Shrimp Scampi

4.88 from 96 votes
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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.

For more flavorful variations, try my shrimp alfredo, cajun shrimp, and garlic butter shrimp.

Plate of shrimp scampi served with angel hair pasta.

Recipe Science

  • Sautéing shrimp quickly over high heat ensures they remain tender and juicy while developing a slight caramelization that enhances their natural sweetness.
  • Cooking garlic in butter releases its aromatic compounds, infusing the sauce with a rich, savory flavor that complements the delicate taste of the shrimp.
  • Adding lemon juice to the sauce provides acidity that balances the richness of the butter and enhances the overall brightness of the dish.

Why It Works

If you want to break your boring weeknight dinner rut, try this easy shrimp scampi recipe. In just minutes, you’ll have a classic Italian dish with restaurant-quality results. Serve as a light appetizer or nestled on top of a bed of pasta, and watch it disappear!

An incredible amount of flavor remains 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.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Shrimp scampi recipe ingredients spread out on a table.
  • Shrimp: Use large fresh or frozen shrimp, at least 16/20 count per pound, which are extra jumbo shrimp. I use pieces that are already peeled and deveined.
  • Seasoning: Salt and pepper enhances the sweet and briny flavor of the shrimp. Red chili flakes add a lingering spiciness to the dish.
  • Fat: Olive oil and butter add richness and flavor when cooking the aromatics and seafood.
  • Alliums: Diced shallots and minced garlic add earthiness and savory aroma.
  • Citrus: Fresh lemon juice and zest add a bright and tart flavor to the sauce.
  • Wine: I use a dry white wine like chardonnay to add an oaky flavor and dimension to the sauce.
  • Tomatoes: Sweet, juicy, and lightly acidic tomatoes add flavor to the dish.
  • Herbs: Freshly chopped parsley adds a delicate herbaceous garnish and pop of green color.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

This quick and easy recipe for shrimp scampi is easy to customize! Try these delicious options:

  • Shrimp: Prawns or langoustine are suitable substitutes. Keep an eye on the cooking time, which can vary depending on size.
  • Vegetables: For color and texture, add other vegetables to the dish, like zucchini, bell peppers, or sauteed spinach. Sun-dried tomatoes add a sweet and punchy taste.
  • Wine: Pinot grigio, Sauvignon blanc, or even a rose works well for the light citrus sauce. If you don’t want to add alcohol, use seafood stock with a splash of white wine vinegar or white grape juice.
  • Herbs: Other herbs like sliced basil, chives, dill, and oregano work well too.

How to Make Shrimp Scampi

Step 1: Defrost the Shrimp

Run the pieces under cold water for a few minutes until no longer icy, or submerge in a bowl of room temperature water until defrosted. Once the large shrimp are defrosted, add a simple seasoning. Toss with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pro Tip: I prefer to defrost the shrimp myself before cooking instead of purchasing thawed pieces because if the store leaves them out too long, they can become mushy and develop a strong odor. Check out my guide if the shrimp are not already peeled and deveined.

Metal spoon moving minced garlic, and chopped onions sautéing in a frying pan.

Step 2: Saute the Aromatics

Make sure to have all your sauce ingredients measured and prepared. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Gently cook the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes. This process draws out the fat-soluble flavors from the aromatic alliums and more capsaicin from the chili.

Shrimp cooking in a saute pan and being flipped with metal tongs.

Step 3: Cook the Shrimp 

Shrimp cooks very quickly, in a matter of minutes. Add the shrimp in a single layer to the large skillet over medium heat. Cook both sides until it starts to curl into a loose “C” shape and turns pink and opaque, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat to prevent overcooking, and create some space to make the lemon butter garlic sauce.

Pouring white wine into a pan with diced onions and minced garlic.

Step 4: Make a Pan 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 wine, like chardonnay which adds a buttery, oaky taste.

Wine bubbling in a hot pan.

Simmer over medium heat 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 must whisk in butter.

Cold slices of butter being incorporated into a pan sauce.

Step 5: 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.

Spoon mixing sauce ingredients with pieces of shrimp.

Step 6: Combine the Ingredients

Chop up ripe Roma tomatoes and toss them in with the shrimp to complement the slight sweetness of the seafood and the acidity of the lemons. Stir it all together for just a few minutes until the ingredients are warmed. You don’t want the shrimp to overcook!

Shrimp scampi garnished with lemon wedges.

