This garlic butter shrimp recipe is delicious, quick, and easy! Just a few ingredients are all you need for this incredibly simple but crazy delicious recipe. Serve these buttery garlicky shrimp as a standalone dish with crusty bread (to sop up all the goodness), as a topping for steak, or folded into pasta for scampi.

Cast iron skillet filled with garlicky butter shrimp and fresh herbs over a bed of coals.

Portions of this post were originally published on GoRVing.com. Additional information has been added.

When it comes to easy recipes, this quick meal of shrimp swimming in a buttery sauce loaded with garlic is as good as it gets. They are SO easy we whip them up on camping trips or as an easy weeknight meal (minus the campfire part).

Garlic, butter, and parsley are go-to pantry staples that help in a variety of ways, so they are always in my fridge (or camp cooler), waiting to be used. 

This easy dinner recipe has no prep time, uses fresh shrimp, a large skillet, and cooks in just a few minutes. And it packs so much flavor! You’ll be scooping up the rich garlic butter shrimp right from the pan and dipping crusty bread into the mouthwatering sauce!

Feeling bold? Try an even spicier version of this shrimp recipe with my New Orleans BBQ Shrimp!

Hands down, this is one of the most straightforward recipes I make, whether it’s a camping meal or for a snazzy dinner party with a glass of white wine, and everyone thinks it’s restaurant-worthy! 

Garlic butter shrimp cooking over a campfire in a cast iron skillet

What you need to make this recipe

  • Extra Large or Large Shrimp, thawed and deveined. We like them with shells on so that the butter stays trapped in the shell as they cook, making for extra flavor.
  • Unsalted butter. It’s important that it’s not salted butter to control the flavors
  • Garlic. Freeze-dried garlic or fresh
  • Girl Carnivore Over Easy Spice Blend
  • Pink Peppercorn Lemon Seasoning, or lemon pepper seasoning
  • Red pepper flakes, or hot sauce
  • Salt – we always use kosher salt for cooking
  • To Garnish: Lemon and Italian parsley, or fresh basil
Showing Cowboy brand all natural fire starters lighting a campfire

How to make easy garlic butter shrimp

Once this easy shrimp recipe gets going, it comes together quick, so don’t step away from the pan or you will over cook your shrimp.

If cooking over a fire, first light your coals and build a fire. Allow the fire to grow steady and an even bed of embers to form before cooking.

Charcoal in a charcoal chimney glowing and ready to be poured into a grill

Start by thawing the shrimp and patting them dry.

Next, heat your cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add the garlic to toast and then the butter.

Swirl the butter to melt. If the butter immediately turns brown, your pan was too hot, and everything will taste burnt. Stop and start again with a clean pan.

Cast iron pan on coals with shrimp cooking and butter bubbling

When the melted butter is no longer frothing, add in the shrimp and sprinkle the spices in.

The shrimp cooks quickly! Make sure to turn them over once they turn opaque and stir occasionally to make sure they have all cooked evenly.

Once the butter shrimp have cooked so they are bright pink on both sides, remove the pan from the heat and garnish with the fresh parsley and squeeze fresh lemon juice over top if you’re feeling fancy.

overheat shot of a cast iron skillet filled with large shrimp in a buttery garlic sauce garnished with fresh herbs.

Toast some bread over your fire to give an additional vehicle for the delicious garlic butter sauce!

Can I cook this garlic butter shrimp in a skillet on the stove or grill?

This recipe works in a skillet over a propane grill, inside on the range top, or over traditional coals. Simply cook over medium-high heat as instructed in the recipe card.

We love cast iron skillets for the ease of clean-up and even heat. If using anything else, make sure it’s fire-resistant.

Friends eating dinner together while camping. Campfire with cast iron garlic butter shrimp in foreground

Recipe FAQs

Fresh or Frozen Shrimp:

Both work for this recipe. Just make sure that the raw shrimp are deveined and thawed before cooking.

Unless you’re buying shrimp off the boat fresh, the shrimp you buy thawed at the seafood counter have most likely already been frozen and thawed. Keeping frozen shrimp on hand allows you to whip this easy recipe up whenever you want.

Cooks note: you can use pre-cooked shrimp for this recipe. Follow the recipe exactly, only decreasing the time the shrimp are cooking in the butter to not overcook the shrimp. However, we feel starting with raw shrimp deepens the overall flavor of this dish.

