Make this keto-friendly Blackened Shrimp for a quick and easy low-carb dinner recipe that’s packed with classic Cajun flavor.
Summertime feels like the best time to eat seafood. It’s light, refreshing and so versatile. And if there’s one place where people really know how to cook seafood in America, it’s Louisiana. Not only is the Gulf coast one of the best places to source fresh seafood like crawfish, shrimp and catfish, it’s also brimming with fresh produce, herbs, and spices that pair perfectly with the daily catch.
This Blackened Shrimp recipe is my take on the classic New Orleans dish. Heavily seasoned and cooked quickly in a hot pan, they make a healthy protein option that happens to be gluten-free, keto, and can be made dairy-free too! Toss these shrimp on tacos, pasta, or salads for a complete, low-carb and low-calorie meal.
What is Blackened Shrimp?
Blackening refers to a cooking technique that is traditionally Cajun. You might find blackened shrimp or other seafood called “Cajun shrimp”. These recipes feature blackening seasoning: a spice mixture that includes dried herbs, alliums and savory spices.
Seafood is coated in this mixture and cooked in a hot pan or on the grill. The result is a charred, deeply savory and lightly spiced protein with New Orleans flair.
Note that while your dish may look burnt, the dark-colored crust is actually a sign of deep and delicious flavor.
Homemade Blackening Seasoning
This quick and low-carb blackening seasoning does not skimp on flavor. My recipe features classic blackening spices and herbs:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Paprika or smoked paprika
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
To keep things sugar-free but still packed with flavor, this recipe also includes a bit of Swerve brown.
Spices are known to enhance the flavor of any dish. The blackened spices give a deeper, complex, and more intensive flavor to the shrimps, turning them into something truly special.
How to make Blackened Shrimp
This is truly a quick and easy keto recipe. It’s simply a matter of mixing up the spice blend, coating your shrimp well, and cooking them in a hot skillet.
Shrimp cook quickly, so keep an eye on them. These should need no more than 3 minutes per side. They’re done when they’re pink and curled into a “C” shape.
What Kind of Pan is Best for Blackening?
If you have one, I strongly recommend using a cast-iron skillet for this recipe. It gets nice and hot, which is ideal for charring spices and producing the characteristic color on your final dish. Plus, cast iron retains heat evenly, for a uniform cook.
Good to know: the cast-iron skillet fortifies food with iron.
What Kind of Shrimp is Best?
The first step in this recipe is selecting high-quality seafood. Choose raw, cleaned, and deveined shrimp. Frozen is fine, though you’ll want to thaw the shrimp thoroughly before cook. Frozen shrimp won’t crisp up as well as thawed, dried shrimp.
Also, look for large shrimp. The small ones just don’t provide the same texture and flavor.
Which Cooking Fat is Best for Blackening Seafood?
There are a couple of different options when it comes to selecting a cooking fat for blackened shrimp. Butter is a traditional choice. It creates a darker crust on your shrimp. This is because milk solids in butter have a lower smoke point than oil. They’ll burn slightly in your hot cast iron skillet, resulting in deeply browned spices and a smoky flavor.
However, if you’re lactose intolerant or just want to skip the butter, you can just as easily use olive oil. The only difference may be the amount of “blackening” on your shrimp. Shrimp cooked in olive oil will be lighter, but just as tasty and still keto-friendly.
What to Serve With Blackened Shrimp
I love making blackened shrimp tacos! I’ll whip up a batch of keto grain-free tortillas, top them with blackened shrimp, and a squeeze of lime for a complete meal that’s summery and satisfying. You can also toss in your favorite veggies or just drizzle with creamy jalapeño sauce.
More delicious ways to serve the shrimp include:
- With zoodles (just spiralize the zucchinis and toss with warm shrimp) for another keto-friendly dinner recipe.
- Blackened shrimp salad with baby spinach, arugula, and maybe some avocado for a healthy fat. You can also drizzle creamy pesto dressing on top.
- Blackened shrimp alfredo: toss the shrimp with low-carb pasta and Keto alfredo sauce.
- 2 tablespoon Swerve brown
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a bowl, combine the Swerve, oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- In a mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with the olive oil.
Sprinkle the shrimp with the spice mix. Toss to coat the shrimp evenly.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once the skillet is hot, add the seasoned shrimp and cook for 3 minutes per side or until opaque in color.
- Transfer the cooked shrimp to a plate as soon as they’re cooked.
- Serve with Keto Tortillas
- If you cannot find brown Swerve you can use any kind of low-carb sweetener, except the Erythritol. It has a minty aftertaste that will not pair with the shrimp.