This grilled shrimp marinade is savory and garlicky with a touch of zest. The perfect marinade for your next summer BBQ.
Grilled Shrimp Marinade
Grilled shrimp is incredibly versatile and can be served with just about anything. Marinating shrimp before grilling takes ordinary shrimp to the next level. This grilled shrimp marinade is bursting with flavor yet made with simple ingredients from your pantry. Serve with a main dish or as an appetizer on a small skewer. The possibilities are endless!
Shrimp Marinade Ingredients
You can make this grilled shrimp marinade as simple or as complicated as you would like. You can add a bunch of individual herbs and spices, or you can just use your favorite grill seasoning. Spice it up with some red pepper flakes or sweeten it up with a little honey. There are a million ways to make this your own, or follow the recipe as-is. Here are our favorite shrimp marinade ingredients to use:
- Olive oil – Use plain or infused extra virgin olive oil. I have used both lemon and garlic infused olive oils and it just adds to the depth of flavor.
- Vinegar – I use apple cider vinegar when using marinades because I personally like the flavor but plain white vinegar and rice vinegar will also taste delicious.
- Fresh lemon – You can use fresh lemon juice or a combination of lemon juice and lemon zest (depending on how zesty you want to make your shrimp). You can also swap it out for lime juice if you prefer limes.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic is best. I like using a lot of garlic in my marinades but it can be toned down if you don’t love it as much as I do.
- Grill seasoning – I used Kinder’s Buttery Steakhouse Rub in this recipe because I love the buttery flavor. You can also just use a seafood seasoning or all-purpose grill rub.
- Lemon pepper
- Paprika – Paprika gives the shrimp a nice smoky flavor but I also like to use it for the color. It gives the shrimp a richer red color that looks so pretty when it comes off the grill.
- Salt and pepper
- Parsley (for garnish) – you can add this to the marinade and brush it on or sprinkle it on after the shrimp has been cooked.
What Shrimp is Best for Grilling?
For grilling, I usually use large shrimp (26-30 size), frozen, peeled, tail off or on (doesn’t matter). This is a nice size to thread on skewers. Jumbo shrimp also work well, they just take longer to cook and the flavor of the marinade isn’t as prominent. I always opt for frozen shrimp because it tastes more fresh. Most “fresh shrimp” at the butcher counter is just thawed shrimp that was previously frozen and isn’t actually as fresh.
How Long to Marinate Shrimp
Because we use both vinegar and lemon juice in this recipe, you want to marinade for at least a half an hour before grilling but no longer than 8-10 hours. The acid from the lemon juice can break down your shrimp more than you want it to and may affect the texture.
How to Cook Shrimp on the Grill
Personally, I like to skewer the shrimp when grilling. Shrimp skewers are easier to flip than individual shrimps on the grill grate. You can also use a grill basket but it makes it harder if you want to brush any seasonings onto the shrimp while grilling.
If you don’t have a grill or simply just don’t want to cook your shrimp inside, you can always cook the shrimp in the oven or broiler. Place your shrimp skewers on a lined sheet pan and broil for 1-2 minutes on each side or until cooked through. You can also use a grill pan on your stove top and cook on high heat for the same amount of time.
Ways to Serve Grilled Shrimp
There are many different ways you can serve your grilled shrimp: over pasta, rice, salad or with potatoes or vegetables. Serve kabob style or place in a bowl and serve family-style. You can serve grilled shrimp as a main entree, side dish, or appetizer. Serve plain or dip in melted garlic butter or serve with cocktail sauce. The sky is the limit here and you really can’t go wrong, no matter how you serve it!
Best Skewers to Use
When deciding what kind of skewers to use when grilling shrimp, it really comes down to how you are serving the shrimp. If you are serving as a main entree along with other vegetables and other ingredients (kabob style), you will want to use longer skewers. In this case I like to use reusable metal skewers. If serving as an appetizer (as shown in the pictures), I like to use smaller, single-serving type skewers. I found these cute, flat bamboo skewers on Amazon and they are perfect size for serving grilled shrimp as an appetizer.
Storing Leftover Grilled Shrimp (and Tips for Reheating)
Store leftover shrimp in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days. Reheat shrimp in a skillet on the stove over medium-high heat in a little oil until heated through. Don’t reheat shrimp on the microwave. It will ruin the texture and won’t taste right.
More Shrimp Recipes
Grilled Shrimp Marinade
- 2 pounds raw shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails on or off)
- 1/3 cup olive oil (infused olive oils like garlic or lemon olive oil work great)
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (rice vinegar or white vinegar work well too)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 small lemon, juiced)
- 6 cloves garlic (crushed, about 3 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons grill seasoning (we use Kinder's Buttery Steakhouse Rub)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- fresh parsley optional, for garnish
- Thaw shrimp (if frozen), rinse, and pat dry. Set aside.
- In a mall bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine remaining ingredients and whisk until well combined.
- Place shrimp and marinade in a gallon sized zip-top bag, seal, and move contents around until marinade is evenly distributed. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours.
Grilling the Shrimp
- Heat grill to 400 degrees (or medium high heat)
- It is easiest for flipping purposes to skewer the shrimp before grilling, but you can also place shrimp directly on the grill.
- Grill 2-3 minutes on each side or until pink, opaque, and cooked through.
- Serve with lemons, melted garlic butter, and/or cocktail sauce.