Last updated on September 16th, 2019.
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 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 me rounding up and stopping to take some pictures for this blog), which 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!
How to make Cilantro Lime Shrimp:
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 a few tablespoons that don’t touch raw shrimp. You will brush it on the shrimp right before serving for maximum flavor.
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.
Add some oil to a skillet and cook the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes per side. Brush with the remaining (uncontaminated!) cilantro lime marinade before serving. That’s it! Two steps.
Serve warm immediately, or chill. If you’re keeping the shrimp in the fridge until serving, just let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes before bringing them out to your guests so they are not ice cold. Or heat them up if serving these for dinner the next day. Cooked cilantro lime shrimp will keep in the fridge for about 2 days in a closed container.
A few tips for making cilantro lime shrimp:
- 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 or very large shrimp. 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.
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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 tablespoon of the marinade into another small bowl. 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.