Easy Shrimp Scampi – Seafood lovers rejoice! This simple, classic Italian recipe is packed full of garlic, butter, lemon, and white wine – what could be better?
Shrimp Scampi is one of my all-time favorite dishes. It took me quite a few attempts to perfect this recipe, but once I did I never looked back! I just love being able to make a restaurant-quality meal in minutes.
I promise you that if you’ve never attempted to make your own shrimp scampi, now is the time. It’s super simple and absolutely fabulous.
Why This Recipe Works
- Cooking the shrimp quickly and removing them from the pan to make the sauce keeps them from getting overcooked.
- Adding the lemon juice at the last possible minute keeps it from getting bitter and keeps its bright fresh taste.
- Adding Butter at the end gives it a silky smooth consistency to the sauce.
Shrimp Buying Guide
There are a lot of choices when buying shrimp. Here’s some guidance for making the best purchase.
- Fresh isn’t as fresh as you think. Just because shrimp is displayed raw doesn’t mean it’s freshly caught. Only a small percentage (about 10%) sold in the US comes from the US. The rest is imported, so chances are they have been previously frozen. Be sure to ask at the counter, and don’t buy defrosted.
- When buying frozen, choose individually quick-frozen shrimp, as you can thaw exactly what you need. For detailed information on this topic, see my post on how to thaw frozen shrimp
- Buy untreated shrimp. Some manufacturers chemically treat frozen shrimp, so check the ingredients on the bag and ensure “Shrimp” is the only ingredient listed.
Step By Step Instructions
Start with melting the butter with the olive oil over medium high heat.
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, add them to the pan and cook for one minute on each side.
Add the garlic then cook another minute.
Remove the shrimp from the pan leaving as much garlic behind as possible. Set aside.
Add the wine to the pan.
Scrape any crispy bits off the bottom of the pan and mix it into the wine. This adds a lot of flavor!
Bring to a boil and reduce the sauce by half. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the lemon zest, parsley, and remaining butter, stir until melted.
Add the linguine to the pan.
Add the shrimp back into the pan. Then add the lemon juice.
Serve immediately to avoid over cooking the pasta and shrimp.
Tips For Best Results
- If you often overcook shrimp or like them super crunchy, brine them before cooking (see the instructions under how to achieve crunchy shrimp).
- When choosing wine for cooking, always choose a wine that’s good enough to drink. If you wouldn’t drink it, it isn’t very likely to taste good in your food!
- Need an alcohol free substitution for wine? Use a good quality chicken or fish stock instead.
- To avoid a greasy sauce, at the end, mix the butter thoroughly into the sauce to emulsify the mixture.
- This dish can also be served without the pasta. I’ve often served it on a bed of rice pilaf or alone as an appetizer.
Other Italian Dishes You’ll Love
The sauce thickens by reducing as it cooks, which also intensifies the flavors.
The easy answer is you can prep the ingredients, but other than that, it’s such a quick and easy dish that I really don’t think it’s necessary to make it ahead and reheating shrimp is never a good idea. You’ll just end up with overcooked, rubbery shrimp that will ruin the dish.
Did you make this?
Receive new recipes & dinner ideas straight to your inbox!
Let’s Make Easy Shrimp Scampi
- 1 pound pasta
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic Finely sliced
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- ½ cup dry white wine or vermouth
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley leaves chopped
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. When it has come to a boil, add the pasta & stir to make sure the pasta separates and cook for 7-9 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done.
- Reserve one cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large shallow pan melt half of the butter in half of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic, and red pepper flakes (if you choose to use them) 3 to 4 minutes.
- Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink (about 2 to 3 minutes). Remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside.
- Add the wine and lemon zest and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil and mix well to combine until the butter is melted and you see no separation of oil or butter to the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan, coat with the sauce and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce until the pasta is fully cooked. If necessary, you can add some of the pasta water to loosen the sauce.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the shrimp, lemon juice and parsley, toss with the pasta and serve.
Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in 2014, but was re-posted to include new photos, recipe updates, and tips in 2020.