Garlic Lime Shrimp with Coconut Rice
Make these delicious garlic lime shrimp and win dinner tonight! A simple pan sauce adds garlicky, buttery, citrus flavor, and everything is served over fluffy coconut rice. Best of all, you can have the full meal on the table in less than 30 minutes, even starting with frozen shrimp.
In the mood for shrimp? Lemon asparagus pasta with shrimp, 15-minute garlic butter shrimp, and sheet pan chipotle lime shrimp fajitas are all heaven sent when you want a flavorful, light meal in a hurry.
This post was originally published July 19, 2019, and has been updated with new photos and more helpful answers to questions throughout the post text.
Quick and easy dinners are always in season, right? This garlic lime shrimp has been a favorite of mine for years, one that I’ve tweaked and adjusted over time from one of my very first cookbooks, Food Made Fast.
Dinners like this are a good reason to always keep frozen shrimp on hand. They cook quickly and can be transformed into a satisfying dinner with just a handful of other ingredients.
Ingredients and shopping tips
This is an easy one, especially if you have a well-stocked pantry. As always, see the full recipe below for detailed amounts and instructions.
- Shrimp – do yourself a favor and purchase pre-peeled, deveined shrimp. You can buy them from the seafood counter if you like, but frozen is fine!
- Green onions – also known as scallions.
- Cilantro – a nice finishing touch.
- Butter – I prefer unsalted so I can control salt content to taste.
- Uncooked jasmine rice
- Coconut milk – one can.
How to defrost frozen shrimp
Let’s be honest: the real reason experienced home cooks keep frozen shrimp stocked at all times is because they know how easy shrimp are to defrost. And you don’t need to remember to do it days or even hours in advance.
Just before you start cooking, open the package and transfer the shrimp into a large colander. Run them under cold water in the sink for 4-5 minutes. They’ll defrost perfectly and be ready to use!
Why cold water? You might think hot water would do the job faster, and you’re right, but it’s a little too quick. Hot water can actually start to “cook” the edges, which will give your finished shrimp an odd and uneven texture.
How to make garlic lime shrimp with coconut rice
You’ll want to start with the coconut rice. The shrimp are so fast they will cook entirely while your rice simmers away.
Once the rice is bubbling in its combination of coconut milk and water, get a skillet going. First, make a bright, happy sauce of lime, garlic, green onions, and butter. Then you’ll add the shrimp.
Watch carefully; they’ll be cooked through in less than five minutes. And you will be rewarded with tender, citrus-y shrimp swimming in a little sea of sauce that will send you scavenging through the kitchen for some crusty bread to swirl across the bottom of the pan.
While you’re quality-checking, the rice will finish cooking. Fluff it with a fork, spoon it into some bowls, pour over the shrimp … maybe a little extra sauce, if you love yourself, and you should … and dinner is served.
- Swap lemon and parsley for the lime and cilantro.
- Serve over pasta, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.
- Serve the shrimp over arugula for a low-carb option.
Garlic Lime Shrimp with Coconut Rice
- 5 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice uncooked
- 1 14 ounce can coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 2-3 tablespoons lime juice from 2-3 limes
- 1 lb. shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bunch green onions thinly-sliced
- 2-3 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- First, start the rice. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the rice and cook for 30-60 seconds, just until the grains are coated. Stir in the coconut milk and water, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook about 20 minutes, just until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- While the rice cooks, make the shrimp. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and lime juice, and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant and bubbling.
- Add shrimp to the skillet in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, watching closely and flipping the shrimp with tongs as soon as they are pink and opaque on one side. Cook another 1-2 minutes on the other side. As soon as the shrimp are cooked through, turn off the heat and sprinkle with green onions and a bit of cilantro.
- When the rice is tender, fluff it with a fork, scoop portions onto plates, and top with the shrimp. Add spoonfuls of the garlic-butter sauce, and garnish with additional cilantro and lime zest, as desired.
- Save yourself time and buy pre-peeled, deveined shrimp. You can also defrost frozen shrimp in just a few minutes right before you need to use them. Open the package and shake out the shrimp into a colander, then run them under cold water in the sink for 4-5 minutes. They’ll defrost perfectly and be ready to use!
- You can cook this dish with the tails on or off the shrimp, depending on your preference. Obviously it’s easier to eat with the tails already off, but they do look pretty cooked on there, if presentation is a priority!
- Recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma, Food Made Fast.