Succulent, slightly charred Grilled Shrimp are one of the simple pleasures of summer—if you know how to grill them the right way. This recipe will help you achieve grilled shrimp perfection every single time!
Why You’ll Love This Grilled Shrimp Recipe
- Grilled Shrimp Is Fast. Like, lightning fast. So fast that it takes more time to fire up the grill than it does to cook the shrimp. (Might as well make some Grilled Corn or Grilled Broccoli since you took the time to preheat the grill though, right?)
- It’s Also Easy. Whisk together a homemade Grilled Shrimp Marinade or Shrimp Seasoning, prep the shrimp if needed, and cook it. Your work is done.
- Shrimp Is a Treat. I don’t know about you, but I always feel like shrimp is something special—it’s not a dish I make on a regular basis, so it feels like a treat. While I love Grilled Chicken Breast and Grilled Pork Chops, grilled shrimp just hits different. (When it’s not grilling season, I love my Baked Shrimp Scampi and Air Fryer Shrimp!)
- You Can Scale It Up for a Party. Instead of the standard barbecue fare (looking at you, hot dogs!), impress your guests with a platter of grilled shrimp. Because it cooks so quickly, it’s great for entertaining—and this grilled shrimp recipe pairs well with all kinds of light, summery cocktails like White Sangria.
- It’s Versatile. Make grilled shrimp skewers with your favorite veggies, pile them onto pasta dishes like Garlic Shrimp Pasta, serve them over a bed of Lemon Rice, tuck them into Shrimp Tacos, or dip them in warm garlic butter for a decadent dinner. (Who can resist Garlic Butter Shrimp?!)
How to Make Grilled Shrimp
- Shrimp. Technically, you can skip the peeling and deveining, but I recommend doing both. Peeling will help the seasoning or marinade soak in better and deveining prevents anyone from getting unpleasant grit in their mouths while eating. (Also, “vein” is a nice way of saying “digestive tract,” which is a nice way of saying, “it’s where the excrement lives.” So let’s get rid of it!)
- Shrimp Marinade or Grilled Shrimp Seasoning. Choose your own adventure! You’ll add lots of flavor to this grilled shrimp recipe with either option.
- Canola Oil. We use canola oil instead of olive oil here because it has a higher smoke point.
Jumbo shrimp can be cooked directly on the grill; if you use smaller shrimp, you’ll need to make grilled shrimp skewers. I recommend threading them through two skewers instead of one, which will keep them from flipping when you have to turn them over.
- Marinade or Season the Shrimp. For marinade, let sit at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours. If seasoning, you can cook the shrimp right away.
- Grill. Brush the grill or pan with oil, then grill the shrimp on both sides until they’re pink and opaque. Serve immediately and ENJOY!
How Long to Grill Shrimp
Grilled shrimp should take 2 to 3 minutes per side to cook, but this is an estimate—the exact amount of time needed will depend on the size of the shrimp and the precise temperature of your grill.
Because there can be some variation, instead of watching the clock, it’s important to watch the shrimp.
Shrimp are done cooking when:
- The tails curl slightly (a tight curl means they’re over-cooked!).
- The color goes from translucent gray to opaque pink.
- Teriyaki Grilled Shrimp. Use the teriyaki sauce from my Teriyaki Salmon to give your grilled shrimp some Asian-inspired flair. Simply brush the teriyaki sauce onto the shrimp just before grilling, and then again after they’re done cooking.
- Broiled Shrimp. To cook the shrimp in the oven, preheat the broiler. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat with nonstick spray (or use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet). Broil the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them and broil the other side for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until opaque pink.
- Lemon Pepper Shrimp. Citrus and pepper pair beautifully with seafood—see my Lemon Pepper Salmon for proof! Use a store-bought or homemade lemon pepper seasoning; alternatively, you can use the seasoning or marinade linked in my original grilled shrimp recipe and serve the shrimp with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and freshly cracked pepper. Swap in lime juice or cayenne pepper for a kick.
- Sweet and Smoky Grilled Shrimp. Use my Salmon Seasoning, which has garlic powder, smoked paprika, and brown sugar for a delightful blend of sweet and savory flavors.
