Quick and Easy Shrimp Scampi Recipe

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I love shrimp. They’re fairly easy and quick to both defrost and cook. So I love keeping a bag of frozen shrimp on hand for a quick meal. Add in an extra bit of flair and you’ve got a simple garlic butter shrimp scampi.

Tender shrimp swimming in a garlic butter sauce with just a hint of white wine and lemon. It’s an Italian-American classic that seems fancy but is shockingly easy to make at home. So, whether you’re a newbie in the kitchen or a seasoned cook, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your meal rotation.

A finished plate of garlic butter shrimp scampi with pasta and a side salad

The best part about this easy shrimp scampi recipe? It takes just 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish, making it the perfect dish for busy weeknights. No need for takeout when you can whip up restaurant-quality classic shrimp scampi quicker than it takes to watch an episode of your favorite show. This fresh and flavorful dish comes together in one skillet with a few simple ingredients. Serve it over pasta or rice to soak up all that buttery garlic sauce.

Gather Ingredients for the Simple Shrimp Scampi Recipe

First things first, what is a classic shrimp scampi? It is, of course, a fun historical culinary adventure that gets us here. Scampi is the Italian name for a type of smaller lobster-like crustacean. Scampi aren’t typically found in the ocean near the US and Italian chefs in America likely substituted the next closest thing – shrimp. So it is shrimp that are cooked scampi-style. Which has also evolved a bit over the years. But today we’ll delve into an easy shrimp scampi recipe. Shrimp in a garlic butter and olive oil sauce with some lemon juice, white wine, and parsley.

Ingredients for a simple shrimp scampi recipe

Ingredients for Classic Shrimp Scampi

First off, we’re going to use two pounds of raw shrimp. Large-sized shrimp work best for this simple shrimp scampi recipe, but you can adjust based on your preference. Next, get your hands on some quality olive oil and butter. You’ll need 1/2 cup of each to help create that luscious, velvety sauce.

Now, for the real star of the show: garlic. Grab ten to twelve cloves of fresh garlic. The more garlic, the better in my opinion. Add some more flavor with red pepper flakes, white wine, and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste, as always.

To finish off our list, stock up on some fresh parsley. The green punch of color totally transforms the presentation of this dish.

Prepare the Shrimp

The shrimp are the main focus of the simple shrimp scampi recipe, even though I like to think that it is really the garlic.

Choosing the right kind of shrimp for your dish is helpful. It will mostly affect the amount of preparation you have to take before starting on the recipe proper.

And it depends on your own preferences. You may want to peel and devein the shrimp yourself. It’s a bit more work, but it does give a certain satisfaction knowing you prepared every bit of your meal. Plus, you can keep the shells for making a good shrimp stock.

On the other hand, if you’re not keen on the extra hassle, pre-peeled shrimp is the way to go. It’s convenient and gets you straight to the cooking part, which is great if you’re short on time.

You can remove the tail or leave it on. Tail-on makes for better presentation and a bit more shrimp flavor in the sauce. Tail-off makes for easier eating.

Just make sure that you get RAW shrimp. We don’t want any pre-cooked shrimp. They just won’t take on enough of the flavor from our sauce and it would be such a waste in this recipe. Plus, shrimp cook fast, so it doesn’t save much time and just gives a worse final dish.

Raw shrimp seasoned with salt and pepper and ready to be cooked

Defrosting, If Necessary

If you’ve bought frozen shrimp, then you’ll have to defrost them first. Frozen shrimp is typically my go-to. Defrosting them isn’t a big deal and I’ll guide you through it.

Here’s my go-to method: Place your shrimp in a bowl, cover them with cold water, and let them defrost for about 20 minutes. You can change the water part way through to speed up the process a bit. Alternatively, you can put your shrimp in a colander and run cold water over them for about 5 to 10 minutes. But this uses up a lot more water, so I tend to do it the first way.

Just make sure it’s cold water. We don’t want to start cooking the shrimp early.

Once they’ve thawed out, pat them dry with some paper towels.

Seasoning the Shrimp

When it comes to seasoning, I like to keep things simple. I suggest a balanced blend of salt and pepper. Just spread the shrimp out into a single layer on a plate or baking sheet. Then generously season them, flip them, and season again.

Don’t be shy and make sure every piece gets some love.

Once you’ve seasoned your shrimp, set them aside until you’re ready to throw them into the pan. If you aren’t moving on to cooking immediately, then put the shrimp in the fridge until you begin.

