Crawfish Bread

This Crawfish Bread was made famous at New Orleans Jazz Fest - but you can make it at home! The perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras, this cheesy, spicy bread is baked to perfection.

loaves of crawfish bread on aluminum foil.

Many of you know that my family lives about 90 minutes from New Orleans. It's a city that is near and dear to our hearts. It's our quick weekend getaway when we need one...we love all of the traditional events, from Mardi Gras to the Roosevelt Teddy Bear Tea.

But I think our absolute favorite thing to do in New Orleans is Jazz Fest. It's a music and heritage festival held once a year (in the spring). At Jazz fest, you've got a really cool chance to see some awesome acts - I've seen Jimmy Buffet, Aerosmith, Trombone Shorty, and so many more really cool performers there over the years.

This is also a great chance to learn about the culture in New Orleans. The other big reason we love Jazz Fest so much is the food - it's out of this world! And a forever fan favorite is the Crawfish Bread.

holding a slice of crawfish bread.

What is crawfish bread?

Crawfish bread is an appetizer that was made famous at the New Orleans Jazz Fest and Heritage Festival. It's flaky French bread topped with a cheesy, creamy, slightly spicy crawfish filling. It's then covered with the cheese of your choice (I like Colby Jack) and baked to golden brown perfection.

In each bite, you'll get crawfish, a creamy sauce, and crispy cheese on flaky French bread.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

Since Fat Tuesday is coming up, I thought I'd share this phenomenal Crawfish Bread recipe. It's not too difficult to whip up and feeds a ton of people. This is technically an appetizer, but you can definitely make a meal out of it if you'd like (I literally just had it for lunch before finishing this post).

It's the perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras this year. Make this recipe for dinner next week!

Ingredients

ingredients for crawfish bread.

(See recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact ingredient measurements.)

  • French bread - If you can find it, get the flaky, crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside French baguettes that are used for Po'boys.
  • butter
  • onion
  • minced garlic
  • jarred pimentos
  • chopped green onions
  • dried parsley
  • cooked crawfish tails - These can be difficult to find, especially with the crawfish shortage we're seeing this year. There's nothing wrong with using the kind that are frozen...just thaw them before making the recipe.
  • cajun seasoning - Tony Chachere's is my personal favorite, but any cajun seasoning works.
  • mayonnaise
  • cream cheese
  • whole-grain Creole mustard - If you can't find this, just a simple spicy whole-grain mustard works too.
  • Colby Jack cheese
  • marinara sauce - This is a personal addition, not one that you'll really find at Jazz Fest. We have a local restaurant that serves crab bread (similar idea) and has pasta sauce on the side for dipping - it's delicious!

Variations & Additions

  • If you'd like, you can substitute mozzarella, pepper jack, or cheddar cheese for the Colby Jack cheese.
  • You can also substitute the crawfish. Shrimp, crab meat, or flaky fish would be excellent on this bread!
  • Love a little extra spice? Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top of the cheese before baking that final time.

Love crawfish? You'll also want to try this Cajun Crawfish Pasta recipe! 🦞

How to Make New Orleans Crawfish Bread

Step 1: Make crawfish spread.

filling for crawfish bread in a pot.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until translucent and starting to brown.

Add green onions, garlic, pimento, dried parsley, and cajun seasoning. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Add crawfish tails, mayonnaise, cream cheese, mustard, and ½ cup shredded Colby Jack cheese. Gently stir this mixture until the cheeses are melted.

Step 2: Prep bread.

scraping the inside out of a loaf of french bread.

Lay French bread, halved, on a large piece of aluminum foil. Scoop out a little bit of the inside of a halved French bread loaf. Add this torn bread to the crawfish mixture.

Spoon half of the crawfish filling on the inside of one of the halves and spread. Repeat this process for the other half of the loaf and press the two halves together like a sandwich. Wrap the loaf in aluminum foil.

Step 3: Bake and cover with cheese.

loaves of crawfish bread covered in unmelted cheese.

Bake the wrapped bread at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Then, unfold the halves, with the crawfish mixture on top, and sprinkle with remaining Colby Jack cheese. Place this unfolded bread under a broiler for 5-8 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Step 4: Serve.

dipping a piece of crawfish bread in marinara sauce.

Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

How to Serve

This bread is best served warm. If you're not going to serve it immediately after baking, wrap it back up in aluminum foil and keep it in a warm oven until you're ready.

I cut my slices of bread into about 2" pieces and serve it with marinara sauce on the side for dipping. Like I mentioned, that's one of my additions and it's totally optional, but the marinara sauce plays really well off of the creaminess of the cheeses.

Leftovers & Storage

This bread should be stored in the fridge. I like to put it back together sandwich-style and re-wrap it in aluminum foil for storage. When you're ready to serve it again, unfold the halves of bread and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Can I freeze crawfish bread?

I wouldn't freeze this one - bread that's already covered in a sauce just doesn't do well in the freezer. You can make a double batch of the crawfish mixture and freeze the bread and crawfish spread separately, though!

If you're throwing a Mardi Gras party this year, check out this set of free Mardi Gras party printables. 📿

More Expert Tips & Tricks

  • When I'm melting cheese on something, I like to go for a block of cheese and grate it myself. The pre-shredded stuff has fillers in it that make it less melty and gooey on something like this.
  • Have a spoon ready when you separate your loaves of crawfish bread to cover them with cheese; you might have to redistribute that filling a little bit.

Happy Mardi Gras - hope you enjoy this one, friends! If you like it, please rate the recipe ⭐️ and comment below. You can also share your Crawfish Bread pictures on social media 📸 - if you do, tag me @lambertslately.

xo, Leslie - signature at the end of blog post.
loaves of crawfish bread on aluminum foil.

Crawfish Bread

This Crawfish Bread was made famous at New Orleans Jazz Fest - but you can make it at home! The perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras, this cheesy, spicy bread is baked to perfection.
5 from 32 votes

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Cajun
Servings 12
Calories 284 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until translucent and starting to brown.
  • Add green onions, garlic, pimento, dried parsley, and cajun seasoning. Cook for an additonal 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat.
  • Add crawfish tails, mayonnaise, cream cheese, mustard, and ½ cup shredded Colby Jack cheese. Gently stir this mixture until cheeses are melted.
  • Lay French bread, halved, on a large piece of aluminum foil. Scoop out a little bit of the inside of a halved French bread loaf. Add this torn bread to the crawfish mixture.
  • Spoon half of the crawfish filling on the inside of one of the halves and spread. Repeat this process for the other half of the loaf and press the two halves together like a sandwich. Wrap in aluminum foil.
  • Bake the wrapped bread at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Then, unfold the halves, with the crawfish mixture on top, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Place this unfolded bread under a broiler for 5-8 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
  • Serve with pasta sauce for dipping.

Notes

  • When I'm melting cheese on something, I like to go for a block of cheese and grate it myself. The pre-shredded stuff has fillers in it that make it less melty and gooey on something like this.
  • Have a spoon ready when you separate your loaves of crawfish bread to cover them with cheese; you might have to redistribute that filling a little bit.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 9gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 600mgPotassium: 252mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1161IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 190mgIron: 2mg
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