Easy Coconut Shrimp

This coconut shrimp is baked to perfection: no one can resist that crunchy, coconut-scented, juicy bite! Serve as an appetizer or dinner. Who can resist a plate of coconut shrimp? (We certainly can’t.) Each crunchy, coconut-scented, juicy bite is so supremely satisfying, we want to devour the entire plate. This appetizer is popular at seafood restaurants and Tiki bars: and it has that nostalgic 1990’s chain restaurant vibe. Here we’ve decoded the secrets behind the flavor: and for a lighter twist we’ve made it baked, not fried! Serve it with sweet chili sauce for a tasty appetizer: or you can make it dinner by adding a few sides like rice or sauteed veggies. Ready to get started? Coconut shrimp that’s baked, not fried! Of course, we had to put our “A Couple Cooks” spin on this coconut shrimp recipe. We’re all about making pretty simple recipes with a healthy twist: and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Instead of deep frying, all you have to do is bake these babies in the oven until crisp. This approach not only makes it healthier…it’s much easier! You don’t have to deal with measuring temperatures or misting your kitchen with a light spray […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This coconut shrimp is baked to perfection: no one can resist that crunchy, coconut-scented, juicy bite! Serve as an appetizer or dinner.

Coconut shrimp

Who can resist a plate of coconut shrimp? (We certainly can’t.) Each crunchy, coconut-scented, juicy bite is so supremely satisfying, we want to devour the entire plate. This appetizer is popular at seafood restaurants and Tiki bars: and it has that nostalgic 1990’s chain restaurant vibe. Here we’ve decoded the secrets behind the flavor: and for a lighter twist we’ve made it baked, not fried! Serve it with sweet chili sauce for a tasty appetizer: or you can make it dinner by adding a few sides like rice or sauteed veggies. Ready to get started?

Coconut shrimp that’s baked, not fried!

Of course, we had to put our “A Couple Cooks” spin on this coconut shrimp recipe. We’re all about making pretty simple recipes with a healthy twist: and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Instead of deep frying, all you have to do is bake these babies in the oven until crisp.

This approach not only makes it healthier…it’s much easier! You don’t have to deal with measuring temperatures or misting your kitchen with a light spray of oil.

How to make coconut shrimp

What type of shrimp to use?

There’s lots of variation in the shrimp you’ll find at the store. Here are a few tips on what to look for when you’re making coconut shrimp:

  • Find large shrimp. It’s customary to use large shrimp to get the perfect bite; you can also use medium (and you’ll end up with more bites!).
  • Use tail on. Coconut shrimp is always made with the tail on: this makes for a lovely presentation. Of course, you pop off the tails when eating.
  • Fresh or frozen. You can use either here! Just make sure to thaw the shrimp in advance (see below).
  • Wild caught. If you can, look for wild caught: it’s the most sustainable!

How to make coconut shrimp: basic steps & tips!

You’ll have to make a little assembly line to make this healthy coconut shrimp. That is: there are three stations in the breading process: flour, eggs, and a coconut and panko mixture. Set these up in a line, then go at it! It takes a little time and your hands might get a little messy, but it’s fun! We like enlisting a friend or partner to help, but you can easily do it yourself. Here’s what to do:

  • Lightly coat the shrimp in flour. This helps the next ingredients to stick.
  • Dip the shrimp into eggs. A coating of egg is the glue that holds on the crunchy bits.
  • Coat the slices in coconut and panko. Then dip the shrimp right into the panko and coconut mix.
  • Wash your hands as needed. The egg with coconut and panko can get a little gummy and messy, so wash your hands as needed throughout the process. A tip: we like to keep a bowl of water next to our assembly line so we can quickly rinse off the goo.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees. You don’t even need to flip!
Coconut shrimp

Wait: what’s panko?

Ever worked with panko? Panko is a flaky bread crumb mixture used in Japanese cooking for fried foods. It’s also made its way into international cooking because it’s the perfect breading when frying…or this coconut shrimp! Panko is available in most grocery stores; if you can’t find it, look for coarse breadcrumbs instead. Some purchased breadcrumbs have very fine texture, which wouldn’t end up quite as crispy as panko.

How to thaw shrimp

Are you working with frozen shrimp? The nice thing about shrimp is that frozen tastes nearly as good as fresh (which is not true for all seafood and fish). The only thing is you’ll have to allow for time to defrost. Here are our tips on the best way to thaw shrimp:

  • Day before: If you think ahead, simply place the frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Day of: Place the frozen shrimp into a large bowl with very cold water. Stir the bowl every 5 minutes to break up clumps of shrimp that freeze together. The shrimp should be defrosted in about 15 minutes.
Coconut shrimp

Dipping sauces for coconut shrimp

Once you’ve made up your baked coconut shrimp, the sky’s the limit for how to serve it! At seafood restaurants and Tiki bars it’s often served with sweet chili sauce. But there are lots of other options! Here are a few dipping sauces we love:

  • Sweet chili sauce: This is the best way to serve coconut shrimp because it has that classic flavor you expect. You can find it near the Asian-style condiments at your grocery.
  • Cilantro sauce: This Cilantro Lime Ranch is a fun option, or try Creamy Cilantro Sauce.
  • Cocktail sauce: Why not? Try it as an alternative to the classic with our Famous Homemade Cocktail Sauce.

Or, make it dinner with a few sides!

Here’s the thing: if I’m going to spend all this time on healthy baked coconut shrimp…I want to make it into dinner! You can easily serve this as a meal if you add a few sides. Here are some ideas:

And that’s it! We hope you love this one: let us know in the comments below.

Shrimp appetizer recipe

This coconut shrimp recipe is…

Pescatarian and dairy free.

Print
Coconut shrimp

Easy Coconut Shrimp


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

This crunchy coconut shrimp is baked to perfection! It’s easy to make, full of huge flavor, and works as an appetizer or dinner. 


Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp, deveined tail on
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt*
  • 1/2 cup flour (gluten-free flour as necessary)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish
  • Sweet chili sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. If frozen, thaw the shrimp.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry. Mix the shrimp in a bowl with the garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt
  4. Place the flour in an even layer on a plate. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl, and set it next to the plate. Place the panko and coconut on another plate, and set it next to the bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  5. Dredge each shrimp into the flour, then dip it into the eggs, then dredge it into the panko and coconut. Place each shrimp gently onto the baking sheet. Wash your hands off as necessary, since the coating can start to become gooey. 
  6. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until juicy and opaque, about 12 to 14 minutes.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Coconut shrimp

More easy shimp recipes

Shrimp is ultimate for deliciously healthy recipes! Here are a few more shrimp recipes to cook up this tasty shellfish:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Miso Salmon

Prepare to be amazed by this miso salmon! The savory glaze is the perfect accent for this broiled fish and makes an easy dinner. Here’s an impressive dinner idea that’s packed with umami and fantastically irresistible: Miso Salmon! Miso makes magic in the kitchen: it adds incredible savory flavor to everything it touches. Here it features in a miso glaze that’s so full of flavor, you’ll want to brush a glossy swipe onto just about everything. One of the ultimate ways to use it? On a tender fillet of salmon. Brush it on before and after broiling, and it’s absolutely stunning. If fact, we couldn’t tear ourselves away from this. (Our three year old was particularly smitten.) What’s in miso glaze? The secret to this miso salmon is this tasty miso glaze. You can use it on just about anything: any type of fish (like tuna or cod) or sauteed vegetables. The star is miso, a Japanese fermented soybean paste that’s full of nutrients and savory flavor! It’s known for its intense savory notes, otherwise known as umami. You can find miso in your local grocery next to the Japanese products. There are several colors of miso, each with their […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Prepare to be amazed by this miso salmon! The savory glaze is the perfect accent for this broiled fish and makes an easy dinner.

Miso salmon

Here’s an impressive dinner idea that’s packed with umami and fantastically irresistible: Miso Salmon! Miso makes magic in the kitchen: it adds incredible savory flavor to everything it touches. Here it features in a miso glaze that’s so full of flavor, you’ll want to brush a glossy swipe onto just about everything. One of the ultimate ways to use it? On a tender fillet of salmon. Brush it on before and after broiling, and it’s absolutely stunning. If fact, we couldn’t tear ourselves away from this. (Our three year old was particularly smitten.)

What’s in miso glaze?

