The Shrimp Po Boy is a NOLA classic for good reason. It's a southern masterpiece of bright and savory flavors and is loved by many. With this version, we are shaving off both a little prep time and a few calories by pan-searing the shrimp rather than breading and frying. So, welcome to the lighter and quicker Shrimp Po Boy!
This recipe features crusty french bread, succulent, juicy shrimp, coated in a full-flavored, quick-fix creole seasoning, and a dash (or four) of hot sauce. Dress it up with your favorite remoulade sauce, or a smear of mayonnaise, and dig in! These sandwiches are perfect for lunches or weeknight dinners.
Ingredients like cool, crisp iceberg lettuce and sliced tomatoes aren't entirely necessary, but they do brighten up this savory sandwich with an exciting pop of fresh flavors, highly recommend! We also recommend you check out our Stuffed Shrimp, Crawfish Pie, and Jambalaya Pasta for more Cajun goodness.
HOW TO MAKE SHRIMP PO BOYS
- Prep and season the shrimp.
- Pan-sear the shrimp.
- Slice the bread.
- Fill sandwiches and serve!
Making Creole shrimp for your Shrimp Po Boys is super easy and will literally only take a few minutes.
The blackened seasoning used when making something like Creole shrimp was originally created by a well-known, Louisiana chef and is a mix of chili powders, dried herbs, and spices. This combo is a flavor powerhouse and a little on the spicy side. If you're wanting to tone down the heat, simply cut back on the cayenne pepper (or cut it out completely) and you should be good to go.
You'll start off by whipping up that spice mixture. To a small mixing bowl add smoked paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper, dried thyme, onion powder, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine.
Pat the shrimp dry, using paper towels, and transfer them to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the oil and toss. Once the shrimp are fully coated in the oil you can add your spice mixture and give it all another good mix.
Bring the oil to temperature in a large pan, over medium-high heat before adding in your butter. As soon as the butter has melted, add in your shrimp in a single layer. Allow the shrimp to cook for about 3-5 minutes altogether, flipping them once halfway through the cook time.
Looking to save some time in the prep department? We highly recommend buying your shrimp already peeled and deveined for this Shrimp Po Boy recipe. You can usually find this type of shrimp in the freezer section of your grocery store.
And speaking of frozen, we know it is tempting to believe that buying straight from the seafood counter is going to ensure a fresher product, but the truth of the matter is that the shrimp from the frozen section is usually the better bet. Unless you live very near the ocean, the "fresh" shrimp behind the glass has most likely already been frozen once and thawed and is only a good option if you are planning to cook it the day you buy it.
If you go the frozen route, simply transfer your shrimp to a large bowl and cover them with cold water about 20-30 minutes before you plan to start cooking.
For this recipe, we opted to go with larger shrimp, as less shrimp makes for quicker stovetop work, but if you'd prefer more shrimp in each bite, feel free to sub in medium shrimp. You'll just need to watch the shrimp closely as the cook time will likely be a little less and nobody like overcooked shrimp.
Traditionally a Shrimp Po Boy is made with fresh, bakery French bread. We recommend buying your bread the day of for maximum NOLA vibes. When it comes to Po Boys, the bread is actually just as much a star of the show as the shrimp, so you want it to be good.
If using French bread, cut the bread into 4 sections and then cut crosswise down the middle to prepare each section for stuffing!
While French bread is traditional, you could also use just about any white bakery bread like French sticks, baguettes, or pre-cut hoagies. The choice is yours!
There's really no wrong way to finish off a Shrimp Po Boy Sandwich, but there is a traditional way.
Mayonnaise is traditional, but French remoulade sauce is a fine addition if you're looking to add even more flavor. Remoulade sauce is mayonnaise spruced up with whole-grain or dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, pickles, capers, and more. You can make it yourself or just grab a jar from the condiment aisle of your store.
Whichever one you chose to use -- mayonnaise or remoulade -- slather it onto the bread, add your shrimp, and move on to the toppings!
If you'd like to enjoy your Po Boy "dressed" as they say in NOLA, you'll need finely shredded iceberg lettuce, large, sliced tomatoes, and a heaping pile of sliced dill pickles.
6 MORE CAJUN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Cajun Rice
- Cajun Chicken Alfredo
- Blackened Shrimp
- Blackened Chicken
- Roast Beef Po Boy
- Shrimp Etouffee
You and your people are going to absolutely love this lighter, quicker take on the classic New Orleans Shrimp Po Boy!
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Generous ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- Generous ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- Generous pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-25 count)
- 2 tablespoons canola or avocado oil, separated
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound fresh white bakery bread (e.g., French loaf, French sticks, or hoagie rolls)
- Mayonaisse or remoulade sauce
- Tomatoes, seeded and sliced ¼" thick
- Finely shredded iceberg lettuce
- Sliced dill pickles
Combine all of the dry spices and herbs in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Pat each shrimp dry with a paper towel and add them to a large mixing bowl along with 1 tablespoon of oil. Toss until evenly coated. Then, add the seasoning mix and stir until evenly coated once more. Set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and allow it to come to temperature. Add the butter, and as soon as it has melted, add one single layer of shrimp, leaving a bit of space in between each one.
Cook for about 2 to 2 ½ minutes, then flip and cook for 1 ½ to 2 minutes more on the other side. The shrimp is ready when it is pink and semi-firm to the touch.
If using a large, French loaf, cut the loaf into four sections. Use a large serrated knife to slice your loaf or rolls crosswise down the center.
Slather the bread with mayonnaise or creole sauce (if using), stuff it with a generous serving of shrimp, and finish with desired toppings. Serve and enjoy!