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Cajun Shrimp Appetizer (Ruth’s Chris Copycat)

Cajun Shrimp Appetizer–A simple yet impressive recipe that mimic’s Ruth’s Chris famous Spicy BBQ Shrimp. It’s full of flavor from garlic, spices and butter drizzled over the top of succulent shrimp.

Cajun Shrimp/Ruths Chris Copy cat Spicy BBQ shrimp lined up on a plate with the butter sauce drizzled over the top.

One of the first fancy restaurants I went to when I moved out to California was Ruth’s Cris. They are known for really good steaks served sizzling hot on top of a 500° plate with sizzling fresh butter drizzled over them.

Seriously, if you’ve never been there you have to put it on top of your to-do list ASAP.

They also have some really good side dishes and appetizers. One of my favorite appetizers they offer is Barbecue Shrimp. It’s not barbeque in the traditional sense that it has a sweet barbeque sauce, but rather shrimp in butter (of course) with lots of spices. They serve the shrimp on a deep-sided plate filled with melted butter plum full of all sorts of spices. It’s served along with fresh warm bread to sop of that fabulous sauce when you’ve devoured all of the shrimp they give you.

I have been playing around with many recipes that are similar and have finally come up with a version that has the best of Ruth’s shrimp but with a little less butter sauce so I can convince myself that it’s a healthier option. (To make it a copycat all you have to do is serve more butter with it!)

What is the time saving trick with this Cajun Shrimp Appetizer?

This recipe makes a lot of seasoned butter. I make this Spicy BBQ Shrimp Appetizer with an entire pound of butter but only use small amounts when making this particular recipe.

Making the Cajun Shrimp Appetizer is as easy as making a simple compound butter to go with it.

Cajun Spicy BBQ shrimp Process shot of caramelizing the garlic
  1. Sauce the garlic and caramelize it so it is a deep rich flavor.
  2. Add all spices and flavor enhancements to the butter.
  3. Whip the butter using a whisk attachment to make it light and airy.
  4. Onto a sheet of parchment paper, place a could of scoops.
  5. Roll the parchment and butter into a log shape and twist the ends.
  6. Mark the log with what it is for when you are looking for it in a month or so you know just what it is!

With the extra butter, I  save it in log form in parchment paper and keep it in my freezer for a later use at a moment’s notice.

That little trick allows me to have something at a moments notice to serve if someone comes over unexpectedly. The butter is so full of amazing flavors all you really have to have on hand is some bread, (or shrimp of course) to serve it as an appetizer. Since I always have a loaf of bread around I’m always covered.

The butter also works well tossed with a simple pasta, or as a butter topping for a steak. Don’t you just love recipes that are multi-use recipes? Once you have the compound butter, all you need to make the Cajun Shrimp Appetizer is melt the butter in a saucepan then add the shrimp and serve!  How easy is that to make a Spicy BBQ Shrimp Appetizer?

Compound Butter for Cajun Shrimp/ Spicy BBQ Shrimp, Ruths Cris Appetizer shown melting in a sauce pan being stirred with a wooden spoon

This recipe for Spicy BBQ Shrimp Appetizer takes less than a half an hour from start to finish.  Less if you make the butter ahead of time.  It has so many flavors going on it just makes you happy when you eat it.  If you like this recipe with shrimp you’ll also like my recipe for Simple Coconut Shrimp, both being easy and full of great flavor.

More Gourmet Appetizers for Special Occasion Entertaining:

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A simple, but impressive recipe that mimic's Ruth's Cris famous Spicy BBQ Shrimp Appetizer. It's full of the flavors of garlic, spices and butter drizzled over the top of succulent shrimp. Recipe found at www/


Cajun Creole Seasoning Mix to place in any sauce!

