Spicy Creole Shrimp Dip – A Holiday Tradition

Shrimp Dip

I guarantee this dip will become a holiday favorite for your family.  (All photos credit: George Graham)

There are certain traditions that make the holidays special, and of course, in the Graham family, those traditions usually involve food – turkey and cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving and a regal crown roast of pork for Christmas Day.  Oh, and of course, a Christmas Eve gumbo with friends and family after church services the night before.  For us, these are the culinary traditions that holiday memories are made of.

But, there is another tasty tradition in our family that has been passed through the generations that is most special – my brother Jackie’s spicy Creole shrimp dip.  To me, this simple recipe represents the holidays in South Louisiana, and is a sure way to spice up any gathering.  We put it out at Thanksgiving and make even more as Christmas nears.

My older brother Jackie was the real cook in the Graham family and he perfected this recipe many holidays ago. For years, he and his wife Lavonia — an equally talented cook — hosted our Thanksgiving family reunion in my hometown of Bogalusa, Louisiana.  They would begin cooking the amazing feast two weeks before the event.  It was an all day and night eating affair, and the taste of his famous shrimp dip was reason enough for family members to make the trek from California, North Carolina, Florida and beyond.

Dip Ingredients

Louisiana ingredients spice up this Creole dip.

The sauce in this dip is a zestier version of a spicy remoulade infused with horseradish, Creole mustard and hot sauce.  As with any recipe, you can certainly adjust the ingredients to your taste, but I would urge you to follow this one to a tee the first time out.  While this dip is guaranteed to clear up any sinus problem you might have, I can assure you it is addictive.

My brother Jackie is no longer with us, and these days our families celebrate the holidays in our own hometowns.  But every year across the nation, there are Grahams – and new generations of Grahams — celebrating the holidays with a big bowl of Jackie’s Spicy Creole Shrimp Dip close at hand.

Thank you, brother.

Cracker with Dip

This dip will go fast. Make plenty.

4.1 from 8 reviews
Spicy Creole Shrimp Dip
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a minimal recipe amount and I urge you to make more – it will go fast. The recipe is easy to scale up by doubling or tripling all the ingredients. Just make sure there are plenty of shrimp. You can make this ahead and it will keep for at least a week. In fact, it is even better if made at least two days before serving.
Recipe by:
Serves: A large gathering
Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 pounds small, raw peeled Louisiana shrimp
  • 1 jar (16 oz) Creole mustard or coarse-grained mustard
  • 1 jar (5.25 oz) prepared horseradish
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Ritz crackers, for serving
Instructions
  1. In a large pot of cold water filled to the halfway point, add the eggs. Turn the burners to high and bring the water to a boil and immediately turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let sit for 12 minutes. Remove the hard-boiled eggs from the water (keep the water in the pot) and rinse under cold water. Peel the eggs and dice. Place the diced eggs in a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  2. In the same pot of water over high heat, bring it to a boil. Add the raw shrimp. Bring the water back to a boil and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Remove one of the larger shrimp and test for doneness. If done, turn off the heat. Immediately remove the pot and strain the shrimp into a colander. Rinse with cold water to stop the carryover cooking and then dry the shrimp on a kitchen towel or paper towels. Put the shrimp in a bowl lined with paper towels and place in the refrigerator to cool. (UPDATE NOTE: Be sure to dry the shrimp on paper towels before adding to the mustard mixture to prevent excess liquid.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the mustard, horseradish, canola oil, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Add the diced vegetables and stir. Add the boiled eggs and stir to distribute evenly throughout the mixture. Add salt, pepper and hot sauce to your taste.
  4. Add the shrimp and stir to distribute evenly throughout the mixture. Cover and refrigerate until chilled (or overnight).
  5. For serving, fill a bowl with the dip and place on a tray surrounded by Ritz crackers.
Notes
If you use an alternative brand of horseradish make sure it is pure prepared horseradish and not the mayo-like creamy stuff. You may not have access to Creole mustard, so try a quality spicy brown mustard, but I can't guarantee the results. I urge you to order the 16 oz. Zatarain's Creole Mustard online. You will be tempted to skip the step of drying your shrimp with paper towels to prevent excess moisture before adding them to the mustard mixture. Don't. If you do, the shrimp dip will be too watery. For best results, make the dip a day ahead and refrigerate in an airtight container overnight.
shrimp dip recipe

Creole shrimp dip – a holiday classic.