Beginning with the Scampi Sauce

It’s finally time to kick off the garlic butter shrimp scampi sauce. First, we’ll melt the butter with some olive oil – to get the best of both worlds. Next, we’re gonna toss in some garlic and red pepper flakes to start building that flavor. Lastly, we’ll add a splash of lemon juice and white wine for that tangy kick. This method will give your sauce a full-bodied flavor that’s to die for. And it smells amazing. Now, let’s get cooking!

Melting butter with olive oil - how could a dish start any better?

Melting Butter with Olive Oil

The first step in creating a classic shrimp scampi sauce is to melt butter with olive oil. I know what you’re thinking. Butter and oil together? Trust me, it’s a culinary match made in heaven. It’s all about balance; the olive oil prevents the butter from burning while the butter lends richness to the olive oil’s flavor.

To melt them together, you’ll want to put a generous amount of both in a large skillet over medium heat. As the butter begins to melt, you’ll notice it starting to bubble and foam, mixing beautifully with the olive oil. Stir them together to create a warm, inviting pool of liquid gold.

The aroma of the melting butter and olive oil blend is something truly remarkable. It’s warm, comforting, and makes you feel like you’re in an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?

Adding Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes

Garlic sauteeing in a pan is one of the best smells in the world. It’s like a big, aromatic hug that screams out – ‘Get ready for some tasty food!’

Garlic will be the main flavor in our sauce. So there’s a lot of it. I can never get enough – just reference my roasted garlic recipe. But it is also not the only flavor we’ll want to add to our sauce.

So let’s introduce some spice with a pinch of red pepper flakes. This adds a subtle kick that makes the dish come to life. Remember, we’re not looking to set anyone’s mouth on fire here. We’re aiming for a gentle warmth that complements the garlic and makes your taste buds tingle. Though if you’re a bit fan of that spicy heat you can add a little extra – or even try adding some hot sauce to the mix.

It’s all about finding that perfect balance. You don’t want the garlic to overpower the other flavors, and you certainly don’t want the red pepper flakes to take over. Follow the recipe and then adjust to fit your own tastes.

Garlic sauteing in butter and olive oil to start the sauce for this easy shrimp scampi recipe

Incorporating Lemon Juice and White Wine

Now it’s time to round out the flavor of our sauce. Here’s where we’ll blend in the tangy lemon juice and crisp white wine.

You’ll want to squeeze fresh lemons to get the juice for this recipe. Trust me, it’s worth the effort. The store-bought shelf-stable stuff just can’t match that zesty freshness. Pour it in, and let that zing mingle with the warm butter and oil.

Grab some white wine. I don’t drink so I know nothing about the wine world. I use a cooking wine in my recipes. You can probably do better than that. And based on my research a dry white wine is best… whatever that means. It’s a liquid so I don’t think dry really works as a descriptor.

This combination of the tart lemon and the wine’s acidity creates a beautifully balanced sauce. It’s the perfect complement to our shrimp, enhancing their flavor without overpowering it. And with the sauce ready, we’re good to start adding in the shrimp.

Cooking the Shrimp

Alright, let’s get to the heart of cooking our shrimp. First up, we’ll be sautéing the little guys right in the sauce. It’s a joy to watch them turn pink. (Which happens quickly – you can see in my photo below that the hot sauce has already started turning some of the tails even though it was off the direct heat.) Then, we’ll cook them until they’re perfectly done. Remember to stir regularly.

Beginning to cook the raw shrimp in the sauce to make a classic shrimp scampi

Sautéing the Shrimp in the Sauce

Here’s the part where the magic truly happens – sautéing the shrimp in that garlicky sauce. It’s what transforms those little shellfish into succulent bites of joy.

Toss the shrimp into the pan with the sauce. Try to get them into a single layer, so they all have space to cook evenly. Then let them cook. After a few minutes begin flipping the shrimp so both sides can cook through.

And while they’re cooking, douse the shrimp in the sauce. Make sure every single one is coated in it. Hear that sizzle?

Remember, we’re sautéing, not scorching. Keep the heat at a medium, and keep those shrimp moving in the pan.

Ensuring Perfect Doneness

Ensuring the perfect doneness of the shrimp is crucial in achieving a great dish. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to end up with rubbery or undercooked shrimp; it can ruin the whole experience.

