This incredible Louisiana style Creole Seafood Gumbo with Crab and Shrimp stirs up so many fond memories in our home. My grandmother would make a huge pot of shrimp and crab gumbo for our extended family every year. The kids would even go down to the local marina and catch the live blue crabs. This is a slightly adapted family recipe from my grandmother that we cherish so much.
- Live blue crabs - Fresh seafood is the best! Of course if no live crabs are in your area, or you just want to make this recipe a little quicker, you can buy frozen gumbo crabs at your local grocer or seafood market.
- Jumbo lump crab meat - We prefer to buy this at our local seafood market, picked fresh.
- Jumbo shrimp with heads - Again, fresh seafood is the best!
- Peeled plum tomatoes - We like the San Marzano variety.
- Chicken Broth
- Vegetable Oil
- Okra - This ingredient serves as a thickener (along with the roux).
- Bay Leaves
- Cajun seasoning
- Salt (or to taste)
- Pepper (or to taste)
Note: Refer to the recipe card below for exact quantities.
Step One: Prepare the Seafood Broth
To prepare the seafood broth, you saute the shrimp heads and shells in oil for about 3-4 minutes then add chicken broth and bay leaves. This will simmer on low heat while you boil and clean the crabs. I like to press the shrimp heads against the pan to release the flavor. The seafood broth will need to be drained in a strainer to remove the shells when finished.
Step Two: Prepare the Crabs
To prepare the crabs, you first boil them for 3-5 minutes. Once cooled, you clean the crabs by removing the large claws, top shell, gills, and apron. Set aside the claws and gumbo crab, then discard the rest. See Wikihow.com Clean a Blue Crab.
Step Three: Prepare the Roux
To prepare the roux, you will add Bisquick and oil to a large pot. This will need to be stirred continuously until the roux is dark chocolate in appearance. This will take approximately 20-30 min. *Do NOT leave roux unattended or it will burn. Add onions in this stage when the roux turns dark brown. The broth and tomato sauce should be on stand-by to pour in immediately when the roux is finished. See Food Network.com How to Make a Roux.
Step Four: Prepare the Gumbo
To prepare the seafood gumbo, you are adding a can of blended peeled plum tomatoes, a can of hand-crushed peeled plum tomatoes, the seafood broth, gumbo crabs, okra, and spices to the roux and stirring it all together. Add additional water if needed. The seafood gumbo should cook on low for 20-30 minutes before adding the shrimp and jumbo lump crab meat to the soup during the final stage.
Step Five: Serve and Store
Serve seafood gumbo immediately with warm rice (if desired). Add fresh parsley for garnish (optional).
Store seafood gumbo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. This dish is freezer friendly.
- Crabs - Frozen gumbo crabs can be used in place of live blue crabs.
- Spice - Cayenne pepper can be substituted for a milder spice or left out completely to make this gumbo less spicy.
- Add-ins - Many people like to add cajun andouille sausage to gumbo.
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- Large Stock Pot
- Blender - We love our Vitamix!
- Cutting Board
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
This dish is freezer friendly.
Have leftover ingredients?
- Have excess shrimp on hand and need some ideas? Try this Old Bay Shrimp Salad on a Bed of Greens.
- Leftover shrimp can also be used to make this delicious Blackened Shrimp and Avocado Salad.
In the mood for a similar dish?
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Roux is equal parts flour and fat and it is used as a thickening agent for soups, stews, etc. Darker roux is commonly used in Creole and Cajun cuisine because it adds tremendous flavor.
Seafood gumbo contains roux and it is typically served over a small amount of rice. Seafood jambalaya is made with rice and contains much less liquid. Many people do not add roux to seafood jambalaya.
These small crabs are primarily used to flavor soups, stews, and gumbo. You can eat the meat inside the shell, but it takes a little work. Larger blue crabs contain more meat.
- Large Stock Pot
- 12 qty Live blue crabs
- 16 ounces Jumbo lump crab meat
- 2 lbs Fresh jumbo shrimp with heads on
- 2 lg cans Peeled plum tomatoes
- 4 cups Chicken broth
- 1 qty Onion
- 1 cup Vegetable oil
- 1 cup Bisquick
- 2 8 oz. bags Okra (frozen cut)
- 2 qty Bay leaves
- 1-2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne (or to taste)
- 1 cup Water (if needed)
- 1 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp Pepper (or to taste)
- Begin by dicing the onion and peeling the shrimp (reserving the shells). Place peeled shrimp into the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Make a seafood broth by heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and adding all shrimp shells (heads included) plus two bay leaves. Sauté for 3-4min, then add chicken broth. Turn the burner to low and let simmer while you prepare the crabs.
- While seafood broth is simmering, boil the live crabs for 3-5 min, then drain and let cool.
- Clean all of the blue crabs by removing the large claws, top shell, gills, and apron. Save the large claws and cleaned gumbo crabs for later to add back into the gumbo.
- Blend one can of tomatoes and set it aside.
- Stir the shrimp broth and press down on the shells to extract the juices, then strain the seafood broth (being careful to remove all shells) and set it aside. Have both the tomato sauce and seafood broth ready to pour in quickly when the roux is finished.
- In a large pot, add Bisquick and oil to make the roux. Stir continuously until roux is dark chocolate in appearance. This will take approximately 20-30 min. *Do NOT leave roux unattended or it will burn. Add onions in this stage when roux turns dark brown.
- Add the seafood broth and blended tomatoes quickly to the roux, then add the okra and crabs. Hand squeeze the remaining can of tomatoes and add them to the gumbo along with the rest of the tomato sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite cajun seasoning. Cook on low for 20-30min. Add water if needed.
- During the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, add seasoned shrimp and jumbo lump crab meat until cooked through.
- Serve warm with rice (if desired). Add fresh parsley for garnish. Enjoy!
Cook shellfish and fish to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 °C)
- Create a clean work area.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat or seafood.
- Rinse fresh produce thoroughly.
- Do not use the same cutting board or utensils on cooked food or produce, that previously touched raw meat or seafood.
- Do not leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove.
This is the BEST gumbo recipe EVER! I hardly ever try a gumbo recipe because I had given up. I didn’t want to waste my time or money anymore. When I read the ingredients I was willing to give it a try. I am so glad! It is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you so much! I will definitely share it!!! DELICIOUS!!!