Explore Louisiana cuisine with these bold, flavorful Cajun appetizers. From crispy Boudin Balls to creamy Crawfish Dip, these recipes are perfect for Mardi Gras, tailgates or any gathering.
Classic Cajun Appetizer Recipes
If there’s one thing about Mardi Gras, it’s a reminder to make more Louisiana food at home.
HOWEVER, Cajun appetizers are a great way to add flavor to your snack spreads at parties, like a Mardi gras party.
I pulled together some of my favorites for you. They are awesome for Mardi Gras celebration — throughout Carnival season, not just Fat Tuesday — but they are also fabulous year-round.
We like to serve these as game day appetizers, too, especially because the big game usually comes around during Mardi Gras season.
These starters are tasty and great for sharing.
Cajun flavors tend to be bolder and more unique than a lot of other appetizers that you might come across. Louisiana flavors are delicious and, if you ask me, Louisiana cooking is simply the best.
Don’t miss out on dessert! Try my Raspberry Cream Cheese King Cake.
Cajun vs. Creole
Though Creole and Cajun food both come from Louisiana, they are NOT the same! These are two cuisines and cultures that have very different histories dating back to different groups of people.
Broadly speaking, the Creole people are the descendants of those who inhabited colonial Louisiana during both the French and Spanish rules. Many spoke — and still speak — French and Spanish, as well as a language known as Louisiana Creole.
Cajuns are an ethnic group that lives in Southwest Louisiana. They are also known as Acadians and are known for their unique French dialect, music, culture and cuisine.
The Acadians were expelled from what are now the Canadian Maritime provinces during the 1700s during the Great Expulsion. They came to Louisiana and settled in the Acadiana region, which is west of the Mississippi River.
When it comes to cooking, Allrecipes offers a good rule of thumb: Cajun cooking tends to be more rustic, while Creole food is more refined. That being said, Cajun food can be elevated and Creole food can be more rustic.
We’re focusing on CAJUN recipes for this appetizer round-up, not Creole recipes.
Seasonings for Louisiana appetizers
Depending on if you are making a Creole recipe or a Cajun one, you will need to use the right seasoning to get those Cajun spices going.
Cajun seasoning includes heat from cayenne pepper, plus salt, black pepper and garlic powder. One of my favorites is the Slap Ya Mama seasoning blend, which you can find at most grocery stores or order online.
Feel free to use your favorite though!
DID YOU KNOW?
Most Cajun seasonings contain salt. (Many are suuuuuuuper salty.) If yours is salt-free, you should add some salt to taste.
Another thing to add kick is hot sauce! Tabasco is from South Louisiana, but you can use any brand you enjoy.
Common ingredients found in Cajun appetizers
This is obviously dependent on the recipes themselves, but here are some common ingredients you might see:
- Peppers — like green bell peppers or jalapeno peppers
- Onion — yellow and white onions are common in Louisiana cuisine. So are sweet onions, also known as vidalia onions.
- Celery — this rounds out the “holy trinity” of ingredients, which include bell pepper, onion and celery.
- Garlic — most Cajun dishes involve a lot! We measure with our hearts in this household.
- Green onion — this is a common garnish. It’s sometimes referred to as a sacllion.
- Andouille sausage — a delicious cured pork sausage from South Louisiana
- Boudin — this is essentially a dirty rice stuffed in a sausage casing. It’s great in appetizers, as well various other ways. (We love to serve Boudin Biscuit Breakfast Sandwiches on weekends.)
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
- Serve these recipes for Mardi Gras parties, game day, tailgating or whenever you need an appetizer.
- Label the dishes, and especially recipe ingredients for those who may have allergies or sensitivities.
- Serve appetizers with tongs, toothpicks, skewers or spoons so that people don’t have to use their hands.
Now who’s interested in finding a new favorite Cajun finger food?
Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her…