Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo
Seafood Gumbo

Seafood gumbo, packed with shrimp, oysters, red snapper, and, especially Louisiana blue crab, is a classic South Louisiana dish. Ben Thibodeaux, chef de cuisine of Dickie Brennan’s Tableau in Le Petit Theatre, says, “Our warm, fertile waters help our blue crabs get nice and fat, which lends a sweetness to the seafood gumbo. Whether it’s crab claws sauteed in browned butter or jumbo lump meat in a bit of ravigote sauce, the simpler, the better. Our blue crabs really are the very best.” Head here for 14 more of our best gumbo recipes.

4.7 from 22 reviews
Seafood Gumbo
Makes 6 to 8 servings
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 cups chopped okra
  • 1½ cups beer, such as Abita Amber
  • 6 cups seafood stock
  • 2 tablespoons filé powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 (8-ounce) container crab claw meat, picked free of shells
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound medium fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound red snapper fillets, chopped
  • 2 (8-ounce) containers shucked oysters
  • 1 (8-ounce) container jumbo lump crabmeat, picked free of shells
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Hot cooked rice
  • Garnish: chopped green onion
  1. In an 8-quart stockpot, heat oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes; add flour, and stir together to form a roux. Cook, stirring often, until roux is the color of peanut butter, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and okra. Cook vegetables, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add beer, stock, filé, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, crab claw meat, Worcestershire, salt, and cayenne. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about 1 hour.
  3. Add shrimp, fish, oysters, and lump crabmeat to mixture. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until seafood is cooked through; add parsley.
  4. Serve with rice, and garnish with green onion, if desired.



  1. I’m grateful to have found a receipt for gumbo that don’t use tomatoes. I’m allergic I look forward to making this recipe

  2. Can you make it without the file and it still come out nice? (I would think it would because of the roux with the browned flour and oil) and do you serve the rice on the side or add it to the gumbo, if so what kind of rice is a nice compliment to the seafood gumbo

    • Thanks for asking, Rose. The gumbo would still taste good without the file, but the texture would be a little thinner. We do usually serve it with rice, and tend to stick with a classic long-grained Cajun rice like Cajun Country Rice or Supreme Rice.

  3. I grew up in North Florida and we never cooked file in the gumbo. We added file at the end in individual bowls, or if feeding a crowd, we added it to the pot after it stopped cooking. I do that today and my gumbo is still excellent. If you’re concerned about the consistency of the broth, a little Arrowroot in water works magic and imparts no off taste. Thank you for this recipe.

  4. Really good, made it twice with some left over items I had. The second time I used Creole spices, Paprika, Texas Pete hot sauce, black pepper, a Poblano pepper (chopped), jalepeno pepper (chopped), and crawfish, and some chilli powder. I didn’t use snapper, oysters and the shrimp was frozen. It had a little more kick to the second time around, but I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. My husband has made this for a big group on Sunday. Would it be ok to mix the rice in with the gumbo rather than serve it over the rice? We are concerned about the best way to keep the rice out and hot and moist for this 2 hour event.

      • This is the only recipe I use when making seafood gumbo. I am from New Orleans, was not born their but was raised their from the age of 3 to I was 21.

  6. I tried this recipe and the more it simmer to figure it out I had to keep adding water over and over and over. I followed the recipe to the T, and it definitely didn’t turn out or look like the picture on display. A bit disappointed because this took a lot of ingredients as an expensive recipe.

    • Hi Teresa – We are sorry that you had trouble with the recipe. Gumbos can be tricky to master sometimes. In this case, it sounds as if your gumbo may have been simmering at too high of a temperature, which would reduce the amount of liquid as it cooks.

      • also i cook my roux for an hour after added the trinity & liquid. You want it to be only 2 inches or so from the bottom of the pot. When you add the seafood there will be enough water. if you add water then seafood you will make a soup.

  7. Made this gumbo without the snapper and it was still really good thanks for sharing guys! One thing I would add is to make sure you get fresh veggies makes a world of a difference.

    • We’re sorry you didn’t like the Seafood Gumbo with the beer. Which kind of beer did you end up using? If you’d like to try the dish without the beer, you can replace it with water, seafood stock, or even the liquid that comes with the shucked oysters!

  8. Made this over the weekend for a birthday party–it was fantastic! We added andouille sausage at the end, which added another layer of flavor. My friends kept sneaking back into the kitchen to get seconds!

  9. Love gumbo! Seafood or chicken and sausage. You don’t have use expensive seafood most times I use whatever fish and shrimp I have in the freezer. We add file at the end though.

  10. Zatarain’s makes a Gumbo Base…file if you will. In a box. Wonderful recipe and remember make it properly within your budget, it’s still fantastic.

