These sautéed shrimp are one of my go-to meals. If you have some shrimp in the freezer and a few spices in your pantry, you can make them today!
Coated in olive oil and lots of spices, they are incredibly flavorful and ready in less than 20 minutes.
Whenever I'm not sure what to make for dinner, shrimp are an easy solution. I always have a bag or two in my freezer, and even if I forget to defrost them overnight, I can do so right before cooking them.
I often make recipes such as shrimp in cream sauce, shrimp and sausage, pesto shrimp, and garlic butter shrimp. These sautéed shrimp are especially good, thanks to the warm, bold-flavored spices used in this recipe - smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
Here's an overview of the ingredients needed to make this recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below.
- Shrimp: I use large shrimp in this recipe. They should be peeled and deveined. The tail can be on or off - I've made both, and they both work.
- Olive oil: This is by far my favorite oil to cook with. You can use avocado oil instead if you'd like to use an oil with a higher smoke point. But it won't be as flavorful. I've tried both versions, and I prefer olive oil.
- To season: Kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground cumin, dried thyme, and cayenne pepper.
- Parsley: Used primarily for garnish, although it also adds flavor.
- Sometimes, I sprinkle the finished dish with dry-grated parmesan. It's really good!
- Replace the thyme with dried oregano. I often do, and I like the flavor that oregano gives this dish.
- You can add half a teaspoon of onion powder.
- Use melted butter or ghee instead of olive oil. It's delicious!
Sautéed Shrimp Instructions
The detailed instructions for making this recipe are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of the steps:
Place the shrimp in a bowl. Add olive oil and spices. Gently mix to coat.
Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook the shrimp until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, then serve.
- Don't overcook the shrimp. Shrimp are ready fast. Two minutes per side over medium-high heat should be enough for large shrimp.
- Ensure the shrimp are completely dry before using them in this recipe. If they're fresh, place them on paper towels to drain them. If you've defrosted them overnight, run them under lukewarm water to eliminate any residual ice, then place them on a double layer of paper towels, in a single layer, to dry for ten minutes. Any extra moisture will cause them to steam instead of sautéing and dilute the spices' flavor.
Yes. I often do. But frozen shrimp can introduce water into the dish, and we want to avoid that. So before using them, ensure they are completely defrosted, run them under lukewarm water to get rid of any residual ice, then place them on a double layer of paper towels, in a single layer, to dry for ten minutes.
It's best to use large (31-40 pieces per pound) or extra-large (21-25 pieces per pound) shrimp in this recipe.
I like to use olive oil. Good alternatives include butter and ghee. You can also use a neutral-flavored oil such as avocado oil, but I prefer oils that impart flavor to the dish.
Yes. You should use peeled and deveined shrimp in this recipe. The tail can be on or off. Tail on is prettier, but tail off is easier to eat.
I like to serve these sautéed shrimp on top of any of the following:
- Zucchini noodles
- Shirataki noodles
- Spaghetti squash noodles
- Cauliflower rice
- Mashed cauliflower
- Sauteed spinach
More Shrimp Recipes
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- 1 pound raw shrimp Large (31-40 pieces per pound), peeled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt Or ½ teaspoon of any other salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons parsley Chopped
- Pat the shrimp dry on both sides with paper towels. Place them in a large bowl. Add the olive oil.
- In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground cumin, dried thyme, and cayenne pepper. Add the spice mixture to the shrimp and toss with a large spoon to coat.
- Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer. Use a rubber spatula to transfer any residual oil and spices from the mixing bowl to the skillet.
- Sautee the shrimp until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
- Transfer the shrimp to a serving platter. Drizzle them with the pan juices, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve.
- Don't overcook the shrimp. Two minutes per side over medium-high heat should be enough for large shrimp.
- Make sure the shrimp are completely dry before cooking them. If they're fresh, place them on paper towels to drain them. If you've defrosted them overnight, run them under lukewarm water to get rid of any residual ice, then place them on a double layer of paper towels, in a single layer, to dry for 10 minutes. Any extra moisture will cause them to steam instead of sautéing and dilute the spices' flavor.
- If you'd like to lower the sodium content, you can use just ½ teaspoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. The sodium per serving will be reduced to 1046 mg.
- You can keep the leftovers in the fridge in a shallow, airtight container for up to three days. Reheat them gently in the microwave at 50% power, or use them cold in salads, lettuce wraps, or served with cocktail sauce.