Shrimp Scampi

Do you have a favorite meal for those need-something-quick-and-don’t-want-to-have-to-plan-or-work-too-hard days? I like keeping a bag of shrimp in the freezer just for those times. I’ll put some frozen shrimp in a bowl of ice water, and if I’m serving them with pasta, by the time the pasta water has come to a boil the shrimp are defrosted enough to cook. Shrimp scampi has to be one of the easiest ways to quickly prepare shrimp. We simply sauté the shrimp with garlic in butter and olive oil, splash it with white wine, let the wine reduce while the shrimp cooks, and then toss it with fresh parsley, lemon juice and black pepper.

Shrimp Scampi Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost them quickly and safely by putting the shrimp in a large bowl of ice water.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large (16-20 count) shrimp, shelled* and de-veined, tail-on for presentation if you want
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, slivered, or 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

* Whether you prepare the shrimp shell on or off is really up to you. Cooking the shrimp with the shells still on will impart more flavor, but they are much messier to eat. Shelling the shrimp before cooking them will make the shrimp a lot easier to eat and you can save the shells for shellfish stock if you want.

Method

1 Heat a sauté pan on high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter melts, foams up and subsides, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. If using unsalted butter, sprinkle with salt. Sauté for a minute, or until you see the edges of some of the garlic just beginning to brown.

2 As soon as the garlic begins to brown, add the shrimp to the pan. Then add the white wine and stir to combine and coat the shrimp with the butter, oil, and wine. Spread the shrimp out in an even layer in the pan. Increase the heat to the highest setting and let the wine boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes.

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3 Turn the shrimp over, or toss them so the cooked sides are mostly facing up, and boil the wine for another minute. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and toss to combine. Add the lemon juice and black pepper.

Serve alone, with crusty bread, over pasta, or over rice (for gluten-free version).

38 Comments

  1. Kath

    I love your idea of keeping frozen shrimp in the freezer and then defrosting them in ice water for a quick meal! We love scampi and almost always have the other ingredients on hand. I’ll have to stock up on some frozen shrimp!

  2. Mary at Deep South Dish

    Very nice!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dish but since we are right on the Gulf Coast & a shrimping family it’s never a quick & easy dish for me since it means peeling & deveining the shrimp myself! But they are freshly frozen Gulf shrimp, so it’s worth every ounce of the trouble. :) Carbonara is probably my favorite need-something-quick-and-don’t-want-to-have-to-plan-or-work-too-hard pasta dish. Fast easy & delish!

  3. Chi Anh @ Door To My Kitchen

    I love Shrimp Scampi but never got down to doing it. I always have a problem with sauteeing things in white wine – it ends up smelling/tasting sour-ish. Is that how it’s supposed to taste like, or am I using the wrong wine? I used mostly Savignon Blanc & Chardonnay.

    Make sure to use a white wine you like to drink. I usually use a Sauvignon Blanc, preferably from New Zealand. A dry white wine will be lightly acidic, but this balances out the butter and the natural sweetness of the shrimp. ~Elise

  4. Lisa

    This is the exact recipe I use for scampi, minus the red pepper flakes. It is so easy and so yummy! I also keep a bag of frozen cooked shrimp in the freezer for an emergency meal. Sure comes in handy for those evenings when I can’t think of anything else to make!

  5. Ascanio

    I don’t get the “shrimps scampi” name: “scampi” means “shrimps”, it’s just the italian word. Like to say “shrimps shrimps”. ?

    I know, weird, eh? I assume it’s just an Americanism. ~Elise

  6. Clive Litchfield

    I hate to be pedantic but being an Italian speaker I can tell you that the word ‘scampi’ is not the Italian word for shrimp, the Italian word for shrimp is gamberetto (plural – gamberetti). The word ‘scampi’ is a word claimed to have been made up in 1946 by a British frozen seafood company called Young’s in order to sell frozen Norwegian lobster tails (nephrops norvegicus) to the general public.

    However, the recipe looks great!

  7. Sue

    It looks and sounds wonderful! I want to try it soon, but can it be made without the wine?

    You can use clam juice or chicken stock instead of wine. ~Elise

  8. Susan

    Ha! I never knew what scampi meant so I concluded from a recipe for it that it was a style of cooking shrimp. Whatever it means literally, it has long since become generic for sauteing shrimp quickly in butter, garlic and white wine…and I love it! Next time I make it, I will add the pepper flakes for a little kick! Thanks, Elise.

  9. question

    The recipe is wonderful & I enjoy the red pepper flakes:) I thought the following might be helpful: Lidia Bastianich describes “scampi” as the Italian name for a particular type of Mediterranean shellfish usually prepared with butter, wine & garlic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nephrops_norvegicus So in her restaurants, she prepares “shrimp in the style of scampi”. Whatever – mangia:)

  10. Warren

    I don’t like the tails on my shrimp. Is it ok to remove them prior to cooking? Will they still cook properly?

    Yes, you can certainly remove them. We just left them on for looks. ~Elise

  11. shaz

    This sounds delicious and easy. Is there a good way to incorporate cream for a creamy scampi?

    I think you could add a little cream at the end, maybe just a tablespoon or two, and after you remove the pan from the heat. With the acidity in the wine, you do risk curdling, so you might want to temper the cream first with a little of the hot sauce, then add the cream to the sauce. ~Elise

  12. Betty

    You could lighten this up a bit by omitting the butter and olive oil. Just spray the pan with butter flavor cooking spray, heat up the garlic, add some oregano, toss in the shrimp and add some chicken broth (fat free low sodium works well) add the wine and pepper and cook down as you normally would, if you want to thicken a bit, add some corn starch dissolved in chicken broth just before serving.

