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How to Make Gumbo: Gulf Coast Seafood Gumbo Recipe

Updated on October 23, 2010

Gumbo is a favorite dish in the deep south, especially in areas where seafood is plentiful and Creole cooking is popular.

There are several different ways to make gumbo, each of which incorporates a roux base, okra, and one or more types of meat or seafood.

Other goodies that are frequently included in gumbo recipes include: tomatoes, onions, peppers, celery, corn, file seasoning, Creole spices, and various other secret (and not so secret) ingredients.

Learn How to Make Seafood Gumbo

Here is my favorite genuineGulf Coast seafood gumbo recipe:

Shrimp and Crabmeat Gumbo


  • 3/4 cup of cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into small slices
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons Tony Chachere's or Zatarains Creole seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon file seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds frozen okra, cut
  • 5 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled
  • 2 pounds crab meat


1. Make the Roux

The first thing you need to do is make the roux. To do this, start by heating a large, heavy stock pot over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Once the pot is hot, turn the burner down to a low temperature. Add oil and flour to the pot. Stir to combine, and continue stirring until the mixture forms the color of a copper penny. This is likely to take from 10 to 15 minutes. Once the mixture turns a nice shade of copper, you have a roux.

2. Make the Gumbo Base

To make the gumbo base, add the water to the roux and stir in the file seasoning. Add everything except the okra, shrimp, and crabmeat. Heat the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.

3. Prepare the Okra

Many people add okra into the mix with all of the other vegetables. You can do this, but the end result is a gumbo with a texture than many people describe as slimy. If you want to avoid this, you need to prepare the okra before adding it to the gumbo base. To do this, simply heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat on your stovetop. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add okra and sauté for 20 minutes.

4. Finishing Touches

Taste the gumbo base and adjust seasonings to your preferences. Add the prepared okra, shrimp, and crabmeat to the gumbo base. Continue simmering for an additional two hours before serving.

Recipe Variations:

  • Other types of meat often included in gumbo include: chicken (cook before adding), smoked sausage, oysters, and crawfish tail meat.
  • Some people prefer gumbo with a strong file flavor. This recipe contains only a small amount of file because I don't like a strong taste of this spice. You can double the amount of file used in this recipe. If you don't like file at all, feel free to leave it out

Serving Suggestions

Most people think gumbo tastes best served over cooked white rice, but some people prefer it without rice. It can be served as a first course soup, or a one pot main dish meal. Saltine crackers are the perfect accompaniment to a big bowl of gumbo. People who really love spicy food like to add Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper to their gumbo. Gumbo tastes great reheated, and also freezes well.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    9 years ago

    This recipe sounds good, I'm going to do it for Sunday. I am adding some lobster and scallops and leeks instead of celery. I don't like bell peppers at all so I'll have to find a suitable substitute. Yum.

  • cyntsational profile image


    9 years ago

    I am loving this recipe.. I never cooked gumbo.. But i will try this recipe..I will add some pepper to spice it up.

  • CarolineChicago profile image

    Caroline Paulison Andrew 

    10 years ago from Chicago, IL

    Yum--this sounds great!

  • mgwhite profile imageAUTHOR

    Mary White 

    10 years ago from Mobile, AL

    Amber - Let the roux simmer for at least 30 minutes before adding the shrimp. You can let it cook for two or three hours, or even longer. Add the shrimp about thirty minutes before you are ready to serve the dish. As with many sauce based dishes, this one will probably taste even better when you reheat it the second day.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    how long do u have to wait before u had the shimp and cramp meat

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    12 years ago from Houston, Texas

    We were talking about making gumbo just the other day! Your recipe sounds great. From your newest fan...

  • gss profile image


    12 years ago from Florida

    Gumbo is one of my favorite meals. Nice hub. Thanks.

  • compu-smart profile image


    13 years ago from London UK

    Your hubs always get my juices flowing and you sure know how to make the most of a kitchen! ;)

  • mgwhite profile imageAUTHOR

    Mary White 

    13 years ago from Mobile, AL

    This is one of my favorite gumbo recipes. I think you'll enjoy it. Let me know what you think! - Mary

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 

    13 years ago from New Brunswick

    I have not had gumbo in quite sometime, i'll have to try this.


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