  11. I am trying to learn how to make this but I was a little confused. Every other recipe I saw had it on the stove for days at a time

    • Traditionally gumbo is an “add as you go” kinda dish, so it can stay on the stove or be re-heated day after day after day and be refreshed or refilled with more liquid/stock, veggies or meat/seafood you have on hand. The longer it sits the taster it gets because the flavors are melding together. The hardest part of gumbo is getting the roux just right. As a note, the longer you cook the fat (anything from butter-meat fat- veg oil-even coconut oil can be used) and flour mixture, the browner the roux will be AND it also reduces the absorption rate of the flour – so, the lighter the roux the thicker the gumbo (you can leave out the okra or file if you like) but the “bread-ier” the gumbo will taste and it wont have that brownish color either. The darker the roux the thinner the gumbo, but with a richer, deeper flavor, and hence the addition of either okra or file to thicken. Hope this helps and ya’ll have fun making it!

  12. I just learned how to make it this weekend by watching a friend from Louisiana use her grandmother’s recipe. It’s not really complicated despite ALL the ingredients that make it seem so. First she had me cut up the ingredients and we put them in zip lock bags. She cooked it the next day (only because she was preparing it for her mother to take to a pot luck lunch that day and she had no room to store the gumbo in her refrigerator the night before). She cooked it similar to the instructions here so I believe you will be thrilled by how beautiful the dish is when it’s all done. It was a rewarding experience and I am looking forward to making it solo — maybe for New Year’s Eve/Day!

  13. I usually make my roux using vegetable oil and bacon drippings to equal 1 cup. The bacon gives an extra layer of smokiness. I also brown andouille and regular smoked sausage together to throw in at the end with shrimp, frozen crawfish tail meat, and frozen gumbo crabs. I used to make a seafood stock with shrimp shells/tails, as stated above, but now I just use chicken stock or chicken stock w/ a gumbo crab thrown in. I love seafood gumbo, but don’t have to have it so fishy that it tastes like pond water. I love the balance of the sausage and shrimp, etc. I sprinkle the file’ on top of the rice before adding the gumbo to a bowl and don’t use okra. (Every Christmas Eve I go buy 3 boxes of white rice from my local Chinese take-out, because cooking the gumbo is work enough!) Also, to control the salt, I use individual spices rather than a pre-made salty mix. After ruining a batch with salt, this has worked much better. Your recipe sounds great, though, if I had access to red snapper. Yum!

    • If you cook the catfish IN the gumbo make sure it’s farm raised because the flavor is mild. If wild caught catfish cook it separately , pile on top of the rice in individual bowls and then dish out the base over each serving. TRUST ME ON THIS! 🙂 the wild caught will over power everything…I won’t make that mistake again, ha!

  14. Turned out great! Thanks for the recipe. Used Guinness as beer and for meat used sausage, shrimp, crab and chicken. Did it all in the crock pot (though took about 6 hours), but turned out fantastic! Did jalapeño cornbread muffins as a side, served over white rice, and everyone came back for seconds (or thirds)!

  15. My baby sister use to make excellent gumbo she is deceased now she died at 34 on feb 13,2011 and this year on her death date im gonna make it in rememberance of the good times for the first time i want to thank u for in advance

  16. Won’t putting the okra in with the onions, etc. right at the beginning make the okra dissolve. I usually put it in maybe an hour before it’s done.

    • In this case, the okra is only getting added about an hour before the gumbo is finished, so it would likely give you a result similar to the one you’re used to.

    • We’re sorry you didn’t get a good outcome, but the 1 cup of vegetable oil is not a typo. To make a roux, you need to whisk together the hot oil and flour until a paste forms. You could always try less roux, or if you want to nix the oil altogether, brown the flour in a skillet (or in the oven) to simulate the roux flavor.

  17. I made this in August with lump crab meat, shrimp and scallops instead of the other suggested seafood. It came out awesome! I also didnt use beer since I am nursing and used extra seafood stock as suggested in the comments. I would note that the roux did not take 20 min to look like peanut butter. I had the heat on low but my stove is unfortunately electric. So please constantly stir and watch your roux! My family loves this gumbo. This was my first time making it and I will be making again next month. Thank you for this recipe

  18. File Gumbo! Wonderful. The most important thing you can do is slowly and I mean slowly brown up your roux. The browning of flour and oil. Just take lots of time to get it really dark brown. You can use any combination of seafood. Crab, shrimp, fish, sausage, crawfish, yes and chicken. But I don’t use chicken. I do not really care for okra, so it’s file for me. Lot’s of chopped red and green bell peppers, chopped onion, celery, minced garlic. I don’t use beer either and it is just as good maybe better! Top off with green onions, maybe a little more file, parsley if you want to. I never use anything except long grain white rice preferable grown in Texas, Arkansas or Louisiana! Not as many rice growers in Texas as there used to be. Development pushing them out. I know. We were rice producers on the Texas Gulf Coast. I say were.

