Cilantro Lime Shrimp

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.

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


  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, canola oil, or rice bran 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 tablespoons lime juice


1 Heat oil until shimmering hot: 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. 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.

3 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-method-1 cilantro-lime-shrimp-method-2

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

Cilantro Lime Shrimp cilantro-lime-shrimp-method-4

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

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  • Deborah

    Absolutely delicious. Light and fresh! My husband asked me to make this again.


  • Lisa

    This recipe is FABULOUS! I made it last night for dinner and all 5 kids (ages 10 – 20) gave it a thumbs up. It is my new go-to easy, weekday recipe. So simple and fast. I served with orzo because that’s what I had in the pantry but it would be great with rice or linguini too. Thanks Elise!


  • Yvonne

    This shrimp dish was easy, quick, and so tasty! Myself and my husband love this dish! Thank you!


  • Leslie

    Elise…your recipes NEVER fail me. I have subscribed for years, and I love your ‘taste’ in food! (and your mom and dad are FAB too).

    I just used this recipe for the shrimp marinade, that I subsequently grilled. My hubs was so happy with his Father’s Day lunch! DELICIOUS Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos!

    I grilled some corn and cut it from the cob, shredded some cabbage, diced a red onion, made a lime cilantro dressing, and put these babies in a grilled tortilla…so yummo!

    (I also made your turkey burgers last night…with the basil and oregano?…OMGoodness!!! So wonderful).

    Thanks again,


    • Leslie

      I forgot to mention the only thing I changed was the chili. I have a daughter that cannot take ‘heat’. I did add a bit of Sriracha to it as I could control that better.

  • Aaron

    This was tasty and quick (except for cleaning the shrimp–that took about 45 minutes, as this shrimp needed cleaning on both sides).


    1. The peppers started burning within about 15-20 seconds. Move quickly with the next step (putting in the shrimp).
    2. Definitely put in 2 tbs of lime juice.
    3. Don’t inhale the fumes during cooking–the serrano pepper burns.
    4. I served it with herb linguini. If you’re doing something similar, I recommend adding some sautéed cherry tomatoes to give it some moisture. I will do that next time.

  • BobLowe

    This was good, but you REALLY have to cook very hot and shrimp are done when browned, not 2-3 minutes.

  • Amy

    I honestly despised this dish because for one, it was WAY too spicy! And second, while you are making this dish, the scent from the Serrano peppers travels throughout the entire home and stings eyes and throats.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Amy, the amount of chiles is always a matter of taste or preference. Also, some chiles are hotter than others! If you happen to have some particularly hot chiles, adjust the amount way down. You can also skip the chiles all together if you want.

  • Kilyena

    This was sooo good! Cooked exactly as recipe stated with no changes and it definitely doesn’t need any. We put them in tortillas along with some grilled onions and Mexican cheese blend and made quesadillas. Topped them off with some homemade guacamole and homemade salsa and sour cream. Our family loved it! My 20 year old daughter says it’s one of her most favorite dinners. The shrimp has such a wonderful flavor to it. This would be good over rice or pasta as well. Elise you have the best recipes love your site it’s one of my favorites.

    So glad you liked them! ~Elise


  • Lynne

    I made this the other night and it was delish. Fresh cilantro from my garden. Thank you for the recipe. Had to substitute the peppers for jalapeno peppers and they worked really well. I like spicy. Good thing too.


  • sue

    really liked this receipe.. i put it in a wrap with rice


  • leah

    Wonderful recipe, so quick and easy. Instead of using fresh cilantro I substituted the pesto from your Cilantro Pesto recipe and it was fantastic. Everyone gave it a thumbs up!

  • Alison

    Really enjoyed this dish. It tasted great and was really quick and easy to make!

  • Christine

    This was fantastic!! Our daughter asked me to make it again for dinner the next night. Thanks for a great recipe.

  • Anne Maxfield

    I make a similar shrimp dish, inspired by something I ate at a roadside joint near Costa Carayes. I cook the shrimp quickly in some melted butter, add a big shot of Frank’s Hot Sauce and then the lime and cilantro to finish. It’s great over rice or in tortillas!

  • Valorie

    This sounds great. I make a tequila lime sauce with cilantro and minced garlic in it to put on shrimp or fish. I also add a little olive oil, honey, salt, pepper and minced jalapeno.

  • 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!

  • gina @ skinnytaste

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