The secret to this miso salmon is this tasty miso glaze. You can use it on just about anything: any type of fish (like tuna or cod) or sauteed vegetables. The star is miso, a Japanese fermented soybean paste that’s full of nutrients and savory flavor! It’s known for its intense savory notes, otherwise known as umami. You can find miso in your local grocery next to the Japanese products. There are several colors of miso, each with their own flavor.

This glaze comes together in just a few minutes and uses only 5 ingredients (plus salt). Once you whisk together the ingredients, there may still be some chunks of miso that do not dissolve: that’s ok! Just try to get it as smooth as you can. Here’s what you need for the miso glaze:

  • Miso: We like yellow or light miso for this recipe, but you can use whatever you find.
  • Soy sauce: substitute tamari or coconut aminos as necessary
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sugar: substitute maple syrup or honey if you like
  • Sriracha hot sauce
  • Salt
Miso glaze

Buy a high quality piece of salmon

The other part of this miso salmon recipe that’s important: buying a great piece of salmon! You can make it with any quality, but it tastes optimal with a high quality of fish. We splurged and used King salmon for this one, and wow! It’s beautifully tender and juicy, making for one irresistible piece of fish. But you can use other types too! Here are some pointers one how to buy a

  • Fresh salmon is best. You can find good frozen salmon, but for the very best salmon, buy it fresh from your local seafood counter.
  • Buy wild caught salmon. Wild caught is the way to go! It’s most sustainable and has the best flavor.
  • Coho is a good choice. We tend to like Coho salmon for its mild flavor: it’s a good middle of the road option in terms of price. Of course, King salmon is incredible but more of a splurge. Avoid Atlantic salmon as it is typically farmed salmon.

Ways to cook miso salmon

There are lots of ways to cook salmon. For this miso salmon recipe we chose the broiler because it is quick and easy! There are some tips on broiling salmon below. But you can also choose any salmon cooking method you like! Here are a few other options:

  • Pan Seared Salmon: Paint on a bit of the glaze when you flip the salmon to skin side down, then add a little more after it’s out of the pan.
  • Oven Baked Salmon: Use the glaze in the same way as broiling!
  • Grilled Salmon: Paint the glaze on right before you add it to the grill, then add more after grilling just like with broiling.
Miso salmon

Tips for broiling salmon

The best way to cook this miso salmon is broiling, we think! Here are a few tips

  • Let the salmon come to room temperature, or brine it (lower quality salmon). It’s important to let the salmon come to room temperature before broiling it so it cooks evenly. If you’re using lower quality salmon, you may want to brine it during this time: go to Broiled Salmon for more!
  • Broilers vary, so watch the cook time carefully! The exact timing for this broiled salmon depends on your specific broiler and the thickness of the fish. It will be different every time: so watch closely! Estimate 4 to 5 minutes for very thin salmon or 7 to 10 minutes for 1-inch thick salmon. A food thermometer is nice for judging whether it’s done.
  • Most broilers are about 3 to 5 inches from the heating element. If yours is closer, take care and watch the salmon during the cook time.
Miso salmon

Sides to serve with miso salmon

What to serve with miso salmon to make it into an easy dinner? There are so many options! The flavors are Asian inspired, so you can use Asian-style ingredients or opt for other elements that fit the vibe. Here are some of our favorite ways to accessorize miso salmon:

This miso salmon recipe is…

Pescatarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

Print
Miso salmon

Easy Miso Salmon


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Prepare to be amazed by this miso salmon! The savory glaze is the perfect accent for this broiled fish and makes an easy dinner. 


Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds high quality skin-on salmon fillets, wild caught if possible
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons light or yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Optional garnish: Sliced green onions, sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Let salmon rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the miso glaze: Whisk the miso, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, Sriracha and kosher salt together in a small bowl until smooth (the miso may have a few lumps depending on its texture, which is okay). 
  3. Preheat the broiler to high. Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brush it with olive oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry and place it on the foil skin side down. Brush salmon liberally with the glaze (1 to 2 tablespoons).
  4. Broil about 4 to 5 minutes for very thin salmon or 7 to 10 minutes for 1-inch thick salmon, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130F in the center). Brush with more of the glaze and serve.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Broiled
  • Cuisine: Asian inspired

Keywords: Miso salmon

Best salmon recipes

Salmon is one of the best healthy dinner ideas! Here are some more salmon recipes to add to your repertoire:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Classic Shrimp Boil

Here’s how to make the best shrimp boil! This easy meal of corn, potatoes and shrimp is perfect for a crowd. No plates required! Here’s a meal that’s special every time you serve it: a Shrimp Boil! This classic American seafood boil is one of our favorite meals to serve to a crowd because everyone always loves it. Boil up potatoes, corn, onions and shrimp in a flavorful broth, then dump them out onto a table lined with parchment paper. No plates, no silverware: just you, your hands and a can of Old Bay seasoning. There’s something magical about the experience: and it’s a hit every time. We make it at the lake house in the summer, and camping in the fall. It’s perfect for eating outdoors as the light gets low and the fire is crackling. But you can make it in your kitchen too! Here’s everything you need to know about making a shrimp boil. First of all: what’s a shrimp boil? A shrimp boil also known as a seafood boil: an American tradition that comes from the South and Northeast. Seafood boils can have all sorts of seafood: crab, crawfish, clams, etc. Usually corn and red potatoes […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make the best shrimp boil! This easy meal of corn, potatoes and shrimp is perfect for a crowd. No plates required!

Shrimp boil

Here’s a meal that’s special every time you serve it: a Shrimp Boil! This classic American seafood boil is one of our favorite meals to serve to a crowd because everyone always loves it. Boil up potatoes, corn, onions and shrimp in a flavorful broth, then dump them out onto a table lined with parchment paper. No plates, no silverware: just you, your hands and a can of Old Bay seasoning. There’s something magical about the experience: and it’s a hit every time. We make it at the lake house in the summer, and camping in the fall. It’s perfect for eating outdoors as the light gets low and the fire is crackling. But you can make it in your kitchen too! Here’s everything you need to know about making a shrimp boil.

First of all: what’s a shrimp boil?

A shrimp boil also known as a seafood boil: an American tradition that comes from the South and Northeast. Seafood boils can have all sorts of seafood: crab, crawfish, clams, etc. Usually corn and red potatoes are boiled along with the seafood in a broth flavored with lemon and bay leaves. The best part? There are no plates or silverware for a shrimp boil. It’s traditionally served on a table lined with paper, often with Old Bay seasoning (more on that, below!).

How to make a shrimp boil

What you need for a shrimp boil

It’s easy to make a shrimp boil at home! If you’ve never done it, we’ll break down the method for you. You can make a shrimp boil on your stovetop as the main method, but we’ve got a campfire variation too. Here’s what you need to make a shrimp boil:

  • Large pot: Size matters, here! Use a 8 quart pot for the standard method, the large kind you use for pasta. You can also use a 4 to 5 gallon pot and double the recipe.
  • Shell on shrimp: Cooking shrimp in the shell makes them beautifully tender and juicy.
  • Red potatoes: The most common is the red potato: use other waxy potatoes like Yukon gold if desired. Avoid russet potatoes: they come out too mealy.
  • Corn on the cob: Make sure to find fresh sweet corn.
  • Yellow onion: This backup character steals the show with its tender, sweet flavor.
  • Kielbasa sausage (optional): Typically we don’t include sausage because we eat a pescatarian diet. If desired, substitute 1 pound sausage for the second pound of shrimp.

How to make a shrimp boil on the stove

The method for a shrimp boil is this: you’ll make a flavorful broth with water and spices, then boil each of the components separately. Why separately? Here’s the important thing to note. The largest pot most cooks have is an 8 quart pot. You have to cook each component on its own because you can’t fit the volume of all the food and broth in the pot at once. This makes enough for 4 to 6 servings. (Now if you have a very large 5 gallon pot, you can cook everything at once: go to the section below!) Here are the basic steps for a shrimp boil in an 8 quart pot:

  • Simmer the broth: Simmer water to make a broth with the shrimp boil seasonings: coriander seeds, celery seeds, Old Bay, bay leaves, a whole garlic head, and lemons.
  • Add the potatoes and onions: Cook for about 20 minutes, until tender.
  • Remove and add the corn: Cook the corn for 5 minutes.
  • Remove and add the shrimp: Cook the shrimp for 2 minutes.
Shrimp boil

Alternative method: use a 5 gallon pot!

