What is Gumbo?

Louisiana Seafood Gumbo served over rice

Gumbo can be characterized as a stew or thick soup, usually made with seafood or chicken, greens, and okra, with filé (dried sassafras leaves) used as a thickener.

Gumbo consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and what Louisianians call the "Holy Trinity" of vegetables: celery, bell peppers, and onions.

The dish derived its name from Africa meaning okra, which may have derived the name from a source such as the Choctaw word for filé (kombo).

Gumbo can be made with or without okra or filé powder. The preferred method in the historical New Orleans variation is with a French dark roux. Creole and Cajun gumbos are served over hot rice.

The Recipe

Every cook has a gumbo recipe! And there are hundreds of recipes in cook books, and on the Web. The ingredients vary by cook ... often we make a seafood gumbo with crawfish, shrimp, and crab shells & meat, plus Andouille sausage. And we might even add fresh oysters in season. Other times we make chicken and/or turkey gumbo ... whatever is available!

First the ingredients for a seafood gumbo ... we begin with Louisiana crawfish tails, hand-peeled at a boil, either fresh or frozen. And then Tony Chachere's Gulf Shrimp ... PRODUCT  of USA! We carefully shop for and purchase native shrimp, and refuse to buy imported shrimp.

We also include either fresh crabs or Gumbo Crabs from Farmers Seafood Market in Shreveport. And of course to build texture and seasoning we add okra, and "The Trinity", already cut up ... onions, peppers and celery.

While we make our own roux when time permits, often we use Savoie's Old Fashioned Dark Roux as a base.

Sometimes we also add Andouille sausage, usually from Manda's in Baton Rouge.

Gulf of Mexico Shrimp
Fresh shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, a key ingredient in seafood gumbo
Gulf of Mexico Crabs
Blue Crabs fresh from the the Gulf of Mexico



Here's the basic recipe we have used for years to make our seafood gumbo, based on Savoie's recipe for gumbo ...


    • ​​​​​15 cups water
    • ​​​​​1 pint Savoie’s® Dark Roux
    • ​​​​​2 large onions, chopped
    • ​​​​​½ green bell pepper
    • ​​​​​½ red bell pepper
    • ​​​​​1 teaspoon garlic
    • ​​​​​2 lb shrimp
    • ​​​​​2 lb crawfish
    • ​​​​​1 lb crab meat
    • ​​​​​6 teaspoons dried shrimp powder
    • ​​​​​Savoie’s® Seasoning (to taste)
    • ​​​​​½ cup onion tops
    • ​​​​​½ cup parsley
The key gumbo ingredients

Savoie's Real Cajun Old Fashioned RouxSavoie's Real Cajun Old Fashioned Roux

Louisiana Seafood Gumbo ingredients


    1. Boil 8 cups of water, then add roux and dissolve. Stir often to avoid sticking.
    2. Once completely dissolved, add remaining water, bell peppers, onions, and garlic.
    3. Bring to boil.
    4. Reduce heat and cook 45 minutes.
    5. Add remaining ingredients. Cook 20 minutes, stir, remove from heat, and cover.
    6. Let stand for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.
All done! Dining on seafood gumbo served over rice ... yum!
Dining on seafood gumbo served over rice



Another Seafood Gumbo Recipe: Louisiana Travel Video

Photo of Louisiana seafood gumbo, with crawfish, shrimp, crab and okra


Other Louisiana Seafood Gumbo Recipes

We typically cook with the recipe we have listed above. But at times we use others ... here are a few of our favorites: