Friday, December 14, 2012

Easy Garlic and Lemon Shrimp Recipe (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

Extra-large shrimp, simply sauteed with garlic and lemon, the result is this Easy Garlic and Lemon Shrimp for a quick dinner!

Easy Garlic and Lemon Shrimp

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.   This Easy Garlic and Lemon Shrimp couldn't be any simpler to make, but the taste is special enough that you can serve it for any kind of occasion.)

I grew up in a family where my father loved shrimp and my mother hated them, and it was a sign of how much my mom loved my dad that periodically she would heat up a big pot of oil and make deep-fried shrimp for Dad and the other family members who liked it.  I was always daddy's girl, so I loved everything my father ate, including rare steak, Roquefort dressing on salad, onion sandwiches, and shrimp of any kind.  When you splurge on big shrimp like these (called prawns in many places) there are many good ways to serve them, but I loved this simple recipe of shrimp sauteed with minced fresh garlic and then served with lemon juice and lemon zest added at the very end.

The inspiring recipe sauteed the shrimp in 3 tablespoons of melted butter, which no doubt would taste fantastic.  I could have used all olive oil, but let me confess immediately to any South Beach dieters who are reading this that I did use one tablespoon of butter along with two tablespoons of olive oil in the version I made.  That's less than 1 tsp. of butter per serving, and then you're only eating the amount of butter that clings to the shrimp, since a lot of it is left in the pan.  I certainly wouldn't worry about that much butter, but you can use all olive oil if you prefer.

I used 21-25 count shrimp, which seemed good for this recipe.  Let the shrimp thaw overnight in the refrigerator the day before you're going to cook them.  (Buy pre-peeled shrimp or peel them when they have thawed.)

 Zest and juice the lemon and mince the garlic so it's ready when you start to cook the shrimp.

Heat the olive oil and melt the butter over medium-high heat.  I used a pan that was nice enough it could be used to serve the shrimp.

When the oil/butter is hot, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until they just start to look pink on the edges.  This won't take more than 1-2 minutes.

Turn all the shrimp over and add the garlic.  Continue to cook until shrimp are done, not more than 3-4 minutes more.

Turn off heat as soon as the shrimp are barely firm and add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and a tiny bit of salt if desired.  Serve hot.

Easy Garlic and Lemon Shrimp
(Makes 4 servings; recipe adapted slightly from Giant Garlic Shrimp in Sunset Magazine Best Recipes 2012, but I could not find the recipe online.)

1 lb. jumbo shrimp, thawed if frozen (I used 21-25 per pound size, which was good for this recipe.  Buy pre-peeled shrimp or peel them when they have thawed.)
2 T olive oil
1 T butter
2 T finely minced garlic
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 T lemon zest (or a little less if you're not that fond of lemon zest)
sea salt to taste (I did not use much salt)

If using frozen shrimp thaw them over night in the refrigerator.  Drain shrimp and pat dry.

Zest one large lemon and then squeeze the juice, to yield at least 2 T juice and close to 1 T lemon zest.  Finely mince garlic cloves to make 2 T minced garlic.

Heat the oil over medium high heat and then melt the butter, using a large heavy pan.  (I used a pan that was nice enough to serve the shrimp from, which helps keep them hot.)  Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook just until they start to turn pink at the edges, not more than 1-2 minutes.  

Turn shrimp over quickly and add the minced garlic.  Continue to cook until shrimp are barely firm, probably not more than 3-4 minutes more.  (Don't overcook; the shrimp will continue to cook a little in the hot pan.)  Turn off heat and add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt as desired and stir to coat shrimp.  Serve immediately.

South Beach Suggestions:
Shrimp are a wonderful ingredient for any phase of the South Beach Diet.  I did use a little butter for flavor in this recipe, but it is less than 1 tsp. of butter per serving, and a lot of butter will be left in the pan.  Personally I would not worry about that, but I'm sure this would also be delicious if you made it with all olive oil and skipped the butter.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. 

More Tasty Ways to Cook Shrimp:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Super Simple Shrimp Tacos from Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies

Quick and Easy Spicy Broiled Shrimp from Kalyn's Kitchen

Shrimp Creole from Andrea Meyers

Shrimp with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen

Coconut Shrimp Curry from TasteFood

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. I wouldn't worry about a little butter, especially not if it's clinging to shrimp!

  2. Pam, I like the way you think!

  3. oh wow does this look good! This is probably a dumb question (especially from a fellow food blogger), but what's the easiest way to tell when shrimp are done? I never cook shrimp, but I'd like to start!

  4. Megan, when shrimp cook they turn from a gray color to a pink color, and they're done when they feel BARELY firm when you press down on one. The worst thing you can do is cook them too long.

