Easy Pan Seared Shrimp Recipe with Garlic Butter

5 from 3 reviews

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Easy Pan Seared Shrimp Recipe with Garlic Butter is flavorful, simple, and ready in 10 minutes! These juicy shrimp make a quick meal the whole family will love.

Serve with homemade polenta or creamy parmesan rice.

easy pan seared shrimp in a cast iron skillet with lemon wedges ready to serve and eat.
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Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Quick and Easy: This recipe is incredibly easy to make and comes together quickly. It’s a popular recipe for busy weeknights when you want a delicious meal without spending hours in the kitchen. It’s one of those easy recipes you will make again and again.
  • Deliciously Flavorful: The combination of garlic, butter, and lemon creates a rich and flavorful sauce that pairs perfectly with the tender, succulent shrimp.
  • Versatile: You can serve this dish in various ways, with pasta, rice, or crusty bread for dipping into the sauce. It’s versatile and can be customized to suit your preferences.
  • Crowd-Pleaser: It’s a dish that most people love, so it’s great for serving to guests, family, or even picky eaters.

You will also love my Fried Shrimp, Grilled Shrimp, and Shrimp Salad.

seared shrimp on a serving platter with lemon wedges around it and crusty Italian bread for serving.

Simple Ingredients

This pan-seared shrimp recipe only uses a handful of ingredients and makes the best sautéed shrimp.

ingredient shot.
  • Large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Garlic
  • Unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
  • White wine or broth
  • Lemon (for juice and zest)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Paprika
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • Fresh parsley (for garnish)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Pan Seared Shrimp

Follow these step-by-step photos for the best way to sear shrimp on the stovetop.

How to make easy pan seared shrimp step-by-step: mixing the spices in a bowl.

Prepare the Shrimp: Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Combine the ingredients for the seasoning (salt, pepper, dried herbs, and paprika).

How to make easy pan seared shrimp step-by-step: adding the spice mix to a bowl with the raw shrimp.

Coat the shrimp with the seasoning and mix well. 

How to make easy pan seared shrimp step-by-step: mixing the shrimp and spice mix.

How to make easy pan seared shrimp step-by-step: adding the shrimp to the hot skillet.

Heat the Pan: In a large cast iron skillet or frying pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. You want the pan to be hot.

How to make easy pan seared shrimp step-by-step: searing the shrimp on both sides.

Sear the Shrimp: Add the seasoned shrimp to the hot pan in a single layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side (depending on the size of the shrimp) until they turn pink and opaque, with a nice sear on the edges.

How to make easy pan seared shrimp step-by-step: making the pan sauce with butter and garlic.

Make the Garlic Butter Sauce: In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Once melted, add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant.

How to make easy pan seared shrimp step-by-step: adding broth and lemon juice to the pan sauce.

Deglaze the Pan: Pour the white wine (or broth if using) into the pan and let it simmer for a minute, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add Lemon Juice and Zest to the pan and stir to combine with the garlic butter sauce.

How to make easy pan seared shrimp step-by-step: adding the shrimp back to the cast iron skillet.

Return Shrimp to the Pan: Add the seared shrimp back into the pan, and stir to coat them with the garlic butter sauce. Cook for another minute, just until the shrimp are heated through.

finished shrimp in the pan with a little parsley to garnish.

Garnish and Serve: Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed.
Serve Hot: Serve your pan-seared shrimp with garlic butter over polenta, rice, pasta, or with a side of crusty bread to soak up that delicious sauce.

Substitutions

Substitutions can be helpful if you’re missing an ingredient or looking to make a recipe more suitable for dietary restrictions. Here are some common ingredient substitutions for pan-seared shrimp with garlic butter:

  • Shrimp Substitutions:
    • You can substitute shrimp with other seafood like scallops, prawns, or even firm white fish fillets, such as cod or tilapia.
  • Butter Substitutions:
    • If you want a healthier option, you can use olive oil, ghee, or a plant-based butter substitute like margarine. Keep in mind that the flavor will vary slightly with different fats.
  • Olive Oil Substitutions:
    • You can use other cooking oils like canola oil, vegetable oil, or grapeseed oil if you prefer not to use olive oil.
  • White Wine Substitutions:
    • If you don’t have white wine or prefer not to use it, you can substitute with chicken or vegetable broth for deglazing the pan. You can also use a splash of lemon juice for acidity.
shrimp holding up one cooked and seasoned shrimp.

