Today’s recipe is a easy, healthy 20-minute entrée: Shrimp in Garlic Lemon Sauce. It comes together in minutes and goes great with pasta topped with Parsley. It’s super simple and a perfect weeknight meal!

shrimp on a platter on pasta

Why This Recipe Works

If the idea of cooking fresh shrimp seems intimidating, keep reading. I have all the tips you need to keep them firm without overcooking!

This recipe is a super-fast way to get dinner on the table! Not only is it really easy, but the garlic and lemon sauce makes this a kid-friendly entree.

If you follow my tips for how to sear the shrimp you’ll be rewarded with sweet, plump and lightly golden sautéed shrimp in massive amounts of garlic and parsley with a bit of bright lemon flavor to make the whole thing come alive.

Serve it with spaghetti (or another pasta) or jasmine rice or use crusty bread to soak up the yummy flavorful sauce! To keep it low carb, you can serve the shrimp and sauce over spaghetti squash, zoodles or cauliflower rice.

Ingredient Notes

ingredients with labels


To choose the best shrimp make sure you check here first. Check to see if your shrimp is labeled STP (or STPP) free.

While the FDA recognizes Sodium Tripolyphosphate as generally recognized as safe, the use of it to preserve moisture content in seafood dramatically increases the sodium content. Not only that, but I’ve also found that seafood that’s treated with it will not achieve a good sear.
Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the US. To learn more about it, this article from EatingWell about shrimp farming is a good one.

You can use frozen and thawed shrimp, just make sure to drain it well. If you can find a bag of shrimp in the freezer section of the supermarket with a sustainable seafood certification, that’s the best choice! Check those on Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

To save time, look for “E-Z Peel” or those that have the veins removed from the back of the shrimp. This makes cleaning so much faster!

Lemon and Garlic

Since this recipe is so simple and for the best flavor use freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh chopped garlic. It will make all the difference.


I also like to add freshly chopped Italian parsley at the end for freshness and to add color to the final dish.

How To Make Lemon Garlic Shrimp

pat the shrimp dry and cook in a hot skillet

Step 1: Make sure the shrimp is completely dry. To brown the shrimp and keep them from releasing all their juice into the pan, you’ll want to make sure you heat up your pan before you add the shrimp. Use a large skillet so that the shrimp can cook in a single layer.

You can even add a shrimp to test if the oil is hot. If you do and it doesn’t really sizzle sizzle sizzle, then you should wait a minute before adding the rest of the shrimp.

Step 2: Add the shrimp to the hot pan. You also don’t want to overcrowd the pan. So make sure you use a 10-inch skillet, not an 8- or 9-inch.

TIP: If your pan isn’t quite large enough, do not overcrowd it, cook the shrimp in batches!

If you do those two things your shrimp will sauté, turn lightly golden, retain all their sweet shrimpy juicy goodness. Not only that, but the garlic will also taste better because it is fried and not boiled.

cook the garlic on the side of the pan

Step 3: Push them to one side and tilt the pan slightly so the oil pools on the other side. Add the minced fresh garlic to the oil and fry until it just turns brown (don’t cook it any longer, or else the garlic will burn and turn bitter).

Step 4: Then, mix the shrimp and garlic together until the shrimp is fully coated. Spread the shrimp out so it’s evenly covering the pan and squeeze the fresh lemon juice on top. Sprinkle with parsley and pepper, then remove the shrimp from the heat.

shrimp over pasta on a white platter

Serving Suggestions

You can enjoy this healthy shrimp recipe atop whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta. It would also taste divine alongside rice (regular or cauliflower rice would pair nicely here) or on a hearty salad.


Why is my shrimp releasing liquid when it cooks?

This could be for three reasons. One, the shrimp was treated with STP, a chemical that helps it retain moisture. Unfortunately, when it is cooked, it can release that moisture. Two, the pan may not be hot enough. Three, the pan was overcrowded. All three of these reasons will prevent the shrimp from getting a good browning and sear. When in doubt put less shrimp in the pan to avoid overcrowding.

Can this be made ahead?

This recipe is not great reheated because the shrimp texture becomes rubbery. Instead you can clean the shrimp, chop the garlic and parsley and keep them all separate and refrigerated for one day.

Can I use frozen shrimp?

Yes! Thaw the shrimp in a colander under running cool water from the tap, or defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Once the shrimp are peeled, make sure to dry them with clean paper towels. Remember: to get a good sear and browning, you don’t want any excess moisture on the shrimp.

What goes with shrimp in garlic sauce?

We love the way shrimp tastes with brown or white rice and pair it with fresh green veggies like our Sauteed Green Beans. Of course, pasta is a classic accompaniment as well! Serve it topped with parsley with additional lemon wedges.

Variations To Try

  • To make Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp, instead of Olive Oil, use 2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter. Just make sure to add the shrimp before the butter starts to brown, or the butter will burn.
  • Try adding 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon after the shrimp comes off the heat. The slightly anise flavor of tarragon pairs beautifully with seafood.
  • Use white wine instead of lemon. This variation is slightly less tart than the lemon juice for those who do not love sour flavors.
  • Add a little heat by adding a pinch of red pepper flakes to the skillet with the garlic. It will add a nice little kick!
  • For an Asian-inspried variation, make the following substitutions: Use 1 tablespoon avocado oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil instead of sesame oil. Omit the lemon juice and use dry sherry instead. Season with soy sauce or fish sauce to taste. Garnish with Thai basil or cilantro instead of parsley.

More Healthy Shrimp Recipes:

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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shrimp on a platter on pasta

Healthy Shrimp in Garlic Lemon Sauce


This lemon garlic shrimp is an easy weeknight meal that takes only 20 minutes to make. It’s fast, delicious and healthy!


  • 2 lbs frozen 16-20 ct. peeled and deveined shrimp, defrosted (tails left on)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup roughly chopped Italian Parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Pat shrimp dry.
  2. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add shrimp and sprinkle with salt. Let cook, until bright pink and starting to brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
  3. Push shrimp to one side of the skillet, and tilt skillet to allow oil to pool on the open surface of the skillet. Add garlic to the oil and stir. Cook, stirring the garlic only until the it is fragrant and just starting to brown. Stir the garlic into the shrimp and stir to coat the shrimp with the garlic.
  4. Redistribute the shrimp mixture onto the surface of the skillet. Drizzle lemon over the shrimp and stir to coat. Continue cooking until the shrimp is just cooked through, 40 seconds to 2 minutes.
  5. Add parsley and black pepper, stir to coat and remove from the heat . Serve hot.


Tips For Cooking The Shrimp

To brown the shrimp and keep them from releasing all their juice into the pan, you’ll want to make sure you heat up your pan before you add the shrimp.

You can even add a shrimp to test if the oil is hot. If you do and it doesn’t really sizzle sizzle sizzle, then you should wait a minute before adding the rest of the shrimp.

You also don’t want to overcrowd the pan. So make sure you use a large skillet.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups
  • Calories: 291
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 370 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 55 g

Keywords: lemon garlic shrimp, shrimp in garlic sauce