Quick and easy Shrimp Scampi is on the table in 30 minutes! So buttery and delicious, the whole family will love it. Great with pasta, rice, or bread.
For a super Sunday supper, you could go all out and serve luscious garlic shrimp with Stuffed Artichokes and freshly baked Focaccia Bread. No matter how jam packed the weekend, everyone loves Italian recipes. Want to tackle something bigger? This Eggplant Parmesan is hands down delicious.
Yes, it’s old school, but in the best way possible. Classic shrimp scampi never goes out of style. In Italy, scampi refer to small lobsters or prawns. But in the United States, scampi sauce is simply a warm garlic butter sauce. Technically, you can scampi-fy anything, but people seem to love it on shrimp the best. That’s why it’s the number one dish at Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Morton’s.
This easy recipe is ready to eat in no time at all–only about 20 minutes–and tastes better than any restaurant version. Whip up a batch for an amazing appetizer at your next dinner party. Toss it with angel hair pasta, linguini, or even zucchini zoodles for a low-carb feast. Or just eat it standing at the counter straight from the pan, as soon as it’s done, on a Thursday night. It’ll be our little secret!
If you can’t get enough garlic, feel free to add more. I added a splash of white wine and lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice to make every tender shrimp sparkle.
Making Shrimp Scampi for two, or twelve? Just click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Scampi sauce ingredients:
- Olive oil.
- Lemon zest.
- White wine. Use a dry, unoaked white, like a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. If you want scampi without wine, use chicken broth instead.
- Red pepper flakes. Totally optional, but completely delicious!
- Lemon juice.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper.
The best shrimp for scampi:
This is up to you and your budget, as well as how many you plan to feed. The smaller the shrimp, the more per pound, and the more per serving. “Large” shrimp are usually 31-35 per pound, so don’t skimp on the shrimp!
Frozen, peeled shrimp are perfectly fine for the recipe. Thaw shrimp overnight in the refrigerator, right in the bag, using a tray or bowl to catch any drips.
If you’re in a hurry, dump the frozen shrimp into a bowl and place in the sink. Turn on the faucet and let a thin stream of cold water (not warm) run into the bowl and overflow over the sides. The shrimp should thaw in a few minutes.
How to make Shrimp Scampi from scratch:
- To start, melt half the butter and all of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Then add the garlic and lemon zest and give it a quick stir.
- Next, add the white wine, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and some salt and pepper. Bring the butter mixture to a boil. Then add the shrimp, cover the skillet, and cook until the shrimp are slightly translucent—in just a couple minutes.
- After that, reduce the heat and continue to cook the shrimp until just cooked through—only another couple of minutes.
- Finally, take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining butter and lemon juice. Dip your pinky in the sauce, and adjust the salt and pepper, if you think it needs more. Then sprinkle some parsley over the shrimp and break some bread!
Tips for the best Shrimp Scampi:
- Thaw your shrimp. Don’t start with frozen or semi-frozen shrimp. They’ll cook unevenly and you won’t be happy.
- Salt matters. If you haven’t already made the switch, go with a Kosher salt or good quality sea salt instead of table salt. Kosher salt tends to be less “salty” and has a cleaner flavor, which will let the shrimp flavor shine.
- Amp up the garlic. Love extra garlic? Try this: grate a couple extra cloves into the bowl of raw shrimp with a pinch of salt. Toss and chill for about half an hour. The shrimp will soak up the garlic and make every bite that much more flavorful.
- Add an onion. If you’re using pasta, gently soften a chopped shallot in the olive oil and butter before adding the shrimp.
- Pasta water. Hold onto about a cup of the starchy water the pasta cooked in. When you toss the noodles and shrimp together in the skillet, pour in ¼ to ½ cup. It will help the sauce coat the noodles.
Other fantastic Shrimp Scampi variations:
- Asparagus. If it’s in season, spring asparagus are a natural with this recipe. Add chopped asparagus to the recipe, gently sautéing in the butter and oil– or roast it and serve it on the side.
- Healthy scampi. It’s hard to leave the butter out in this recipe. But you can serve over zucchini ribbons or roasted broccoli and have a big green salad on the side!
- Rice. Fluffy Baked Rice makes you feel like you’re in scampi heaven, with every bite a cloud. Or make Lemon Rice Pilaf, especially if you love extra lemon.
- Grilled shrimp scampi. Plunk your biggest cast iron skillet right on the grates and do it on the grill! You can skewer the shrimp to get them started, then add them to the butter sauce to finish them up.
Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- 4 tablespoons butter divided (½ stick)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds large shrimp peeled, tails on
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil and heat until butter is melted. Stir in the garlic and lemon zest until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the wine, red pepper flakes if using, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper). Bring to boil. Add the shrimp, cover, and cook until the shrimp are slightly translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley. Serve with pasta, rice, or crusty bread if desired.