Shrimp Scampi

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Shrimp scampi with lemon garlic sauce is an easy gourmet meal made in just 30 minutes! Serve with angel hair pasta, linguine, or crusty bread for a simple yet impressive dinner.

Shrimp scampi served with angel hair pasta.

If you want to break your boring dinner rut, give this shrimp scampi recipe a try. You’ll serve an elegant Italian dish with restaurant-quality results in just minutes. Serve as a light appetizer or nestled on top of a bed of pasta, and watch it disappear! For maximum flavor, gently sautéing the crustaceans allows the pieces to stay succulent and sweet.

An incredible amount of flavor is left in the pan after cooking the shrimp. Don’t let it go to waste! Instead, make a white wine and lemon juice reduction, then thicken it with cold butter. This mixture yields a zippy garlic butter sauce that clings nicely to the seafood. Toss in some ripe chopped tomatoes to complement the seafood and the acidity from the lemons.

Shrimp scampi ingredients spread out on a table.

Shrimp selection

Use large fresh or frozen shrimp that are at least 16/20 count per pound. I prefer to defrost them myself before cooking instead of purchasing thawed pieces. If the store leaves them out too long, they can become mushy or develop a strong odor. Prawns or langoustine are suitable substitutes. Keep an eye on the cooking time as it can vary depending on size.

Don’t overcook the shrimp

Shrimp cook very quickly, in a matter of minutes. Make sure to have all of your sauce ingredients measured and prepared. Start by gently cooking the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes in butter and olive oil. This process draws out the fat-soluble flavors from the aromatic alliums and more capsaicin from the chili. 

Add the shrimp to the pan and cook both sides until it just starts to curl into a loose “C” shape and turns pink and opaque. Remove from the heat to prevent overcooking, and create some space to make the lemon butter garlic sauce.

Shrimp cooking in a saute pan.

Make a pan sauce

Once you remove the shrimp from the pan, there will be a ton of leftover salty flavor to make a delicious sauce. Add the zest and juice from a fresh lemon. Together they contribute citrus oils for a more robust lemony flavor and tartness from the citric acid. 

Add a dry white wine like chardonnay or pinot grigio to add a buttery, oaky taste. Boil this mixture until it reduces by half, the flavors become incredibly concentrated, and the acids less harsh on the palate. The reduction will be thin, so you’ll need to whisk in butter.

To thicken the sauce

Chilled butter is the best way to thicken the sauce by creating an emulsion. Turn the heat down to low so the fat in the butter does not rapidly melt once it hits the pan. Otherwise, this will cause a broken, greasy sauce. Gradually whisking the cold butter into the lemon white wine reduction can adequately emulsify it into a creamy solution that lightly coats the shrimp.

Garnish with fresh ingredients

Chop up some ripe Roma tomatoes and toss them in with the large shrimp to complement the slight sweetness of the seafood and the acidity of the lemons. For color and texture, you can add other vegetables to the dish, like zucchini, bell peppers, or sauteed spinach. Sprinkle in a generous amount of parsley, or other herbs like sliced basil and oregano work well too.

Serve this with

  • Pasta: Angel hair pasta keeps the dish light but turns it into a satisfying entree. Other types of pasta like penne, fettucini, rotini, penne, or spaghetti are also good options.
  • Bread: If you’re making shrimp scampi as a shared appetizer, serve it with some bread for dipping into the sauce. Tearing apart pieces of warm crusty Italian bread or slices of focaccia would be divine. 
  • Gluten-free options: Make a big pot of risotto, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles
  • Wine: I recommend a buttery Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or sparkling rosé to pair with this dish.
Spoon mixing sauce ingredients with pieces of shrimp.


What is the scampi part of shrimp scampi?

Although the term scampi has been associated with large pieces of shrimp, it’s an edible lobster called Dublin Bay Prawn or Norway Lobster. It can be widely found in the Mediterranean, like Italy, or other parts of Europe, such as France, Denmark, and Great Britain. [Source]

What is shrimp scampi sauce made of?

Traditionally a lemon and white wine reduction. Shallots and garlic are the base of the sauce and provide an earthy taste with intense aromatics. I like to add a small amount of red chili flakes for a subtle lingering heat. Cold butter is whisked in to thicken the sauce.

What can I use as a substitute for white wine in shrimp scampi?

Grape juice, but it will add a slight sweetness. Alternatively, vegetable stock or broth adds a more pungent, savory taste. In addition, you can add a small amount of white wine vinegar for spice and fermented notes similar to wine. Use about one teaspoon.

Close up photo of shrimp scampi garnished with lemon wedges.

Substitutes for white wine

Vegetable stock or broth, or even grape juice, make suitable replacements for white wine in this dish. The grape juice will add a slight sweetness, while the stock adds a savory depth. Although, note that it may take a little longer to reduce the sauce since alcohol has more volatile compounds that evaporate faster than water.

