Garlic Butter Shrimp is colossally good, but it’s even better when you balance it with acid. Sweet, succulent shrimp tossed in a delicate butter sauce that hits all the right notes from garlic, fresh lemon, and crisp white wine in perfect harmony! Buttery lemon garlic shrimp is simple and refined, but it also goes with just about anything, including picky eaters!
Thank goodness for small miracles. And these ones are really small. Well, in the grand scheme of things, that is… But whether you call them shrimp or prawns, these succulent li’l crustaceans are something I’ve learned to always keep on hand at home for recipes such as this.
All my shrimp recipes include one or more of the following components – garlic, butter, and lemon. In fact, I’d go so far as to say ANY shrimp recipe worth its (sea)salt should have one or more of those three things.
From Spicy Shrimp with garlic to Air Fryer Shrimp with lemon to Grilled Shrimp with garlic and lemon, these flavors all meld beautifully with this subtle salty-sweet seafood. I use neutral oils like avocado and “light” olive oil to allow those flavors to shine through in those recipes. And they’re all fantastic. But butter… well, the moment you add butter to the mix, it’s over. I’m gone. Love at first bite.
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Not to be confused with Shrimp Scampi (which goes heavier on garlic and really relies on nailing the sauce), lemony garlic butter shrimp has all four in the name because it’s got all four in perfect harmony. And the beautiful thing is, even if you upgrade or downgrade the size of your shrimp (we stan a jumbo prawn!), it still works perfectly.
But the most amazing thing about this buttered shrimp recipe? It’s how easy it is to make. Or maybe that it’s naturally keto friendly? Or is it that it’s impressive enough to serve to company? Perhaps it’s that the combination of shrimp, garlic, lemon, and butter is subtle enough to serve to picky kids who don’t like “fishy tasting things?”
You’ll find your own reason… for me though, it’s that since I made it, I get to “clean the pan” with a nice crusty piece of bread after it’s all said and done.
How to Make Garlic Butter Shrimp
This Garlic Butter Shrimp recipe isn’t just easy to make – the perfect blend of garlic, butter and lemon makes it go down easy, and it makes it easy to pair too! A simple saute of shrimp in this delicately balanced sauce makes for a simple, yet indulgent, weeknight meal. Serve over pasta, rice, quinoa, or your favorite veggie mash.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet (we like cast iron here) over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until very fragrant (just 1-2 minutes).
- Deglaze the skillet with wine or broth and stir until the liquid stops bubbling. Increase the heat to medium high, bring the sauce to a simmer, and cook 2-3 minutes to reduce the sauce and concentrate the flavors.
- Add the shrimp to the sauce, season with salt, then toss to arrange into an even layer. Cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Toss or turn with tongs and cook 2 minutes more.
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh parsley.
- Serve immediately over rice, quinoa, or with pasta.
- Total cook time will depend on the size of the shrimp you use. Feel free to use large or jumbo shrimp (we used jumbo) and cook until the shrimp just barely turns pink – no longer, or they will over-cook and turn rubbery.
- The more garlic, the better – truly! We used 4 cloves, but you can use up to 6.
- Wine quality matters and will directly impact the flavor of the sauce. In general, cook with wine that you’d be happy to drink. Avoid sweet wines, and opt for a dry white wine like sauvignon blanc. Do not use moscato or riesling.
- If you avoid alcohol, substitute with an equivalent amount of chicken broth. The lemon juice will still provide plenty of acid for tang and flavor.
Can I Use Frozen Shrimp?
Yes! Frozen, wild-caught shrimp is a great freezer stash to keep on hand for this garlic butter shrimp recipe, and so many others!
To defrost frozen shrimp, place into a colander or strainer and run under cold water until defrosted. Use paper towels to pat dry, then proceed with the recipe.
What to Serve with Garlic Butter Shrimp
Short answer – pretty much anything!
Pasta is always a reliable companion for this recipe. If you go this route, double the butter sauce for shrimp and toss it all together with the pasta. We prefer long, flat noodles – fettucine, linguine, or tagliatelle.
Looking for gluten-free options? Instant Pot has you covered. We love this shrimp recipe over jasmine rice (but honestly, any rice will do) or nutty quinoa.
Creamy polenta is also a fan favorite, and its easier to make than you think! Boil 4 cups of water over medium-high heat, then whisk in 1 cup cornmeal and 1 teaspoon of salt in a steady stream until fully incorporated. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook 30-40 minutes, whisking occasionally.
If you’re keeping it keto, shrimp pairs beautifully with pureed or mashed cauliflower.
And regardless of any restrictions, garlic and butter shrimp goes with virtually any vegetable you can think of! Broccoli? Yup. Cauliflower? You betcha. Greens? Absolutely! In fact, wilted greens are an easy favorite – saute 4 cups of greens in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 2-3 minutes, until wilted.
Store leftover shrimp in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Note: you must refrigerate cooked shrimp within 2 hours of cooking to safely keep it!
To reheat, we recommend placing the shrimp in a microwave safe dish in (roughly) a single layer, sprinkling with water, and covering. Steam them back to life in 30 second increments, up to 2 minutes. This way they don’t overcook and turn rubbery.
Did you make this lemony garlic butter shrimp recipe? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ c dry white wine
- 1 lb large or jumbo shrimp, deveined and shells removed, patted dry
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Heat a 12” skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil and heat until the butter melts, then foams. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the garlic softens, about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the wine to deglaze the skillet and stir, scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid stops bubbling. Increase the heat to medium high, bring the pan sauce to a simmer, and cook 2-3 minutes more, or until slightly reduced.
- Add the shrimp and season with salt, then toss to distribute the shrimp into an even layer. Cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Toss or turn the shrimp with tongs and cook 2 minutes more, or until each shrimp has just barely turned pink. Do not overcook, or the shrimp will turn tough and rubbery.
- Remove from heat and stir in the fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and chopped herbs.
- Serve immediately over rice, quinoa, or with pasta.
Just came across your blog through Food Bloggers Central, and I’m in love with the photos! Great work Danielle and Cameron! Also this recipe looks delicious – winter’s starting here in Sydney, Australia so this is definitely one to try. I love polenta! Thanks!
Thank you for your sweet comment Tamara 🙂 I hope you enjoy the recipe. And yes, polenta is one of our favorites too. Anything is better with polenta!