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.

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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.

The 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 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons 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 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound 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 Marinate the shrimp: 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 Grill the shrimp: 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 the shrimp 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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20 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Ann

    I’m making these shrimp again for dinner and had to remember to write a review. This recipe is a definite favorite in our house! I’ll grill them in my mesh grill basket and add them to a Southwestern-ish salad (Romaine, BBQ ranch dressing, black beans, corn, red pepper, green onion, shredded cheese and crispy tortilla strips; add avocado if you’d like). Thanks for this great shrimp recipe, which works for a variety of meals!!


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  2. Adam Erickson

    5 stars for this recipe – I also used the marinade for some fresh squash out of my garden and it was awesome.

    This recipe tastes similar to a dish served at one of my favorite Persian restaurants. The only thing missing is a REALLY good lemon rice recipe…any chance you have a recipe Elise? I haven’t been able to duplicate the light, fluffy and buttery goodness of their lemon rice (garnished with a light sprinkle of smoked paprika).


  3. Jenny

    Love the look of these. Do you think they’d be okay sitting in the marinade for longer (closer to 4 hrs)?

    Well, the acid in the lime juice will begin to “cook” them, like ceviche, if you leave them in the marinade too long, so you may want to leave the lime juice out of the marinade until closer to the end of your marinating time. ~Elise

  4. Rose

    We cooked these in our new mesh grill pan for dinner last night. We were a little concerned because the marinade was so thick, but the end result was fabulous. We served with some crusty bread and a simple tomato, cucumber and red onion salad. We’ll definitely try this again.


  5. Janet

    These were seriously fabulous, and so easy. Three of us chowed down the whole pound for dinner and wanted more! Thanks for your great recipes.


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