Got a huge 5 gallon pot? You can use it to make the basic recipe for 4 and boil everything at one time. Or, you can use it to make a shrimp boil for a crowd! Double this recipe to serve 8 to 12 people. This method works on the stovetop or even on a campfire. This is how we do a shrimp boil on the open fire! Here are the alterative instructions for a shrimp boil in a large 5 gallon pot:

  • Boil the broth as noted above.
  • Cook the potatoes and onions for 8 minutes.
  • Add the sausage and cook for 6 minutes (if using).
  • Add the corn and cook for 4 minutes
  • Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.
Shrimp boil on an open fire
You can make a shrimp boil on an open fire: for camping or outdoor cooking

What is Old Bay? What’s a substitute?

The best part of a shrimp boil is the Old Bay seasoning (in our humble opinion, at least!). This tasty seasoning is famous for its use in seafood boils. Don’t even think about leaving it out when making this shrimp boil! It brings the classic flavor that’s traditional for this special dish. Here’s what to know:

  • Old Bay is an American seasoning blend invented in Maryland that’s used to season shrimp, crab, clam chowder, and other seafood dishes. The main ingredients in Old Bay are paprika, celery salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Of course, you can use it on just about anything!
  • Where to find Old Bay? In the US, you can find Old Bay in your grocery store in the spices aisle. Or, buy Old Bay online.
  • What’s a substitute for Old Bay? You can make it at home! Try our Homemade Old Bay Seasoning.
Shrimp boil

Serving a shrimp boil!

The best part about making a shrimp boil is serving it! Here’s what to know:

  • Line a table with parchment paper or white paper. No plates allowed! Throw the drained veggies and shrimp onto the table and let everyone go at it. You may want a bowl for discarded shrimp shells.
  • Season with Old Bay. Keep your Old Bay container on the table so that everyone can shake it on.
  • Bonus: it makes the dishes easy! Cleanup for a shrimp boil is so easy: just pull the paper off the table and throw everything in the trash.
How to make a shrimp boil

Side dishes to serve with a shrimp boil

A shrimp boil is such a unique meal, it can be hard to figure out what to serve with it. You’re not eating on plates, so it doesn’t quite make sense to eat a salad or coleslaw. But you can pull out small side plates if you’d like to serve traditional side dishes! Here’s what we suggest serving with a shrimp boil:

Seafood boil

This shrimp boil recipe is…

Pescatarian, dairy free and gluten-free.

Print
Shrimp boil

Classic Shrimp Boil!


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s the best shrimp boil recipe! This easy meal of corn, potatoes and shrimp is perfect for a crowd. No plates required!


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay, purchased or homemade, plus more for serving (required!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 garlic bulb, with top cut off
  • 4 lemons, washed and cut in half
  • 3 pounds red potatoes, cut in half
  • 3 yellow onions, quartered with root attached
  • 6 ears corn, cut in half
  • 2 pounds shrimp, shell on*

Instructions

  1. Simmer the broth*: In a large 8 quart pot, add 5 quarts water. Stir in the kosher salt, coriander seeds, celery seeds, Old Bay, cayenne, bay leaves, and entire garlic head (with top cut off). Cut the lemons in half and add them to the pot, squeezing in some juice as you add them. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the water for 15 minutes (taste, it should taste like a seasoned soup).
  2. Cook the potatoes: Pull out the lemons with a slotted spoon and discard them. Add the onions and potatoes to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 18 to 22 minutes total, until potatoes are tender.
  3. Cook the corn: Remove the potatoes and onions with a slotted spoon and place them in a very large bowl: cover it with aluminum foil to keep them warm. Add the corn to the broth and cook 5 to 6 minutes until bright yellow.
  4. Cook the shrimp: Remove the corn with a slotted spoon and add it to the bowl with the potatoes (cover it again with the foil). Add the shrimp to the broth and cook for about 2 minutes until bright pink and just cooked.
  5. Drain and serve: Drain the pot and shrimp. Return the drained potatoes, onions, corn and shrimp to the pot. Line the table with butcher paper or newspaper, then pour everything on top. Serve with Old Bay seasoning. 

Notes

*If desired, replace 1 pound shrimp with 1 pound kielbasa sausage. Boil the sliced sausage for 12 minutes with the potatoes and onions.

**Large pot method (works for open fire or stovetop): This method cooks everything separately because the largest pot most cooks have is 8 quart. If you have a very large pot that’s 4 to 5 gallons, you can double the recipe and cook it all in one pot. Cook the potatoes and onions for 8 minutes, add the sausage and cook for 6 minutes (if using), add the corn and cook for 4 minutes, then add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Shrimp boil

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Blackened Salmon

Blackened salmon is the ultimate salmon recipe: fast, easy and seasoned to perfection! It’s guaranteed to become a favorite. Speechless. That’s what I was when Alex made this beautiful salmon recipe for me…and we hope you will be too. This Blackened Salmon is so flavor filled, you’ll feel like you ordered it at a restaurant. Even better: it’s fast and easy. The cooking process takes just 5 to 8 minutes. The homemade blackened seasoning has a savory intrigue and makes a crispy black crust on the outside of the fish. (Yeah, it blackens your pan too…but it’s 100% worth it.) What is blackening, anyway? First, let’s talk about the cooking method: blackening! Blackening is a style of cooking fish and meat in a cast iron skillet with a special blend of Cajun-style spices until the outside is crispy and blackened. It’s a technique that was popularized by celebrity Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme of Louisiana. He created a recipe for blackened redfish in this 1980’s cookbook that took the world by storm. Since then, blackening has become a popular technique. It’s all about the spices: and each chef has their own special blend. Let’s talk spices! Ingredients in blackened seasoning Here’s […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Blackened salmon is the ultimate salmon recipe: fast, easy and seasoned to perfection! It’s guaranteed to become a favorite.

Blackened salmon

Speechless. That’s what I was when Alex made this beautiful salmon recipe for me…and we hope you will be too. This Blackened Salmon is so flavor filled, you’ll feel like you ordered it at a restaurant. Even better: it’s fast and easy. The cooking process takes just 5 to 8 minutes. The homemade blackened seasoning has a savory intrigue and makes a crispy black crust on the outside of the fish. (Yeah, it blackens your pan too…but it’s 100% worth it.)

What is blackening, anyway?

First, let’s talk about the cooking method: blackening! Blackening is a style of cooking fish and meat in a cast iron skillet with a special blend of Cajun-style spices until the outside is crispy and blackened. It’s a technique that was popularized by celebrity Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme of Louisiana. He created a recipe for blackened redfish in this 1980’s cookbook that took the world by storm. Since then, blackening has become a popular technique. It’s all about the spices: and each chef has their own special blend. Let’s talk spices!

Blackened seasoning

Ingredients in blackened seasoning

Here’s the thing about blackened seasoning: every chef has their own recipe, so there’s no “true” definition! The famous chef Paul Prudhomme had his own technique, and ours is heavily influenced by his method. Most recipes have spices familiar to Cajun cuisine: paprika, garlic, onion, oregano, thyme, and of course, cayenne for the heat. To our recipe we added a hint allspice and cloves to add intrigue and nuance.

This blackened seasoning blend has a hint of heat, but it’s mild. We wouldn’t even call it medium (our 3 year old loved it and didn’t detect heat). We recommend making this blend homemade because it’s just not the same otherwise! The ingredients in our homemade Blackened Seasoning are:

  • Smoked paprika or sweet paprika
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Oregano
  • Celery seed
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper
Blackened salmon

How to buy a great piece of salmon

Aside from blackened seasoning, you’ll also need a fantastic piece of salmon for this blackened salmon. Lower quality salmon can taste very fishy and have a mushy texture. Here’s how to buy a great piece of salmon:

  • Buy wild caught salmon. Wild caught is the way to go! It’s most sustainable and has the best flavor. Buy it either fresh from the fish counter or frozen works too.
  • Coho is a good choice. We tend to like Coho salmon for its mild flavor: it’s a good middle of the road option in terms of price. Of course, King salmon is incredible but it’s on the expensive end. Avoid Atlantic salmon as it is typically farmed salmon.
  • Make sure to buy skin on. You’ll need skin-on salmon for this recipe.

Basic steps for how to make blackened salmon

You can skip right to the recipe if you’re ready to start this blackened salmon. But let’s chat briefly about the method, because knowing why you’re doing something in the kitchen is just as important as doing it.