  19. Should the oil and flour amounts double when serving more than 8-10 people?? And I’m adding chicken wings can I add the roux to the chicken stock??

    • You’d want to increase the roux at the same rate that you’re increasing the whole gumbo, so if you were increasing the whole recipe by half (to serve about 12), you would use 1 1/2 cups each of oil and flour.

  20. My mother taught me to cook the okra down to remove the “slime” as much as possible. Does just adding it without cooking it down mean there won’t be much “slime” as my mother called it?

    • A lot of traditional recipes have you cook down the okra to minimize the (how can we say this politely) okra texture, but I can say that our tasters did not find this gumbo slimy.

  21. I read the recipe and all the comments. All my questions have been answered and I am so eager to make my 1st pot of Gumbo! Love this website!!

    • You certainly could make that substitute. We would suggest browning the andouille slices in the stockpot at the very beginning, then setting them aside. Then you would continue with the roux. Add the browned sausage in with the seafood near the end of the cooking time.

  22. Great receipt. Closest we’ve found to my mother’s – she was from Plaquemine LA. A few modifications: no fish, increased the 1st 7 ingredients by 1/2, doubled the crab & shrimp (used small not medium), added another cup of okra and 2 small cans tomato sauce, put half the file in during cooking, other half before serving, no beer, no cayenne pepper and just a smidgen of Canjun seasoning*. Also, cooked everything but the shrimp & crab then let the pot refrigerate overnight. Next morning, brought the pot back up to boil, added the seafood and cooked for about 10 min. Used crockpot to keep gumbo warm during party. *Rice and Tabasco sauce available if wanted. Seventeen thumbs up and only about two cups left over.

  23. Gumbo turned out EXCELLENT! Only used chicken, crab, and shrimp w/ celery, bell pepper, onion and garlic, 1 tomato plus all seasonings. Roux was dark brown and well-worth the time. The family is still raving!

  24. I tried it last year without the beer and file’ powder. And it came out GREAT!!! Did it again November with the file’ powder. And it was GREAT. Couldn’t taste a difference. All I tasted was GREATNESS. Thank you. Love It!! ❤️

  25. I was born in New Orleans. My mother made gumbo without any recipes and taught me the same way, therefore I have never used a recipe. This is the first time I used a recipe (altered parts, i.e. left out the beer) and it tastes just liked my mother’s. Delicious!!

  26. Best recipe out of every other site! I add anything I want extra like chicken, sausage, and lobster. The layout of this recipe is so simple it’s my 4th time using it for seafood Gumbo & it helped me stir up an excellent dish!

  27. Me and my Girl Friend is going to try this out on Superbowl Sunday. Hopefully The Eagles and this recipe don’t disappoint me.

  28. Native South Louisianian living in Texas. Tried the recipe for first time this weekend. Would recommend a little more pepper flavoring (chopped jalapeno, cayenne pepper) but I understand you don’t want to encourage overseasoning on a base recipe. Can always add to your bowl. Would also swap 4 oz of the beer for 4 oz of the stock. All in all, this recipe is a great start and relatively simple. My grandma always uses pig lard in her roux, but not so easy to find and can be a little too heavy.


  29. I made this recipe this weekend for a Super Bowl party. Big time hit! Everybody loved it. I used both the seafood stock and the beer. I also tripled the recipe and this was very problematic with the roux. 3 cups of oil was too much! Made the batch Saturday so it would season over night. I did not like the greasy taste. So I drained the meat and vegetables from the roux/stock mixture and started over using only one cup of oil for the roux. In the end, the gumbo tasted fantastic. It was a very expensive pot and extremely labor intensive but loved by all. 2 gallons gone in about 30 minutes! Can’t wait to make it again.

  30. I made this last night for my family, left out the file powder, and it wasn’t too thin. Also i put it on top of red beans and rice. Everyone loved it!

  31. Made this over Thanksgiving for just a few family members. All requested it for Christmas Eve(the only time the entire family is together at the same time). It was a huge hit! I followed the recipe to the word. Had to use frozen snapper here in central Mississippi though. Only done it once and I’m thinking it’s gonna be our Christmas Eve tradition. Cost about $100 bucks to cook it. While it says it feeds 8-10 you can stretch it when you have other choices at holiday time!

    • You’re welcome! Filé powder can be found at Walmart, Target, etc. if your local grocery store doesn’t carry it. It will will be located on the season aisle.

