumbo’s Roux:
- Roux: Made with equal parts of oil and all-purpose flour. Try to use a neutral oil that won’t affect the flavor of the gumbo. I don’t recommend using butter for your roux since it doesn’t have a very high smoke point and is more apt to burn.
- Holy Trinity: A combination of onion, green bell pepper, and celery that’s the start of almost all cajun and creole cooking.
- Green onions: Added for a slightly more mellow onion flavor.
- Scotch Bonnet pepper: Gives your gumbo some heat. The amount is entirely adjustable so feel free to use less if you want it less spicy.
- Spices: Dried thyme, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper add flavor to the broth of the gumbo.
- Stock: You can use chicken stock, fish stock, or a combination of both, creating more complex flavors.
- Okra: You can use fresh or frozen – they both work great.
- Shrimp: Buy peeled and deveined to save time.
- Oysters: Buy these already shucked. They are available in the seafood section of most grocery stores.
- Crabmeat: Use claw meat and make sure you choose one that’s already picked over so you don’t have to do it.
- Cooked rice: For serving!
PRO TIP: If you want to create a sausage and seafood gumbo, feel free to add some andouille sausage as well. It will taste incredible.
How To Make Gumbo
Making this seafood gumbo recipe with okra takes time so be sure you don’t try to throw it together on a busy weeknight. For the best results, it takes time. Here are the main steps.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, gradually whisk in the flour. Be careful not to splash the mixture so you don’t get burned.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring the roux continuously until it’s medium brown in color and smooth. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
PRO TIP: Use a heavy-bottomed pan and whisk constantly as you add the flour. Watch your roux very carefully because it burns quickly. Aim for rich brown coloration with absolutely no black specks. Those specks mean you gotta start over!
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the onion, green onions, bell pepper, and celery. Stir until the vegetables are wilted but not browned.
- Add the garlic, chile pepper, thyme, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Turn the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Whisk in the warm stock in batches to prevent splattering. Add the bay leaf, and bring the gumbo to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the okra, shrimp, oysters, and crab to the pot and simmer until just cooked.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let it stand for 1 hour for the flavors to mingle.
- Return the pot to the stove and heat just until the soup is hot again. Serve it up with hot cooked rice and garnish with parsley.
How To Serve Gumbo
Seafood Gumbo is traditionally served over rice but the choice is up to you!
Can Seafood Gumbo Be Frozen and Reheated?
Yes! You can absolutely freeze and reheat your Seafood Gumbo. I mean, this ain’t a cheap dish to make and that means no spoonful can go to waste.
Actually, just like with many stews and braises, gumbo can taste better on the second day! The extra bit of time allows the seafood to marinate in all those delicious spices and juices. So it might be worth it to store and reheat.
Here’s how to do it:
- Store gumbo in your refrigerator for up to three days.
- Freeze gumbo for up to eight months in air-tight, freezer-safe containers. Thaw it out in the fridge overnight.
- Reheat gently on a stovetop. That means low heat, stirring often, and some patience.
This southern seafood gumbo recipe can be quite technically difficult to make. It disguises itself as a simple recipe but there are a few things you need to get right if you wanna make a great gumbo.
- The quality and freshness of the seafood that you use are large factors in the outcome of your gumbo. It doesn’t have to be high-end shellfish but be sure that your choices are ones that won’t make the next morning to be rougher than it has to be.
- Making the roux requires extreme patience. For a seafood gumbo, you will need to get to a medium brown roux.
- Slow cooking allows all the flavors of each and every one of the ingredients to come together. And think of it this way, low and slow means little to no chance of burning.
- Watch the dish closely as it cooks so you avoid burning it.
- Add additional flour to this gumbo if you prefer a thicker gumbo.
Sure thing! Leave out the oysters and crab and add more shrimp to the recipe instead to replace it.
Yes, most gumbos are traditionally spicy. However, you have complete control over how much of each spicy element you add to the gumbo. You can always make it less spicy and add seasonings and chiles to the table for everyone to add to their bowl if they want it spicy.
It’s the roux which is made by slowing flour and oil together. You want to cook it until it’s a medium brown color. Be sure to cook it slowly and don’t try to rush the process for the best results.
More Seafood Recipes
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Seafood Gumbo Recipe
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup all purpose flour or 3/4 cup, if you like a thicker gumbo
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green onions about 8
- ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- 1 tbsp minced garlic 3 to 4 cloves
- ½ tsp minced Scotch Bonnet pepper or to taste
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp salt or to taste
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 ½ quarts chicken stock or fish stock or combo of both
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb fresh or frozen okra sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 pint shucked oysters
- 1 lb claw crabmeat picked over
- Hot cooked rice for serving
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat the oil over medium high heat until hot, almost smoking. Gradually whisk in the flour, being careful not to splash the mixture so you don't get burned. Reduce the heat to low and cook and stir the roux continuously until medium brown and smoth, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium high. Add the onion, green onions, bell pepper, celery and stir until the vegetables are wilted but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, chile pepper, thyme, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Reduce the heat to low and cook to allow the flavors to marry, about 20 minutes.
- Whisk in the warm stock in batches to prevent splattering. Add the bay leaf, then bring back to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and add salt as desired. Add the okra, shrimp, oysters, and crab and simmer until just cooked, another few minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour for the flavors to mingle. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- Return the pot to medium low heat just until the soup is hot again. Spoon into serving bowls, add hot rice as desired, and sprinkle with parsley.
This post was originally published December 2019. It has been republished with new images and content.