Time for a little low-maintenance fancy! This is Baked Shrimp Scampi with breadcrumbs. It’s easy to make and is going to make you feel like a combination of Ina Garten, Julia Child, and the kind of person who calmly greets guests with a glass of wine in hand because she had dinner prepped hours ago.
If you are asking yourself if what is effectively a gussied up, garlicky baked shrimp casserole really accomplish all that, the answer is OMG YES.
You see, when you toss shrimp with lemon, then top said shrimp with a thick layer of panko bread crumbs that have been tossed with garlic and butter and more lemon, then bake the whole shebang until the top is gloriously golden and crisp and the shrimp are pink and juicy, you realize that—at least in this brief, beautiful moment—there is nothing in the kitchen you cannot accomplish.
Ever since making this Garlic Butter Shrimp a few weeks ago, I’ve been on a bit of a garlic shrimp recipe kick.
Actually, if we are being honest, I’ve been on this kick since this Garlic Shrimp Pasta entered our regular weeknight dinner repertoire because so easy and so good.
I’m always looking for dinner ideas that I can prep in advance, both for busy weeknights and for dinner parties. Shrimp are one of my favorite proteins for quick dinners (they cook in mere minutes), and they feel special enough for entertaining too.
Thus, when I caught a clip of Ina Garten discussing how she roasts shrimp (400 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes, in case you are curious) and her favorite make ahead-shrimp recipes, I stopped to watch.
Her top pick: Baked Shrimp Scampi.
I love shrimp scampi (especially this popular Healthy Shrimp Scampi), but prior to this mini scampi revelation, I had considered it a meal that needed to be cooked on the stovetop at the last minute versus something I could prep in advance. It turns out, all I needed to do was bake the shrimp scampi instead!
This Baked Shrimp Scampi recipe is loosely based on Ina’s, with a few of my healthy twists. I’ve included helpful ideas for what to serve with it depending upon if you’d like it to be an appetizer or a full meal, and you’ll find a how-to recipe video at the bottom of the post too.
How to Make Baked Shrimp Scampi
This recipe has two layers. Let’s cover the shrimp layer first.
- Shrimp. You can use fresh, but 99.9% of the time I buy raw, easy-peel frozen shrimp and let it thaw overnight in the fridge. It’s a major time-saver, less expensive, and often better quality than what I can find in our grocery store seafood case (which is usually pre-frozen anyway).
When the shrimp is baked in our luscious lemon, garlic, and olive oil mixture, you’ll never suspect it didn’t arrive fresh.
Note: Be sure to purchase raw frozen shrimp. I do not recommend baking precooked shrimp in this recipe or any other, as it will become tough and overdone.
- Olive Oil. Ina tosses her shrimp in a hefty amount of melted butter, but we found that swapping it for a more moderate amount of olive oil still tasted fantastic. The topping has all the butter the recipe needs to taste rich and indulgent.
- Lemon Juice. A shrimp scampi essential.
Toss the shrimp together with the above, then layer it into a dish. If you’d like to impress your friends, you can arrange it in pretty circles like this:
Or you can just dump them in and use your fingers to scooch them into an even layer. Both options will result the same garlicky, buttery scampi goodness.
Baked Shrimp Scampi Topping
Once you have the shrimp arranged (or not arranged), time for the topping! Shrimp scampi needs three core ingredients:
- Butter. For us, half a stick was the right amount for a rich, buttery scampi. We (and I mean this in a good way) felt like we were eating baked shrimp scampi at Red Lobster, but with the added benefit that we didn’t need a nap afterwards.
- Lemon. Light and bright.
- Garlic. Don’t even think about skimping here! Big garlic = big flavor.
From here, we transition from core shrimp scampi to baked shrimp scampi, a.k.a. BREAD CRUMB TOPPING.
- Panko Bread Crumbs. They’re extra crispy, larger than regular bread crumbs, and exactly what this Baked Shrimp Scampi recipe deserves.
- Egg Yolk. The egg yolk adds richness and helps the bread crumb topping transform into buttery, crispy “clumps” you’ll want to steal more than your fair share of.
- Shallot. I love the way the bits of shallot crisp in the oven as the topping bakes.
- Parsley. Freshness + color.
- Red Pepper Flakes. To keep everyone awake.
Once you have your shrimp scampi topping stirred together, scatter it over the shrimp and either:
- Bake it right away.
- Pop it into the fridge for up to 6 hours. Bake just before your guests arrive or you are ready for dinner.
What to Serve with Baked Shrimp Scampi
I love the idea of putting this dish right in the center of the table and letting guests help themselves! To round out the meal, you can serve it with:
- Pasta. Toss cooked linguine, fettuccini, or similar noodles with some melted butter and/or olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice to moisten them. Serve with the Baked Shrimp Scampi and additional salt and pepper to taste.
- A Crisp, Green Salad. Perfect since shrimp scampi is more on the indulgent side.
- Bread. For mopping up the extra buttery sauce.
- Sautéed Vegetables. This easy sautéed zucchini is quick and a delicious accompaniment.
Do you have any favorite make-ahead dishes for a special dinner or easy entertaining? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.
And of course if you try this lightened-up, easy Baked Shrimp Scampi recipe, I’d love to hear what you think about it too!
Baked Shrimp Scampi
- 2 pounds jumbo (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp deveined and peeled, tails on or off
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice divided, plus additional lemon wedges for serving
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small shallot minced (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs whole wheat if possible
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a 12- to 14-inch-wide gratin dish or ovenproof skillet, arrange the shrimp in a circle, starting at the outside and working your way in. If you’d like to make the presentation extra fancy, place the shrimp so that the tails overlap slightly and you end up with a pretty spiral (or just spread the shrimp in a single layer and call it a day). Pour any marinade that has collected in the bottom of the bowl over the shrimp.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the garlic, shallot, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, egg yolk, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and stir until combined. Add the panko and stir until evenly moistened.
- Sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until hot and bubbly and the shrimp is just barely cooked through. If you like the top browned, position a rack in the upper third position and turn the oven the broil. Place the pan on the rack and let broil until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden (DO NOT WALK AWAY). This will take less than 1 minute. Serve hot with lemon wedges.
- Adapted from Ina Garten's Back to Basics
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