Variations

  • Lemon and Herb Shrimp:
    • In addition to the garlic and butter, add a mixture of fresh herbs like chopped parsley, basil, and chives to the pan when making the garlic butter sauce. Squeeze extra lemon juice over the shrimp for a bright, herbaceous flavor.
  • Cajun-Style Shrimp:
    • Give your dish a spicy twist by seasoning the shrimp with Cajun spice blend before searing. You can easily find Cajun spice blends in stores or make your own by combining paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and other seasonings. The spicy shrimp will pair wonderfully with the rich garlic butter sauce.

Equipment

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Use leftover shrimp to make shrimp tacos the next day!

Top Tips

  • Use Fresh Shrimp: Start with high-quality, fresh shrimp for the best flavor and texture. Look for shrimp that are firm, moist, and have a mild, ocean-like scent. As your local grocery store what they recommend.
  • Prep the Shrimp: Make sure to peel and devein the shrimp before cooking. You can leave the tails on for presentation if desired.
  • Dry the Shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels before seasoning and cooking. Dry shrimp will sear more effectively and develop a nice crust.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Cook the shrimp in a single layer in the pan. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and steaming rather than searing.
  • High Heat for Searing: Use a hot skillet or pan to sear the shrimp quickly. High heat ensures a nice sear on the outside while keeping the inside tender.
  • Quick Cooking: Shrimp cook fast—about 1-2 minutes per side. Be attentive, and don’t overcook them, as they can become rubbery.

FAQs

How do you sear shrimp without overcooking?

To sear shrimp without overcooking, use high heat and cook them for about 1-2 minutes per side until they turn pink and opaque. Watch them closely and remove them from the heat as soon as they’re done.

What not to do when cooking shrimp

Do not overcrowd the pan, as this can lead to uneven cooking and steaming instead of searing. Avoid using too much salt early in the cooking process, as shrimp can become overly salty as their moisture evaporates. Refrain from using old or freezer-burned shrimp, as their flavor and texture will be compromised. Lastly, do not skip the step of patting the shrimp dry before cooking, as excess moisture can prevent a good sear. By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll have a better chance of achieving perfectly cooked and flavorful shrimp.

Can I use frozen shrimp for this recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen shrimp, but make sure to thaw them thoroughly and pat them dry before cooking. Using fresh shrimp is recommended for the best flavor and texture.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

Serving Suggestions

These are my favorite dishes to serve with pan-seared shrimp with garlic butter sauce:

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Easy Pan Seared Shrimp with Garlic Butter

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

Enjoy your homemade pan-seared shrimp with garlic butter! It’s a simple yet impressive dish that’s sure to be a hit at your table. Ready in 10 minutes. 

  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix (or mix of your favorite dried herbs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Shrimp: Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Combine the ingredients for the seasoning (salt, pepper, dried herbs, and paprika). Coat the shrimp with the seasoning and mix well. 
  2. Heat the Pan: In a large cast iron skillet or frying pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. You want the pan to be hot.
  3. Sear the Shrimp: Add the seasoned shrimp to the hot pan in a single layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side (depending on the size of the shrimp) until they turn pink and opaque, with a nice sear on the edges. Don’t overcrowd the pan- you may cook in batches. Be careful not to overcook them; shrimp cook quickly.
  4. Remove Shrimp from the Pan: Once the shrimp are cooked, transfer them to a plate and set them aside.
  5. Make the Garlic Butter Sauce: In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Once melted, add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant. 
  6. Deglaze the Pan: Pour the white wine (or broth if using) into the pan and let it simmer for a minute, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This will add depth of flavor to your sauce.
  7. Add Lemon Juice and Zest to the pan and stir to combine with the garlic butter sauce.
  8. Return Shrimp to the Pan: Add the seared shrimp back into the pan, and stir to coat them with the garlic butter sauce. Cook for another minute, just until the shrimp are heated through.
  9. Garnish and Serve: Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed.
  10. Serve Hot: Serve your pan-seared shrimp with garlic butter over polenta, rice, pasta, or with a side of crusty bread to soak up that delicious sauce.
  • Author: Elena
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: American

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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6 Comments

  1. These shrimp are so delicious! I’ve made plenty of shrimp recipes but this may now be my favorite. It’s easy to make & tasty. I already had all of the ingredients I needed at home. I’ll be making it again & again.