This lovely dish of garlic shrimp with butter and lemon is ready in less than 20 minutes.
Served over cauliflower rice, spinach or arugula, it makes a quick and tasty weeknight dinner.
I have quite a few shrimp recipes on this website. I often opt for baking shrimp in the oven because it's so easy. But in terms of flavor, this one is a clear winner. It's one of the recipes that I make most often because it's always such a big hit.
It's the simplest recipe - shrimp cooked with garlic, butter, and lemon juice - and it's ready super fast. Most importantly, it's delicious, and my entire family enjoys it.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty shrimp recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Unsalted butter. I love using creamy European butter, but any butter will be great.
Fresh garlic. I use fresh garlic cloves, peel them, and thinly slice them.
Kosher salt and black pepper. I use kosher salt almost exclusively in my cooking. If you use fine salt, you'll need to use less of it.
Cayenne pepper. A small amount adds a very subtle kick to this dish.
Raw shrimp. I like to use extra-large shrimp in this recipe (21-25 per pound). Large shrimp (16-20 per pound) work too.
Lemon juice. Use fresh lemon juice - it makes a difference.
Chopped parsley. It's not just a nice garnish - it also adds wonderful flavor to this dish.
Making garlic butter shrimp is easy and quick! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps - there are just two of them:
Cook shrimp and garlic in some butter. They only need about 5 minutes of cooking over medium-high heat.
Stir in lemon juice, divide the dish into plates, and sprinkle it with chopped parsley. That's it! Dinner is served.
1. The butter will brown and caramelize as you cook and will give the dish an amazing flavor. But if it browns too much, simply reduce the heat to medium.
Another trick for preventing the milk solids in the butter from burning is to add a tablespoon of olive oil in addition to the butter. Or you could use ghee (clarified butter) instead of butter.
2. In the video, I add the garlic with the shrimp. However, I have found that it's better to allow the garlic to cook for a couple of minutes before adding the shrimp. This enables the garlic to brown without overcooking the shrimp. The recipe below is written accordingly.
3. Another recommendation is to sprinkle the dish with chopped parsley after you've plated it. Adding the parsley to the pan will cause it to wilt. It looks - and tastes - better when sprinkled on the finished dish. So in the video, I add some parsley directly to the pan, but then I sprinkle some more on the finished dish.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, but you'll need to defrost them first. If you haven't defrosted them overnight, you can place them in a bowl filled with lukewarm water for 5-7 minutes, replacing the water once or twice. Then drain them on paper towels.
I recommend using extra-large or large shrimp in this recipe. You can use smaller shrimp, but they'll be ready faster, so you might want to cook the garlic cloves a bit longer before adding the shrimp.
I don't recommend it. In many of my recipes, I feel that jarred minced garlic works fine (although it's not as tasty as fresh garlic).
But here the garlic is truly the star of the show, so I highly recommend using fresh garlic cloves and slicing them thinly rather than mincing them.
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- Use ghee or olive oil instead of butter.
- Sprinkle some dry-grated parmesan on the finished dish.
- Use cilantro instead of parsley.
- Cook 2 slices of bacon until crispy. Cook the garlic and shrimp in the bacon grease (insteasd of butter) and sprinkle the finished dish with the crumbled bacon.
The obvious choice is to serve these shrimp over rice or pasta, or with thick slices of crusty bread to soak up the buttery sauce.
They are also very good when served on spinach or arugula leaves. The hot buttery sauce wilts the leaves just enough so that they are not completely raw:
Provided you refrigerate the leftovers promptly, in a shallow airtight container, you can keep them for up to three days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. Or use them in a shrimp salad!
👩🏻🍳 I typically publish a new or an updated recipe once a week. Want these recipes in your inbox? Subscribe! You can unsubscribe at any time.
20-Minute Garlic Butter Shrimp
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 lb. shrimp extra-large, 21-25 count per pound, peeled and deveined
- 1 medium lemon juiced (or ½ large lemon)
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foaming, about 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic cloves. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Add the shrimp. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are pink and opaque and the garlic is browned, about 4 minutes.*
- Turn the heat off, add the lemon juice, and toss to coat. Tranfer the shrimp to plates and drizzle them with any remaining pan juices. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley.