One clear indicator of a fantastic meal: it demands you use a hunk of bread to mop up every last lick of sauce from your plate…and the skillet…and any precious drips that found their way to the table because each morsel is too delicious to be wasted. This Garlic Butter Shrimp is one of those fabulous recipes.
Juicy sautéed shrimp cooked in a flavorful lemon garlic butter sauce, this palate pleaser in a pan is ready in 20 minutes—fewer if you buy pre-peeled shrimp. A few sneaky ingredients make it much lighter than the garlic shrimp you’ll find in most restaurants too.
Even with the wholesome changes, the way Ben and I attacked our plates and tore hunks of baguette to make sure we didn’t miss a drop of the garlic butter sauce reminded me of some of our favorite meals in Paris.
Add the fact that this one-pan recipe leaves you just one dish to wash in the end, and you really will feel like you are in a restaurant—a restaurant that makes you bus your own tables, but is that really so hard? We can call it a café if you prefer.
Shrimp for the Busy Weeknight Recipe Win
Shrimp are one of my favorite proteins, especially for busy weeknights.
- They take only minutes to cook. We’re talking 3 to 4 minutes and DONE.
- They’re high protein and low calorie.
- Shrimp are mild. That means you can make them as spicy (Spicy Shrimp Pasta, Shrimp Tacos) or not spicy (Garlic Shrimp Pasta, Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa) as you like.
- Shrimp recipes are EASY. I know that cooking with seafood might sound fancy, but please believe me that it is not. This Garlic Butter Shrimp (and this Baked Shrimp Scampi and all of the easy shrimp recipes you’ll find on my site) are appropriate for beginners.
- They’re versatile. They’re equally delicious in this bright Mediterranean Shrimp as they are in this Cajun Shrimp Pasta.
- Cook them indoors or out. While this shrimp recipe is designed for the stovetop, now that summer is approaching (it is approaching, isn’t it?), keep shrimp in mind for the grill with recipes like Cajun Shrimp Boil Foil Packets and Pineapple Shrimp Kabobs.
Now that I have you sold on cooking shrimp, let’s delve into the recipe a bit more.
How to Cook the Best Garlic Butter Shrimp (That’s Better for You!)
This recipe has few ingredients, so make each one of them count. To give our Garlic Butter Shrimp big-time flavor, this recipe calls for:
- Unsalted Butter. It’s not garlic butter shrimp without it!
- Garlic. A BFF flavor with shrimp. Maybe save this recipe for your second date.
- Lemon. The next flavor bestie, it adds freshness and pop.
- White Wine. Choose a dry wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, and make sure it tastes good enough to drink with dinner (which is exactly what you should do with the leftovers). If you prefer to make the garlic butter shrimp without wine, you can swap chicken stock instead.
- Red Pepper. A pinch wakes up the shrimp but won’t overpower. If you prefer a more spicy Garlic Butter Shrimp, feel free to add additional cayenne (which is ground red pepper) or red pepper flakes to taste.
- Fresh Herbs. Don’t be tempted by dry. They won’t have the same marvelous results. Even a handful of fresh parsley will do wonders for your cooking.
If you are new to cooking shrimp, fear not! I have some helpful information so that you can cook this Garlic Butter Shrimp (and just about any shrimp recipe!) with success.
Tips for Cooking Shrimp
My biggest tip for cooking shrimp is to ensure that you have all of the ingredients prepped before you start cooking.
- Once this lemon garlic butter shrimp recipe starts rolling, it happens FAST. Make sure that you have the ingredients, along with any cooking utensils like a large spoon and a big plate for when you remove the shrimp from the skillet, in easy reach.
- Why? The only way you can truly mess up shrimp is to overcook it. As soon as they turn opaque and curl up a bit, they’re good to go. It takes fewer than 5 minutes, so make sure you are ready (see point above).
Tips for Buying and Quickly Preparing Shrimp
- Since I don’t live in an area with easy access to freshly caught shrimp, I prefer to buy shrimp frozen. Since it’s frozen shortly after being caught, it is often better quality (for a better price) than what is sitting behind our seafood case.
- Look for raw shrimp (not precooked) that is deveined and either EZ-peel or already peeled (tails on or off is up to you). I can’t overstate what a time saver this option is!
Serving Garlic Butter Shrimp
This is one of the absolute best shrimp recipes to come out of our kitchen in a while! Here’s how to serve it:
- Garlic Butter Shrimp and Rice. Make a side of brown rice (or this Lemon Rice!) and spoon the shrimp, along with plenty of the yummy lemon garlic butter sauce, over the top. Cauliflower rice is a nice low-carb option.
- Garlic Butter Shrimp and Veggies. You can roast, steam, sauté, or grill veggies, then serve them along with the shrimp. Pro tip: Vegetables taste fabulous with the garlic butter sauce on top too!
- A Nice, Crusty Baguette. A few slices to mop up the cooking liquid will instantly make any night feel special.
Garlic Butter Shrimp
- 1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked large shrimp
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 small shallot minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or low-sodium chicken stock or broth
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or thyme optional but definitely worthwhile!
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Toss to coat.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat until it melts. Add the shallot and let cook 1 to 2 minutes, until it just begins to soften. Add the shrimp in a single layer and let cook undisturbed for 1 minute. With tongs or a wide spatula, turn over the shrimp. Add the wine and garlic. Cook until the shrimp are no longer translucent and wine has reduced by half, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Zest the lemon directly over the skillet, then cut the lemon in half. Juice half of the lemon over the top and slice the other half into wedges for serving. Add the rosemary and parsley, then toss to combine. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
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