One trip to the city of New Orleans and you’ll realize just how many different flavors and Cajun recipes there are that are unique to the area.
When you think of New Orleans, you probably think of Jazz music, Bourbon Street, and the French Quarter. However, one of the biggest draws to the Crescent City is the delicious food made by Cajun and Creole people. And there’s more to Cajun food than just gumbo and jambalaya, too.
You could spend an entire week in the Big Easy and still not try all the wonderful Cajun food recipes the city has to offer.
Cajun cuisine, originating from the Acadian regions of Louisiana, boasts flavors and culinary techniques that are as unique as they are delicious. Characterized by a deep appreciation for local ingredients and a flair for spicy seasonings, Cajun recipes have gained popularity far beyond Louisiana’s borders. With an emphasis on hearty one-pot dishes and a vibrant combination of tastes, the charm of these lip-smacking delights is simply irresistible.
At the heart of Cajun cooking lies the “holy trinity” of bell peppers, onions, and celery, which forms the foundation for a variety of dishes. When paired with distinctive spices like cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic, these ingredients transform even the most ordinary meals into something extraordinary. Utilizing an array of meats and seafood, including crawfish, shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage, Cajun recipes celebrate the region’s abundant natural resources.
Whether hosting a festive gathering or looking to warm up during the colder months, Cajun recipes encompass a treasure trove of mouth-watering options for any palate. By following a few essential culinary techniques and incorporating the right combination of ingredients, anyone can bring the essence of Louisiana straight into their kitchen. From traditional gumbo and jambalaya to étouffée and beyond, the world of Cajun cuisine awaits, ready to tantalize your taste buds.
Cajun people have been able to develop their own style of food thanks to the melting pot the city became long ago.
You’ll get classic flavors from French cuisine infused with southern soul cooking techniques.
The end result? Louisiana recipes are packed with flavor and satisfying to any palette.
Here are 26 different Cajun meals you can bust out that will make your guests think you grew up in the bayou.
One look at this bread and you’ll realize you need to buy two loaves.
It has a great combination of garlic, butter, mayo, crawfish, and Cajun seasoning, so it’s practically irresistible.
You can’t talk about classic New Orleans meals without talking about a good bowl of gumbo.
There’s no shortage of places where you’ll find a great bowl of gumbo and everyone will tell you their favorite, but you can actually make your own authentic bowl right from home.
The secret to a great gumbo is making a really great roux.
You’ll want to get it pretty dark so that the flavors are sophisticated enough to mix with the veggies, chicken, sausage, and shrimp.
Just be careful when you’re making it because your roux because it can burn easily and when you spend this much time making a meal you want to make sure it tastes right.
I’m pretty sure we stepped off the plane and made a beeline for the nearest restaurant on our first trip to New Orleans.
Not many people would be bold enough to mix up pineapple and coconut, but the Cajuns have invented a wonderful dessert you’ll be glad it exists.
It’s not a ton of ingredients and the texture is something you can’t beat.
The crunchy nuts and coconut with the sweet and tender pineapple go perfectly together.
Grab a piece while the cake is still warm to get the best flavors.
Who can deny the rich flavors of a creamy chicken pasta with a slight kick that makes it unique to the bayou area?
Full of onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, and herbs, you won’t be able to stop having seconds of this amazing dish.
If you really want to make it unique to New Orleans, throw in some crawfish and you’ll thank yourself later.
Make sure you have plenty of toasted bread lying around because you won’t want to waste an ounce of this creamy sauce.
5. Cajun Aioli
If you haven’t tried aioli with a side of fries, then you need to whip up a batch, but instead of keeping it normal, add in some of this Cajun seasoning.
This aioli sauce has a ton of uses, so you could throw it on a sandwich or dip your seafood in it.
Give yourself a real treat by making a hefty bowl of red beans and rice, New Orleans style.
In the big easy they actually eat this on Monday nights when it’s time to get caught up on laundry.
