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This easy shrimp scampi recipe is bursting with the rich flavors of garlic, butter, lemon, and herbs! Toss the shrimp and sauce with plenty of pasta for a meal that looks elegant enough for entertaining, but is ready for the table in less than 20 minutes. Don’t forget a salad and a side of crusty bread!
Shrimp Scampi Recipe
When it comes to easy shrimp recipes, this shrimp scampi is about as simple as it gets! With just a handful of basic ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen, you can whip up a flavorful seafood supper in about 15 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknights!
What is scampi sauce made of?
In the United States, the term “shrimp scampi” refers to an Italian-American dish in which shrimp are served in a sauce made with garlic, lemon, butter and dry white wine. The shrimp and sauce may be tossed with pasta, served over rice, paired with crusty bread, or just offered on their own.
In fact, “scampi” is a type of edible lobster that’s widely found in the Mediterranean and Northeastern Atlantic. Since scampi is not readily available in the United States, Italian immigrants used shrimp as a stand-in for the hard-to-find crustacean, and prepared the shrimp in the scampi-style that they remembered from Italy. What you see here is truly an Americanized version of a more traditional Italian dish.
- Olive oil: to sauté the shrimp.
- Shrimp: use any size shrimp that you like, and don’t forget to peel and devein them before cooking. We like large shrimp or extra large shrimp, but any size works.
- Butter: the base of the scampi sauce.
- Garlic: 3 cloves garlic add great savory flavor to the sauce.
- Dry white wine: substitute with chicken broth for an alcohol-free dish.
- Fresh lemon juice: a nice, bright, acidic addition to the sauce.
- Fresh parsley: for fresh flavor.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: adds a bit of heat. You can omit this ingredient if you don’t like a spicy dish.
What size shrimp for scampi?
You can use any size shrimp that you prefer. Since the shrimp are the star of the show in this recipe, I recommend either “Jumbo” (21-25 count per pound) or “Extra-Large” (26-30 count per pound) shrimp. These larger shrimp are more impressive, have a better flavor, and are “meatier” than their smaller counterparts. They’re also more expensive, so take that into consideration and purchase the size that best fits your budget. If you’re using smaller shrimp, you’ll just need to reduce the cooking time slightly so that they don’t become overdone and tough.
I almost always use frozen shrimp in this recipe. Thaw the shrimp overnight in the refrigerator, or place the frozen shrimp in a colander and run under cold water until thawed. Quick and easy!
The Best Pasta to Use for Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp scampi with pasta is a classic combination! Good options include angel hair pasta, spaghetti, and linguine. You can even use zucchini noodles if you’re looking for a low-carb option!
The Best White Wine for Cooking Shrimp Scampi
Since the wine adds a good amount of flavor to the scampi sauce, make sure to choose a good-quality wine that you actually enjoy drinking. Try a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, or use Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. Avoid sweet wines.
How to Make Shrimp Scampi
This dinner comes together very quickly, so it’s important to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. Peel and de-vein the shrimp (if it’s not already done for you), get the pasta water boiling, chop up your garlic, and let’s get started!
- Cook Shrimp. Cook the shrimp in olive oil until pink — about 2 minutes.
- Make Scampi Sauce. Remove the shrimp to a plate and use the same skillet to make the sauce with the garlic, wine, lemon juice, butter, and parsley. Add crushed red pepper flakes for some heat, if you like.
- Add Shrimp. Return the shrimp to the pan and stir to coat with the sauce. Taste and season with kosher salt and ground black pepper, garnish with Parmesan or additional chopped fresh parsley, and serve!
What to Serve with Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp scampi with pasta is a match made in heaven! The linguine or angel hair soaks up the garlic butter sauce, making every bite a decadent treat. If you prefer, you can also serve the shrimp over rice or with a big hunk of warm, crusty bread, baguette, focaccia, garlic bread, or garlic breadsticks to soak up the flavorful sauce.
On the side, try a Caesar salad, mixed greens tossed with Dijon vinaigrette, roasted broccoli, Parmesan roasted cauliflower, sauteed spinach, sauteed zucchini, roasted green beans, roasted yellow summer squash, or a garlic Parmesan zucchini casserole.
Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. You can also freeze the leftover shrimp and sauce for up to 2 months. Do not freeze cooked pasta with the shrimp, though. The pasta will be mushy and gummy when thawed.
- Easy Shrimp Scampi without Wine: I prefer the flavor of a dry white wine in this sauce, but you can omit the wine and substitute with an equal amount of low-sodium chicken broth if you’re looking for an alcohol-free option.
- Use Cooked Shrimp: If you have some pre-cooked shrimp on hand, those will work in this recipe, too! Simply prepare the garlic butter sauce (including the olive oil in the skillet with the butter). Add the cooked shrimp to the sauce during the final couple of minutes, just to warm through. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they will become tough and chewy.
- Parsley brightens up the dish, giving it flavor and color. You can add other herbs of choice, if you like. Chives, thyme, basil, and oregano would all work well.
- Make it spicy by adding more crushed red pepper flakes.
Tips for the Best Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- Prepare all of your ingredients in advance. Make sure that the shrimp are peeled and deveined, the garlic is minced, and your pasta water is boiling. This recipe comes together very quickly!
- Use a dry white wine for the sauce — nothing sweet. The dry wine goes best with the savory garlic butter and herb flavors in the dish.
- Keep a close eye on the shrimp. The total cooking time will vary depending on the size of your shrimp, so remove them from the skillet as soon as they are pink and opaque. If you overcook shrimp, they become rubbery and tough — not ideal!
More Easy Shrimp Recipes to Try
- Crispy Fried Shrimp
- Shrimp with Ravioli
- Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Shrimp and Sausage Pasta
- Greek Salad with Shrimp
- New England Shrimp Rolls
- Garlic Butter Shrimp with Old Bay
- Shrimp Pasta Salad
- New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp
- Southern Shrimp and Grits
- Marinated Grilled Shrimp
- Grilled Honey Lime Shrimp
- Shrimp Dip
- Shrimp Cocktail
Easy Shrimp Scampi
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic (about 3 cloves)
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Optional garnish: grated Parmesan cheese; additional chopped parsley
- For serving: cooked pasta, rice, or bread
- Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Add shrimp and cook in a single layer until pink on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp to a bowl.
- Reduce heat to medium; add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant – about 15-30 seconds. Add wine and lemon juice; bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, parsley and crushed red pepper flakes, just until the butter melts (about 1 minute). Remove from the heat; taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat in the sauce.
- Serve with pasta, rice or crusty bread to soak up the sauce. Garnish with grated Parmesan and additional parsley, if desired.
This recipe was originally published in November, 2020. The photos were updated in July, 2022.