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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
- Warm appetizer - serve immediately after cooking
- Cold appetizer - chill in the fridge
- Over rice
- In tacos (try them with this black bean pineapple salsa or charred corn salsa!)
- Warm or chilled in a salad (try it in this shrimp salad with bacon)
Related recipe: Tropical Shrimp Avocado Salad Boats
- 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.
Related recipe: Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce
Looking for other easy seafood and appetizer recipes?
- Crab cakes with mango relish
- Calamari salad
- Spanish-style calamari salad with potatoes
- See all my shrimp recipes!
- 3 ingredient kielbasa bites
- Seafood spread on a toasted baguette appetizer
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!
Cilantro Lime Shrimp
- 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.