Cilantro Lime Shrimp

One of the things I love about shrimp is that it cooks up so quickly on the stovetop, perfect when you have hot weather and you don’t want to use the oven, or have the stove going too long. Case in point, this cilantro lime shrimp.

If you have shrimp fresh and ready to go, it takes 10 or 15 minutes to cook, tops. If you are starting with frozen shrimp, maybe you have to add another 10 minutes to defrost it. Cilantro and lime are one of those master combinations, which works well with steak, chicken, fish, and especially shrimp.

Start with few slices of serrano chiles and garlic in a little oil in a hot pan. Toss in the shrimp, stir a little, cook a little, and when the shrimp are pink, turn off the heat and add the cilantro and lime. That’s it! Couldn’t be easier, and now you have a perfect little light meal. I like to wrap mine in a heated tortilla. So good!

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4

If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost them by placing them in a bowl of ice water or cold water. Adding a little salt to the water will help the shrimp retain their briny flavor.



  • 2 Tbsp high smoke point oil such as grape seed oil, or canola oil
  • 1  Serrano chile (more if you like it spicy, or just a fraction of one if you want less heat), sliced into thin rings
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 Tbsp lime juice


1 Place a large sauté pan or a wok over your strongest burner on high heat. Let the pan heat up for a minute and then add the oil. Use a high smoke point oil since you will be cooking the shrimp on very high heat. Let the oil heat until it's shimmering. If it starts to smoke, remove the pan from the heat for a moment.

2 Add the chiles to the pan and toss to coat with oil. Cook 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and garlic to the pan and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat with oil. Let the shrimp cook undisturbed for 1 minute before tossing again so they get a little bit of a sear. Stir-fry until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.

cilantro-lime-shrimp-1.jpg cilantro-lime-shrimp-2.jpg
cilantro-lime-shrimp-3.jpg cilantro-lime-shrimp-4.jpg

3 Turn off the heat and mix in the cilantro, then the lime juice.

Serve hot or at room temperature. Serve alone, over rice, or in a folded heated flour or corn tortilla.

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Tomato-Cilantro Shrimp - from The Kitchn

Grilled Tequila Lime Shrimp - from Use Real Butter

Pickled Shrimp with Lime - from Homesick Texan

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

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Showing 4 of 21 Comments

  • gina @ skinnytaste

    I love Cilantro Lime Shrimp! It’s a staple in my home, love your version with the spicy peppers!

  • Lee

    Very similar to something I make called Margarita Shrimp. Just before the shrimp are finished, add a little tequila and light. Once the alcohol is finished cooking out, add the lime and cilantro. Serve hot over rice and beans and garnished with diced mangoes or cold in margarita glasses garnished with salt and lime wedges!

  • Lisa H.

    This looks perfect. Having it tonight with brown rice, Thanks Elise, you post the best recipes!

  • Sally

    That sounds delicious! Lee’s version sounds good, too.

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