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20 Minute Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Flavorful garlicky Cilantro Lime Shrimp can be yours in 20 minutes! These make a great party appetizer or serve them with your favorite sides for a main course.

image of cilantro lime shrimp

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Cilantro + Lime is one of those classic combinations that most people love (unless you're one of those people to whom cilantro tastes like soap, then this combo really sucks!). The zesty, fresh flavors of cilantro and lime give the shrimp LOTS of flavor.

These Cilantro Lime Shrimp are made in just 20 minutes (and that's with me stopping to take some pictures for this website!). This quick shrimp recipe makes this recipe perfect for busy weeknight dinners or for making a large batch as an appetizer for a party. You guests will LOVE these - shrimp is usually the one appetizer that disappears first at any party!

Cilantro Lime Shrimp in a bowl.

Related recipe: Shrimp and Vegetable Couscous Salad


  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen (get as large shrimp as you can find!)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more for taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes

Related recipe: Shrimp Avocado Tostadas

How to make Cilantro Lime Shrimp:

Step 1: Start by chopping cilantro leaves finely, or put cilantro in a small food processor with the rest of the ingredients (lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, if using) and pulse. This mixture will be the marinade and the glaze for the cooked shrimp, so make sure you reserve about 2 tablespoons before you add the shrimp. You will brush it on the shrimp right before serving for maximum flavor. 

Chopped cilantro with lime marinade for shrimp.

Related recipe: Easy Shrimp Oreganata

Step 2: Add raw peeled shrimp to the cilantro lime marinade and stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes while you preheat the skillet and clean up from the recipe prep.

Shrimp in a cilantro lime marinade

Step 3: Add some oil to a skillet and cook the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes per side. Brush with the remaining (the one you set aside that didn't touch raw shrimp!) cilantro lime marinade before serving. That's it!

More quick shrimp recipes: Spicy Honey Shrimp

How to serve cilantro lime shrimp

Cilantro lime shrimp is so versatile and can be served in so many ways, hot or cold! Here are some ideas:

Related recipe: Tropical Shrimp Avocado Salad Boats

Recipe tips:

  • Use fresh garlic, fresh cilantro, and fresh lime juice. Powdered spices and herbs just won't give these shrimp the same flavor. And freshly squeezed lime juice adds a fresher flavor to this dish as well. This garlic press makes it very easy to use fresh garlic in recipes. And this citrus juicer is also wonderful for juicing lemons and limes for your recipes. They're both from OXO, and I use them both almost daily. They're still going strong after many years of use.
  • You can use any size shrimp you want for this recipe, just make sure you adjust the cooking time if using very small shrimp (cooked super fast) or very large shrimp (add a minute or two). Larger shrimp make for a more impressive appetizer. You can even serve them on a tray with toothpicks inserted into the shrimp to make them look fancy! Smaller shrimp are fine if you're serving this for a family dinner with side dishes.

Related recipe: Baked Shrimp Fajitas

How long this shrimp lasts:

Honestly, you will eat all the shrimp so quickly you'll wonder why you didn't make a double batch. However, cooked cilantro lime shrimp will keep in the fridge for about 2 days in a closed container.

Bowl of cilantro lime shrimp.

Related recipe: Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce

Looking for other easy seafood and appetizer recipes?

Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know with a comment and a star rating below, and don't forget to save it for later on Pinterest!

image of cilantro lime shrimp in a bowl
Print Recipe
4.81 from 21 votes

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Flavorful garlicky Cilantro Lime Shrimp can be yours in 20 minutes! These make a great party appetizer or serve them with your favorite sides for a main course.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Total Time16 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 (see notes)
Author: Kate


  • 1 lb shrimp - peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen
  • 1 bunch cilantro - (about 1-2 cups)
  • 1 garlic clove - minced or grated
  • 1 lime - juiced (about 2 tablespoons lime juice)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt - or more for taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes

Special equipment


  • Finely chop the cilantro leaves. Juice the lime. Mince the garlic. In a large bowl, combine the chopped cilantro, lime juice, minced garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil (reserve 1 for cooking), salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix. Set aside 1-2 tablespoons of the marinade into another small bowl before you add shrimp to it.
  • Add the raw peeled shrimp to the marinade bowl and mix well. Let sit for 5 minutes to marinate.
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large preheated skillet. Use tongs to carefully place the marinated shrimp onto the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on high heat. Use tongs to flip the shrimp and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp are fully cooked. Use a clean spatula or tongs to remove the shrimp from the skillet and place in a clean bowl. Brush with the reserved tablespoon of cilantro lime marinade. Serve immediately or chill and serve as an appetizer or on top of a salad.


Calories: 211kcal (11%) | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 23g (46%) | Fat: 12g (18%) | Saturated Fat: 1g (5%) | Cholesterol: 285mg (95%) | Sodium: 1173mg (49%) | Potassium: 118mg (3%) | Vitamin A: 135IU (3%) | Vitamin C: 10.1mg (12%) | Calcium: 170mg (17%) | Iron: 2.6mg (14%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

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Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

I have made this twice now. We really enjoyed it! Thank you


Sunday 6th of August 2023

Delicious. Red paper flakes are spot on and add a little heat to a perfect dish. I paired it with mexican cauli rice!


Tuesday 11th of April 2023

Had some frozen shrimp to use up and this recipe is now my go-to for a quick and easy meal. Paired it with some jasmine rice and the sauce from the skillet was perfect with it. Thanks for such a great recipe!


Thursday 13th of April 2023

So glad to hear! Enjoy! I have lots of quick shrimp recipes on this site.


Tuesday 12th of July 2022

Made this and we loved it! Used the marinade as a pasta sauce with the shrimp and mmmm! Super easy and gourmet flavor!


Thursday 14th of July 2022

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!!


Thursday 14th of April 2022

These were super tasty and easy to make. I made bowls with Mexican rice, frijoles de la olla, these fabulous shrimp and topped it with guacamole! Delicious!


Wednesday 20th of April 2022

That sounds good!

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