With crispy bits of golden brown fried garlic and a smoky sweet sauce, spicy garlic shrimp are zesty and amazingly good and ready in 20 minutes!

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Those crispy little bits of fried garlic are so good!

How long it takes: Just 20 minutes!
Equipment you’ll need: large skillet, stove, slotted spoon or small strainer, tongs
Servings: 6

Close up of spicy honey garlic shrimp with lemon wedges and rice.
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You’re going to love this shrimp recipe! Tender seasoned shrimp are spicy and smoky and drenched in a rich sweet, citrus sauce composed of honey, butter, and lemon juice. The sauce complements the shrimp perfectly.

And the fried bits of garlic! This method of cooking garlic is a game changer! I love garlic in most any form but this fried garlic is just addicting. The garlic gets mellow and crunchy. You can add it to sandwiches, salads, pasta, and just about everything.

You’ll love this exciting garlic shrimp recipe. I can’t wait for you to try it!

About this Spicy Garlic Shrimp recipe

This meal can be prepared in less than a half hour. You’ll need a good-sized skillet and that’s about it. Keep reading for Make Ahead Tips.

It’s so flavorful! This meal is definitely for garlic lovers. The fried garlic is so amazing and the bonus is the oil that’s left after you fry the garlic. It’s infused with savory garlic flavor. The shrimp are sautéed in the garlic-infused oil to add even more zest to this dish.

Overhead view of ingredients needed for recipe.

Ingredient Notes

  • Shrimp: Use raw shrimp, deveined and peeled with tails off. Frozen shrimp is fine and thaws out quickly under running water.
  • Seasoned Flour: The shrimp are dredged in all-purpose flour seasoned with lots of Smoked Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, and Black Pepper. Add as much or as little cayenne as you want, depending on how spicy you like it.
  • Lots of Fresh Garlic: Use six to eight cloves of garlic. The garlic is minced roughly, or sliced if you prefer, and lightly toasted in olive oil until it’s golden brown and crispy.
  • Butter, Honey, Fresh Lemon Juice: Rich, sweet, and tart. With a sauce made of these three ingredients, you really can’t go wrong.
  • Fresh Parsley and Lemon Wedges: The perfect garnish for this dish.

How to make Spicy Garlic Shrimp

This recipe moves really quickly from start to end so have everything prepped and ready. If you’re serving it with rice or pasta, get that started first, along with any other sides you’d like.

Prep and season the shrimp. If your shrimp is frozen, thaw it out under cold running water. That shouldn’t take much more than five minutes or so. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. The shrimp won’t be completely dry but at least get some of moisture off.

In a good sized bowl, whisk together the flour and seasonings. There isn’t much flour, only one tablespoon, so this shrimp isn’t breaded or battered. The flour simply is a vehicle to spread the seasoning on the shrimp and will also thicken the sauce slightly.

Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss them around with the seasoning so they are pretty evenly coated. Set them aside.

Prep and fry the garlic. Six to eight cloves of garlic may sound like a LOT of garlic and it is. If you haven’t had the good fortune to try crispy fried garlic, this is your lucky day! The crispy bits of garlic are mellow and crunchy and you’ll probably wish you had cooked more. The garlic oil that remains in the pan is perfect for sautéing the shrimp.

Simply combine olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Don’t heat the oil first, just add the garlic right away to the cold pan, ensuring that the garlic will lightly toast as the pan heats up. Stir constantly until the garlic is golden brown, about five minutes. Don’t overdo it because if garlic gets too dark it will taste bitter.

Turn off the heat and immediately remove the garlic with a slotted spoon. If you prefer, use a small strainer and drain the oil into a small bowl. You want to get the garlic out of the pan ASAP because it will keep browning.

Cook the shrimp. Add the seasoned shrimp to the skillet with the garlic oil and quickly cook on both sides, about five minutes total.

Seasoned shrimp in a skillet.

It goes really fast and you don’t want to overcook the shrimp. It will cook just a bit more with the sauce.

Make a sauce. Add butter to the skillet with the shrimp. It’s best if your butter is softened, not rock hard, so it melts quickly. Once it’s mostly melted, add honey and lemon juice and stir until the sauce comes together and the shrimp is coated.

Cooked shrimp in a skillet.

Sprinkle in the parsley and stir.

Cooked seasoned shrimp in a bowl with parsley and lemon.

Serve. I bet you can’t wait to dig in! Arrange the shrimp with the fried garlic bits on snowy white jasmine rice or cooked pasta (angel hair is really good!). A wedge of lemon adds a bit more fresh lemon flavor. Dinner bliss!

Overhead view of shrimp, rice, and a reddish brown sauce.


What is the best way to season shrimp?