- To Store. Grilled shrimp is best enjoyed immediately, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Warm leftover grilled shrimp in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Transfer the grilled shrimp to an airtight freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating according to the instructions above.
What to Serve with Grilled Shrimp
- Vegetables. For a light and healthy summer dinner, pair this grilled shrimp recipe with a simple side dish like Sautéed Broccoli or Roasted Red Potatoes seasoned with flaky sea salt.
- Pasta. Add grilled shrimp to Garlic Pasta with herbs like fresh parsley and a little bit of lemon zest or serve the shrimp atop a bowl of Pesto Pasta.
- Salad. Make a large bowl of Shrimp Pasta Salad or serve grilled shrimp on a bed of Arugula Salad.
- Grains. Grilled shrimp skewers are an excellent accompaniment to cooked farro or quinoa, seasoned with a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Grilled Dishes. Make your whole dinner on the grill! Toss some veggies on the barbecue and make Grilled Asparagus or Grilled Zucchini.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Skewers. Use double prong grill skewers or simple wood skewers—just remember to soak them!
- Mixing Bowls. You’ll need these for marinating or seasoning the shrimp.
- Grill Tongs. If you’re putting the shrimp directly on the grill grates, tongs are essential for flipping them!
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Thaw Frozen Shrimp. It’s absolutely fine to use frozen shrimp in this grilled shrimp recipe—in fact, most fresh shrimp at the grocery store was actually frozen and thawed. Let the shrimp thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or place the frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they thaw.
- Soak Your Skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers to grill your shrimp, it’s super important to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. This keeps them from igniting when you put them on the grill.
- Don’t Over-Marinate. If you’re using my grilled shrimp marinade, don’t leave the shrimp in it for more than 4 hours. At this point, the acid from the lemon juice will begin to change the texture of the shrimp.
- Flip the Shrimp in the Same Order You Placed Them on the Grill. Yes, this sounds supremely fussy, but seriously: shrimp cooks really fast and an extra minute or two on the grill can be the difference between tender perfection and rubbery disappointment. When it’s time to turn the shrimp and cook the other side, start with the shrimp or skewer you placed on the grill first.
- Use Wild-Caught Shrimp. They’re far more flavorful than the farmed variety!
- Don’t Pile the Cooked Shrimp on a Platter. Just like moody teenagers, grilled shrimp need their space! If you pile them on top of each other, they’ll continue to cook, which can make them rubbery.
- Save the Shells. You can save the shells of shrimp and use them to make seafood stock for clam chowder and other seafood soups and stews.
- Marinade the shrimp for 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours); if using the seasoning, you can season and cook right away. If using wood skewers, soak them for at least 30 minutes (smaller shrimp will need skewers; larger shrimp can cook directly on the grates).
- Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium high heat (425°F to 450°F). If using smaller shrimp, thread them on metal skewers or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes.
- Brush the grill or grill pan with canola oil. Grill the shrimp, just until pink and opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning once half way through (discard the extra marinade). Serve immediately.
- TO BROIL: To cook the shrimp in the oven, preheat the broiler. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat with nonstick spray. Broil the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them and broil the other side for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until opaque pink.
- TO STORE: Grilled shrimp is best enjoyed immediately, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm leftover grilled shrimp in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Transfer the grilled shrimp to an airtight freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating according to the instructions above.
- Nutritional information is an estimate and had been calculated without the marinade or seasoning, as the calorie count will vary depending on which option you choose.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Leave the grill uncovered when cooking shrimp. They only need the direct heat from the grill grates to cook.
Grilling shrimp in the shell does help keep them moist, but they’re harder to eat that way and your marinade or seasonings won’t be able to soak in as well. For these reasons, I recommend peeling the shrimp.
Never walk away from your shrimp once you put it on the grill! Keep a close eye on them and as soon as they’re opaque pink and the tails have curled slightly, pull them off of the grill.
You only need to flip shrimp once during cooking, after 2 or 3 minutes.
Jumbo shrimp can be grilled without a skewer, but you’ll need to make grilled shrimp skewers if you’re using smaller shrimp.