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This shrimp scampi recipe is fast and easy! It tastes unbelievably luxurious using just a handful of ingredients. Bright lemon juice, garlic, and a splash of white wine make it irresistible.
Why you’ll love it
There’s nothing better than making a seafood meal at home that tastes restaurant quality. This easy shrimp scampi is an Italian-American classic, and it’s amazing how combining a few everyday ingredients can make something so special. The whole dish is ready in only 20 minutes!
This buttery lemon and garlic shrimp scampi can be served as a main course or an appetizer, making it a really versatile dish to have in your repertoire. I always serve this simple recipe for guests, and they tell me how gourmet and impressive it is every time.
What does scampi mean?
- It’s an Italian word for a crustacean called langoustine in the lobster family that can be found in Mediterranean waters. In cooking terms, it generally refers to the preparation method, which is sautéing in garlic and butter. Basically, American versions are cooking shrimp in the style of how Italians typically cook scampi because early immigrants didn’t have access to scampi on this side of the Atlantic.
What you’ll need
- Shrimp – I used extra large uncooked frozen shrimp, or 26/30 size shrimp/pound. Smaller will work too, but you’ll need to cook them a little bit less. Most shrimp will come frozen unless you live near an ocean, and even ones at the fish counter at most grocery stores are typically pre-frozen and then thawed, so they’re actually less fresh.
- Butter – the base of the velvety sauce and for pan frying
- Garlic – we’re using plenty of fresh garlic for that punch of savory goodness
- Red pepper flakes – it’s an added layer of flavor with a little gentle warmth but not enough to make this spicy. Don’t skip it!
- Dry white wine – I recommend using pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, or chardonnay. Make sure to use one you would enjoy drinking, and definitely do not use cooking wine.
- Lemon juice – for maximum brightness, always use freshly squeezed
- Parsley – chopped parsley adds a burst of freshness
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- Cooking tongs are so handy for many recipes where you need to turn fish or meat quickly or toss pasta.
- I use this garlic press to mince the garlic. It’s a great time saver since you don’t need to spend time chopping or peeling the cloves!
- I sometimes add lemon zest to this recipe to add even more citrus flavor. I use my Microplane zester/grater to do this.
How to make shrimp scampi
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Thaw the shrimp. Melt half of the butter in a skillet, and then add the shrimp and cook them until pink. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds.
Pour in the wine, letting it bubble for a couple minutes. Stir in the rest of the butter, the lemon juice, and parsley. As soon as the butter melts, take the pan off the heat. Season with salt & pepper as needed.
- The larger the shrimp, the more likely you’re going to want to devein them since it’s more noticeable. Simply make a shallow cut along the back of the shrimp and use the tip of your knife to remove the vein. Eating shrimp without deveining them is fine, though. The Kitchn has a shrimp guide with photos on how to do that if you’re unsure.
- It’s easy to overcook shrimp, so try to stick to the suggested cooking times as best as you can. Shrimp are pink when they’re done, and it doesn’t take long at all. They will continue to cook a little bit when you take them off the heat as well.
- I recommend using uncooked shrimp. They cook quickly, and if you’re using already cooked shrimp, there’s a good chance you’ll turn them rubbery by double cooking them.
- It’s optional to keep the tails on. They’re easier to grab with tails on if you’re going to be serving these as an appetizer. You can remove the tails, though.
Substitutions and variations
- The red pepper flakes don’t make this recipe particularly spicy, but you can definitely leave them out if you prefer.
- If you want more of a herby flavor, add in a dash or two of dried Italian seasoning at the same time as the garlic.
- The white wine adds a decadent quality, but chicken broth can be substituted instead if necessary.
What to serve with shrimp scampi
- Serve it over pasta. I typically use linguine, but angel hair is another traditional pairing.
- Mashed Potatoes or even rice both make fantastic starchy complement for the sauce.
- I also love eating these shrimp with a big slice of fresh crusty bread like a baguette. Try toasting it lightly. It’s perfect for mopping up the sauce! Enjoy with a glass of rosé or prosecco, a Simple Parmesan Arugula Salad, and you’ve got a perfect light meal.
Leftovers and storage
- This and most seafood dishes are best when freshly made, but it’ll keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.
- Reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat very slowly until warmed through, taking care to not accidentally overcook the shrimp.
- I wouldn’t recommend freezing leftover shrimp scampi.
If you made my version of shrimp scampi, please leave a star rating and review below! Tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you made any of my recipes.
Quick and Easy Shrimp Scampi
- 1 pound uncooked extra large (26-30/lb. size) shrimp thawed & peeled, tails optional
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) divided
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Prep your shrimp (if frozen, add them to a colander and run under cool water until thawed). Since these are large shrimp, you may want to devein them as well (see blog post for tips on that). I recommend prepping every ingredient ahead of time since this recipe goes quick.
- Melt half the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook for 1 minute/side. I use cooking tongs to flip them quickly.
- Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the wine and let it bubble for 2 minutes.
- Add in the rest of the butter and the lemon juice and parsley. Once the butter melts, give it a stir and take the pan off the heat. Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately.
- You can use different size shrimp than suggested. Cooking time may need to be adjusted a bit if they’re much smaller or much bigger than 26/30 size.
- The red pepper flakes give the recipe a slight kick, but feel free to omit them if you prefer.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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This recipe was originally published on June 20, 2018. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!