Juicy pan-seared shrimp in a lemon butter garlic sauce is a quick recipe perfect for any meal or as an appetizer. In just a few minutes the aromatic pan sauce with plump shrimp comes together in your skillet. It's rich, buttery, and fresh with a pop of citrus and herbs. You will want to sop up every last drop of the sauce with the succulent shrimp.
Kids and adults love this mildly-spiced shrimp dish. The nutty butter sauce with garlic and red pepper flakes is a wonderful combination of decadence & spiciness. The balance of the sauce makes this recipe tastes gourmet with little effort - just don't tell your family or guests just how easy this was to make. They may just want it weekly, but who can blame them - it is THAT GOOD!
As an appetizer, this recipe is ideal for parties, birthdays, and special occasions. Cook up a batch and serve in a fancy bowl with some toothpicks on the side. Everyone will grab a toothpick and gobble these up.
What also makes this recipe fantastic, is it is a great shrimp dish for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Whether you serve it on its own or with your favorite side dishes, bread, pasta, or rice, you cannot go wrong with this fancy skillet-cooked shrimp.
This skillet-cooked recipe calls for medium-sized shrimp. I suggest buying it already shelled and deveined. But if you only have some in the shell that is ok, just remove the veins and shells it yourself. In a pound, you will get about 41-50 shrimps.
To flavor up the shrimp, a homemade 4 spice blend will be used. Then to finish it all off to make the amazing sauce, you will need butter, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and fresh parsley. Simple enough, right?
- Medium-Sized Shrimp, peeled & deveined
- Salted Butter
- Red Pepper Flakes
- optional - fresh parsley
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Cook Shrimp in a Pan
This recipe goes fast. Therefore, I suggest gathering all your equipment and ingredients before you start cooking. This is known as mise en place.
Begin by combining all the spices in a small bowl. This will be the seasoning blend for the shrimp. Make sure to not let the shrimp be at room temperature for longer than an hour when cleaning and drying it.
Place the shrimp on a plate lined with a paper towel. Pat them down so both sides are dry.
Sprinkle each side liberally with the seasoning blend.
In a medium-sized skillet, heat the butter to melt over medium heat. Once melted and before it is browning, add the garlic. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Keep the garlic moving so it doesn't burn.
Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, flip each one over and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.
The shrimp should just turn pink when they are ready. Add the lemon juice and remove it from the skillet to a platter. Sprinkle on chopped fresh parsley. Look at the gorgeous shrimp with the paprika spice blend and pieces of freshly cooked garlic. All of it is drenched in a lovely lemon butter sauce.
Hint: the optional fresh parsley really adds so much. The bright grassy herb adds freshness and color.
Make sure to cook the shrimp on medium or medium-high heat. It is best to cook shrimp quickly to sear the outside and keep the shellfish juicy & tender on the inside. This will ensure the shrimp doesn't "simmer" or slow cook which tends to make them chewy & tough.
This is a quick and simple recipe. There are not many substitutions or changes you can make to this pan-sauteed shrimp. Here are a few ideas that may help ensure this recipe meets your dietary needs.
- Butter - use ghee to make this recipe paleo-friendly.
- Garlic - if you cannot tolerate it or are allergic, use shallots instead or omit it.
This recipe is already keto, low-carb, diabetic-approved, gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free. There are no substitutions needed for these special diets.
No joke, these pan-seared shrimps are outrageous. The recipe needs no changes. It is so good as is. But if you want to mix it up and tweak it a bit, here are two variations to up your shrimp game.
- Spicy - add double the amount of chili pepper flakes.
- Creamy- add a splash of heavy cream at the end.
If you love this low-carb & gluten-free shrimp recipe, try another great recipe that is quick and easy Sheetpan Shrimp.
This pan-seared seafood recipe calls for certain equipment, like obviously a pan. I recommend a heavy pan that will cook evenly and quickly like cast-iron or non-stick anodized aluminum/stainless steel. Here are the pans I recommend.
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What to Serve with Garlic Butter Shrimp
The rich buttery shrimp with garlic and red pepper flakes goes with so many side dishes and salads. All of these recipes are great to serve with this quick & easy shrimp recipe. They all cook up in about 10-20 minutes plus they are healthy & gluten-free. Pair them up for a complete dinner that is ready to eat in just no time.
Storing & Reheating Leftover Shrimp
This cooked shrimp will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Store it in an air-tight container. To reheat leftover shrimp, add it to a pan on medium heat. Bring it back to temperature slowly so it warms through without causing the shrimp to overheat and become chewy.
I do not recommend freezing cooked shrimp but you can do it safely. Store in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag for up to 30 days. Know that frozen cooked shrimp will change the texture a bit. Once defrosted overnight in the refrigerator, the shrimp may become a bit mushy.
On average there are about 41-50 medium shrimp per pound. When buying large shrimp it will be less per pound, averaging 32-40. This recipe is best with medium shrimp but if you have large shrimp it works too. Just cook 1 minute longer on each side when using larger-sized shrimp or prawns.
The shrimp needs to be pan-seared directly on the flesh. This recipe does not work with the shell still intact. However, you can use peeled, deveined, & tail-on shrimp. You may prefer the tail to be still on when making this for an appetizer. It then makes it easy to grab and eat with your fingers. It does not change how long to cook the shrimp. Cook as the recipe suggests.
- 1 pound medium-sized shrimp (41-50 each) peeled & deveined
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- juice of ½ lemon about 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley Optional
- Combine the spices in a small bowl.
- Place the shrimp on a plate lined with a paper towel. Pat them down so both sides are dry. Sprinkle each side liberally with the seasoning blend.
- On medium heat, warm your skillet. Add the butter to melt. Once melted and before it is browning, add the garlic. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Keep the garlic moving so it cooks but doesn't burn.
- Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side.
- Add the lemon juice and remove it from the skillet to a platter. Sprinkle on chopped fresh parsley.
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 12.9g||17%|
|Saturated Fat 7.3g||37%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber 0.2g||1%|
|Total Sugars 0.1g|
|Vitamin D 8mcg||40%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.|