Everyone loves these Garlic Butter Shrimp with fresh lemon juice and a hint of red pepper. And they’re ready in just 15 minutes!

Garlic butter shrimp cooked in a skillet.

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There are some recipes that I wonder, at times, whether they are just too simple to even be “recipes” in the true sense of the word. This garlic butter shrimp is a perfect example. It’s a classic mix of ingredients brought together with simple, tried-and-true techniques.

Apart from all the delicious flavors happening here, which is reason enough to love these shrimp, they are incredibly easy and fast to make. You can literally have them prepped, cooked, and on the table in 15 minutes, start to finish.

Close-up image of raw shrimp.

What you’ll need

The ingredients for these shrimp are incredibly simple, which is another reason they make a great last-minute dinner. If you cook at home regularly, you likely have most if not all these things on hand already.

  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Shrimp (No surprises yet! 😉 )
  • Lemon: a squeeze of fresh juice brings the other flavors to life
  • Parsley: fresh or dried, it adds a pop of color and freshness
  • Pantry staples: olive oil, kosher salt & pepper

Do you need white wine?

Many recipes for garlic butter shrimp call for white wine and/or stock, but you really don’t need it.

A small splash of white wine can be a nice addition if you happen to have a bottle open, but it’s by no means necessary, and you’ll have plenty of delicious, buttery, garlicky sauce without adding any stock. In fact, I’ve tried this with both chicken and seafood stock, and I believe it simply dilutes the flavor without adding much.

How to make garlic butter shrimp

  1. Sauté garlic in a smidge of olive oil.
  2. Add shrimp and cook on one side.
  3. Flip shrimp and add remaining ingredients to the pan.
  4. Cook just until shrimp are opaque.
Garlic butter shrimp cooked in a skillet.

Tips and tricks

  • Cut the butter into small cubes before adding to the pan. This helps it melt more quickly and evenly, so the sauce is ready before the shrimp have a chance to overcook.
  • Use fresh-ground black pepper. The flavor and freshness can’t be beat, and it’s so easy! Just keep a pepper mill on the counter. This is the exact pepper mill I use daily and love; it sits on a tray right next to the stove, along with a salt grinder and olive oil. You can also buy it in a salt and pepper set, which is super convenient. 
  • Buy pre-peeled and deveined shrimp to save time. Peeling and pulling the tiny black veins out of shrimp can take awhile, so buying them with these steps already done is money well spent. Leaving the tails on is optional. I just leave them on for looks; my family would probably prefer I take the tails off to save them the trouble!
  • Defrost shrimp quickly. Shrimp are so easy to defrost right before cooking, which is why they’re the perfect protein to keep in the freezer for last-minute meals. Place frozen shrimp in a large colander, place in the sink, and run them under cold water for about 5 minutes. Why cold water? Shrimp are so easy to cook that hot water can start doing so prematurely!
  • Use kitchen tongs to flip shrimp quickly and easily. So must less hassle than a spatula or spoon. This pair is fantastic, if you’re in the market.

What to serve with garlic butter shrimp

My personal favorite is to serve garlic butter shrimp with rice! But there are tons of great options, depending on your own preferences and dietary needs. Here are a few:

  • Rice: white, brown, cauliflower, you name it
  • Pasta: consider doubling everything other than the shrimp if you want to coat the pasta with a traditional sauce
  • Quinoa
  • Roasted asparagus or green beans
  • A quick arugula salad

Whatever you choose, the lemony garlic butter sauce will be the perfect touch for a light drizzle on top. And some crusty bread to sop up a little more sauce never hurts!

Spoon pouring sauce over garlic butter shrimp.

More quick and easy shrimp recipes

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Spoon pouring sauce over garlic butter shrimp.
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15-Minute Garlic Butter Shrimp

Everyone LOVES these delicious garlic butter shrimp with fresh lemon juice and a hint of red pepper. So quick and easy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6-8 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8-10 cranks freshly-ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  • Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 30-60 seconds, just until fragrant.
  • Add shrimp to the pan, season with salt and black pepper, and cook for 60-90 seconds, just until they turn pink on the bottom. Using kitchen tongs or a large spoon, flip shrimp to cook on the other side.
  • Add butter cubes, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Cook 2-3 minutes more, until the butter is melted and the shrimp is opaque and cooked through. Remove pan from the heat.
  • Serve shrimp and spoonfuls of the garlic butter sauce right away with rice, pasta, or veggies, as desired.

Video

Notes

  • To save time, purchase shrimp that are pre-peeled and deveined. I like to cook them with the tails on — some say this adds flavor, but I just think it yields a prettier finished result. 
  • It’s easy to defrost frozen shrimp quickly. Place frozen shrimp in a colander and run them under cold water for 5-7 minutes. They’ll soften right up! Gently shake off the extra water, and they’re ready to cook. 
  • Nutritional estimate is based on 4 servings and does not include added pasta, veggies, bread, etc. 

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 277kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 323mg, Sodium: 1178mg, Potassium: 108mg, Vitamin A: 510IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 177mg, Iron: 2.5mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!

This post was originally published on January 15, 2019, and has been updated with new photos and more helpful recipe tips.