Garlic Butter Shrimp

4.84 from 6 votes
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This quick and easy garlic butter shrimp recipe is ready in 15 minutes! Made with just six main ingredients, this delicious entree or appetizer comes together easily on the stovetop.

Quick and easy garlic butter shrimp recipe ready in under 30 minutes.

This butter garlic shrimp recipe is a quick and easy protein to prepare. You can transform the briny seafood into a stunning dish using simple pantry staples. The key to tender shrimp is to gently cooks them in garlic-infused butter. It takes less than five minutes, so keep a close eye on how quickly the crustacean cooks.

I make a simple garlic butter sauce using the same pan for cooking the shrimp. Emulsifying cold butter with fresh lemon juice, zest, and a sprinkle of salt is all you need. Similar to my honey garlic shrimp, you can serve this dish alongside your favorite sides like pasta and veggies for a complete meal or as an appetizer with crusty bread to dip.

Shrimp selection

Ingredients needed to make this garlic butter shrimp recipe.

Purchase large frozen or fresh shrimp. I prefer 16/20 count per pound. It gives a two-bite piece. I often buy a big bag of frozen shrimp that has been individually quick-frozen. That way, I can use them at any moment’s notice, and they have a salty taste and aroma. Sometimes the ones sitting out at the store have a strong odor and mushy texture.

Make sure to peel and devein the shrimp before cooking. It’s up to you if you’d like to leave the tail on. It makes it easier to grab if serving as a starter. I keep the seasoning simple with salt and pepper. Try my cajun seasoning, or add red pepper flakes if you like a spicy kick.

Infuse the garlic

Spoon stirring melted butter and minced garlic in a large skillet.

To add a strong garlic flavor and aroma, mince it to release its aromatic flavor compounds. Add garlic to the melted butter to mellow out the harsh flavors and infuse its taste into the cooking fat.

Warm very gently over low heat. Spend about 2 minutes to heat the allium, it will release its fragrant smell, but you don’t want it to brown. Now you’re ready to add the shrimp!

Cook the shrimp

Several shrimp placed in a pan and spread out in a single layer to cook.

Cooking shrimp on the stovetop is my favorite way to make a quick and flavorful meal. Because the garlic is added to the pan, cook the shrimp over medium heat to prevent burning. It takes a few minutes on each side to thoroughly cook the seafood.

Once you see the flesh turn from translucent to pink and opaque, with a loosely curled “C” shape, it’s done. Turn the heat down to low and move the pieces over so make the sauce in the center of the pan.

Make a garlic butter sauce

To make a rich sauce, use cold pieces of butter. The milk solids and cool fat will create a light emulsified sauce. Whisk it with fresh lemon juice and grated zest to infuse its citrus oil and salt over low heat. If to pan is too hot, the emulsion will break, leaving a greasy mixture.

The garlic-infused butter used to cook the shrimp will furth flavor the sauce. Toss it with the shrimp, and garnish with fresh parsley. Basil, chives, dill, or tarragon are tasty alternatively to add a delicate herbaceous note to the dish.

Serve this with

Frequently asked questions

How do I make the garlic butter sauce spicy?

Add red pepper flakes, chili powder, cayenne, chipotle, or cajun seasoning to the melted butter. The spicy capsaicin molecules will infuse their heat into the fat. Start with a small amount, about ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon, increasing to taste.

Can I add wine to the sauce?

A dry white wine like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or pinot grigio would make a tasty addition to the garlic butter sauce. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons to whisk into the butter sauce.

What other seasonings can I use for the shrimp?

Dried herbs like an Italian seasoning blend, basil, cilantro, marjoram, oregano, parsley, tarragon, or thyme would pair nicely. Add any fresh herbs add the end of cooking to preserve their delicate flavor. Garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika would add earthy notes.

Succulent garlic butter shrimp in a pan with lemon wedges and garnished with chopped parsley.

Substituting dried garlic

The best substitute is dried minced garlic. The drying process makes the taste more mellow, with a slightly roasted flavor compared to raw garlic, and you still get the small pieces in the dish. Use ¾ teaspoons of dried minced garlic for 1 tablespoon of fresh garlic. Garlic powder can be substituted in the same amount and will disperse completely in the sauce.

Garlic Butter Shrimp

A delicious and easy-to-make garlic butter shrimp recipe! With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a mouth-watering meal in under 30 minutes. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a special occasion.
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 pound shrimp, 16/20 count size, peeled and deveined
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Instructions 

  • Defrost Shrimp – Place frozen shrimp in a colander and run under cold water until no longer icy, about 3 minutes. Alternatively, set them in a bowl and submerge them in cool water until defrosted. Drain well, and then use paper towels to pat dry.
  • Season – In a medium bowl, combine shrimp with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the Garlic – Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add the garlic. Stir and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.
  • Cook the Shrimp – Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer, and turn the heat up to medium. Cook until they turn pinkish on the bottom and start curling, about 2 minutes. Flip and finish cooking, about 2 minutes.
  • Make the Sauce – Turn the heat down to low. Make a well in the center of the pan. Add in the lemon juice, zest, 2 tablespoons of butter, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk until a lightly thickened emulsified sauce forms. Coat the shrimp in the sauce.
  • To Serve – Garnish with parsley.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Cover and. microwave on high setting in 15-second intervals until warm.
  • Make it Whole30: Use clarified butter or ghee and sea salt.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 202kcal (10%)Carbohydrates 1gProtein 23g (46%)Fat 12g (18%)Saturated Fat 7g (35%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0.5gCholesterol 213mg (71%)Sodium 573mg (24%)Potassium 317mg (9%)Fiber 0.1gSugar 0.1gVitamin A 358IU (7%)Vitamin C 3mg (4%)Calcium 81mg (8%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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