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Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi is succulent seafood and tomatoes mixed in a tangy lemon garlic sauce which pairs nicely with angel hair pasta.
4.88 from 75 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, 16/20 count
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, divided
  • ½ cup shallots, ⅛-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup dry white wine, chardonnay recommended
  • ½ cup diced roma tomato, ¼-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley, plus more for garnish


  • Defrost Shrimp – If using frozen shrimp, place them in a colander and run under cold water until no longer icy, about 3 minutes. Alternatively, set in a bowl and submerge in room temperature water until defrosted. Shake to remove excess moisture.
  • Season – In a medium bowl, combine shrimp with salt and pepper.
  • Cook Aromatics – Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Once the butter melts, add shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir and cook until shallots are tender and garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.
  • Cook Shrimp – Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer, and turn the heat up to medium. Saute for 2 minutes, not moving the shrimp. Flip them over and finish cooking, about 1 minute. Transfer to a clean bowl.
  • Reduce Sauce – Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and wine. Bring to a boil and allow the sauce to reduce by half, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Thicken Sauce – Turn the heat down to low and whisk in 3 tablespoons of cold butter. This process creates a slightly thickened and emulsified consistency.
  • Combine Ingredients – Add cooked shrimp, tomatoes, and parsley. Stir and cook until warmed through, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • To Serve – Garnish with black pepper and fresh parsley. Serve with lemon wedges, crusty bread, or pasta.

Recipe Video


  • Storing: Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Wine Substitute: Use grape juice, vegetable stock, or broth. If desired, also add 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar for pungency.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 194kcal (10%)Carbohydrates 2g (1%)Fat 18g (28%)Saturated Fat 8g (40%)Cholesterol 30mg (10%)Sodium 296mg (12%)Potassium 60mg (2%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 450IU (9%)Vitamin C 9.6mg (12%)Calcium 6mg (1%)Iron 0.1mg (1%)

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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Reader Interactions

47 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Colleen says

    How are you arriving at just 2 carbs per serving? When I run this through my nutritional calculator it is 9g total carbs and 8g next carbs. Thanks.

  2. Kathleen Monahan says

    Excellent easy to follow recipe. Delicious. (I always have to triple the prep time, no matter what the recipe.)

    I will definitely keep this recipe as a favorite.

  3. David says

    I have done this dish five times now and it is excellent, but I would caution that would be chefs carefully follow the directions. It makes a difference in the final product. Great dish!

  4. Angela says

    Hi…want try this recipe but I only have frozen pre-cooked shrimp. I also want to use spaghetti squash for the noodles for a low-carb version. How would this work? Do I need to do something different to make it work?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would defrost the shrimp and add it at the very end of cooking to just warm it up. I would cook the spaghetti squash then pour the shrimp and sauce over the top. Let me know how it goes!

  5. Rick says

    This is the first recipe that I saved from you before I subscribed. The scampi was wonderful !!! I have made it with just basically butter, garlic and spices and it was fine but this recipe really takes it to the next level. The wife and I had it over angel hair pasta and we loved it. Thank you!!!

  6. Jeremy Cook says

    Great recipe. The first I’ve made out of all the delicious-sounding recipes I’ve been receiving by email. Thanks for the tip about pre-cooked frozen shrimp in the comments above. Already added to my favorites and look forward to adding some others!

  7. Soren Reynolds says

    This dish has soooo much flavor! I made a double batch for my family and a visiting family. I served it over Angle Hair Pasta. It was a hit with everyone. Once you do the prep, it’s a very easy dish to whip up. Don’t sleep on this one! ❤️

  8. Michael Coates says

    I love your dishes but i am allergic to butter, mayonnaise, creams etc so I generally make do with Olive oil. Is this an ok thing to be doing? Could you add an alternative to butter etc when you present your wonderful dishes please.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thanks for your feedback, Michael! You could always add a plant based buttery spread when adding extra body and richness to a dish. especially a sauce. Olive oil is a great substitute for sauteing or searing.

      • Robert H. says

        Hi Jessica,
        Congrats on another Outstanding Recipe!

        For readers looking for a butter substitute, especially for health reasons, they can go to any medical website and get a listing of suggestions. Some top choices that I once found (all made with Olive oil, and no trans-fats) are: “I can’t believe it’s not butter”, “Olivio”, “Smart Balance original” and “Country Crock Plant butter”. All are spreadable and can also be used for cooking and sauteeing — complete butter substitutes. I use the Olivio spread occasionally, for dinner guests who choose to avoid real butter consumption. For me, it yields good results and it’s quite flavorful. Also serves as a good alternative with making garlic/herb butters for lactose-intolerant persons. Just wrap, roll, chill or freeze for future use.

  9. JJ says

    This is a top-notch recipe.
    I added 1.5 cups or so of sliced Bella mushrooms, and chunked an orange bell pepper. Doubled the garlic cause we’re seriously addicted to it.
    We don’t drink wine, so I added about two tsp. of white miso paste and maybe a quarter cup of water to dilute. THAT was a good call, it turns out.
    But here’s the secret to hear “oh, wow” with every-other bite: add LOTS of fresh lemon. We added the juice of two fresh lemons and then liberally scored one of them to have a full Tbsp of zest. Don’t add the lemon & zest until the very last minute of the cook.
    Wow…heaven in every bite.

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