Simple food preparations are often the best, especially when they are packed with flavor. This easy garlic butter shrimp gets an added pop from the tangy lemon juice, making it a fantastic option for a quick and delicious weeknight meal for two.
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Lemon, garlic and butter is a combination of flavors that will make just about anything taste good. Add some sautéed shrimp into the mix and you have the ultimate weeknight meal that's ready in just 15 minutes. And the best part? Any leftover sauce is perfect for mopping up with a nice hunk of crusty bread.
An added bonus - this is a one-pan recipe leaving you with easy clean-up after dinner!
Tips for making garlic shrimp
Sometimes shrimp are a forgotten protein, and their fast cooking time makes them ideal for quick meals on busy weeknights. I always keep a bag of shrimp in the freezer so that I can whip up these garlic butter shrimp for a simple dinner anytime. Follow a few easy steps and dinner is ready in a flash.
Defrost the shrimp: If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost them in the refrigerator about 2 hours ahead of time. If you forget, no need to worry. Add the shrimp to a small colander and run them under cold water for a few minutes until they are defrosted.
Sauté the garlic: Butter and garlic provide the flavor base for this dish. You want to do a quick sauté here so you don't end up with burnt garlic in the finished dish. Thirty seconds will do the trick. Keep the heat just below medium-high to ensure the garlic doesn't cook too quickly.
Cook the shrimp: Shrimp cook very quickly, which is what makes them ideal for weeknight meals. You'll start with a quick sauté on one side, just until they begin to turn pink, then flip them over before you finish making the sauce.
Make the sauce: The butter and sautéd garlic give you the base for this sauce so finishing it is as simple as adding wine and lemon juice and letting it cook for a few minutes.
Notes about the ingredients
- Shrimp: I recommend buying the biggest shrimp you can afford. Shrimp size is measured by the number of shrimp per pound. For this recipe, I typically use extra jumbo shrimp, which are 16-20 shrimp per pound.
- Butter: Butter is a key ingredient in this recipe so try to use high-quality, European butter.
- Garlic: This is another key ingredient in the dish, so freshly minced garlic is the way to go.
- Lemon: Since it's another key ingredient in the flavor profile, you want to use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Wine: Since this recipe doesn't use much wine I will typically use what I'm drinking which is likely to be Chardonnay. Pinot Grigio also works well in this sauce. And both pair nicely with the finished dish.
How to serve garlic shrimp
I like to serve the shrimp over pasta or with a lightly toasted baguette for mopping up all of the lemony garlic butter sauce. Or, if you really love garlic, this Homemade Garlic Bread is a fabulous side!
More easy weeknight recipes
tools you may want for this recipe
Non-stick pan - For certain dishes, I prefer to use a non-stick pan to ensure the protein and sauce cook well and don't stick to the pan.
Tongs - I keep a couple of sets of these in my kitchen. The work for everything from turning shrimp or tofu in a sauté pan to tossing pasta noodles with sauce.
Garlic Butter Shrimp
- 10 to 12 ounces uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- Sauté the garlic. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and garlic, sauté for 30 seconds.
- Cook the shrimp. Add the shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes until the shrimp begins to turn slightly pink. Using tongs, flip the shrimp.
- Make the sauce. Add the wine and lemon juice. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
- Serve. Remove from heat, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.