Seafood Gumbo Recipe

Listen y’all, making the best Seafood Gumbo Recipe is hard work so we took care of it for ya. This OG recipe is filled with plump shrimp, juicy oysters, and crabmeat in a super spiced up broth that begins with a deep flavorful roux! Its got that fiery spice kick that I love in a seafood gumbo. The ancestors definitely knew what they were doing with this one.

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Vintage blue bowl filled with seafood gumbo recipe over rice with gold spoon ready to serve.

Ain’t nothing like a good ole gumbo to get your life right. I love all types of gumbos. From sausage and chicken to seafood, it all has a spot in my kitchen. Every New Year’s Day, my Auntie Rose makes a bomb gumbo that I cannot wait to grab a bowl of. It is our family tradition. It fills me up like none other. The flavors meld together so well, and the various textures play off of each other perfectly. This New Orleans seafood gumbo recipe is from Toni Tipton Martin, an amazing friend of mine.

Toni’s cookbook Jubilee is a collection of recipes written to celebrate the rich history of African-American cooking. And oh man, is it fantastic!  

If you love my other seafood soups and stews, like this Catfish Stew or Cajun Clam Chowder, you’re going to enjoy this cajun seafood gumbo recipe. It is a bowl full of flavor. Let’s get you all the way together.

The Low Down on This Seafood Gumbo Recipe

Cuisine Inspiration: Creole/Cajun
Primary Cooking Method: Simmering
Dietary Info: Seafood-Heavy, Gluten Options
Key Flavor: Spicy and Savory
Skill Level: Intermediate

What Is Gumbo?

Folks love to mix up jambalaya with gumbo but it is its own unique dish. It’s usually dished up as a lush soup, often served over fluffy rice. It has a great rich broth that starts with a deeply developed roux. Jambalaya is actually developed with rice in a big skillet, almost like paella.

Both gumbo and jambalaya are staples in Creole and Cajun cooking, yet they rock their own unique vibes with different prep styles and ingredients.

Ingredients you’ll need to make this Louisiana Seafood Gumbo Recipe

Ingredients to make Louisiana seafood gumbo recipe on the table.
  • Roux: It’s made with equal parts of oil and all-purpose flour. I prefer using a neutral oil so it won’t change up the flavor of my gumbo. I don’t recommend using butter to sub out the oil since it doesn’t have a very high smoke point. Burnt roux tastes pretty terrible y’all.
  • Holy Trinity: This is a combo of onion, green bell pepper, and celery that’s the start of almost all cajun and creole cooking.
  • Green onions: These add a more mellow onion flavor.
  • Scotch Bonnet pepper: This gives your gumbo recipe some heat. Just adjust the amount based on your preference. You can definitely use less to bring the heat down.
  • Spices: Dried thyme, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper add flavor to the broth of the gumbo.
  • Stock: Use what you like here. You can use chicken stock, fish stock, or a combo of both.
  • Okra: You can use fresh or frozen – they both work great here.
  • Shrimp: Buy peeled and deveined to save some time even though my mama always goes over her shrimp again just in case. 
  • Oysters: Make sure you buy these already shucked. I get them in my seafood section at my grocery store.
  • 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: You gotta serve your gumbo with this for sure!

PRO TIP:  If you want to create a sausage and seafood gumbo, feel free to throw in some andouille sausage as well.  I would scale back some pepper here if you do. It will taste incredible.

How To Make Seafood Gumbo

Real talk, a great seafood gumbo recipe takes time y’all. Don’t be tryna rush this process. It needs care and soul. Here are the main steps.

  1. 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 mix so you don’t get burned. 
  2. 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. Stay focused on this step as it is super important.

PRO TIP: Use a heavy-bottomed pan and whisk constantly as you add in your flour. Watch your roux very carefully because it burns quickly. It should look like a nice rich brown color with no burnt black specks in it. If you see any specks, you gotta start over boo.

