This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Learn how to make the best shrimp scampi recipe right in your kitchen. This dish, with its beautifully seared shrimp bathed in a rich, garlicky, lemon-butter sauce, is an absolute delight for the taste buds. My cast iron shrimp scampi recipe is a perfect dish to serve as an appetizer or a protein-packed addition to your pasta, rice, or orzo main courses. The secret to this divine garlic shrimp scampi? Read on to find out!
Why this easy shrimp scampi recipe works
- The recipe uses large, succulent shrimp that soaks up the flavors of the scampi sauce perfectly.
- By using the shells from the peeled shrimp, you get an extra flavorful sauce!
- The cast iron skillet helps get a perfect sear on the shrimp, adding a depth of flavor to the dish.
- Fresh garlic and lemon add a zing to each bite, while butter and white wine make for a rich and creamy base.
- A sprinkle of crushed red peppers gives just the right amount of heat to the dish.
- The dish is ready in less than 20 minutes, making it a perfect option for a quick and delicious meal!
Email this Recipe!
Email this recipe to yourself to save for later.
By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from Girl with the Iron Cast.
Here’s everything you need to make this garlic shrimp scampi recipe…
- Shrimp (shells on)
- Garlic cloves
- White wine
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Flat leaf parsley
- Crusty bread
When buying shrimp, make sure to look for fresh, wild-caught options for the best flavor. If you need to buy frozen shrimp, make sure to defrost it properly before cooking.
How to make the best shrimp scampi recipe
This shrimp scampi recipe is incredibly easy and delicious! Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make this delicious dish:
Step 1: Clean the shrimp
Before cooking your shrimp, it’s important to set aside some time to clean it properly.
To clean shrimp:
- Grab the shrimp by its top curve and use your fingers to remove the legs (toss them away).
- Then, start peeling off the shell from the front to the tail.
- Now, pinch the very back of the tail with your index and thumb to release the tail meat.
- Take a small knife and make a little cut on the top of the shrimp to remove the dark vein. Get rid of that vein, and you’re good to go!
Don’t forget to keep those shells! You’ll need them for the shrimp scampi sauce. You can also save them to make a delicious seafood broth or stock for future recipes.
Can I use frozen shrimp to make shrimp scampi?
Yes, you can use frozen shrimp to make this recipe! Just make sure to properly defrost the shrimp before cooking. You can do so by placing the shrimp in a bowl of cold water for 10-15 minutes.
Do I have to use shell-on shrimp?
It might seem easier to buy pre-peeled shrimp, and yeah, you can totally use them. But let me tell you, the shells in the sauce add so much flavor that I wouldn’t recommend skipping them.
Is there a specific type of shrimp I should be using?
For the best flavor, look for fresh, wild-caught shrimp. Large white shrimp is great option for this recipe.
Step 2: Cook the shrimp
To cook the shrimp, I used my trusty cast iron skillet. You can also use a regular frying pan if you don’t have one!
- Season the shrimp with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Heat up some olive oil and unsalted butter in the skillet.
- When the butter is melted and bubbling, go ahead and add the shrimp in one layer.
- Sear the shrimp for about 1 minute on each side. Keep an eye out for the shrimp to curve into a ‘C’ shape.
- Once they’re cooked, simply remove them from the pan and set them aside on a plate.
Make sure not to overcrowd the pan – if needed, you can cook them in two batches!
How do I know if the shrimp is cooked?
Shrimp is cooked when it turns pink and opaque. Make sure not to overcook the shrimp, as it can become tough and rubbery!
Step 3: Create the shrimp scampi sauce
The key to a delicious shrimp scampi lies in its sauce! It’s buttery, garlicky, and has a bit of a kick from the red pepper flakes.
Here’s how to make it:
- In your cast iron skillet over medium heat, add butter.
- Once melted, add the shrimp shells to the the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and sauté an additional minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the dry white wine and sprinkle in the kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Let the wine reduce by half. Use tongs to take out the shrimp shells from the wine and throw them away. Now squeeze in the lemon juice, add the lemon zest and parsley. Give it a good stir.
Can I use dried garlic?