How to quickly thaw shrimp

Fill a large bowl with cold water and place the shrimp in a bag in the water. Rotate the bag every few minutes and shake the shrimp loose to make sure they are all thawing evenly. They thaw in under 30 minutes.

What size shrimp?

Check the label on the bag to determine the size of the shrimp. If you’re serving this as a main dish, I would go for large or extra-large shrimp. They will be labeled large with the number 31/40 or 26/30 on the bag. That number is a rough estimate of how many shrimp to expect per pound.

Keep the jumbo shrimp for bbq skewers and small shrimp for stirfry.

How many shrimp per person:

3 oz is the standard serving size for shrimp, whether they are small or colossal. However, that can be hard to guess especially with as easy as it is to snack on these.

We recommend doubling down and serving at least 6 to 8 oz garlicky shrimp per person.

Storing Leftovers & Reheating

How to store leftover: There won’t be any. But… if there are, store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

When reheating shrimp, they can become rubbery in the microwave. Cover in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat JUST until the shrimp are reheated, in 10 to 15-second bursts, flipping the buttery shrimp to make sure they reheat evenly. The butter will reheat faster than the shrimp, use caution.

Consider reheating in a small skillet over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes until heated through.

Cast iron skillet over a campfire filled with garlic butter shrimp

How to serve garlic butter shrimp

Around my campfire, this recipe is perfect as the main course as is just right from the cast iron skillet. A loaf of crusty bread sliced and toasted makes a great vessel for scooping up more garlicky butter sauce!

These buttery shrimp also work as a great topping over steak, paired it with pasta for shrimp scampi, or keep it keto by serving it over cauliflower rice or zoodles.

More camping recipes you need to try

camp scene with jeep and friends eating dinner around a campfire

Easy Garlic Butter Shrimp

5 from 19 votes
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Servings: 4
This easy recipe quickly sautees shrimp in a garlic butter sauce in a cast iron pan. A 15 minute meal from start to finish that the whole family loves and one that never has any leftovers.

Ingredients  

To Serve

  • Lemon
  • Fresh Parsley or basil

Instructions 

Preheat the Pan

  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over direct heat until just smoking.
  • Remove and slide to indirect heat.
  • Carefully add the garlic to the pan and toast for 30 seconds until fragrant.
    8 tbsp butter
  • Add the butter to the pan, and with long tongs, or a wooden spoon, swirl to coat.
    1 tbsp freeze-dried garlic

Cook the Shrimp

  • Add the shrimp and spices to the skillet. If using hot sauce, add a few dashes now.
    1 lbs shrimp, 1 tsp Girl Carnivore Over Easy Spice Blend, 1 tsp Pink Peppercorn Lemon Seasoning, 1 tsp Red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt
  • Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, as the shrimp turn pink, flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, shuffling as needed to make sure none become more overexposed to heat than others.

Garnish and Serve

  • Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle the parsley on top, and squeeze a lemon wedge over top to add a bright fresh acidity to the dish.
    Fresh Parsley or basil, Lemon
  • Serve immediately. Allow everyone to serve directly from the garlicky butter-drenched skillet.
  • Peel the shells from the shrimp as you eat them hot.
  • Spoon more spicy garlicky butter over the top as desired.

Notes

This dish is easily doubled for a bigger crowd. If doubling, use two 10″ cast iron pans or one larger 14″ cast iron pan.
Serve this with toasted crusted bread to sop up any extra garlic butter.
For an additional spicy kick, add 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
Fresh garlic works great if you have it on hand to substitute the freeze-dried garlic. Remove the peel and mince finely. 
This recipe was designed as a camping recipe, however, it will work on a traditional range or grill as well. 
Leftovers keep for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in a small pan over low heat. However, use caution as shrimp can become rubbery if overcooked. Microwaving is not advised.
This recipe is keto-friendly. To make it whole 30 use ghee and read the spice labels to make sure no sugar is added.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 243mg | Sodium: 336mg | Potassium: 352mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 723IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Camping, seafood
Author: Kita Roberts
Keyword: campfire shrimp, cast iron garlic butter shrimp, cast iron shrimp, garlic butter shrimp

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Yes!

    This is on the calendar (a figure of speech, I’m not that regimented in the kitchen, sometimes I don’t know what I’m making until I’m finished cooking!).

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is gorgeous and so easy to do. Just control the temperature. Too bad I didn’t know the recipe earlier. Best shrimps I ever had. 😋😋😋 😋😋 .

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