If you’re hunting for a marinade that’ll make your shrimp the star of every backyard fiesta, you’re in the right place. This zesty cilantro lime marinade packs maximum bright, fresh flavor into every succulent grilled shrimp with a recipe so easy you can have it ready in 5 minutes flat.

Grilled shrimp skewers topped with green onions and crumbled cheese, served with sliced jalapeños and tortillas on the side.

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You’ll love this easy cilantro lime marinade! We’ve combined vibrant cilantro, tangy lime juice, zesty garlic, and just the right blend of spices to create the ultimate marinade for shrimp on the grill.

In just 30 minutes, the shrimp soak up all those mouthwatering flavors of this marinade recipe before hitting the hot grates. Each meaty grilled bite pops with a punch of citrusy tartness balanced by rich garlic, spices, and a little heat. It’s the perfect marinade for anyone who loves bright, intense Southwest-inspired tastes.

Shrimp skewers cooking on a grill with metal grates, seasoned with visible herbs and marinade.

Why Marinate Shrimp?

A grilled shrimp marinade is a flavorful liquid shrimp soak in before cooking. It typically combines citrus juices, herbs, spices, and oil to infuse the shrimp with flavor and tenderize them slightly. This quick marinade recipe uses a blend of olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and spices for a bright and zesty taste.

Marinating shrimp is an easy way to ensure super tender shrimp, no matter which cooking method you use, whether you’re making grilled shrimp skewers or air fryer shrimp. We use this exact marinade in our grilled shrimp tacos recipe and when we want a big salad in the summer to provide the perfect vibrant flavor to the shrimp. 

Overhead view of a table with various cooking ingredients, including a bowl of oil, bunch of cilantro, limes, garlic, and small bowls containing spices and seasonings.

Shrimp Marinade Recipe Ingredients

  • Olive Oil: The base of the marinade. It helps coat the shrimp and carries the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Fresh Lime Juice & White Wine Vinegar: Add a bright, acidic kick that tenderizes the shrimp slightly and complements the seafood flavor.
  • Garlic & Cilantro: Fresh herbs and aromatics that infuse the shrimp with a delicious savory and citrusy taste.
  • Oregano, Onion Powder & Red Pepper Flakes: Warm spices that add depth and complexity of flavor, ranging from earthy (oregano) to pungent (onion powder) to a touch of heat (red pepper flakes).
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
  • Honey or Erythritol (optional): A touch of sweetness can help balance the acidity and round out the flavor profile. Especially useful if you don’t like things too tart.
  • Large or Jumbo Shrimp: This marinade is for 1 pound of shrimp. Adjust the quantity accordingly for more shrimp.

How to Make the Best Shrimp Marinade

  1. Combine Ingredients: Whisk all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl to combine. 
  2. Prep the shrimp: Peel and devein shrimp. Add the shrimp to a large resealable bag. 
  3. Marinate: Carefully pour the marinade over the top. Seal the bag, removing as much as you can. Then, using your hands, make sure all the shrimp are coated in the marinade. Place in the fridge and marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 
  4. Grill the shrimp: When ready to cook the shrimp, we find threading them on skewers is the easiest way to grill them. Flip them a few times until they are opaque and cooked through before serving as desired. Remember, the USDA recommends cooking shrimp to 145 degrees F with a digital meat thermometer.

Girl Carnivore Expert Recipe Tips

  • Shrimp is delicate, so don’t overdo it. 30 minutes to an hour is the sweet spot. Any longer, and they can become mushy.
  • Olive oil is a classic choice, but feel free to experiment with avocado oil or whatever neutral oil you have on hand. We love bumping up the flavor with a splash of our infused oils from Sciabica. We added a splash of their lime oil to this recipe.
  • Honey or erythritol adds a touch of sweetness that balances the acidity, but it’s totally up to you. If you prefer a more savory profile, simply omit it.
  • Once you’ve added the marinade to the shrimp, gently massage the bag to ensure all the pieces are evenly coated.
Shrimp is being grilled on skewers over an open flame.

More Marinade Recipes

This zesty marinade is your gateway to succulent, flavorful shrimp that will become a permanent fixture in your favorite shrimp recipes.

Have you tried this recipe? Do us a favor and rate the recipe card with the  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ and drop a comment to help out the next reader.

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Cilantro Lime Grilled Shrimp Marinade

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Marinade: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 16
Grilled shrimp on skewers, garnished with fresh herbs and served with tortillas and lime wedges, with a small bowl of cabbage slaw in the background.
Wake up your tastebuds with this easy grilled shrimp marinade. It'll give a vibrant, zesty twist to your grilled shrimp that will have people dying to know what your secret is.

Ingredients  

  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp Lime juice
  • 1 tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 2 Garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ cup Cilantro chopped
  • ½ tsp Oregano
  • ½ tsp Onion powder
  • ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Honey or Erythritol if desired
  • 1 lbs Shrimp

Instructions 

  • Whisk all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl to combine.
  • Add the shrimp to a large resealable bag.
  • Carefully pour the marinade over top.
  • Seal the bag, removing as much as you can.
  • Then, using your hands, make sure all the shrimp are coated in the marinade.
  • Place in the fridge and marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Notes

This marinade is for 1 pound of shrimp. Adjust the quantity accordingly for more shrimp.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Course: condiment
Cuisine: American
Author: Kita Roberts

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Recipe FAQs

Can I use other types of seafood with this recipe?

Yes! Any type of seafood will benefit from this marinade. It works great on fish, especially white fish like halibut, sea bass, tilapia and cod.

What do I do with leftover marinade?

For extra flavor, brush on the extra marinade as the shrimp cook. However, you’ll need to bring the marinade to a rolling boil in a small pot before brushing it on, as it came in contact with raw shrimp. 

What’s the ideal marinade time?

The shrimp needs to marinate for at least 30 minutes but no longer than one hour. After one hour, the marinade can start to break down the texture of the shrimp.

Can I marinate shrimp with the shells still on?

Yes. If you prefer shelled shrimp, you can leave the shells on and marinate them. 

Can I use frozen shrimp?

Yes. Just make sure they thaw completely in cold water before marinating them. 

Do I have to use this marinade with grilled shrimp recipes only?

Nope. You can use this recipe with any type of shrimp recipe you like, whether you’re smoking, grilling, or pan-searing the shrimp. 

Will this marinade recipe work for pre-cooked shrimp?

Yes. Whether you have leftover shrimp or bought pre-cooked shrimp, you can whip up this simple marinade. 

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.

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5 from 1 vote

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