Fresh garlic is always recommended for the best flavor, especially if you want to make the best shrimp scampi recipe!
What’s the best white wine for shrimp scampi?
You’ll want to use a dry white wine for this recipe, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Just make sure it’s not too sweet!
How long should I let the wine be reduced?
The key to a flavorful sauce is letting the wine cook down and infuse with all the other ingredients. This should take about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
Step 4: Add the shrimp back to the sauce
Once your sauce is done, go ahead and turn off the heat and add the cooked shrimp back into the skillet. Toss them around in the sauce until they’re fully coated.
Is this shrimp scampi recipe spicy?
The crushed red pepper flakes give a bit of heat to this dish, but you can adjust the amount according to your preferences. You can also omit them if you don’t like spicy food.
How to serve shrimp scampi
There are so many different ways to enjoy this easy shrimp scampi recipe!
Serve your shrimp scampi hot in a serving dish or directly from the skillet. Don’t forget to garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and lemon wedges for extra freshness. And, of course, make sure to have some crusty bread on hand to soak up all that delicious sauce!
Here are a few ideas on other ways to serve garlic shrimp scampi:
- As an appetizer with crusty roasted garlic bread for dipping
- Over your favorite kind of pasta (linguine and angel hair work perfectly)
- With orzo or rice for a delicious and filling seafood dinner
- With steamed vegetables for a healthier option
- Over grilled romaine lettuce with parmesan vinaigrette or Brussels sprouts Caesar salad
If you’re planning to serve it with pasta, make sure to save 1/2 cup of pasta water. Just use a few splashes of pasta water at the end of the scampi recipe mentioned above, then toss in the pasta and give it a good mix.
How to store and reheat leftovers
If you have any leftovers (which I highly doubt), simply store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to enjoy, you can reheat it in a pan on low heat until heated through.
I don’t recommend microwaving scampi as it can cause the shrimp to become rubbery.
Love seafood? Try out these other recipes:
- Grilled Lobster Tail With Garlic Herb Butter
- Spanish Seafood Paella With Chorizo
- Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Crema
- Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls With Spicy Peanut Sauce
- Spicy Tuna Sushi Stack
- 1 1/2 lbs large shrimp (shells on)
- 6 cloves garlic (peeled and minced, (or thinly sliced on mandoline))
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon and 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (stems removed)
- Crusty bread for example a baguette (for serving)
Before You Begin! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
- To clean shrimp, hold shrimp by top curve with one hand, then use your fingers to remove the legs (discard the legs). Next begin peeling the shell off the body of the shrimp from the front to the tail of the shrimp. Save these shells! Next, take your index and thumb finger and pinch at the very back of the tail, this will release the tail meat. Next, with a pairing knife, make a small slit along the top of the shrimp and remove the dark vein. Discard the vein. You should have a bowl of shrimp shells and a bowl of cleaned shrimp.
- In the bowl of shrimp add 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp paprika. Toss to evenly coat shrimp with seasoning.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil & 2 tbsp unsalted butter. Once the butter is melted and bubbling, add the shrimp in one layer, do not crowd the pan, you can make two batches if you need to. Cook for about 1 minute on each side. You are looking for the shrimp to make a ‘C’ shape and turn opaque. Remove and set aside on a plate once cooked.
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 2tbsp of butter, the garlic, and the shrimp shells sauce for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add in the 3/4 cup of white wine, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, allow the wine to reduce by half. Using tongs, remove the shrimp shells from the wine and discard.
- Add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley. Stir in. Turn the heat off and add the shrimp into the sauce. Toss the shrimp for 1 minute so they are coated in the sauce.
- Serve with a side of crusty bread for dipping.
- If you are making to serve with pasta, RESERVE 1/2 cup of pasta water. Use a few splashes of pasta water at the end of the scampi recipe above, then add in the pasta, toss to combine.
- It may seem easier to buy already peeled shrimp and yes you can use them, but the shells in the sauce give it so much flavor I do not recommend skipping it.
Storing and reheating
- Store shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- When ready to enjoy, you can reheat it in a pan on low heat until heated through.
- You can microwave the shrimp, but it can become rubbery so only microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute.