Peppery Garlic Shrimp

Marinate shrimp in garlic, pepper, lemon juice, and brandy, then quickly sauté and serve over rice with a sprinkling of parsley. It’s a fast and easy weeknight dinner everyone will love!

Peppery Garlic Prawns
Elise Bauer

My friends are so very patient with me.

BFF Steve-Anna first emailed me this spicy, peppery shrimp recipe, a favorite of hers, four years ago. And then again, at least two or three more times, when I declared I couldn't find it, and would she please-pretty-please send it again.

Hey Stevie, we finally made it! Just in time for Lent.

Dang, what took us so long? Love the shrimp! It certainly packs a punch though, with all of the black pepper the recipe asks for. Feel free to cut back on the pepper to tone it down a bit.

Peppery Garlic Shrimp over white rice
Elise Bauer

Ingredient Substitutions for Garlic Shrimp

The recipe also calls for a tablespoon of brandy. This I think is an essential ingredient for the recipe. (Actually with so few ingredients, they're all essential.)

There is no substitute. If you simply cannot cook with alcohol, add a dab of butter to the olive oil. It will change the flavor of the finished dish, but it should still taste great.

This dish goes well over white basmati rice (be sure to drizzle extra sauce from the pan over the rice), snow peas or sugar snap peas, and some French bread to soak up the garlic sauce.

Can You Prep the Shrimp in Advance?

Generally, it's best to prepare raw shrimp on the day you're planning to use it, but since this recipe involves a marinade you can do a little prep in advance. Mix the marinade ingredients and allow the shrimp to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight. Then, cook the shrimp right before you're ready to serve it.

We don't recommend freezing the marinated shrimp in advance, as most shrimp has been previously frozen and refreezing would degrade the quality.

Want More Sauce? Here's How!

Some readers have found that they'd like more of the delicious garlic sauce to pour over rice or soak up with bread. For more sauce, after you've removed the shrimp from the pan, you can either add more lemon juice and/or brandy or even just a few tablespoons of water to the pan and let it simmer until the sauce has reduced a bit.

What to Serve with Peppery Garlic Shrimp

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Peppery Garlic Shrimp

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Marinating 60 mins
Total Time 75 mins
Servings 2 to 3 servings

Crushing the peppercorns can be done with a mortar and pestle. Or if you don't have a mortar and pestle, place the whole peppercorns in a small zip top bag and place that bag inside another zip top bag and smash with a hammer. Do this on a hard surface (not directly on your countertop), if done on a wood surface, it can leave dents. The bag will also tear a bit, so take care not to lose the crushed pepper (why you double bag it). If you don't like the strong black pepper taste, you can back off a bit and it's still great.

Trader Joe's has great frozen uncooked, shrimp, shelled and de-veined with tails on. To defrost frozen shrimp, place in a bowl of ice water in the refrigerator.


  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Marinate the shrimp:

    Mix together the crushed garlic, salt, crushed peppercorns, lemon juice and brandy. Add the shrimp and marinate at least an hour or up to overnight in the fridge.

  2. Sauté the shrimp:

    Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. Add the shrimp and garlic mixture and cook quickly, tossing the shrimp. The longer the shrimp has been marinating, the less time it takes to cook.

    Cook until the shrimp has turned opaque (generally only 2-3 minutes).

    Garnish with chopped parsley.

Elise Bauer