  • Brine the salmon. Brining takes 15 minutes, but it makes the best crispy on the outside, moist on the inside piece of salmon. Simply place the salmon in a salt water solution for 15 minutes; this also allows the salmon to come to room temperature.
  • Add blackened seasoning. Pat the salmon dry and season with the homemade seasoning blend (you can mix it up while the salmon is brining).
  • Sear the salmon skin side up for 2 to 3 minutes. Use a stainless steel or cast iron pan to get the best sear (not a non-stick pan)! Cook it over medium high heat until it’s cooked about halfway.
  • Flip and cook 2 to 5 more minutes. The timing depends on the thickness of the piece of salmon, so use your best judgement. It should be just tender and pink at the center (about 130 degrees Fahrenheit).
Blackened salmon

Helpful tool: a fish spatula!

You don’t need any special tools for blackened salmon, but here’s one that makes the process a little easier: a fish spatula! A fish spatula is a wide slotted metal spatula that’s used to gently slide underneath fish when you’re searing it. It’s actually useful for many more tasks outside of seafood: like flipping eggplant pizzas or fries.

Use any large, wide spatula if you don’t have a fish spatula. Metal is nice so that it can easily slide under the fish skin. Want to grab one for yourself? Here’s a link to our fish spatula.

How to clean your pan after making blackened salmon

After making blackened salmon, your pan will have a lovely blackened char as well. (Sorry, it’s part of the fun!) Here are a few things to note about cleaning your pan:

  • Don’t leave it for hours. You can eat your food first, of course! But don’t leave it for hours or overnight so that the black crust solidifies.
  • “Deglaze” the pan. Deglazing the pan is a cooking technique where you add wine or another liquid to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. You can use it for cleaning too! Simply place water in the pan and heat it on a burner over medium heat. When the blackened bits start to loosen, scrape them off gently with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula.
  • Use a non-toxic kitchen cleaner. If you have bits that are really stuck, we like to use a cleaner like Bon Ami.
How to make Blackened salmon

Sides to serve with blackened salmon

And that’s it: how to make blackened salmon! It makes a beautiful healthy dinner recipe that’s great for weeknights or to impress when you’re entertaining. What to serve with it? Here are a few side dishes we’d pair with it:

This blackened salmon recipe is…

Gluten-free, pescatarian and dairy-free.

Print
Blackened salmon

Classic Blackened Salmon


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Blackened salmon is the ultimate salmon recipe: fast, easy and seasoned to perfection! It’s guaranteed to become a favorite.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound wild caught salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons homemade Blackened Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or more olive oil for dairy free)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus one drizzle
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Brine the salmon: In a large shallow dish, whisk together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until dissolved. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes.
  2. If you haven’t already, mix up the blackened seasoning.
  3. Pat the salmon dry with a clean towel. Rub it generously with oil and sprinkle it with the kosher salt and blackened seasoning.
  4. Heat a large skillet (not non-stick*) over medium high heat and add the butter and olive oil. When butter is melted, add the salmon skin side up and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until cooked about 1/2 way to center of thick part of salmon.
  5. Flip the salmon (a fish spatula makes easy work of it). Tilt the pan down slightly and quickly spoon the pan juices over the top of the fish a few times. Drizzle with the lemon juice and spoon the pan juices a few times again. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 Fahrenheit in the center when removed). Remove from the heat and serve.

Notes

*You’ll get the best sear from a stainless steel or cast iron skillet.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Seared
  • Cuisine: Cajun inpsired

Keywords: Blackened salmon

More healthy seafood recipes

We’ve got lots more healthy seafood recipes and fish recipes to try! Here are some favorites:

  • Pesto Baked Salmon Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! An easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests.
  • Tilapia Fish Tacos Bake or broil the fish, then add sauce and slaw. A total crowd pleaser!
  • Creamy Shrimp Pasta Easy to make with the best big flavors: garlic, lemon, and Parmesan.
  • Seafood Paella This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.
  • Salmon with Capers Oven baked in foil until it’s perfectly tender, then topped with a delicious caper sauce. An easy healthy dinner recipe!

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Pesto Salmon

Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! This pesto salmon is an easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests. Ready for the perfect zingy sauce to add life to baked salmon? Try this pesto salmon! Bright green pesto goes hand in hand with tender baked fish to make a stunning dinner. Because really: what isn’t better with a little pesto on top? It’s mid-summer here and we’re making all the pesto with our overactive basil plant. The savory, garlicky sauce makes the flaky fish pop: you’ll already be taking your second bite before finishing the first. It’s easy enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough to serve to guests. This one went over very well in our house. Here’s what to know! Use homemade pesto if you can…but purchased works This pesto salmon is best with…you guessed it, homemade pesto! Now, we know it’s not always that you have access to loads of fresh basil. But the flavor of freshly made basil pesto is so good, you’ll want to make it if at all possible. Here are a few things to know: Make a half recipe of our basil pesto. This way, you don’t […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! This pesto salmon is an easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests.

Pesto salmon

Ready for the perfect zingy sauce to add life to baked salmon? Try this pesto salmon! Bright green pesto goes hand in hand with tender baked fish to make a stunning dinner. Because really: what isn’t better with a little pesto on top? It’s mid-summer here and we’re making all the pesto with our overactive basil plant. The savory, garlicky sauce makes the flaky fish pop: you’ll already be taking your second bite before finishing the first. It’s easy enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough to serve to guests. This one went over very well in our house. Here’s what to know!

Use homemade pesto if you can…but purchased works

This pesto salmon is best with…you guessed it, homemade pesto! Now, we know it’s not always that you have access to loads of fresh basil. But the flavor of freshly made basil pesto is so good, you’ll want to make it if at all possible. Here are a few things to know:

  • Make a half recipe of our basil pesto. This way, you don’t need as much basil: just 1 cup of basil leaves.
  • You can use cashews or walnuts. Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, but they can be expensive or hard to find. Using other nuts works too! Our favorite is cashew pesto, or try this walnut pesto.
  • Or, find the best quality purchased brand. Here’s the thing about storebought pesto: the quality varies widely. Some pestos taste flat and dull, some are overly salty. So experiment until you find one you love!

Tip for baked pesto salmon: brine it first!

Here’s a little trick we’ve used to great success. Brine your salmon before baking! What’s brining? Brining is letting your salmon sit in a brine solution before baking. This makes for perfectly moist salmon, and it helps the salmon come to room temperature which makes it cook more evenly. It also cuts down on the white stuff (see below). Even better: it doesn’t take any extra time! You can do it while the oven preheats. Here’s how to brine salmon:

  • Mix up a salt water solution. In a large dish, stir 4 cups of water with 3 tablespoons salt to make a salt water solution.
  • Place the fish in the water for 15 minutes. You can do this in the time it takes to preheat your oven: so there’s no time lost!

What’s the white stuff on cooked salmon?

What’s that gooey white stuff that sometimes appears on the surface of the fish after it’s cooked? Good news: it’s perfectly normal! The white stuff is coagulated protein that seeps to the surface while baking, called albumin. The amount of albumin varies greatly depending on the fish, so it’s not something you can control. (Read more here.) It’s safe to eat, but it does look less than appetizing on top of a beautiful fillet. Here are a few ways to reduce the albumin when you cook salmon:

  • Cook it at a lower temperature to cook it more gently (325 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Brine the salmon in a salt and water solution before baking
Pesto salmon

How to garnish pesto salmon

The presentation is the fun part, right? This pesto salmon looks just lovely on a plate. Here’s what to know about the presentation:

  • Add the pesto after baking. This keeps it beautifully moist and bright green.
  • Add chopped and toasted pine nuts as a garnish. These look lovely, and they have a unique flavor. Make sure to toast the pine nuts before using them: it accentuates the flavor in a way where you’ll taste the difference.
  • Lemon zest adds brightness. Zest helps brighten the flavors; you’ll already have a lemon onhand if you make homemade pesto. If using storebought pesto, it can be a nice way to revive the flavors.

Buying sustainable salmon

Want to buy the most sustainable fish you can? Here are a few pointers when you’re looking at salmon at the grocery store:

  • Look for wild-caught fish if possible. Wild-caught fish is more sustainable than farmed.
  • Find US caught (if you’re in the US). 90% of the seafood we eat in the US is imported. Imported seafood runs the risk of being overfished, caught under unfair labor practices, or farmed in environmentally harmful ways.
Pesto salmon

Sides to serve with pesto salmon

This pesto salmon makes an easy, healthy dinner recipe: great for weeknights in and when you’re entertaining guests! How to make it into a meal? Because you’ll have the oven occupied for the salmon, here are a few ideas for side dishes that are oven-free:

This pesto recipe is…

Gluten-free and pescatarian. For dairy free, use Vegan Pesto.