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Comments

  1. JIm Huguet says

    Thanks George we are buying the ingredients this AM and will enjoy in the PM. This is a great way to remember Jackie. Your blog is terrific! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lori Starks says

    Thanks George! This brought back so many sweet memories of Thanksgiving with Mom and Dad.They both loved doing this for the whole family. I’m forwarding your blog to a few close friends. Dad used to always make extra for me to share with them so now they can make it too!
    Thank you again for honoring Dad in the most perfect way…delicious food!

  3. Faye says

    Can’t wait to try this. My daughter in law and I will fight over who gets to bring it for the holidays — we both want to bring the “best” dish! LOL

  4. Lisa says

    This looks delicious and can’t wait to make it! I have one questions – are the egg whites separated from the yolks, or just all diced together then mixed in?

      • Trina says

        I made this last night and I could not believe how HOT it was. I only used 3 tablespoons of prepared horseradish, and it overpowered it. I have too many shrimp in it to throw it out. I’m looking to tone it down. Someone said Worcestershire sauce and more lemon juice. Any ideas????

        • says

          Hey Trina-
          There’s a reason it’s called “Spicy” Creole Shrimp Dip. It’s not for the faint of heart, and the reason I describe it as “this dip is guaranteed to clear up any sinus problem you might have.” Reviews have been exceptional for the spice level but everyone’s tolerance to spice is different. While you won’t be able to eliminate the spice from this batch, I urge you to make it again and tone down the horseradish and hot sauce. Best, George

  5. Sandy Veal says

    Sounds good. My mother was from Gramercy, La & my dad was from New Orleans . I will share my creole rice recipe next week.

    • says

      Hey Gwen – Thanks so much for asking. Horseradish is a rather bold ingredient of which folks are passionate about — one way or another. I would suggest either cutting it by half or cutting it out all together. Or better yet, make two batches for you and your guests — mild and full strength. I am willing to wager the spicier wins out.
      Joyeux Noël,
      George

  6. Barbara Kuhn says

    Just saw this recipe on a friend’s Facebook page and will definitely give it a try. My husband and I are from Franklinton, LA – home of the Washington Parish Free Fair!!!

    • says

      Hey Susan – Good question. Yes, but make sure it has a neutral flavor such as vegetable oil. I do not recommend olive oil or any strong flavored oil. The oil is there to bind the ingredients only.

  7. Dorothy Miller says

    I have a question, not a comment……can the shrimp be chopped into smaller pieces instead of left whole?…..Somewhat like tuna fish?

    • says

      Hey Dorothy – Chopping the shrimp should only be done if your shrimp are bigger than bite size. I recommend finding the small, raw peeled 70/90 count (per pound) Gulf shrimp and using them whole. If you have trouble finding them where you live, go online to Cajun Grocer and buy the Vermilion Bay Sweet white shrimp from my friends at the Port of Delcambre.
      Enjoy.

  8. rhonda says

    oh yes,, i am gonna try this,, i make a fantastic crab dip,,,, gonna try this ,, WE LOVE SPICEY IN TEXAS!!! Right in time for the holidays

    • says

      Hey Vikki – You can, but who knows when they were cooked. If you have access to either fresh or IQF (individually quick frozen) shrimp then I recommend that. The key is controlling how long they are cooked so they do not overcook and turn rubbery.

    • says

      Hey Stephanie – I know it sounds unusual but that is the genius of this recipe. The oil acts as a binder that brings all the elements together. Once it has time to sit overnight you will never notice any oil at all. Enjoy.

