When Robyn Smith of Plaquemine, Louisiana, saw our old recipe for Deep Fried Red Beans and Rice, she had a great idea: Instead of using left over red beans and rice to make a crowd-pleasing appetizer, she substituted crawfish étouffée. Paired with a smoky, creamy chipotle-ranch dipping sauce, this dish was an instant hit at her springtime parties. And with the abundance of mudbugs this time of year, it’s a shame to let any of them go to waste.
Fried Crawfish Etouffee Balls
Author: Robyn Smith
Quick Crawfish Etouffee
- ½ cup butter
- 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup finely chopped onion
- ¾ cup finely chopped celery
- ¾ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 1 pound crawfish tail meat
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s
Fried Crawfish Etouffee Balls
- 2 cups Quick Crawfish Étouffée, recipe precedes
- 2¼ cups plain bread crumbs, divided
- 2 cups cooked and cooled jasmine rice
- ½ cup chopped green onion
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 large eggs, divided
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 (16-ounce) bottle ranch dressing
- 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Peanut oil, for frying
FOR QUICK CRAWFISH ETOUFFEE
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, and cook about 10 minutes or until mixture is the color of peanut butter.
- Add onion, celery, and bell pepper; cook about 6 minutes or until softened. Stir in crawfish, salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 15 minutes. Let cool completely before making balls. Etouffee can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months.
FOR FRIED CRAWFISH ETOUFFEE BALLS
- In a large bowl, stir together Quick Crawfish Etouffee, ¼ cup bread crumbs, rice, green onion, hot sauce, salt, cayenne, and 2 beaten eggs. Chill for 30 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 2 eggs and milk. Place flour in a separate medium bowl. Place remaining 2 cups bread crumbs in a third medium bowl.
- Scoop étouffée mixture into golf-ball-size rounds. Roll each ball in flour, then egg mixture, then bread crumbs. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm or up to 24 hours (see note).
- In the work bowl of a food processor, combine ranch dressing, chipotles in adobo, garlic, seasoned salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined. Set aside.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 4 inches. Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry or candy thermometer reads 350º. Fry balls in batches for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with ranch dressing mixture.
Balls may be frozen at this point in step 3. Place balls on a baking sheet, and freeze until completely solid. Transfer to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, and freeze for up to 6 months. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight before frying.
Love this site, Yes, I am 61yrs.old and love to see people eat…Thanks
After you prepare the crawfish balls can they be frozen and for how long?
There is a note under the recipe detailing the freezing/thawing instructions; the prepared (but not fried) crawfish balls may be frozen up to 6 months. Just thaw them in the refrigerator before frying. Enjoy!
I would use freezer paper when wrapping your balls otherwise they might get frostbite.
I love crawfish etouffee and now fried Crawfish etouffee balls and i love Louisiana period where im from
Can I get a printable version?
We’ve updated the recipe so the print button should work better now. Thanks for asking!
Can I use my own etoufee recipe? Or is there something bout the texture of theirs that makes it stay together while frying?
You can certainly use whatever leftover etouffee you have on hand!
Is there a dipping sauce to go with it?
There is! In Step 4, you will make a ranch/adobo dipping sauce.
What other oil would you recommend if someone is allergic to peanut oil?
A high-heat cooking oil would be ideal for this, so you can use canola or vegetable oil instead.
I need a recipe for a pecan praline drip over a pound cake
Hmm…I think we’ve got just the thing. How about this one? It’s a Praline Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce.
how many packs of crawfish tails to serve 100 people?
Hi Beredia! Seventeen (16-ounce) packages of crawfish tails should be enough to serve 100 people.
Can crab meat / lobster be used instead if crawfish..
You could certainly substitute either of those meats for the crawfish. Cooked shrimp would work, too.
Anyone with leftover crawfish Etouffee, please raise your hand! Lol My big magnalite pot full ain’t big enough to have leftovers…. lol Everyone comes with a to go container.
OMG how I adore Crawfish Etouffee ~~ a zillion years ago I worked for Bill Fagan [from Lafayette LA], in Richmond VA…Company called The Trim Man….he started doing an annual Crawfish Boil….OMG 350 lbs. of live crawfish ….150 lbs. of tail meat for etouffee…..Lordy what a time with shipping….everything held outside and lordy lordy 150-300 people attending!! AWESOME!!!! and I’m never with out of Tony’s seasoning :D!
Anyone try this in one of those air fryers?
Can’t wait to try it because I’m getting married February the 14th
I don’t see the note under the recipe for freezing/thawing instructions. I would appreciate it if someone would let me know the instructions Thanks
The note about freezing/thawing has been added to this recipe. Thanks for catching that.
When is the rice added?
The rice is added in step 1 of the directions for the Fried Crawfish Etouffee Balls. It is mixed with the Quick Crawfish Etouffee, bread crumbs, green onion, hot sauce, salt, cayenne, and eggs.
I have made these for Christmas appetizers. They were met with rave reviews! I made a few changes just according to our taste, but everyone raved over them. I like to serve with a spicy remoulade sauce.
Making them, again, tomorrow, for some special people and the leftovers will be frozen and taken on vacation with us!! I made the etoufee and the rice tonight, letting it cook then will combine and refrigerate until tomorrow when I will roll, bread and place in the freezer for about 20 min before frying!
Thank you for a delicious, different and so appealing recipe!
Can the cooked etoufee balls be refrigerated? How long?
I’m making these for my own birthday party and don’t want to fry them the same day due to time.
If possible, we suggest prepping the balls the day before and frying them the day you plan to serve them. You could make them a day or two ahead of time and reheat them in the oven, but they may not be as crispy.
WOW is all I can say about this recipe. The only thing that wasn’t good is that they were way too salty and I like salt. Leave the salt out and you have a 5 star recipe all of the way! These were delicious! Thanks for the recipe.
I just finished making these for supper with a side salad. Yummy! Although, I’m out of bead crumbs, so I’ll have to just do flour egg flour for the freezer ones 🙂