Print
Pesto salmon

Easy Pesto Salmon


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! This pesto salmon is an easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests.


Ingredients

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets or a large 1 1/2 pound fillet, wild caught if possible
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for brining
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade preferable)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted and chopped pine nuts
  • A few grates of lemon zest, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Brine the salmon: While the oven preheats, in a shallow dish stir together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until it dissolves. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes (this should be about the time it takes to preheat).
  3. Bake: Rub the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry and place it on the pan. Sprinkle the salmon with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt for each of the 4 fillets and fresh ground pepper. Cover pan with foil and bake the salmon for 10 minutes. Then remove the foil bake again for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the center). A 1-inch thick fillet should cook in about 15 minutes total.
  4. Serve: When the salmon is done, spoon the pesto over the salmon. Sprinkle it with chopped pine nuts and if desired, a bit of lemon zest. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.)

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Pesto salmon

More recipes with pesto

Got lots of basil? Let’s make everything pesto! Here are some of our favorite meals starring this bright green sauce:

  • Pesto Spaghetti or Pesto Cavatappi The trick to getting the creamiest pesto pasta evenly covered in silky sauce! Make it with homemade or purchased basil pesto for a fast dinner.
  • Shrimp Pesto Pasta An impressively fast and easy dinner recipe! Cover the noodles in glistening green basil pesto for a meal that pleases everyone.
  • Pesto Cream Sauce This 5-minute pesto cream sauce is genius: just simmer pesto and cream until a thick sauce forms!
  • Easy Pesto Shrimp A dinnertime win! Savory basil pesto is a natural pairing with juicy shrimp; serve with pasta or rice for an easy dinner idea.
  • Pesto Aioli Full of incredible basil and Parmesan flavor! Use it for dipping fries or to slather on a burger or sandwich.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Fish Tacos

Here’s how to make the tastiest fish tacos around! Bake the fish with a dry rub of spices, then top it with tangy slaw and creamy sauce. Tacos are always a win over here, so might we introduce you to our new favorite? These baked fish tacos! We eat a mostly plant-based diet, with room for seafood occasionally (basically the Mediterranean diet). And my, are tacos the best treat! You’ll bake the white fish until it’s flaky with a dry rub of spices: no breading or frying necessary. Then top it with a quick and simple tangy slaw, and a creamy fish taco sauce. They’re delicious, easy to make and a total crowd pleaser that works for weeknights or dinner parties. Here’s what you need to know! What fish to use for fish tacos You can use any type of white fish for these healthy fish tacos! Here are some of the types of fish that are easiest to find and result in the best tacos: Tilapia: has a great mild flavor and buttery texture Cod: the flavor here is even milder! Cod is a very neutral-flavored fish and a great choice (it’s surprisingly tasty: also try grilled cod or pan fried […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make the tastiest fish tacos around! Bake the fish with a dry rub of spices, then top it with tangy slaw and creamy sauce.

Fish tacos

Tacos are always a win over here, so might we introduce you to our new favorite? These baked fish tacos! We eat a mostly plant-based diet, with room for seafood occasionally (basically the Mediterranean diet). And my, are tacos the best treat! You’ll bake the white fish until it’s flaky with a dry rub of spices: no breading or frying necessary. Then top it with a quick and simple tangy slaw, and a creamy fish taco sauce. They’re delicious, easy to make and a total crowd pleaser that works for weeknights or dinner parties. Here’s what you need to know!

What fish to use for fish tacos

You can use any type of white fish for these healthy fish tacos! Here are some of the types of fish that are easiest to find and result in the best tacos:

  • Tilapia: has a great mild flavor and buttery texture
  • Cod: the flavor here is even milder! Cod is a very neutral-flavored fish and a great choice (it’s surprisingly tasty: also try grilled cod or pan fried cod)
  • Mahi mahi: if you can’t find the first two, mahi mahi also works: it has a richer, meatier flavor

Other great choices? Snapper, grouper or halibut. Above all, try to find wild caught fish if you can. It’s more sustainable and higher quality than farmed fish.

Fish taco seasoning

Ingredients in fish taco seasoning

What makes the flavor in these easy fish tacos? The dry rub for the fish taco seasoning! You can make up a big batch of this seasoning in advance and keep it around for taco time (it keeps for about 1 year). Or just mix up what you need day of, which is what we normally do.

Here’s the cool thing: you’ll use it as a dry rub on the fish. There’s no breading and no oil! Just pat the spices on and bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit! The spices form a beautiful crust that’s full of zesty flavor. Here’s what’s in fish taco seasoning:

  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

Smoked paprika is a Spanish version of paprika that infuses a hint of smokiness into each bite. If you can’t find it, use sweet paprika. If you buy a jar, use it up with these Best Smoked Paprika Recipes.

Fish taco seasoning

How to make the quickest taco slaw: tips!

One thing that’s essential for fish tacos: a slaw that’s actually fast to make. Many taco slaw recipes take longer than expected: they require lots of ingredients for the dressing or chopping lots of veggies. Not this one! We’ve pared it down to the essentials so that it takes only about 5 minutes to put together. Here are some tips:

  • Red cabbage, carrot, and green onion are all you need. This makes the quickest and easiest slaw: only a few veggies to slice.
  • Add lime and salt and you’re done! You don’t need to make a fancy dressing: tangy lime juice does the trick! Celery salt adds a nice nuance to the overall flavor. If you don’t have it, just use kosher salt!
  • Serve with a slotted spoon. This slaw picks up moisture as it sits. Serving it right away avoids this. If you let it sit for any amount of time, serve with a slotted spoon to avoid a watery taco.
Fish taco slaw

5 fish taco sauce ideas

Once you’ve made your baked fish and quick slaw, all you need is the sauce! There are lots of ideas of great sauces to use. Here are our favorite sauces for these quick fish tacos:

  1. Fish Taco Sauce This sauce makes fish tacos taste incredible! Lime, garlic and hot sauce are the ideal compliment for flaky fish.
  2. Cilantro Lime Crema You’ll want to bathe in this zesty cilantro lime crema! It’s made with sour cream, lime, cilantro and a few spices.
  3. Spicy Mayo Make the Mexican-style spin on this spicy mayo: it’s just 2 ingredients so you can whip it up in a flash. *Dairy free option
  4. Chipotle Sauce This easy sauce is zesty, smoky and creamy: perfect for tacos and burritos! *Dairy free option
  5. Shrimp Taco Sauce This one works on fish tacos too! It’s like a creamy ranch made with cilantro: quick and easy!
Fish taco sauce

Sides to serve with fish tacos!

Once you’ve made these epic fish tacos, you’ll need something to serve with them! For weeknight meals, we opt for fast and easy side dishes like canned refried beans. But for a dinner party, we’ll make more side dishes to complete the meal. Here are a few ideas of sides to go with tacos:

This fish tacos recipe is…

Gluten-free and pescatarian.

Print
Fish tacos

Epic Fish Tacos


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 (8 tacos)
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s how to make the tastiest fish tacos around! Bake the fish with a dry rub of spices, then top it with tangy slaw and creamy sauce.


Ingredients

For the fish

  • 1 pound tilapia or cod* (wild caught preferable)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon each cumin and smoked paprika (or standard paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, for seasoning

For the tacos


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Thaw the fish, if necessary.
  2. Make the fish: In a small bowl, mix together the dry rub: chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Pat the fish dry, then sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pat it in. Add the seasoning and pat it to cover the fish. Place the fish on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until tender. Then broil for 2 minutes until the top is lightly browned.
  3. Make the slaw: Meanwhile, thinly slice the cabbage. Shred or grate the carrot (we used a handheld julienne peeler). Thinly slice the green onion. Place the cabbage, carrots and green onion in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, salt and celery salt. Serve immediately with a slotted spoon. The slaw picks up moisture as it sits; if you plan to let it sit, make sure to serve with the slotted spoon to strain out the moisture.
  4. Make the sauce: Make the Fish Taco Sauce.
  5. Warm the tortillas: If desired, char the tortillas by placing them on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. Or warm them according to How to Warm Tortillas.
  6. Assemble the tacos by topping the tortillas with fish, slaw, and sauce. Top with chopped cilantro and a spritz of lime. 