You might also integrate this dish into your weekly schedule because, unlike white rice, this one is jam-packed with flavor.
This dish is as filling as it is great tasting, so even if you do want more, you might not be able to fit it in!
You don’t have to visit the ocean’s coasts to get a delicious seafood dip.
This Cajun crab dip recipe is savory to its core and wonderful with some light, buttery crackers.
Make sure you use the crab that has some texture so that you can balance out the smooth consistency of the dip.
Shrimp and grits are a classic southern staple that most southerners have been eating for generations.
Usually, the flavors are pretty mild but of course, this Cajun dish has a slight kick that really takes it over the edge.
Now, maybe you just can’t handle grits but that’s ok. You can sub it out for some rice or even some polenta.
The debate between wedges and fries will always rage on, but what you can count on is this Cajun sweet potato wedges recipe to be your next favorite on burger night.
This sweeter version of the classic fries will make for a nice change in your regular side rotation.
Throw in a little homemade Cajun dipping sauce with your wedges and this is almost a meal on its own.
Make sure you make the edges nice and crispy because it’ll really go well with the tender soft middle.
This is another one of the quintessential New Orleans dishes that you must try.
Born out of a mix of ingredients and flavors from Spanish, African, and French cuisines, this one has a unique flavor all on its own.
Like making a good gumbo, the trick here is to get the roux just right.
You’ll still need that great mix of celery, bell pepper, onions, and garlic, but the rice, sausage, and spices really bring out the flavors.
You can always switch out your proteins with the ones you like best, but a little seafood, sausage, and chicken is a New Orleans classic combination.
Cauliflower is good in so many recipes you could add it to almost anything.
Instead of adding the regular cauliflower bites with a pinch of salt and pepper, you can mix things up by adding this Cajun recipe.
This healthy side is cheap to make and takes almost no time, so you’ll find lots of meals to bust out this recipe.
You might be asking exactly what is smothering the chicken in this recipe and the answer is delicious rich gravy.
Once you have one bite it’s pretty hard to put your fork down and not take another.
There’s a good amount of ingredients on the list, so you know this meal is packed with flavor.
The sauce is so good that the chicken is really just a vehicle for more sauce.
Throw some cornbread slices on the side to give this meal that authentic southern feel.
Brussels sprouts are one of those who love them or hate them sides, but this is one of the easy Cajun recipes really puts that on its head.
Can you guess the secret ingredient? It’s Cajun seasoning, of course!
Instead of your normal, everyday brussels sprouts, you’ll have a spiced-up version that will go well with some chicken or fish.
No one does seafood quite like Louisiana, so even if you’ve had your favorite, you still need to try this recipe.
This recipe packs in a combination of ingredients you wouldn’t expect, but that’s because you’ve probably never had something this uniquely flavored before.
This version will rival any west or east-coast crab cakes, so you need to make sure you’ve tried all kinds.
15. Cajun Onions
You might think if you’ve had one onion you’ve had them all, but you must not have had this Cajun onion recipe.
Leave them a little thicker than you would your normal onion slices. You’ll want the flavor to stand out when you put it on your burger or other meals.
It’s best if you cook the spices with a little butter ahead of time in the pan.
This will release their flavors so that when you add the onions they’ll absorb all those wonderful juices.
What’s good about this dish is that it’s cheap, doesn’t take a ton of ingredients, and tastes absolutely delicious.
The combination of cabbage and potatoes is surprisingly filling, so you don’t need a ton of this dish to fill up.
Cooking your veggies in some broth will help give them all that wonderful flavor.
17. Hoppin’ John
This dish has a unique name and the flavor is just as unique.
You’ll slowly cook this rice and bean dish to get that well-balanced flavor from ingredients simmering for long periods of time.
Add a little salty ham to the mix and you might just add this side into the mix of meals you already have lined up.