Shrimp can be seasoned in a variety of ways. The shrimp in this recipe is coated with highly seasoned flour. Sometimes just a sprinkle of salt and pepper before a quick sauté in butter is all you need. Often the seasoning is added to breading or batter. We also love lemon pepper shrimp, a simple yet flavorful recipe.
Marinated shrimp is super flavorful. Any marinade that you would use for chicken is also perfect for shrimp. Check out my collection of several easy marinades.
Continue reading for lots more shrimp recipes.

How do you not overcook shrimp?

Shrimp cooks very quickly and when overcooked, can become a bit chewy and tough. I like to cook shrimp over high heat and when the shrimp turns pink and curls, I know it’s ready to eat. Shrimp is usually cooked in less than five minutes.

What sides go well with shrimp?

When choosing sides, it really depends on how you prepare the shrimp. Like chicken, shrimp is endlessly adaptable. Who doesn’t love the simplest combo, a shrimp basket with French fries and coleslaw? Or shrimp cocktail with spicy horseradish sauce?
If the shrimp has a spicy sauce, like this garlic shrimp recipe, I like jasmine rice or brown rice and steamed broccoli as sides. You also can’t go wrong with roasted broccoli or roasted asparagus.

Shrimp in a honey garlic sauce on a plate with rice.

Make It Your Own

  • Omit garlic. If you really don’t like the idea of garlic, omit it. Simply sauté the seasoned shrimp in olive oil over medium high heat and continue with the recipe as directed. Call it “spicy honey shrimp.”
  • Substitute a different protein. Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces, can be substituted as well but will take a bit longer to cook. Cut up salmon can be fried instead of shrimp (or try pan-seared salmon bites with hot honey or honey garlic salmon).
  • Paprika variations: Substitute sweet paprika or hot paprika for the smoked paprika if you prefer.

Make-Ahead Ideas

Spicy garlic shrimp comes together so quickly! There are a couple of ways you can really get this dinner on the table in a flash.

The fried garlic can be made up to a month ahead. Store fried garlic at room temp in an airtight container. Make sure it’s completely cool before covering it. The garlic oil should be stored separately in the fridge. Make a big batch of fried garlic on the weekend and you can use it to season rice, soups, sandwiches, or whatever you like.

Thaw the shrimp overnight. If you’re planning on using frozen shrimp, put the shrimp in the fridge the night before so it thaws more quickly. Allow the butter to come to room temperature. Wash and dry the parsley so it’s ready to chop. Mix the seasonings with the flour ahead of time.

Storage & Reheating Tips

Refrigerate: Store leftover shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Reheat: Leftover shrimp can be reheated gently in a skillet over low heat until heated through. Try not to overheat it because the shrimp tends to toughen when overcooked. You can also reheat it in the microwave in 15-second increments but the skillet method is preferable.

Leftover Love

Make a shrimp bowl for lunch. Add lightly warmed shrimp and sauce to a bowl with farro, cooked ramen, or quinoa, along with diced bell peppers, sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, or edamame. Top it with squeeze of lemon juice and an extra sprinkle of parsley.

Seasoned and cooked shrimp on a serving spoon, more in the background.
Pescatarian meal plan preview image showing photos of recipes included.

Free Meal Plan

Interested in a weekly meal plan that includes this recipe? Take a look at Meal Plan #70. You’ll find a wholesome recipe for each weekday plus a categorized grocery list. We add a new meal plan weekly.

More Shrimp Recipes


Spicy Garlic Shrimp

4.43 from 14 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
With crispy bits of golden brown fried garlic and a smoky sweet sauce, spicy garlic shrimp are zesty and amazingly good!
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  • 1 ½ pounds raw shrimp (size 20-30), tails off, deveined and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh garlic (6-8 garlic cloves)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • lemon wedges, for serving


  • If shrimp is frozen, thaw under running cold water. Drain, pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Toss the shrimp with the flour mixture till coated.
  • Put olive oil and garlic In a large skillet, turn heat to medium. Cook garlic, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, don’t let it burn. Quickly remove garlic bits from pan with slotted spoon, reserving oil. Alternatively, set a small strainer over a bowl and drain garlic.
  • Turn pan to medium high and add shrimp to garlic oil. Cook on one side for about three minutes, flip and cook an additional 2 minutes or until shrimp is pink and curled. Don’t overcook. 
  • Add butter to the skillet with shrimp. Once it’s mostly melted, add honey and lemon juice, stirring to combine, coating the shrimp. Sprinkle with parsley.
  • Serve with fried garlic, lemon wedges, and cooked  rice.


  • Fried garlic can be made up to a month ahead. Store fried garlic at room temp in an airtight container. Make sure it’s completely cool before covering. Store garlic oil in the fridge.
  • This recipe can be made without garlic if you prefer. Simply heat olive oil in pan and cook shrimp as directed.
  • If desired, substitute chicken for the shrimp. Cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and cook as directed, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes, or until chicken is done.
  • To make dairy-free: Use ghee instead of butter.



Serving: 4oz. shrimp, Calories: 251kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 163mg, Sodium: 822mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.43 from 14 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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