The Best Cajun Appetizers

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. 

collage of four images of appetizers with the text the best cajun appetizers

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.

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    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.

    Need ideas for main dishes to serve at a Mardi gras party? Check out Seafood Gumbo, Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, Cajun Shrimp and Grits and Crawfish Etouffee.

    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.

    Creole seasoning in a jar with a teaspoon in the jar on a red tile

    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!


    Most Cajun seasonings contain salt. (Many are suuuuuuuper salty.) If yours is salt-free, you should add some salt to taste.

    Creole seasoning usually includes spicy red pepper and herbs like thyme, oregano, basil, and bay leaf. Feel free to use Creole seasoning* (affiliate link) instead of Cajun seasoning if you need to.

    Another thing to add kick is hot sauce! Tabasco is from South Louisiana, but you can use any brand you enjoy.

    The vegetables for a Chicken and Sausage Gumbo are shown on a light background

    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?

    A boudin board with crackers, cheese, pickled ingredients and dipping sauces on a wooden cutting board
    Boudin Board
    Want to bring a dish that’s a guaranteed winner to your next gathering? This Boudin Board, a Cajun version of a sausage board, is what you need to put together! All you need are a handful of ingredients and some boudin to make this board.
    Check out this recipe!
    Broken down cooked Cajun Turkey on a silver platter with greens and apples
    Cajun Turkey Sandwiches
    Cook up a flavorful whole turkey with Cajun butter, then slice for sliders or mini sandwiches that are perfect for parties, tailgates and Mardi Gras gatherings.
    Get the Recipe
    Baked boudin balls on a white plate with a dipping sauce
    Baked Boudin Balls
    A beloved Cajun finger food, these easy-to-make Boudin Balls feature crispy exteriors and soft interiors. Stuffed with rice dressing, they're baked to golden perfection and paired with a decadent Louisiana dipping sauce.
    Get the Recipe
    A pita chip is dunked into a container of hot boudin dip
    Hot Boudin Dip
    Transforming Louisiana boudin into a creamy, cheesy delight, Hot Boudin Dip is always a game day hit, offering a delicious twist on the traditional rice dressing in sausage casing.
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    Hot crawfish dip in a casserole dish surrounded by baguette slices and garnished with green onion
    Hot Crawfish Dip
    Hearty, gooey, and slightly spicy, Hot Crawfish Dip is a unique crowd-pleaser with bite-sized crawfish tails. It’s perfect for sharing at any occasion.
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    spinach artichoke dip in a bowl with chips
    Shrimp Spinach Artichoke Dip
    Step up your appetizer game with Shrimp Spinach Artichoke Dip, a gooey twist on a classic. Shrimp cooked in butter adds a flavorful kick to this creamy mixture of artichokes, spinach and cheese. Serve it with warm bread or crackers.
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    Overhead of Oven Fried Okra on top of paper towels with a bowl of ketchup and two lemonades
    Fried Okra
    Experience the classic Southern taste of fried okra at home, but without the frying. This Oven-Fried Okra recipe offers a healthier twist, perfect for serving at parties.
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    cajun turkey burgers on white plates
    Louisiana Cajun Turkey Burgers
    Bite-sized and packed with Louisiana flair, these Cajun Turkey Burgers are a spicy twist on the classic. Topped with étouffée relish and a creamy Cajun sauce, make them in slider size for an event. They’ll be a hit at barbecues and grill-outs.
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    Cajun Maque Choux Corn
    Maque Choux Corn is like a cross between succotash and creamed corn. This easy Southern side dish is loaded with flavor and doubles as an appetizer. Spoon it over bread for a bruschetta, or serve it in little cups with spoons for hand-held appetizers.
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    Grilled Cajun Wings
    Grilled Cajun Wings are a flavorful, spicy snack that's easy to make for a get-together. Rubbed with homemade Cajun seasoning and slathered in sweet and spicy sauce, they're irresistibly addictive.
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    Cajun Crab Cakes
    Air-fried Cajun Crab Cakes are made with lump crab meat and served with a flavorful remoulade. They’re a delicious choice for a main course or appetizer.
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    Shrimp Hush Puppies
    Make crispy Shrimp Hush Puppies at home in just a few minutes, offering a delightful appetizer for gatherings.
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    Baked Cajun Fries
    Loaded with goodness, Baked Cajun Fries with cheese sauce, bacon, and green onions are a guilty pleasure that's hard to resist — perfect for sharing at parties.
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    Crab Dip
    Creamy and cheesy, this easy Crab Dip with lump crab meat is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Cajun seasoning adds a Louisiana-style kick. Use Cajun seasoning to make it Louisiana-style.
    Get the Recipe
    Shrimp in Cajun Spice Oil
    Full-flavored Shrimp in Cajun Spice Oil come together as a zesty and easy-to-make appetizer. The bold taste of Cajun seasoning shines in the seasoned oil dipping sauce.
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    Muffuletta Cheese Ball
    Love a classic muffuletta sandwich? This Muffuletta Cheese Ball takes those classic flavors of spicy Capicola ham, Genoa salami, provolone cheese, and olive salad and rolls them into a tasty appetizer.
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    Muffuletta Pasta Salad
    Bringing the flavors of a classic Muffuletta sandwich into pasta salad form, this dish is going to be a new summer favorite with olives, ham, salami and cheese. For an appetizer, serve it in party cups with mini forks.
    Get the Recipe
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    About the Author:

    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

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