Step 7: Garnish and Serve

with black pepper and plenty of freshly chopped parsley before serving. I like to add lemon wedges, a squeeze of the juice adds an extra flavor. Serve shrimp scampi with your favorite cooked pasta, grains, or a crisp salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

Serve This With

  • Pasta: Angel hair pasta keeps the dish light but turns it into a satisfying entree. Other types of pasta like penne, fettuccine, rotini, 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 no-knead 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.

More Italian Favorites

If you tried this Shrimp Scampi, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

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 96 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" 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" 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 them in a bowl and submerge them in room temperature water until defrosted. Shake to remove excess moisture. In a medium bowl, combine the 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. Flip the pieces using tongs 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

YouTube video


  • Storing: Cool leftovers 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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4.88 from 96 votes (69 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

49 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Maria T. says

    Made this for dinner last night. It was quick and delicious. Had the right amount of heat, butter, olive oil, garlic, lemon, tomatoes, parsley and wine. I might add some other stuff next time like mushrooms and spinach. I used thin spaghetti because I had it on hand, it was a good ratio of pasta to scampi. I just finished the leftovers for lunch and amazingly it tasted even better. Going forward I’ll be tossing the other recipes I’ve accumulated and just making this one. I love a quick and delicious recipe.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Whoo-hoo! I love the idea of adding more vegetables like spinach and mushroom. Let me know if you give it a try!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

        • Jessica Gavin says

          Thank you so much! I appreciate you sharing your butter substitutes for the recipe with other readers. Happy cooking!

  4. 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! ❤️

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thanks for you’re feedback! Great to hear that the recipe was easy to scale up for a crowd. Angel hair pasta is my favorite to serve with the shrimp scampi!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Michele Hyson says

    This is my family’s most favorite meal! Thank you so much for all the work you did! I also love your cook book! Congrats on it! It’s lovely!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much, Michele! You made my day. Thank you for supporting my website and cookbook, you’re the best!

  12. Bonnie says

    Made this last night with pasta. It was so good and easy to prepare.
    Used Sauvignon wine and used regular tomatoes.

  13. Jennifer says

    Hello Jessica, I am very happy to have found your site. I have a question about olive oil. I have read many places that it is very heat-sensitive and becomes carcinogenic at a high heat, so I never cook with it. Is it safe to use?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      It is safe to use olive oil, however, depending on how you cook with it helps with the selection to prevent the breakdown of the fatty acids. For example, I will use a light olive oil for sauteeing or pan-frying. I use extra virgin for salad dressing, or a quick saute, but not high heat. It comes down to the smoke point of the oil and choosing one that is high based on cooking method.

  14. Donald Hanle says


    I made your shrimp scampi for my wife and me last night for dinner and it was quick, easy and FANTASTIC! I used a wok instead of a skillet, which worked perfectly for sauteing the garlic, shallots and the 2 cups of fresh baby spinach I added to plus up the veggies. (I also doubled the garlic — as I always do).

    I selected a chardonnay for the wine, but was wondering how a pinot grigio would do and plan to try this the next time I make it.

    Bottom line, we loved the dish and will definitely be making it again. Thank you from one of your biggest fans for such a great recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great job Donald! I love that you used a wok to make the shrimp scampi. I’m always a fan of adding in more veggies! I think pinot grigio would nice, a little more acidic and not as buttery from the malolactic fermentation that chardonnay goes through. Let me know how it tastes. Happy cooking!

  15. Sherrie says

    Made this for tonight’s dinner. What a great dish, everyone loved it. Your recipes never disappoint and come through for me every time! Thank you so much!

  16. Karen says

    Made this for a few picky people and everyone loved it. The lemon zest was great and adding the tomatoes add the end was perfect also.

  17. Vincent says

    Thank you so much for the information on various heat levels during the cooking process. This information is so useful, but lacking in other recipes. Your precision is very much appreciated. I’m trying shrimp scampi for the first time tomorrow evening, and I just KNOW it will be a success thanks to your recipe.

  18. Kelly Craft says

    Your recipe was delicious! My entire family enjoyed it! Loved the lemon flavor of the sauce along with the tomatoes. Will cook again!! Thank you!

  19. Hannelore Mallard says

    Jessica, got your book at Amazon and loved it. although I am 74 years old it has taught me a LOT. Thank you

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much for your support Hannelore! Thrilled to hear that you are learning a lot about cooking from the book.

      • Wendy Vandenberg says

        Hi Jessica,

        I recently made you shrimp scampi recipe for a family dinner, and everyone loved it. It was such a fresh tasting recipe with the lemon and Roma tomatoes. Also, for as long as I have been cooking, I never knew that you could thicken the sauce with cold butter. It really worked. Thanks so much for this recipe and for all of your tips.