  9. Jennifer says

    I bought ingredients to make this but I have a view questions. Would the taste be changed to much to omit egg, for allergy reasons? Also I can not find Louisiana Gold hot sauce for some reason…will any hot sauce do?

    • says

      Hey Jennifer- Excellent questions. Okay to omit eggs for allergy reasons and, while I am loyal to Louisiana products, most any hot sauce will do.
      Enjoy and thanks for the comment.

  10. Stephanie says

    This looks so good and we plan to use for a dinner party tomorrow. Do you think leaving out the bell pepper and celery would alter the flavor or texture too much? Would I have to reduce the oil since there will be fewer other ingredients? Or could we substitute the peppers/celery with more egg or onion?

    • says

      Hey Stephanie – Add 1 cup more onion only. The vegetables add flavor and a crunchy texture – a contrast to the smoothness of the mustard. Though different, the dip should still be delicious without bell pepper and celery. Let us know.

  11. Dorothy Harris-Rose says

    I was born and raised in Arkansas but my family is from Louisiana and we love Cajun food. I am going this evening to get the ingredients (horseradish, creole mustard, and small shrimp) to surprise my family with your recipe for Christmas. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years from my family to yours.

    • says

      Hey Debbie – A couple of folks have asked that and the answer is “no.” If you have allergies or whatever the reason leave it out. However, the boiled eggs do add flavor and texture to the recipe. Thanks.

    • says

      Hey Margie – Very good, but tricky question. In my experience, I make this recipe for 10 – 20 guests. For a larger group, I usually double the recipe. After all, if there is any leftover, this dip will be just as good the week after your party. Happy New Year.

    • says

      Hey Suzanne – Certainly you could add jalapeno, but with a word of caution. The horseradish and the Creole mustard are plenty spicy enough so go easy on adding jalapeno. In fact, I would suggest you split the recipe in half with jalapeno added to one half and the other following the recipe. Let me know how it works.

      • Suzanne Hromadka says

        I was planning on making it per the recipe. Went to the store yesterday and forgot the bell pepper, but got plenty of jalapenos. I do have a wilty-looking bell pepper in the fridge, so maybe I’ll see what I can salvage of it and make up the difference with the jalapeno (with seeds & membranes removed). We live out in the boondocks, so I don’t have the opportunity to get back to the store before our New Year’s Eve party tomorrow night. I’ll let you know how it turns out for sure!

  12. Susan says

    I am soooo happy to have this recipe and hope for more of these authentic local recipes! We live on the Mississippi Coast.

  13. Rhonda Lind says

    This recipe sounds fantastic…..perfect for the fresh shrimp caught right off the boat. I’m in St. Bernard LA….always looking for new recipes for new traditions with my son……since most of my family is deceased….thanks so much for sharing….Happy Holidays!!!

    • says

      Thanks for the question but …..No! I beg of you…please use freshly diced onion for not only the flavor but the crunch as well. Fresh onion is available everywhere and granulated onion has no reason to exist in modern society. And that’s my humble opinion.

  14. Elaine Appleberry says

    This receipe sounds devine. I live in Harvey, Louisiana (Greater New Orleans area). Other than shrimp, I already have these ingredients ready to go. I plan to try it out tonight. My husband and I are celebrating our 14th Anniversary. Thanks!

  15. Jeanie Nelson says

    Sounds great to me. Always looking for a new dish. Got the link from my niece. Will try this recipe on special friends this holiday season.

  16. Julie McLeod says

    Anxious to try this! Was a little concerned about the amount of oil, but based on the comments will make as written and go from there! I’ve yet to have any AUTHENTIC cajun food that I didn’t like! (We have a lot of poor excuses for this good food here in the Carolinas!)
    Thank you for sharing your family’s recipe and stories.

