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20 Minute Cilantro Lime Shrimp

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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

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.

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!

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

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 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.

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:

pinterest image of cilantro lime shrimp

image of cilantro lime shrimp in a bowl
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4.77 from 13 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 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Total Time16 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 (see notes)
Author: Kate


  • Citrus juicer


  • 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


  • 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.


Nutrition Facts
Cilantro Lime Shrimp
Amount Per Serving
Calories 211 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 285mg95%
Sodium 1173mg49%
Potassium 118mg3%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 135IU3%
Vitamin C 10.1mg12%
Calcium 170mg17%
Iron 2.6mg14%
* The nutritional information shown here is just an estimate and not meant to be used as dietary/nutritional advice. Please consult a nutritionist for exact nutritional information based on the exact ingredients you use.

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