Notes

*If you’re serving 4 hungry eaters, you may want to increase the fish to 1.5 pounds and up the spice quantities accordingly. The slaw and sauce should work for 12 tacos. Or, make sure to serve with a filling side dish like refried beans (purchased or homemade).

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Fish tacos, fish taco sauce, fish taco slaw

More tacos recipes

Tacos are one of the meals we eat the most around here! Here are a few more tacos recipes we have on regular rotation:

  • Crispy Avocado Tacos Destined to be your new favorite! With crunchy breading, they’ve got the vibe of a fish taco but are totally plant based.
  • Quick Shrimp Tacos A fast dinner recipe for weeknights or entertaining. They taste stunning drizzled in a creamy cilantro sauce!
  • Best Jackfruit Tacos In just 20 minutes jackfruit turns into a plant based version of pulled pork carnitas. These tacos will amaze you!

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Spanish Paella Recipe

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish. Here’s a stunning one pan dinner that’s made for celebrations: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish has thousands of variations. but it’s always rice with an explosion of colorful toppings. This one is our best classic paella recipe, based on our travels through Spain! We’ve perfected the skills so you can try it at home. It stars saffron-scented rice, mixed colorful vegetables and shrimp, and it’s full of traditional flavor. Here’s everything you need to know to make paella at home! What paella types are there? Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with saffron-flavored rice topped with seafood, meat and/or vegetables and served in a shallow paella pan. There are varying sizes of paella pans: small pans for two people, and massive paella pans for a crowd. (Fun fact: the world’s largest paella was made in a pan big enough for 30,000 people!) What types of paella are there? Spaniards themselves differ on what is the most classic, authentic paella recipe. Alex and I have eaten paella in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, and all […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.

Paella Recipe

Here’s a stunning one pan dinner that’s made for celebrations: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish has thousands of variations. but it’s always rice with an explosion of colorful toppings. This one is our best classic paella recipe, based on our travels through Spain! We’ve perfected the skills so you can try it at home. It stars saffron-scented rice, mixed colorful vegetables and shrimp, and it’s full of traditional flavor. Here’s everything you need to know to make paella at home!

What paella types are there?

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with saffron-flavored rice topped with seafood, meat and/or vegetables and served in a shallow paella pan. There are varying sizes of paella pans: small pans for two people, and massive paella pans for a crowd. (Fun fact: the world’s largest paella was made in a pan big enough for 30,000 people!)

What types of paella are there? Spaniards themselves differ on what is the most classic, authentic paella recipe. Alex and I have eaten paella in Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, and all of them have been vastly different. There are four main types of paella:

  • Paella de mariscos: Seafood paella with shrimp, prawns, scallops or mussels
  • Paella mixta: A mixed paella with seafood, meat and vegetables
  • Valenican-style paella (paella Valenciana): Chicken, rabbit, garrofó (a variety of lima bean), saffron, and rosemary
  • Paella de verduras: vegetarian paella with vegetables only
Spanish paella recipe

Ingredients in this paella recipe

For our best paella recipe, we used the common elements in the paella recipes we’ve had in different regions in Spain. Here’s what’s featured in this paella:

  • Traditional paella pan: you can also use a skillet (see below)
  • Bomba rice: you can also use arborio
  • Tomato, onion and garlic to make a quick “sofrito”
  • Saffron and pimentón aka smoked paprika
  • Mixed vegetables like artichokes, red pepper and peas
  • Seafood: you can also make vegetarian paella (see below)
  • Lemon wedges: garnishing with lemon is the perfect bright finish
Best paella recipe

What is the best paella pan? Do you need to use one?

A paella pan is a large round, shallow pan with handles used for cooking paella. The shallow shape lets rice cook consistently and lets it dry out more than it can in a skillet. If you have a paella pan or want one, now’s the time to use it! This recipe is for a 15-inch paella pan that serves 4 people. If you’re looking for one, here’s a link to purchase a 4-person paella pan.

Don’t have a paella pan? Don’t worry! Make this paella in your largest skillet. The larger the better! You may need to adjust the cook time slightly if you are using a skillet.

Paella pan care instructions: Paella pans are made of carbon steel and can rust. Make sure to dry the pan completely after cleaning it, and rub it with a bit of vegetable oil to prevent rusting.

Paella rice

What’s the best rice to use in paella?

The most authentic paella rice type is called bomba rice. Bomba rice is a white short grain rice. You can also use Arborio rice, which is easier to find but can result in a gummier texture than bomba. Either work! For this recipe we tried bomba and felt like it had more consistent results. You can find bomba rice online. Order it: Bomba rice

The secret spices: saffron and pimentón

This is an authentic style paella recipe, so it uses two special spices to get that traditional flavor. Here’s what to know:

  • Saffron brings an earthy flavor and a beautiful color to the dish. It’s an expensive spice, but it’s worth the splurge. What can you substitute for saffron? If you can’t find it or don’t want to splurge, use 1/2 teaspoon turmeric.
  • Smoked paprika: Called pimentón or Spanish smoked paprika, this bright red spice gives the dish more color and a smoky undertone. It’s easy to find and you’ll find it in many of our recipes here. (Here are our 20 best smoked paprika recipes.)
Easy paella recipe

Do not stir this paella recipe!

Once all the ingredients are added to the pan in paella, here’s what to do…or really, what not to do. Don’t stir it! Please repeat: no stirring allowed. The broth and spices boil through the rice, leaving everything perfectly flavored and cooked.

Traditionally, it’s good to get a brown crust on the bottom of the rice (perfectly brown, without burning it). The Spanish call this socarrat. It’s difficult to achieve the perfect socarrat because so much depends on the exact timing. It’s also a little harder to get it if you’re using a skillet. But never fear! Each time you cook this recipe, you’ll learn new things about perfecting your paella technique.

Paella variations

Variation: vegan and vegetarian paella

Don’t want to make a shrimp paella recipe? No problem. We love making vegan and vegetarian paella as well. (Or go to this Simple Vegetarian Paella.) Here’s what to do to customize this recipe:

  • Omit the shrimp! Obviously.
  • Add 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (1 1/2 cups cooked). Drain and rinse them, then add them when you add the vegetable broth.
  • Increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon. You’ll need it to flavor the chickpeas.

This paella recipe is…

Gluten-free, pescatarian, and dairy-free. For vegetarian, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the section above.

Print
Paella Recipe

Spanish Paella Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s how to make a paella recipe…the Spanish way! This stunning one pan dinner features shrimp, vegetables and all the authentic flavors of this traditional dish.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 roma or plum tomatoes (1 1/2 cups finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peel and deveined*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 cups seafood stock or vegetable stock 
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain Bomba rice or arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed under water
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
  • Lemon wedges from 1/2 lemon
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables: Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Finely chop the tomatoes, removing the cores but keeping the seeds with their juices.
  2. Measure out the ingredients: Measure out all the remaining ingredients before you start. The cooking process goes fast!
  3. Cook the shrimp: Dry the shrimp and add it to a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. In your largest skillet or a 4-serving paella pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute until it is just barely opaque, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp and set it aside.
  4. Cook the paella: In the same pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until just translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped tomatoes, the remaining 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and red pepper flakes, and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, saffron and 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle the rice evenly across the broth and tap the pan with a spoon to evenly spread the rice. Bring to a medium simmer and cook without stirring until liquid is absorbed, about 18 to 22 minutes (adjust the cook time as necessary if using a skillet).
  5. Adjust the heat as necessary: If your pan is large enough to span multiple burners on your stovetop, adjust the heat on each burner so you achieve a steady medium simmer. Rotate the pan every few minutes for an even cook.
  6. Add the artichokes and peas: When the top of the rice is beginning to show through the liquid (about 10 minutes into the cook time), press the artichokes and peas lightly into the rice.
  7. Assess whether the paella is done: In last few minutes, carefully watch the paella and rotate pan more frequently. As the paella finishes, you’ll see the steam start to slow down as the water cooks out. If desired, peek at the bottom of a pan by using a knife to scrape back the rice — you shouldn’t see any standing water. The sound will start to change from a simmer to a crackle. This indicates the crust is forming. Let the crackling continue for about 2 minutes before removing from the heat. If you smell any burning, remove immediately.
  8. Add the shrimp and serve: When the paella is done, add the shrimp to top of paella and squeeze the lemon wedges onto the top of the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of kosher salt and add the parsley, if using. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Notes

