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Spicy Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta

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This spicy shrimp over creamy polenta is perfectly spiced and full of smoky flavor. Made with fresh shrimp, spicy tomatoes and creamy cheesy polenta. 

Spicy Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta Recipe by Nutmeg Nanny

I made this dish a few weeks ago when I was craving seafood like something fierce. I had been wandering around the grocery store and slowly walked past all the fresh seafood.

I saw these GIANT fresh wild shrimp and I knew I had to buy some. I had zero ideas what I wanted to do with them, but I knew they were coming home with me.

So after I got home with my shrimp I decided I was going to make shrimp and grits…errrr creamy polenta. Grits/polenta, do you think they are the same? My vote is yes. Although I normally consider grits something I eat for breakfast (with lots of butter and salt and occasionally some brown sugar) and polenta something I eat as a side with my dinner.

Let me know your opinion. Do grits = polenta or is there a solid difference between the two?

Spicy Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta Recipe by Nutmeg Nanny

Can I Use Frozen Shrimp?

Yes, technically you can.  However, if possible fresh is always best!

Be sure that if you do use frozen shrimp, you thaw it out in a bowl with warm water for only about 5 minutes. If frozen shrimp is thawing in water for any more time then that it will begin to absorb the water and the flavor will be diluted.

How Spicy is this Spicy Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta?

I wanted this dish to be spicy because lately I have been craving heat. It is at this moment I totally realize I’m my father’s daughter. He loves heat on EVERYTHING and slowly I have been going down that same road.

My heat tolerance is nothing compared to his but I do crave a bit of a spicy bite.

If you wanted to cut down on the heat you could omit all the cayenne pepper from the recipe, but the cheesy polenta will help cut down on the heat as well.

Spicy Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta Recipe by Nutmeg Nanny

Love this Spicy Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta recipe?

Try my Spicy Garlic Cilantro ShrimpPasta with Shrimp and Feta, and Chipotle Shrimp Fajita Bowls.


Spicy Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta

This spicy shrimp over creamy polenta is perfectly spiced and full of smoky flavor. Made with fresh shrimp, spicy tomatoes and creamy cheesy polenta.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


For shrimp:

  • 1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

For tomato mixture:

  • 2 cans Rotel tomatoes
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt, to taste

For polenta:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup course grain polenta
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt, to taste


For shrimp:
In a medium sized mixing bowl add shrimp, olive oil, Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, kosher salt and optional cayenne pepper. Toss together until all the shrimp is coated.

Place a large skillet over medium high heat and add shrimp to the skillet. Cook until the shrimp turn pink and remove from the heat. Place shrimp on a plate and wipe out skillet.

The shrimp will also be warmed when added to the tomato mixture so keep that in mind when cooking the shrimp.

For tomato mixture:
In the skillet you cooked your shrimp (and wiped clean) add both can Rotel tomatoes, garlic, smoked paprika and kosher salt to taste. Cook on medium heat until the mixture is hot.

Add in shrimp and cover while you prepare polenta.

For polenta:
In a large high sided skillet add water and milk. Bring to a boil and slowly whisk in polenta. Once all the polenta has been added turn the heat down to low and slowly whisk until thick. On my stove this takes about 7 minutes.

Once creamy and cooked remove from heat and stir in butter, cheese and salt.

Add polenta to the bottom of a bowl and top with tomatoes and shrimp.

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Regina R

Tuesday 12th of May 2020

I didn't have the exact ingredients. Only had a can of stewed tomatoes so diced them and used in place of the Rotel. I didn't have any Paprika so used extra cajan and some seafood seasoning. I made 2lbs of shrimp (by mistake) so added even more extra seasoning during the marinated part. I sauted some scallions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 3 TBS of tomatoes paste before adding the the tomatoes.

Even with all of that (use what you got) this was delicious. I can't wait to try the full recipe as written.


Sunday 5th of April 2020

An easy recipe that’s delicious, too! I did not have Rotel tomatoes so I used Hunts diced tomatoes and diced up a jalepeneo for some spice. I also only had enough smoked paprika for the shrimp, so I used regular paprika for the tomatoes. Still delicious, but I want to try the recipe as is next time!

Diana Jean White

Tuesday 24th of December 2019

The polenta was great; made it in the instant pot. The shrimp needed a little tweaking, in my mind. More garlic, maybe a little onion. I added some chipotle pepper seasoning.

Lisa Walker

Thursday 15th of August 2019

This recipe was delicious in every way! 4 out of 4 family members loved it! I don't think that happens anymore!! Will be making a few times a month.


Friday 31st of May 2019

I made this last night, way out of my cooking comfort zone but it turned out great and everyone loved it! Thanks!