Garlic shrimp with lemon and butter is such an easy recipe to make and it's so very flavorful. Ready fast, it's the perfect weeknight dinner!
I have quite a few shrimp recipes on this blog. 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.
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty dish. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Unsalted butter. You could possibly use salted butter and less salt, but I haven't tried that.
Minced garlic. Mince it by yourself or use the stuff that comes in a jar.
Cayenne pepper. A small amount adds a very subtle kick to this dish.
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.
Large raw shrimp. I like to use tail-on shrimp. I think they look prettier than tail-off shrimp.
Lemon juice and zest. 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.
How to make garlic shrimp
Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. The idea is very simple. Here are the basic steps - there are just two of them:
1. Cook shrimp and garlic in some butter. They only need about 5 minutes of cooking over medium-high heat.
2. Off heat, add lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley. That's it! Dinner is served. I told you this was an easy recipe.
How to choose sustainable shrimp
In the United States, shrimp fisheries are well regulated. But local fisheries can't meet the local demand, so we end up importing a lot of our shrimp from places where regulations are not as strict. Here's a good discussion on sustainable seafood.
How to serve garlic shrimp
If you don't mind carbs/gluten, the obvious choice is to serve them over rice or pasta, or with thick slices of crusty bread to soak up the buttery sauce.
Lastly, they are excellent when served on spinach or arugula leaves. The hot buttery sauce wilts the leaves just enough so that they are not completely raw. Delicious!
What shrimp to use in this recipe?
I love shrimp and always have packages of raw shrimp in the freezer. Just five minutes in a bowl of cold water and they defrost. It's the ultimate weeknight dinner!
The packages I usually have contain 14 oz, so that's how I wrote the recipe. But if you have a full pound, the recipe will work just fine. It's only 2 oz more.
I like to use large, tail-on shrimp, simply because they are so pretty. But you can use tail-off shrimp, and you can also use smaller ones. Smaller shrimp will be ready faster - they will likely need only 4 minutes of cooking.
Can I keep the leftovers?
Yes. Provided you refrigerate them promptly, in a shallow airtight container, you can keep leftovers for up to three days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. Or use them in a shrimp salad!
More tasty shrimp recipes
In addition to these garlic shrimp, other favorite shrimp recipes in our household include these boldly flavored spicy shrimp, a super easy recipe for baked shrimp, and these amazing shrimp in cream sauce.
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- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon fine salt)
- 14 oz large shrimp, 21-25 count per pound, peeled and deveined
- 1 medium lemon, juiced and zested
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cayenne, salt and shrimp and cook, tossing occasionally, until shrimp are pink and opaque, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Toss with the lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley and black pepper. Serve immediately, spooning the shrimp and sauce over cauliflower rice.