Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese

Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese is rich and crazy creamy loaded with juicy, cajun shrimp and buttery panko topping.  It’s super easy to make but tastes like you’re dining at the finest restaurant!
How do you make America’s favorite Macaroni and Cheese even better?!  Add flavorful, juicy shrimp!

This Shrimp Macaroni and cheese is one of the most comforting, decadent, cravilious foods on the planet.  It boasts a subtle heat from the Cajun seasoning and not-so-subtle ooegy, gooey, cheesiness.

The cheese remains wonderfully silky because instead of using just a roux to create the sauce!

I also use evaporated milk whisked with some cornstarch to stabilize the silkiness that doesn’t separate or curdle when baked!

Hi all, its Jen from Carlsbad Cravings and I am excited to be with you again sharing another delicious shrimp and pasta recipe.

This velvety Cajun Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese was inspired by my Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese Casserole that is sooooo creamy, and cheesy that I wanted to make a skillet version but with plump, flavorful shrimp.

You will NOT be disappointed!  If you’re looking for more easy shrimp recipes, be sure to check out my Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa!

Speaking of simple recipes, of course our new cookbook {The Simple Kitchen - available to order now}is packed with delicious, easy recipes.

The Simple Kitchen is loaded with more than 75 BRAND NEW recipes and a hand full of family favorites too. chapters with a total of 82 quick and easy recipes that are bursting with flavor!!!

Every recipe has a photo that will make your mouth water. It has slow cooker meals, one-pot recipes, quick dinners, simple appetizers, desserts and more!!! And we have included kitchen tips to make dinnertime less stressful.

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Helpful Tips to make Cajun Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese:

  • I suggest medium uncooked shrimp that has already been peeled and deveined.  Buying prepared shrimp makes your job a snap because all you have to do is defrost the shrimp.  You could also substitute chopped, uncooked chicken. 
  • Feel free to mix up the cheeses!  I love gruyere for this Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese because it melts beautifully and for it’s sweet yet sharp, caramelly, nutty, buttery taste.  Monterrey Jack cheese would also be delicious.  You need 4 cups of cheese total so mix and match to reach 4 cups.
  • The spice level for this recipe is completely customizable.  As written, I find 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to be medium heat and 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper to be on the spicy side as you would expect from a Cajun pasta.  If you don’t want any heat, just flavor, then omit the cayenne pepper.

What you will need to make Cajun Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese:

  • Wide Oven Proof Pan – a 4-quart braiser is one of my favorite pans. It is wide and shallow and perfect for stove to oven recipes!  Using a wide pan gives more surface area so your pot will heat more evenly and cook faster.
  • Cheese Grater - this kitchen tool gets more love than almost any other tool in my kitchen because I am a huge proponent of FRESHLY grated cheese because not only does it taste better, it melts beautifully.  A quality cheese grater saves you time and hassle and will go the distance!


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 10

Cajun Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese

Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese is rich and crazy creamy loaded with juicy, cajun shrimp and buttery panko topping. It’s super easy to make but tastes like you’re dining at the finest restaurant!
prep time: 20 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 40 mins


  • 1 pound medium uncooked peeled shrimp, deveined
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1 pound cellentani pasta 
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon EACH onion pwdr, garlic pwdr, dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) freshly grated Gruyere cheese
Topping (optional)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoon melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions, just until al dente.  Strain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  3. Add shrimp to a medium bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning.
  4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large (3.5 qt) oven proof sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp in an even layer and cook 2-3 minutes, flip over and continue to cook 2-3 minutes or until until cooked through.  Remove shrimp to a cutting board.  When cool enough to handle, cut into thirds.  Set aside.
  5. To the now empty skillet (don’t wipe out) melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat then whisk in flour. Cook, while stirring for 2 minutes. Turn heat to low then gradually whisk in milk. Whisk cornstarch into evaporated milk and gradually add to skillet followed by all remaining spices/seasonings.
  6. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly until thickened (but not overly thick). Turn heat to low then whisk in sharp cheese until melted followed by Gruyere until melted. Add shrimp and pasta and stir until evenly coated.
  7. Spread pasta into an even layer then top with Parmesan.  Whisk panko with melted butter and evenly sprinkle on top. Bake 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Turn oven to broil to toast panko for 2-3 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t burn.
  8. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

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  1. leave tails on? how do people eat food with shrimp with tails on? seems very messy, or am I missing something...

    1. i just bought them deveined and peeled

  2. Can you prepare and freeze this and take out at later date defrost then cook?


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