  13. Kim

    I typically add garlic and green onion to the mix. But we don’t really eat shrimp anymore, because of aquaculture concerns. Recently our local grocery had local wild-caught US shrimp, though, and we enjoyed them simply sauteed with some fish blackening spice. Great flavor!

  14. Lady Amalthea

    Shrimp scampi is always the standard dish I order in Italian restaurants!

    Question about defrosting the shrimp: putting them directly in a bowl of ice water, they don’t get waterlogged? I always do mine in the refrigerator (beginning the night before) but of course that requires advance planning. Thanks!

    Never heard of them getting water logged, and it hasn’t been an issue for me. ~Elise

  15. Michael

    My butter seems to brown/burn at medium high heat on our gas stove. Is that typical?

    Adding oil should raise the burning point (which is why we call for a mixture of oil and butter). It could be that you have a higher than normal BTU stove, in which case you should just lower the heat a bit. ~Elise

  16. Filipa

    Yum YUM YUM!!! I tried it with some fresh corriander and diced tomatoes and it was fabulous. I make an easy ‘budget’ pasta dish with similar flavours using frozen peeled prawns. It’s good for a 15 minute midweek meal.

  17. Don

    Accolades, Elise. If I may, a recommendation ref bruwning butter: I use ghee, which is clsrified butter that can be home made, or in my csse, I get at local oriental market.

  18. John Watson

    Aloha Elise- I love the reminder of a delicate gourmet dish that can be made at home easily. I too get my Shrimp at Trader Joe’s and always prefer raw. Ever since I had the most delicious butterflied Garlic Shrimp at Mandarin Gourmet (closed) I have butterflied my Shrimp to get all that sauce on as much Shrimp as possible. I bring this up because I have never seen a recipe photo done like this. I will try doing half butterflied next time and compare. Ciao!

    p.s. Scampi: “A room full of Wall Street brokers”

  19. Mary Furness

    Have always loved shrimp scampi–it was a favorite of my dad’s back in the day. When I saw this recipe I wanted to make it this evening, but with temps in the high 80′s here in Missouri, didn’t want to heat up the kitchen…so–made the sauce, then fired up the grill and brushed on the sauce as I grilled the shrimp!! Worked beautifully! Drizzled the rest of the sauce over the finished product…delicious!

  20. Elaine

    We enjoy Shrimp Scampi so much and I always have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you.

  21. Jeanne

    I tried this last week after a long work day and my husband and 2 year old son loved it. Plan to make it again this week. I think it will become a staple. Love your website, Elise!

  22. Jane

    I have looked at this recipe several times, and for some reason I chose to follow another elsewhere. Tonight, with a bowl of defrosted shrimp and not much time, I decided to go for it. WOW, I totally absolutely LOVE the flavor the combo of ingredients produces. I’m not usually a “measuring” kinda cook, but I sensed it was important in this recipe. Served over a wee pile of angel hair with a side of creamed spinach (hey, try it) and we both were over the moon. Thanks! I should have tried it the first time I saw it! You have such a way of creating/finding/sharing simple, healthy, and deeeelish recipes. I use many of them as my “go to” guides. Happy Thanksgiving from MA, and many blessings to you and your family.

  23. Pat Fultz

    I made this receipe last night. This was so easy and yet so delicous. This is definetely going into my permanent receipe folder. I served with a salad because I watching my carbs. I will put this over rice with almonds on one of my carb days. Thank you so much simply receipes.

  24. Tasha

    Excellent recipe. Served over rice with a side of green beans sautéed in olive oil, garlic and hot pepper flakes. Thank you for sharing!

  25. Ms. Kelly

    This recipe was delicious!!! This was my first time making shrimp scampi. I added chardonnay as the wine and basil instead of parsley (because I already had it at home;)) Thumbs up!

  26. nicole

    Oh my gosh..this was delicious! after the butter and olive oil do what they are suppose to do..and before I added the garlic…I had shaved up one shallot and some green onion…I added that first and let it cook for about 3 minutes and then I added the garlic and went from there. The red pepper was a bit to spicy for me, so I will cut down on that next time, at the end, I also added a touch of seasonal salt. This was so good and flavorful. Definitely a keeper! Thanks for posting this :)

  27. Carol

    I love Shrimp Scampi. I never made it before myself until tonight when I used this recipe. The red pepper flakes were a great addition and made it taste just perfect! The only white wine we had in the house was riesling and it worked really, really well for our tastes. I’m glad we had a mild winter and had fresh parsley growing right outside. Thanks, Elise, for a great recipe I will use again and again!

  28. Nadia

    Such a quick and easy, yet delicious recipe!! I love shrimp, although I did not have red pepper flakes on hand this time, it turned out just right.

  29. Claudette

    I loved throwing this together, it was so fast! and savory. White wine is rarely on hand here, so I raided my husband’s martini bar and used dry vermouth, excellent.

    • Elise

      Hi Max,
      Shrimp scampi is best with white wine. Red wine tends to be a little too strong for the shrimp. But if that’s what you have, use it, and see how it turns out! Either way you’ll know for the next time. Add the salt with the butter if you are using unsalted butter. If you are using salted butter, skip the additional salt.

  30. Tanner

    Just made it. Perfection. Added a few tomatoes from the garden at the end just because we are overrun. Thanks for another great recipe!

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