*Vegetarian and vegan variation: Remove the shrimp. Add 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) when you add the veggie broth. Increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Paella Recipe, Paella

More paella recipes

Love paella? Here are a few more options to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Grilled Tuna

Here’s how to make the very best grilled tuna: seared on the outside and tender on the inside! Full of savory flavor, it’s a true showstopper. Tired of grilling burgers and salmon? Good, because here’s a uniquely incredible grilled dinner idea: grilled tuna steaks. And there’s nothing fishy about this tuna. Ahi tuna is rich and buttery, and seared perfectly on the outside, it tastes more like chicken or steak than fish! Even better, it’s one of the quickest things you can cook. Just 1 to 2 minutes, and you’ve got dinner. Here are all the tricks to getting that perfect sear on the grill. Ingredients for grilled tuna The nice thing about ahi tuna: it’s so flavorful on its own that you hardly need any seasoning! Just salt and pepper will do. Here’s what you need for grilled tuna steaks: Ahi tuna steaks: Look for sashimi grade. If you can find it, wild caught tuna is most sustainable. You can use fresh or frozen tuna steaks: if it’s frozen, thaw it by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight the night before you plan to grill. Salt Pepper This recipe makes perfectly seared grilled tuna In this recipe, you’ll use […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make the very best grilled tuna: seared on the outside and tender on the inside! Full of savory flavor, it’s a true showstopper.

Grilled tuna

Tired of grilling burgers and salmon? Good, because here’s a uniquely incredible grilled dinner idea: grilled tuna steaks. And there’s nothing fishy about this tuna. Ahi tuna is rich and buttery, and seared perfectly on the outside, it tastes more like chicken or steak than fish! Even better, it’s one of the quickest things you can cook. Just 1 to 2 minutes, and you’ve got dinner. Here are all the tricks to getting that perfect sear on the grill.

Ingredients for grilled tuna

The nice thing about ahi tuna: it’s so flavorful on its own that you hardly need any seasoning! Just salt and pepper will do. Here’s what you need for grilled tuna steaks:

  • Ahi tuna steaks: Look for sashimi grade. If you can find it, wild caught tuna is most sustainable. You can use fresh or frozen tuna steaks: if it’s frozen, thaw it by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight the night before you plan to grill.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Seared grilled tuna

This recipe makes perfectly seared grilled tuna

In this recipe, you’ll use the grill to make seared tuna using ahi tuna. What’s seared tuna?

  • Seared tuna is made with only the highest quality, freshest ahi tuna. This is the tuna is the quality that’s used in sushi and sashimi.
  • The perfect seared tuna is browned on the outside and raw on the inside: a beautiful pink color! It’s absolutely safe to eat, unless you’re a pregnant woman staying away from raw fish.

How to grill ahi tuna: time and temperature

The basic concept behind grilled ahi tuna: you need to crank up your grill to the highest heat possible! To get a perfect sear on the outside and a raw inside, the hotter the better. Because grills vary, the exact temperature will be different based on your grill.

  • Preheat a grill to the highest heat possible: 500 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on how hot your grill gets.
  • Pat the tuna dry and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Grill 30 to 60 seconds per side, until cooked on the outside but still raw on the inside. It’s helpful to use a food thermometer: the internal temperature should be 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grilled tuna

More on buying ahi tuna

Where to look for ahi tuna at the grocery? If you’re not used to buying it, here are a few things to know:

  • Look for frozen steaks. It’s possible that your grocery might have frozen ahi tuna steaks. These can be even fresher than fresh tuna if they’re flash frozen right when they’re caught. You’ll just need to remember to thaw the night before in the refrigerator.
  • If not, look at the fish counter. Ahi tuna steaks have become more popular lately, so you should be able to find it at your local grocery counter.
  • Find wild caught. If you can find wild caught, this is preferred from a sustainability perspective. US caught is preferable due to US regulations. Read more about buying sustainable seafood here.

Ways to serve grilled tuna

There are lots of fantastic sides to pair with grilled tuna! One thing to note: if you want to serve other grilled vegetables with the tuna, you’ll need to cook at medium high heat (375 to 450 degrees). So you’d grill them first, then increase the heat for the tuna. If this presents logistical challenges with your grill, you may want to opt for other sides like salads or rice.

Seared tuna | Seared ahi tuna
Serve it over rice with a few veggie sides!

Other ways to eat ahi tuna

Ahi tuna is a highly nutritious lean protein (more info here). There are many ways to eat it, but here are our favorites:

This grilled tuna recipe is…

Gluten-free, dairy-free, and pescatarian.

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Grilled tuna

Perfect Grilled Tuna


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 to 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minute
  • Yield: 4

Description

Here’s how to make the very best grilled tuna: seared on the outside and tender on the inside! Full of savory flavor, it’s a true showstopper.


Ingredients

  • 2 6 ounce ahi tuna steaks (best quality you can find; wild caught recommended)*
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat a grill to as hot as it gets (500 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Pat the tuna dry. Sprinkle it liberally with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper on both sides.
  3. Add the steak to the grill and cook 30 to 60 seconds per side, until lightly browned on the outside but still raw on the inside (115 degrees Fahrenheit). If you’d like to sear the short sides, turn the tuna with tongs and sear each side for a few seconds.
  4. To serve, slice the tuna against the grain into 1/2 inch slices. Serve immediately.

Notes

*Frozen is okay: make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator before serving.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Grilled tuna, Grilled ahi tuna, How to grill tuna

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Perfect Grilled Salmon

Here’s how to make the absolute best grilled salmon! It’s perfectly tender and flavored with a magic seasoning blend that takes it to new heights. Want to grill salmon to perfection? It’s not an easy feat. Salmon is easy to over cook and under-season. Over here we’ve had our share of sub-par salmon experiences, so we set about to find a no-fail way to grill salmon. Meet our Perfect Grilled Salmon! It’s an easy method and comes out tender with a lightly crisp crust. Even better, we created a tasty magical seasoning blend to go with it. This Seafood Seasoning tastes so good, you’ll want to put it on everything…you might never make salmon without it again. Ingredients for grilled salmon Let’s break down the ingredients for grilled salmon, shall we? You only need a few quality ingredients to make the very best grilled salmon: Skin-on salmon fillets: Try to find wild-caught if you can: it tastes better and is most sustainable. Skin on is important because it acts as a barrier between the fish and the grill while cooking. Olive oil & salt: You’ll just need a bit for rubbing and sprinkling. Seafood seasoning: Here’s where the magic comes […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make the absolute best grilled salmon! It’s perfectly tender and flavored with a magic seasoning blend that takes it to new heights.

Grilled salmon

Want to grill salmon to perfection? It’s not an easy feat. Salmon is easy to over cook and under-season. Over here we’ve had our share of sub-par salmon experiences, so we set about to find a no-fail way to grill salmon. Meet our Perfect Grilled Salmon! It’s an easy method and comes out tender with a lightly crisp crust. Even better, we created a tasty magical seasoning blend to go with it. This Seafood Seasoning tastes so good, you’ll want to put it on everything…you might never make salmon without it again.

Ingredients for grilled salmon

Let’s break down the ingredients for grilled salmon, shall we? You only need a few quality ingredients to make the very best grilled salmon:

  • Skin-on salmon fillets: Try to find wild-caught if you can: it tastes better and is most sustainable. Skin on is important because it acts as a barrier between the fish and the grill while cooking.
  • Olive oil & salt: You’ll just need a bit for rubbing and sprinkling.
  • Seafood seasoning: Here’s where the magic comes in. Keep reading…
Grilled salmon

Here’s the best seasoning for salmon…period.

Salmon is beautiful with just salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. But want to take it over the top? (We know you do.) The very best way to season grilled salmon is our homemade Seafood Seasoning! It brings unreal savory flavor to this fish. There’s a little smoky, savory, and salty, with a hint of celery seed and allspice for some intrigue. It’s so good that we can’t help but use it on all our grilled vegetables, too. Here’s what’s in this magic seasoning blend:

  • Smoked paprika (or sweet paprika)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Thyme
  • Celery seed
  • Cumin
  • Allspice
  • Salt
How to grill salmon
How to g

Tips for how to grill salmon: the easy way!