  17. Hope says

    i am a New Yorker by birth and a lover of southern food as an adult. It helps that my husband is a native Mississipian. I can’t wait to make this for his family’s Christmas Eve party. We always have appetizers vs a full blown meal and I think this will do JUST FINE! :).

    • says

      Hey Rhonda – In my opinion, crabmeat is a very delicate (and expensive) ingredient that is best used in more subtle recipes where the flavors have a chance to shine. I think crabmeat might get lost in the mustard and horseradish to the point of not being able to distinguish it. Shrimp hold together with a texture that soaks up the spice and after a couple of days take on a flavor profile of their own.

      For crabmeat, take a look at my Gulf Coast Crab Dip recipe at:
      http://acadianatable.com/2014/08/25/crabbin-fever/

      All my best,

      George

  18. Laura Stewart says

    My dad suggested this for family Christmas….so surprise it’s finished and in the fridge. Can’t wait to surprise everyone! We are all from Bogalusa and miss Graham’s Cafe daily. Daddy always took his girls to Graham’s Cafe every Saturday for breakfast. Good memories. Merry Christmas everyone.

  19. David says

    Any suggestion to thicken it up? I believe I forgot to dry the shrimp. Made last night, fantastic taste – just a bit runny!

    • says

      Hey David – Yes, you are correct…it is important to dry the shrimp on paper towels and not add excess moisture to the mustard mix. Perhaps try adding more celery and onions. All my best, George

  20. roy williamson says

    this sounds great.ima gonna make it for my wife one day.she loves dips. looking forward to more resipes. wouls like a good shrimp and sausage gumbo resipe.i made one last week,i got off facebookand it was a flop.,,,,,thanks,roy in west Monroe,la.

  21. Bonnie Blankinship says

    Going to try this for sure! Also thinking it would be a good base for potato salad – sub potatoes for shrimp. What do you think?

    • says

      Hey Bonnie – Very interesting idea. I love mustard potato salad and I’ve actually made mashed potatoes with horseradish, so why not! Please let us know how your Spicy Creole Potato Salad works out. Thanks for the comment. George

  22. Heather says

    I made this today to try it out and I must say it’s amazing! I have a new go-to favorite party food! I can’t wait to be asked to bring a dish somewhere but in the meantime my husband and I will really enjoy my little experiment.

  23. Sandi says

    I live in New Orleans and we serve this types of dips sever times a year. From holidays to tailgating at the LSU games. My question is some guest don’t like the crunch of the raw onions, celery and bell peppers. Just to satisfy their taste could I simmer them just to take the “crunch” out. You thoughts would be appreciated.

    • says

      Hey Sandi – Tricky question….let’s analyze: The dominating flavors are shrimp, mustard and horseradish which are what make this dip sooooo tasty. The diced vegetables are there mainly for the crunchy texture and contrasting color. Instead of parboiling them until somewhat mushy, I recommend leaving them out altogether. Better yet, it’s just as easy to make two batches and see which one wins with your guests. All my best, George

    • says

      Gloria-
      Step #3 is where you add the canola oil. The canola oil has a neutral flavor and acts as a binder with the other ingredients just as oil is used in an emulsion for making mayonnaise and other dressing type sauces. The finished dish will not taste oily at all. Best, George

    • says

      Corin-
      Hey Corin-
      Leave it out. While the onion and celery do add flavor, the shrimp, mustard, and horseradish spike this dip into the stratosphere with flavor. The onions and celery are more for the crunchy texture, so feel free to make the dip without them, and let us know how it turns out. Best, George

    • says

      Dionne-
      The onion and celery are there more for the crunchy texture, so give it a try without. The overwhelming flavors of mustard and horseradish along with the shrimp should clearly shine through. Best, George

    • says

      Adele-
      Good question and I have a simple answer: none. That’s right, it is not necessary to season the water for boiling the shrimp since they will soon be swimming in a horseradish-infused, mustard sauce. The shrimp quickly take on the flavors of the spicy Creole dip and work perfectly. All the best to you. George

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