Garlic Grilled Shrimp

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These easy Grilled Shrimp are marinated in lemon juice, garlic, and spices and then cooked on the grill in less than 10 minutes. These garlic shrimp are easy to make, full of flavor, and versatile.

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Garlic Grilled Shrimp are made with a flavorful combination of olive oil, lemon juice, and spices, then grilled to perfection in under 10 minutes. Serve this dish alongside your favorite sides, like grilled broccoli or a spring mix salad, for the ultimate summertime meal

While I’m happy to fire up the grill during any time of the year, it’s pretty widely understood that the summertime is synonymous with grilling season. During the summer months, I like to follow long days at the pool or going hiking with a delicious meal filled with seasonal produce and summer classics.

Dishes like pasta salad, burgers, skewered meats and veggies, and corn on the cob are found in my home in abundance at this time of year. One of my all-time favorite summer grilling recipes is this Garlic Grilled Shrimp. It’s healthy, simple, flavorful, and grills up beautifully in just a few minutes.

If you don’t have access to a grill, you can easily cook your shrimp on the stove in a cast-iron skillet. However, I will say the grill is my favorite cooking method during the summer months. Between the incredible char marks, it leaves on the food and the smoky flavors it imparts, using a grill is the best way to amp any summertime dish up to the next level.

Grilled Shrimp can be served in a wide variety of ways. Use them as a protein source for salads, stuffed into healthy shrimp tacos, as an appetizer, or as a main course alongside grilled vegetables. Serve this dish at your next family dinner or backyard barbecue with the sides of your choice and enjoy!

Shrimp marinated in spices and garlic and threaded on a skewer for grilling.

Key Ingredients and Easy Swaps

To make this flavorful grilled shrimp recipe, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Large shrimp.: To make things easier, make sure you get the kind that comes peeled and deveined. Medium sized shrimp work as well, just be careful since they cook very quickly.
  • Olive oil: This helps the spices coat the shrimp and also keeps them from sticking to the grill. Bonus: It’s loaded with heart-healthy fats! Melted butter or avocado oil will also work.
  • Lemon juice: This is essential for brightening up the dish and balancing out all the savory flavors with a bit of acidity. You could swap in lime juice or mild vinegar, but I prefer the taste of lemon in this recipe.
  • Spices: You will need salt, pepper, dried basil, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. I like to add cayenne pepper for a little kick, but that’s totally optional. Feel free to get creative here and add any spcies you like.

Ideas for Grilled Shrimp

There are quite a few ways to switch up this recipe if you’re in the mood for something a little different. Here are some of my favorite variations of this recipe:

  • Try a different protein: Not in the mood for shrimp? Serving someone with a shellfish allergy? This delicious marinade can also be used for chicken or fish.
  • Swap out the spices: For a different flavor profile, try using a different spice blend in the marinade. Italian and Cajun seasonings would both work great.
  • Add fresh herbs: Try adding a fresh herb like chopped parsley or cilantro for some extra flavor and brightness.
  • Make it spicy: If you’re a spicy food lover, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper to the marinade.
  • Add Dijon mustard: If you like tangy flavors, this adds a really nice creamy component and a ton of flavor to the marinade.
  • Use fresh garlic: For a sharper and more pungent garlic flavor, try using fresh minced garlic instead of garlic powder.

What to Serve with Shrimp

These Garlic Grilled Shrimp can be served in a ton of different ways. You can serve them as a taco filling, over a bed of rice, atop a salad, or alongside grilled veggies. Leftovers make a delicious shrimp sushi bowl.

The options are pretty much endless, so feel free to get creative and pair them with your favorite summer dishes. Want a little help? Here are some of my favorite side dishes to pair with grilled shrimp:

How to Store Cooked Shrimp

Cooked shrimp keeps really well, so don’t be scared to make a big batch of this dish. You might need to anyway, as it tends to disappear quicker than you think! I don’t fire up the grill every day, so when I do I like to make a lot of whatever I’m preparing.

When I make this Garlic Grilled Shrimp, I typically toss the leftovers into salads and rice bowls over the next few days. To store this dish, transfer it into an airtight bag or container and store it in one of two ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 3-4 months.

Can you grill frozen shrimp?

Grilling frozen shrimp isn't recommended since the shrimp will overcook on the outside and stay cold and raw on the inside.  Instead, start by defrosting the shrimp. The best method is to let the shrimp naturally defrost overnight in the fridge.

If you are short on time, simply place the shrimp in a colander in the sink. Run cold water over the shrimp for a couple of minutes. Then let the shrimp sit for about 10 minutes. Check the shrimp and repeat until defrosted. 

Grilled garlic shrimp skewers with melted butter, lemon, and minced parsley on parchment paper.

Frequently Asked Questions About Grilling Shrimp

Below you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:

Absolutely. Cooked shrimp can be safely frozen for up to 3-4 months, as long as it’s stored in an airtight storage bag or container. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, simply let them defrost in the fridge overnight.

Whatever you want. I like to serve grilled shrimp alongside a combination of hot and cold side dishes, like rice or grilled veggie skewers and a side salad. You can also serve grilled shrimp with pasta, potatoes, and even tacos.

Shrimp cooks very quickly, so it’s important to keep a close watch when grilling it to avoid overcooking. Once the grill is hot, shrimp only need to cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until they are opaque.

This is entirely up to you. I’ve found that shrimp are easier to grill when they’re on skewers, because this makes it easier to turn them and also prevents the possibility of losing any between the grates. Keep in mind that if you’re using wood skewers, you will need to soak them in cold water for about 15 minutes first so they don’t burn.

Fresh minced garlic works great in this recipe. Just swap in 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic for the garlic powder. However, please note, fresh garlic can burn on the grill and become bitter. If using fresh, try and remove most of it from the shrimp so it doesn't burn. 

Grilled shrimp kabobs with spices, olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley on wooden skewers.
The Recipe
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Garlic Grilled Shrimp

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  • 2 lbs raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (larger works best)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/16 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

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Add the shrimp to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Let marinate for 15 minutes for the flavors to soak in. Don't soak for longer or the lemon will begin to cook the shrimp.

Shrimp being marinated in lemon juice and spices in a bowl.

Preheat the grill to medium high heat. When ready to grill, thread the shrimp onto skewers to cook. The shrimp can also be cooked directly on the grill, but since they are small they sometimes fall through the grates. You can also place them on a piece of foil or in a grill basket.

Shrimp being grilled on skewers on a grill pan.

Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until opaque. Do not overcook or the shrimp will become tough. Optional: Drizzle melted garlic butter on top right before serving and served with minced fresh parsley.

Grilled shrimp on skewers with melted butter being poured on top.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 8 oz
Amount Per Serving
Calories 263
Calories from Fat 73
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 365mg
Sodium 861mg
Total Carbohydrate 2g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 46g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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