  5. Looks delicious! I will be making this soon!

  6. I am with you and Dad - Shrimp Lovers UNite!

  7. Kalyn,
    The "Print This Recipe" link doesn't work. :-(

  8. My fave way to eat prawns.

  9. Simple and lovely recipe Kalyn!!

  10. I agree with can't be concerned about 1 tbsp butter in this wild and wacky world in which we live! I love the lemony deliciousness of this!

  11. Adding just a little bit of butter to olive oil makes a huge difference in flavor. I used to be afraid of that butter, in the same way I used to be afraid of using salt appropriately, but now I realize that the benefits are huge and the calorie count? Nothing to worry about when you're talking about a tiny bit of butter. My only problem with this recipe is that I probably would want to eat the whole batch myself and not share!

  12. Love how simple but flavorful this dish sounds. As my kids have gotten older, they have learned to like shrimp. It's expensive, so a rare treat in our house, but I think they would enjoy your recipe.

  13. Ugh, sorry about the printer friendly link, just fixed it. I am losing it lately.

    So glad people are liking this. Trust me, it was worth the butter. Barbara. I can only imagine the prawns in Australia, I bet they are amazing.

  14. Made this for dinner tonight. Yummy and easy. Thanks.

  15. Easy, fast and delicious. It doesn't get any better than this. My family will devour these. Have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

  16. fantastic. Used to make something very much like this, and kind of forgot about it. Nice that a bit of butter won't corrupt us, cause butter does make almost everything better! Thanks Kalyn.

  17. A hit!
    It came together quickly with a great balance of flavors. Served with your amazing sauteed kale and garlic (very easy to prepare these two simultaneously.)
    It more than satisfied my shrimp-loving BF, who said it followed the KISS principle (keep it simple...-- a high compliment from him!) and allowed the shrimp flavor to shine.

    My only question is about when the garlic is added. I'm sure it's added later to prevent it from burning, but the garlic in my dish didn't really cook through or impart as much flavor as I expected. Your thoughts?

  18. Yes, you're right that the garlic is added later to make sure it doesn't burn. Was your garlic very finely minced? Mine was cooked just perfectly in the 3 minutes or so it took for the shrimp to finish. I do have a very powerful stove, I am always having to adjust for that in recipes but I did take that into consideration. Maybe just add the garlic right from the beginning next time if you think you'd like it more done.

  19. This recipe sounds delicious! i am going to make it tomorrow but I dont and wont have easy access to lemons. Is it possible to replace it with limes instead?

  20. I can only guess, but I would imagine it would be pretty good with lime. If you try it, let us know what you think?

  21. I tried this tonight and it was fabulous. I bought the shrimp fresh, brought them home and cooked this. It was so easy and my husband loved it as well. I served it with steamed vegetables. I thought the lemon would be too strong but it was just right.

  22. Anne, so glad you liked it (and jealous that you have fresh shrimp where you live!)

  23. Delicious shrimp recipe! Love all that garlic!

  24. Kalyn, this is definitely what my husband loves about me spending time reading your blog...I get to serve him really awesome treats. Yummy!

  25. Thanks guys, glad you like it!

  26. Looks really tasty! I love shrimp so will have to try it.

    Quick blog related question - how do you get that "print this recipe" link to work? I'm trying to get something similar for my blog but haven't found a nice clean way to do it like you have here.

  27. My printer-friendly recipes are on a separate blog where I copy only the recipe text and then link to it from the original post. It was very labor-intensive when I originally had to do that for 600+ recipes but not bad now to do it each time.

  28. This looks delicious, I just discovered Shrimp and own version. This would be wonderful over grits which with this lovely sauce you would only need salt and pepper in the need for butter.

  29. Cyndy, I'm sure that would taste great. Grits are not recommended for South Beach though, in case anyone is wondering.

  30. I love this recipe!! So simple and TASTY. The only thing I did different was pre-seasoned the shrimp with a little Old Bay & garlic powder. That was only because I seasoned it before I decided to search for a recipe. In any event, it didn't overpower the recipe. I served it over plain angel hair pasta. Soooo good! Thank you for sharing! =)

  31. I don't usually post comments on sites, but I just had to tell you how much I have been enjoying your recipes. This shrimp was AMAZING!!!

  32. Melissa, so glad you have been enjoying the recipes. I love this recipe too; need to make it again!

  33. This a perfect break from all of the heavy holiday food we've been eating lately. Thank you for the link!

  34. Do you peel the shrimp before you cook them?

  35. Diana, I used pre-peeled shrimp. Sorry I didn't make that clear; I will edit the recipe.

  36. Hi Kalyn!
    I was looking for a quick simple light protein to go with some leftover crockpot butternut squash soup and this hit the spot! Lovely bright flavors on this frigid evening! My shrimp cooked rather quickly so I put them in a bowl and poured the liquid from the pan over top and let it "marinate" a bit to absorb more flavor. Exactly what it needed. Thanks so much for all your recipes!

  37. Yum! I can't wait to try your recipe; I will add just a sprinkle of "Old Bay" seasoning too, because it's great on shellfish!


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