Discover a quick and simple Italian American dish that’s full of flavor! This is truly the best shrimp scampi recipe around. Juicy shrimp cooked in a rich buttery lemon sauce makes the perfect weeknight dinner or elegant meal for company.
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Simple and Elegant
I’m excited to share with you one of my all-time favorite shrimp recipes, shrimp scampi. This classic seafood dish is not only incredibly delicious, but it’s also surprisingly simple to whip up in the comfort of your own kitchen.
What is Shrimp Scampi?
Shrimp scampi is a popular and flavorful dish that features succulent shrimp cooked in garlic-infused butter sauce with a hint of lemon. It’s simple enough to prepare for a quick weeknight meal and impressive enough to serve to guests at your next dinner party!
For this recipe, you can use either fresh or frozen shrimp. Just make sure that if you’re using frozen, you thaw and drain the shrimp beforehand.
This fuss-free recipe can be made in under 20 minutes. You can serve it as shrimp scampi pasta, or simply pair it with a salad and a loaf of crusty bread. It’s that easy!
Just a handful of ingredients is all you need to make this classic dish at home!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Large or jumbo shrimp: Fresh or frozen are fine. Frozen is probably easier to find and you can keep them stashed in your freezer until you’re ready to use them. You will need to peel and devein the shrimp ahead of time and for even more flavor, you can also leave the tails on.
- For the sauce: I use both extra-virgin olive oil and butter for flavor. You’ll also need some minced garlic and dry white wine or broth. If you’re using wine, a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would add depth and complexity to the dish. If you’re using broth, I recommend using chicken broth or homemade fish broth for the most flavor.
- To serve: Top the scampi with a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness and some chopped fresh parsley for freshness. Add your favorite pasta and you’re done!
Is it possible to make this classic dish any better? While the original version is perfect, you can try adding your own unique twist to your shrimp scampi to suit your own tastes.
Here are some fun ideas to get you started:
- Spicy: Turn up the heat with a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Mediterranean: Add some Mediterranean flavors by tossing in some olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes. Finish the dish off with a sprinkling of feta cheese.
- Gluten-free: Skip the pasta and serve the scampi over zucchini noodles or steamed vegetables.
- Creamy: For a richer garlic butter sauce, add a splash of heavy cream at the end of the cooking. You could also sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top just before serving.
- Fresh herbs: Experiment with different herbs. Add them to the sauce during cooking or use them as a garnish on the finished dish. Fresh basil, thyme, or oregano would make excellent additions.
How to Make Shrimp Scampi
This is a super quick meal to make, we’re talking 10 – 15 minutes! Have all of your ingredients ready to go because things move quickly.
- Sauté garlic. Warm olive oil and butter over medium heat and sauté garlic until fragrant. This step infuses the oil with all of that delicious garlicky flavor.
- Make sauce. Stir in wine, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) and simmer until reduced by half.
- Cook shrimp. Add shrimp and sauté until they start to turn pink, flip, and sauté until cooked through.
- Serve. Stir in chopped parsley and lemon juice and serve over cooked pasta.
Tips for the Best Shrimp Scampi
- Watch the garlic: Garlic can quickly burn and turn bitter while cooking, which can ruin the taste of the entire dish. Once the garlic starts to turn golden and become fragrant, stir in the other ingredients to avoid overheating it.
- Don’t overcook the shrimp: No one wants rubbery shrimp! It really only takes about 2 minutes per side depending on the size of the shrimp, so keep a close eye on them while they’re cooking.
- Don’t overdo the sauce: Shrimp scampi sauce is meant to be light and delicate and should coat the shrimp and pasta evenly without being overly saucy.
Absolutely! Frozen shrimp is so convenient to have on hand, so it makes a great option for quick dinners. Just make sure to thaw the shrimp before starting the recipe.
To thaw, leave them in the fridge overnight, or if you’re pressed for time, place the frozen shrimp in a colander and run under cold water until completely thawed.
Linguine and spaghetti are the classic choices, but you can use your favorite pasta for this dish. Fettucine, angel hair pasta, and even penne would all work well.
Yes! Wine adds a delicious depth of flavor to the sauce, but you can still make a very tasty dish without it. Simply use chicken or vegetable broth or even fresh fish stock if you have it.
Sure! Butter adds richness to the sauce and great flavor, but if you’d prefer not to use it, go ahead and use only olive oil instead.
Scampi really tastes best when it’s enjoyed fresh right from the pan. You could peel and devein the shrimp in advance and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it.
What to Serve with Shrimp Scampi
When it comes to choosing the perfect accompaniment for your easy shrimp scampi, there are a few great options!
Probably the most popular is to serve the shrimp over a bed of al dente pasta. I like to use linguine or spaghetti, but really any pasta will work!
If I’m having guests over, I sometimes add to the Italian theme and bake some chicken Parmesan or a pizza Caprese to serve along with bruschetta to help mop up the delicious buttery garlic sauce. Adding a big bowl of pasta carbonara to the table instantly turns it into a feast. It’s like dining in your own private Italian restaurant!
Shrimp scampi always tastes best on the day you make it, but you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The best way to reheat it is to place the shrimp in a pan on the stovetop with a splash of broth or water and heat on medium heat until warm. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or it could become rubbery.
You can also store it in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to thaw the scampi in the fridge before reheating.
More Shrimp Recipes
Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- 1 skillet
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 garlic cloves)
- ¼ cup dry white wine or broth
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt , or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes , optional
- 1 ¾ pounds large or extra-large shrimp , peeled and deveined
Optional for serving: Juice of 1/2 lemon, Chopped parsley, and Cooked linguine
- In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant.
- Stir in wine, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, if using. Simmer 2 minutes, or until sauce is reduced by half.
- Add the shrimp and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, or until just starting to turn pink. Flip the shrimp and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until pink and cooked through, being careful not to overcook.
- Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and serve over pasta, if desired.
- Gluten-free: Serve over zucchini noodles or steamed vegetables.
- Tails-on: Leave the tails on the shrimp for added flavor.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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