  32. I just made this gumbo exactly according to the recipe, except I added andouille sausage. It is delicious. I found the beer at BevMo, And tasted it before putting it in the recipe, and it is a smooth and delicious beer. I certainly will be making this gumbo again. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Tried this recipe out today and it was great. My first time ever cooking AND eating gumbo. A few modifications. I didn’t use filé powder cos I can’t get it where I am, added smoked spicy coarse ground chicken sausage (no andouille where I am either), halved the okra and left out the oysters. Turned out amazing. Thanks for this recipe!

  33. Will be trying this this week sometime. I lost my recipe I used to use. Would use shrimp, scallops, chorizo sausage though and it taste phenomenal

  34. I’m planning on making gumbo for the first time and I’d like to make a small batch for just 3-4 people would I just use half of the ingredients listed, especially when it comes to the oil and flour for the roux?

  35. For years I made chicken and sausage gumbo using the New Orleans School of Cooking’s recipe but my wife can’t eat meat anymore, so today I made this with a few changes based on local availability of seafood. Very nice, will make again. Thanks for sharing.

    I used lard in my roux in the past but it’s hard to find now, so I tried expeller-pressed, non-GMO safflower oil. It has a high smoke point, is essentially tasteless, and it worked very well in this recipe. My waistline won’t handle leaving all the oil in, so I always skim carefully starting about an hour into the simmer.

  36. Up here in the Norteast good redfish is about impossible to come buy. I use pollack with very g [d results. Pollock doesn’t turn to mush like so many white fish tends to do. It remains in nice firm chunks. Great recipe, I make it often always a hit.

  37. I used this recipe and another. I only used shrimp and scallops. I also added 2cups of tomatoes (from
    other recipe), one can of black beans, and a little fresh corn (my idea ). I didn’t use okra—not in season.

    OMG delicious.

    I also did it in the crockpot! 6-8 hours low. Last two hours I put in 1/2-3/4 cup of sprouted wild blend rice. Beautiful. Then put in shrimp and scallops for 30 minutes—then done.

    I didn’t use fish stock. I used vegetable stock.

  38. I would like to know if I could take out the snapper and could I add sausage and chicken. How and when would I be able to put the sausage and chicken in.

    • You could certainly omit the snapper and add chicken and sausage. If you’re making that substitution, we’d recommend browning the chicken and sausage slices at the very beginning, setting them aside before making the roux, and adding them back in with the seafood at the end of the cooking time.

    • You could add andouille sausage and chicken to this recipe if you’d like. We would suggest browning the chicken and sausage slices in the stockpot at the very beginning, setting them aside before making the roux, then adding them in with the seafood near the end of the cooking time.

  39. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Best meal EVER! Expensive to make, but worth every penny. We live in Bermuda and even before the pandemic, we are sometimes limited to what we get on the island, so I had to substitute tilapia for snapper, canned salmon for lump crab, and scallops for oysters. No file powder and my husband will eat anything but okra, so none of that. We keep raving about the flavor, can’t want for my next meal — Gumbo for supper tonight!

  40. Excellent recipe, this is the 3rd time I made the Seafood Gumbo and it get better every time. Today I added thin cut corn on the cob, additional lump crabmeat and chunks of potatoes. Homemade garlic bread for dipping. Rice wasn’t need this time. This is a 5 star meal. Thank You, Thank You. I love this recipe.

  41. A delicious gumbo. I made it without the filé powder–really not needed when you have the roux and the okra. Keeping this as my official gumbo recipe…

  42. Loved this gumbo! Made it a few times, and now it’s my go-to. I make some adjustments to use more accessible ingredients: Negro Modelo for the beer, simplified the seafood to just shrimp and cod, skipped file powder, and used substitutes for Worcestshire sauce, but it still tastes amazing! Thank you.

  43. I have made jumbo in the restaurant and we used trout and snapper and we added the rice in the gumbo this recipe sounds a lot like What we made its been a long time since I have made it but iam going to try this one Thanks

  44. I fry up a pkg of bacon for my oil. Might have to add a little more. Some vegatable oil. Chop the bacon up and toss it in the pot. I cook all my veggies before I put them in. Cook some chicken thighs with a few drops of crab boil. This is in chicken and seafood stock. I chop my hicken very fine. Fresh Gulf crab and shrimp. South Alabama here! I like for my liquids to settle. Heat up the roux and add the seafood. I add file to my mix at the end. Cooking it now!!!!

  45. I live in NEW ZEALAND and while in NEW ORLEANS mainly BOURBON ST I had the seafood gumbo for lunch 3 days its amazing, I have been making it in NZ to recipe ever since we don’t have blue crab or crawfish so I use paddle crab and crayfish its a great hit with my friends when I make it . thanks very much..ARNIE once said I WIIL BE BACK!!!!

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