Jar of creole spice mix

One Pot Jambalaya

This one pot Smoky Jambalaya is great for any get together when you are looking for easy, tasty, and not a fussy meal. It's full of flavor and pairs well with any Granacha wine.
Yield: 8

Spicy BBQ Shrimp Appetizer (Ruth's Cris Copycat)

A simple, but impressive recipe that mimic's Ruth's Cris famous Spicy BBQ Shrimp Appetizer. It's full of the flavors of garlic, spices and butter drizzled over the top of succulent shrimp. Recipe found at www/

A simple, but impressive recipe that mimic's Ruth's Cris famous Spicy Barbeque Shrimp Appetizer. It's full of the flavors of garlic, spices and butter drizzled over the top of succulent shrimp.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Freezing time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes


Butter Sauce

  • 1 pound Butter, (recipe only uses half, save the rest for another time)
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 2 oz garlic, ( 1/4 cup) fine minced (approximately 12 cloves)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp tabasco sauce
  • 2 tsp water


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 pounds shrimp, cleaned and deveined (largest you can buy
  • ¼ cup green onion, minced finely
  • ½ cup white wine


  • rosemary sprigs
  • fresh tarragon sprigs, minced
  • sourdough bagettte, sliced to triangles and toasted


Butter Sauce

  1. Soften butter to room temp.
  2. Place butter and all other ingredients in a mixing bowl (kitchen aid) and whip for about 3 minutes until thoroughly blended.
  3. Shape into 2 logs, wrap in parchment paper and put in freezer to chill (at least an hour (This can be done ahead.). The recipe will use only one log save the other one for another time. 


  1. Pour olive oil in a hot sauté pan.
  2. Add shrimp and cook on one side for 1-2 minutes. Don’t overcrowd, do in batches if necessary. Reduce heat to medium and flip shrimp. Add green onion and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove Shrimp from pan to a side plate.
  3. Add white wine to pan and cook until it is reduced to ¼ cup.
  4. Stir in one log  of butter until fully melted, then add back in shrimp. (Store remaining butter in wax paper in freezer for another use). Butter good for up to 6 weeks. (Be sure to write on way paper what is inside for easy identification later)
  5. Reduce heat to low and cook until shrimp is cooked through.
  6. Serve from a serving dish with rosemary or fresh tarragon sprinkled or laid over the top.   Have sliced sourdough baguette for serving. (Cut bread into triangle chunks and toast in the broiler for serving.
  7. Other ways to use the butter  in notes!


I make this butter blend in bulk because it is so easily adapted for many things.
Serve it as a melted butter dip for warmed bread.
Use a couple of tablespoons tossed with your favorite pasta. Add any protein for a more substantial meal.
Top your favorite steak with a pat of the butter right before serving.

Store leftover butter in the freezer until ready to use.

Calorie info calculated on using 1/2 butter portion. Recipe for butter makes enough for 2 servings. (Wrap leftovers for later in paper and store in the freezer until ready to use.  The butter will last for 6 weeks in freezer)

The calories are for shrimp and butter only.  Bread is not included. 

All recipe calorie information was calculated on what I purchased to make this recipe in My Fitness Pal. When you make the recipe, the calorie content could vary depending on what specific ingredients/brands you actually use. Please take that into consideration if you are following a strict diet.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

8 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Saturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 346mgSodium: 1407mgCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 24g

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Wednesday 24th of April 2024

Sounds delicious. Your link for Worcestershire sauce, takes you to amazon for Grey poupon. What gives?


Saturday 28th of December 2019

This is an amazing recipe. We put it together in a jiffy last Saturday and had a couple of people over. They loved it with a nice chilled Pinot Gris!

Tamara Andersen

Monday 18th of December 2017

Our youngest worked at Ruth’s Chris while he was at the Culinary Institute! I’ll have to ask him about these... they look fabulous!


Tuesday 19th of December 2017

for you Tamara..... you will want to use a little less of the butter! But they are really wonderful! ~m


Wednesday 4th of January 2017

Love these! Pinned to try them!

Mackenzie @ Food Above Gold

Thursday 29th of December 2016

I've never actually been to Ruth Chris, but all you had to say was garlic, spices, and butter on shrimp and I was immediately sold! I can see how this is popular! :)


Friday 13th of January 2017

Im with you! Everything in them just makes me happy! ~m

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