  1. 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. 
Flour whisked into oil to create a roux and vegetables added to the pot to cook.
  1. Add the garlic, chile pepper, thyme, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Turn the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes.
  2. 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. 
Spices being added to veggies in a pot then stock being poured over the top.
  1. Add the okra, shrimp, oysters, and crab to the pot and simmer until just cooked.
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
seafood gumbo simmering until it is done

How To Serve Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo has traditional New Orleans roots so it is fantastic to serve with other Louisiana classics. Just like Etouffee or even Red Beans, it is best served over rice.

I personally love to mix it up and serve it as a stew with some southern cornbread or cornbread muffins on the side. The cornbread is perfect to sop up those delish juices. 

If you want to serve it up for something like Mardi Gras, throw in a New Orleans hurricane drink, and for dessert, some classic beignets.

For New Year’s, pair with Southern classics like hog maws and chittlins. This is actually how my family likes to get down for that holiday.

Can Seafood Gumbo Be Frozen and Reheated? 

Yep you know it! After all the effort, we definitely don’t want any to go to waste. Like with many stews and braises, Louisiana seafood gumbo can actually taste better on the second day! That extra day really lets all those flavors build and develop even more.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Store gumbo in your fridge 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 cook on low heat, stirring it often until its heated through.
Close up of seafood gumbo recipe in blue bowl with shrimp, crab and okra over rice.

Expert Tips

Seafood Gumbo New Orleans style can be a bit difficult to master. Here are tips that help me when I make this recipe:

  • The quality and freshness of the seafood that you use will completely change the quality of your gumbo. Now you don’t have to break the bank for high-end shellfish but just make sure its the best quality you can afford. It can make all the difference. 
  • Making the roux requires extreme patience.  I know I keep saying this over and over but the base of a great Louisiana seafood gumbo recipe is the roux. You gotta take your time to get to that medium brown color. If it burns at all, it ruins everything. Toss it out and try again.
  • Slow cooking allows all the flavors to come together and it helps prevent burning.
  • Watch the dish closely as it cooks so you avoid burning it.
  • Add more flour to this gumbo if you prefer a thicker gumbo. It will make it more like a stew than a soup. 

FAQs

Can I use this recipe to make shrimp gumbo?

Oh yeah! Leave out the oysters and crab and add more shrimp to the recipe instead.

Is gumbo spicy?

Yep, most gumbos are traditionally spicy. But you can change this to fit your needs. Scale back the spices if you prefer yours more mild. Guests can always throw in some hot sauce if they like it hotter.

What is the most important part of gumbo?

Definitely a roux which is made by slowing adding 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.

A bowl of lousiana seafood gumbo recipe on the table with a spoon in the bowl.

More Seafood Recipes

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A close up of seafood gumbo recipe in a blue bowl over rice ready to serve for dinner.

Seafood Gumbo Recipe

This generations old Seafood Gumbo Recipe is full of tender shrimp, oysters and crabmeat in a spiced broth that began with a deep roux.
4.32 from 41 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Soup
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 1548mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 622IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 3mg
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This post was originally published December 2019. It has been republished with new images and content.

Filed Under:  Cajun and Creole Recipes, Dinner, Mardi Gras, New Year's, Seafood, Soups and Stews, Stovetop

Comments

  1. great gumbo dish, love the fish that you’ve included in it too since I prefer shellfish, some gumbos I’ve had feature a lot of fishy fishy fish, also love that yours includes Scotch bonnett pepper!

  2. This recipe is amazing! It is the best gumbo ever! The flavors are fantastic and okra is a favorite and a must in a big pot of gumbo.

  3. WE add shrimp at the end to keep them from getting tough. For good looks we sometime add crab claws. (We call them crab fingers). I know that probably is not available everywhere. We only use fresh blue crab and fresh gulf shrimp. Green onion tops at the end right before it’s served. A small green salad and garlic bread and you have a meal fit for a king. Don’t burn the roux. If you do, throw it out and start over. This is perfect for supper on Christmas Eve after mass. God bless!

  4. Gumbo was genuinely delicious. The only change I did was putting in shrimp at the end and will add the okra and celery at the end, so there’s more of a crunch.

  5. So happy to find a gumbo recipe that does not include pork. Off to the market for the seafood — I know my son will load it up, no matter how good I make it, with a gallon of hot sauce.

4.32 from 41 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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