You’ll want to add the best three ingredients to any Cajun meal, peppers, celery, and onion.
Now, deviled eggs are good enough on their own, but when you deep fry them, it only adds to their incredible flavor.
These southern-style deviled eggs are satiating and will please even the pickiest of eaters.
The secret here is to put on a pinch of file powder to give it a bit of southern umami flavor.
And of course, a healthy dose of cajun seasoning will put these over the top.
You’ve probably already had potato salad before but this slight variation really takes it up a notch.
The general recipe is the same but if you add a bit of Cajun seasoning to it you’ll be surprised at how the flavor changes.
This side goes really well when you have a little Cajun BBQ to go with it but it goes with most southern meals.
No Cajun dinner ideas are quite complete without a classic dipping sauce.
The emphasis on a great dipping sauce comes from the French side of Cajun cooking and thank goodness for that.
From remoulades to aiolis, you’ll find some of the best dipping sauces in New Orleans and this recipe brings that flavor to your kitchen.
The best part about making this at home is you can mix up the flavors any way you like. Want it a little spicier? Throw in some extra cayenne into the mix.
This goes well with fries, crawfish, shrimp, catfish, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
The black-eyed pea is usually reserved for those new years resolutions but this Cajun version is so good you can have it any time of the year.
Beans in general are pretty cheap, so you don’t have to break the bank to get a delicious bowl of black-eyed peas.
You’ll cook them in some broth and, like most Cajun food, you’ll want to add in a dash of hot sauce to give it a bit of kick.
If you want to give this a more savory flavor, throw a few bacon pieces in it.
22. Cajun Shrimp Dip
Need the perfect appetizer but tired of making the same old plain recipes?
Here is a shrimp dip that adds a slight spicy kick to it, which really makes it unique from other recipes.
You’ll have a great mix of shrimp, pepper, and cheese flavors that is almost irresistible to the palette.
The cream cheese base helps balance out that hot flavor, but regardless of how hot it is, this dip will go fast.
Just make sure you’ve brought plenty of chips, crackers, or even veggies to dip with.
You might have thought you have tried the best sandwich in your life, but if you haven’t tried this muffuletta sandwich recipe yet, then you might want to reconsider.
Taking one look at this sandwich will make you wonder, “how exactly do you eat that?”
This thing is huge and the flavors are even bigger.
Stuffed with fresh deli meats, spicy olive tapenade, and cheese, you won’t be able to get enough.
Luckily for you, there will be plenty to go around.
You can really make this sandwich any way you want and it’s still going to be fantastic.
This dish is so fun to look at you’ll make up reasons to keep making it.
This is definitely more of a side dish than a main dish, but it goes well with a ton of different entrees.
With a healthy portion of corn, this recipe also throws in some garlic, onions, bell peppers, and cream.
This recipe is also super simple to make, so mixing up a quick batch before dinner won’t take a lot of time.
Make enough and you can even throw a bunch in your fridge to have throughout the rest of the week.
This dish isn’t called dirty because it’s not clean but because the mix of ingredients gives it a brown color.
When you have a delicious mix of rice, sausage, bell peppers, and cajun seasonings, you’ll be able to have this as its own meal.
But it also goes well with some seafood or chicken if you’re looking to bulk it up.
26. Boudin Balls
This classic New Orleans dish is made mostly as an appetizer for your main course, but you might have a hard time peeling back.
There’s a savory mix of sausage and other ingredients in the middle, but the outer layer is crispy and deep-fried.
Put a side of homemade remoulade sauce out and you’ve got yourself a winning combination.
If you’re having a hard time getting the balls just right, you can actually make your own patties so they go easier in the frying pan.
26+ Cajun Recipes From the Big Easy (+Cajun Aioli with Garlic)
- Juice from half a lemon
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon each sea salt black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, parsley, and Cajun seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
- Stir everything together in a bowl until smooth.
- Refrigerate until you're ready to serve with fries.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.