Shrimp cooks incredibly quickly, usually in about four to five minutes for large ones. You’ll want to keep a close eye on it. And it’ll also depend on how crowded your pan is. As it cooks, the shrimp will start to curl and turn pinkish-orange. If all of your shrimp have reached that color, that’s your sign that it’s done.

Be sure to stir and flip the shrimp so all sides of all shrimp are evenly cooked in the sauce.

Remember, the key to perfectly done shrimp is vigilance.

Once the shrimp have cooked through, remove them from the heat and add in the minced parsley. This adds a pop of green color that completely transforms the presentation.

Close-up of garlic butter shrimp scampi in the pan after cooking

Adjusting Seasoning to Taste

Now that we’ve got our garlic butter shrimp scampi, let’s adjust the seasoning to taste. This step is all about your palate; it’s your chance to show off your culinary artistry in full swing.

Taste the sauce. Yes, go ahead and give it a good taste. What do you think? Does it need a little more salt? Maybe a dash of red pepper flakes? Too acidic? Add some more butter. Doesn’t pop enough on the palate? Add some more lemon juice. The beauty of seasoning is that it’s all up to you.

Remember, you want to enhance the natural flavors of the seafood, not overpower it. So, tread lightly with the additions. A little can go a long way. Take your time, taste often, and adjust as you go.

Serving Suggestions for this Easy Shrimp Scampi Recipe

A simple shrimp scampi recipe with garlic butter sauce over white rice

Rice, Pasta, and Other Bases

The dish itself is complete. But it is typically not served alone. We need something to pair with our easy shrimp scampi recipe to help soak up all of that buttery sauce.

Pasta is most commonly paired with the classic shrimp scampi. Linguine, fettuccine, or even some penne can be a fantastic base. The key is to cook it until it’s al dente, so it has a slight bite to it. You could even go all-out and try your hand at making homemade pasta.

Rice is also one of my favorites. Whether you go for fluffy white or brown rice, it’s the perfect compliment to our seafood star. It absorbs all those wonderful flavors and adds a satisfying, comforting texture to your dish.

And let’s not rule out other options. Cauliflower rice, veggie noodles made with a spiralizer, or quinoa could all be great options.

Side Dishes For Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi

Now that we’ve put the finishing touches on our main dish, we can start thinking about what to serve alongside it.

For our seafood dish, I’d recommend sides that can absorb the sauce or pair well with the flavors. Try a classic Caesar salad or a simple spring mix salad with a tangy vinaigrette. it’s a perfect contrast.

Or, if you’re after something a little heartier, roasted potatoes with rosemary would be a fantastic choice. The potatoes take on a lovely crispy exterior while remaining fluffy inside, and the rosemary adds an aromatic touch that will make your kitchen smell divine.

Restaurant-style shrimp scampi in a buttery white wine sauce

And of course, you can’t forget about bread. Try making my dutch oven crusty bread to go along with this meal. Or a crusty baguette or some warm garlic bread would be excellent for mopping up any leftover sauce – just be sure not to fill up on it before the main event!

Remember, the side dishes are there to enhance the meal, not overpower it. So choose wisely!

How did yours turn out?

I’d love to hear when you try out this garlic butter shrimp scampi! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.

Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.

Quick and Easy Shrimp Scampi

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: MainDifficulty: Easy


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Learn how to make this easy shrimp scampi recipe! This quick 20-minute skillet meal features tender shrimp swimming in an irresistible garlic butter sauce. The perfect classic shrimp scampi recipe for busy weeknights – restaurant quality results with minimal effort.


  • 10-12 large cloves of garlic

  • 4 tablespoons minced parsley

  • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tail optional)

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup salted butter

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 6 tablespoons white wine

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • Prepared pasta or rice for serving


  • Mince the garlic and the parsley and set them aside
  • Make sure the shrimp are defrosted if using frozen shrimp, then season them with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally
  • Once the butter is fully melted, add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes and then sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent burning
  • Pour in the white wine and lemon juice and let it simmer while stirring for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the shrimp in as close to a single layer as possible and cook for 2-3 minutes until just starting to turn pink
  • Flip the shrimp and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until the shrimp are opaque, pink-orange, and fully cooked through
  • Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the chopped fresh parsley
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, adding more lemon, salt, pepper, or red pepper if desired
  • Serve the shrimp immediately over cooked pasta, rice, quinoa, or veggie noodles

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