Smoky Paprika Shrimp Skewers


Shrimp marinated in a spicy paprika garlic sauce, threaded onto bamboo skewers and grilled.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My dear friend, the ebullient, smiley, and somewhat wacky Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites has a new “schtick”, namely, food on a stick. On a Stick! is Matt’s new cookbook, aimed at the party crowd, and filled with every conceivable food one could put on a stick. There are the expected—kebabs, corn dogs and popsicles—and the whimsical—jello shots, potato chips, and my visual favorite, spaghetti and meatballs. All on a stick. It’s a seriously fun book, and even if you don’t ever try to make some of the more unusual stick foods, just the idea of them may make you smile.

At my last somewhat larger than normal gathering at my house, I decided to try out a few recipes from Matt’s book. This paprika marinated shrimp skewer recipe is the one that we all decided we liked the most. Spicy, smokey, garlicky, with sprinkle of lime. Best part? It was dead easy to make. Cooking for groups larger than say, 2 or 4, tends to fluster me, so when it comes to party food, for me the simpler the better. But those days of just putting out some salsa and chips are long gone. People have higher expectations! Even my parents. If I don’t tempt them with something good, they’ll just stay at home, where they know the food is good. They loved Matt’s shrimp, and went back for seconds.

Smoky Paprika Shrimp Skewers Recipe

  • Prep time: 40 minutes
  • Cook time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost them safely by putting them in to a bowl of ice water.


  • 2 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb of large shrimp, cleaned and peeled, tails on
  • Bamboo skewers


1 Soak the skewers in water for at least a half an hour before grilling.

2 In a large bowl whisk together the spices—the paprikas, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper—and the lime juice and olive oil. Add the shrimp and toss to coat with the marinade. Keep chilled for half an hour to an hour.

3 Prepare grill for medium-high direct heat, or heat a grill pan. Thread the shrimp onto skewers (it helps to double thread with two skewers at a time to make it easier to turn over on the grill). Baste the grill grates with some olive oil so that the shrimp don't stick to the grill. Grill or cook a few minutes per side (2-4, depending on the size of the shrimp), until the shrimp are just cooked through. Remove from grill and serve immediately.

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Looking for more food on a stick? Check out Bakerella Angie Dudley's cake pops.

Showing 4 of 18 Comments / Reviews

  • Lida

    If I just have regular Paprika; Would I use 4 Tablespoons of that?

    Yes. Though I strongly urge you to track down some smoked paprika. Or maybe add a drop of liquid smoke to the marinade. The smokiness of the paprika is what makes this recipe special. ~Elise

  • Steph

    The shrimp sound great. Do you have a suggested dipping sauce for the shrimp?

    I don’t actually. I think a squirt of lime juice at serving would work great. ~Elise

  • Garrett

    These were crazy good. I only wish we had made more. Matt’s book is one of the most unique pieces of food cookery to come out this year and worth getting a copy of.

  • Matt

    These look absolutely phenomenal… smoked paprika is one of my favorite spices – by far. I’d imagine these would be great over rice for a complete dinner.

  • Darren Tran

    (In response to one of your replies on using liquid smoke to add to the paprika because I don’t know how to comment on comments lol)

    That’s brilliant! I never seem to have smoked paprika on hand because I barely use it (shame I know)… will try using liquid smoke with it a try!

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