Some people swear by cooking grilled salmon in foil. But we think the very best way is right on the oven grates. This way, you get all that smoky flavor and a crispy exterior. Here are our tips for how to grill salmon:

  • Brine the salmon first! Brining is simply placing the salmon in a salt water solution while the grill preheats. It makes for perfectly moist salmon, and also helps the salmon come to room temperature which makes it cook more evenly.
  • The temperature for grilled salmon? Medium high heat, or 375 to 450 degrees. Medium high heat makes for a perfectly cooked piece of salmon. While you can cook at high heat and then finish at lower heat, we like the ease of grilling at one temperature.
  • How long to cook grilled salmon? 5 minutes skin side down, then 2 minutes skin side up! The best way to measure whether it’s done is using an internal thermometer. Stick it in the thickest part of the fish and it should read 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ways to prevent sticking to the grill!

Some people complain about salmon sticking to the grill. The biggest contributor to that problem? Don’t try to turn it too soon! When the salmon is cooked just enough, it releases from the grill grates, making it easy to flip. But if you touch it before that time, it can stick and break apart. You don’t need to oil the grill grates. Just lightly oil the fish, and when cooking wait until the salmon is easy to release (about 5 minutes). Then it’s easy to flip!

Another tip: make sure to cook with skin on salmon. This helps it to stay together on the grill. Salmon with the skin off easily sticks to the grill. We don’t recommend using it here.

Grilled salmon
Serve it up with Grilled Potatoes in Foil

More ways to season salmon

There are lots of ways to season salmon! Once you’ve tried it with this Seafood Seasoning, you might want to change it up a bit. Here are some more ideas on seasoning:

Sides to serve with grilled salmon

Enough about cooking it: let’s talk about eating! What to serve with grilled salmon? Try using the rest of the grill grates for some grilled veggies, or pair with a summer salad. Here are some recs:

How to grill salmon

This grilled salmon recipe is…

Gluten-free, dairy-free and pescatarian.

Print
Grilled salmon

Perfect Grilled Salmon


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Low Calorie

Description

Here’s how to make the absolute best grilled salmon! It’s perfectly tender and flavored with a magic seasoning blend that takes it to new heights.


Ingredients

  • 4 4-ounce salmon fillets, skin on (wild caught if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Seafood Seasoning*

Instructions

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees).
  2. Brine the salmon: While the grill preheats, in a shallow dish mix together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes (this should be about the time it takes to preheat).
  3. Pat the salmon dry with a clean towel. Rub it generously with oil and sprinkle it with the kosher salt and seasoning blend (or simply salt and pepper).
  4. Grill the salmon over indirect heat skin side down for 5 minutes, until it releases from the grates. Flip and cook another 2 minutes, until the internal temperature is 125 to 130 degrees. Allow to rest for a few minutes, then serve.

Notes

*We highly recommend making this homemade seafood seasoning! To make a quick version just for the salmon, mix 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon cumin.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Grilled Salmon

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Cajun Grilled Shrimp

These spicy Cajun grilled shrimp are full of big flavor! Covered in a homemade spice blend, they’re fast and easy to grill. Here’s a grilled dinner idea that’s quick, easy and full of huge flavor: Cajun grilled shrimp! If you love Cajun spices and a little heat, you’ll love this smoky, tender shrimp: and it takes less than 5 minutes on the grill. Serve it up with a side of grilled peppers, and it’s a fantastic summer meal. And if you can’t do spicy food: we’ve got a mild version for you too! It all depends on the homemade spice blend you decide to whip up. Here’s how to do it! The shrimp you need for Cajun grilled shrimp You’ll just need a few ingredients for Cajun grilled shrimp: and most of the ingredients are spices! But the most important of all is the shrimp, of course! Here are a few notes about the type of shrimp to look for: Medium to large shrimp: we used 26-30 per pound size Tail on or peeled: we find tail on looks the prettiest, but you may want to do fully peeled for ease of use Deveined: this is preferable to save a […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

These spicy Cajun grilled shrimp are full of big flavor! Covered in a homemade spice blend, they’re fast and easy to grill.

Cajun grilled shrimp

Here’s a grilled dinner idea that’s quick, easy and full of huge flavor: Cajun grilled shrimp! If you love Cajun spices and a little heat, you’ll love this smoky, tender shrimp: and it takes less than 5 minutes on the grill. Serve it up with a side of grilled peppers, and it’s a fantastic summer meal. And if you can’t do spicy food: we’ve got a mild version for you too! It all depends on the homemade spice blend you decide to whip up. Here’s how to do it!

The shrimp you need for Cajun grilled shrimp

You’ll just need a few ingredients for Cajun grilled shrimp: and most of the ingredients are spices! But the most important of all is the shrimp, of course! Here are a few notes about the type of shrimp to look for:

  • Medium to large shrimp: we used 26-30 per pound size
  • Tail on or peeled: we find tail on looks the prettiest, but you may want to do fully peeled for ease of use
  • Deveined: this is preferable to save a step of deveining
  • Fresh or frozen: you can use either! Frozen can be as high quality as fresh if it’s frozen as soon as it’s caught
  • Wild caught (US if possible): Wild caught is the most sustainable
Grilled Cajun shrimp

Use Cajun seasoning or blackened seasoning

Besides the shrimp, the other main ingredient in this spicy Cajun grilled shrimp recipe is the seasoning! We recommend making the homemade seasoning blend to get just the right flavor. But you can use storebought in a pinch! Here are the two seasonings to try, depending on what spice level you’d like:

  • Cajun seasoning (spicy!): This homemade Cajun seasoning is spicy, featuring paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, fennel seed (optional), cumin, cayenne, and salt and pepper.
  • Blackened seasoning (mild!): This blackened seasoning has similar flavors but less heat! It features paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, celery seed, allspice, cloves, cayenne, and salt and pepper.

You can also head to Blackened Shrimp if you prefer a more mild version of this recipe.

Cajun grilled shrimp

How to make Cajun grilled shrimp (basic steps)

Once you’ve got the ingredients in hand, it’s so simple to make this recipe. Shrimp cooks so quickly that it’s one of our favorite things to throw on the grill. Seriously, who needs to smoke things for hours when you can have this big of flavor in just a few minutes? Here are the basic steps (or jump right to the recipe):

  • Preheat a grill to medium high: that’s 375 to 450 degrees, the grill temperature for most vegetables and seafood.
  • Mix the shrimp with olive oil and seasoning. See the notes above!
  • Grill 1 to 2 minutes per side, until opaque and tender. That’s it!

Add grilled peppers as an easy side dish

Here’s an easy side dish to add to Cajun spicy grilled shrimp: grilled peppers! Multi-colored peppers look beautiful: and they’re tender with a lightly sweet flavor. Here are a few options for grilling up some bell peppers:

Grilled Cajun shrimp with peppers

More grilled vegetables to pair with Cajun grilled shrimp

There are lots more tasty grilled vegetables to make a meal out of this Cajun grilled shrimp. The only thing to keep in mind is the physical space on your grill. You may have to make them in batches! Here’s what we’d recommend to make it a meal:

How to thaw shrimp

Frozen shrimp is incredibly convenient; you can load up your freezer for healthy dinners for months! The only hard part about frozen is remembering to thaw it! Here are two methods for thawing shrimp, depending on when you start:

  • Day before: If you think ahead, simply place the frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Day of: Place the frozen shrimp into a large bowl with very cold water. Stir the bowl every 5 minutes to break up clumps of shrimp that freeze together. The shrimp should be defrosted in about 15 minutes.

This spicy Cajun grilled shrimp recipe is…

Pescatarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Print
Cajun grilled shrimp

Cajun Grilled Shrimp


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Low Calorie

Description

These spicy Cajun grilled shrimp are full of big flavor! Covered in a homemade spice blend, they’re fast and easy to grill. 


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Thaw the shrimp. Then pat the shrimp dry. 
  2. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit).
  3. Place the shrimp in a bowl and add the olive oil and Cajun seasoning. Mix with your hands to combine.
  4. Place directly on a grill and grill 1 to 2 minutes per side (2 to 4 minutes total), until bright pink and cooked through.
  5. Remove from the grill and squeeze on fresh lemon juice from several wedges of the lemon, to taste.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Cajun

Keywords: Cajun grilled shrimp

More shrimp recipes

Shrimp is a great healthy meal choice if you eat seafood. Here are some of our favorite healthy shrimp recipes:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes