If you’ve seen our post on how to perfectly pan-sear shrimp, you know we love sweet Argentinian Red shrimp for their delicate texture and their natural sweetness. For this grilled red shrimp recipe, we add a bit of delicious smoky flavor to them before a quick 4-minute cook in a grill pan. If you’ve already fired up the outdoor grill, use it. These shrimp are delicious no matter what, plus they’re ready to eat in just 4 minutes, and also happen to be low in calories making them really hard to beat for easy weeknight dinners. Pile them on top of a salad, throw them on a slider, or stuff your quesadillas with these smoky sweet shrimp.
No Need for Takeout or Expensive Seafood Restaurants — Pan-Grilled Shrimp is Quick + Easy to Make at Home
Shellfish is a favorite in our house and we tend to eat a wide variety of it (especially shrimp) because we’re in an area with high-quality abundant seafood and it cooks so quickly. There are many ways to prepare shrimp (like shrimp scampi), but pan-seared and grilled shrimp may be the easiest yet. All you need are two high-quality ingredients (shrimp, and extra virgin olive oil) — but adding a bit of smokiness is also delicious. Grab a heavy-gauge grill pan, or cast iron, carbon steel, or even stainless steel skillet and dinner’s ready in less than 5 minutes.
Here are three very easy techniques to help you avoid accidentally steaming or overcooking shrimp. This dish can be made using all types of shrimp including Royal Reds, tiger prawns, blue, brown, and white shrimps. You can even use frozen shrimp to make this recipe which makes it a more budget-friendly option for those living in landlocked areas of the world.
- Always pat the shrimp completely dry. Once the shells have been removed and the shrimp have been deveined, pat them completely dry on all sides with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. This will ensure that when the shrimp (coated in just a bit of oil) hit the hot pan, there is no additional liquid (juice) hitting the pan creating steam or a watery surface. Dry equals a good grill or pan sear. It’s the same technique used in pan-seared steak and sometimes even veggies.
- Always ensure your grill pan (or skillet) is seriously hot and just smoking before adding shrimp. If you add shrimp before the pan is super hot, it will not grill properly without first overcooking the delicate shrimp.
- Do not overcrowd your pan. Don’t force too many shrimp into the skillet or grill pan at one time, or you’ll end up without a good sear and steamed shrimp instead. Cook the shrimp in batches if you need to. Leave plenty of room for them to sizzle and cook and get that crispness on the bottoms (which equals flavor).
The Difference Between Red Shrimp varieties and Regular Shrimp (blue, white, brown, tiger, etc.)
Red varieties of shrimp are the most tender species of the shrimp family because they have more fat than other varieties of shrimp. These shrimp live in (and are caught in) very deep (1200-2400ft or 365m-731m) cold waters in just a few locations around the world. It’s these conditions that give them their buttery lobster-like texture and uniquely sweet flavor. Red shrimp also cook a bit faster than other types of shrimp because of their fatty flesh, making them a perfect candidate for easy, tasty weeknight meals in minutes.
Grilled Argentinan Red Shrimp Ingredients
Basic pantry spices make this deliciously sweet and tender smoky grilled shrimp recipe a regular rotation in our house. If you prefer the pure taste of sweet Argentinian Red shrimp, just use EVOO and sea salt to season them, or head over here and use this recipe. Feel free to switch up the spices used and add a little cayenne pepper for extra heat if you want. You may also add up to 1 tablespoon (14g) of EVOO to the shrimp, but for this post, we kept it on the seriously healthy side and used just 2 teaspoons for 10 large shrimp.
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound Argentinian Red shrimp (or other sweet shrimp) deveined with tails on and patted dry (230-300g)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (10g)
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika (2g)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (2g)
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (1g)
- sea salt to taste
*You may want to add up to 1/2 teaspoon paprika, smoked paprika, and onion powder depending on how flavored you want your shrimp. You can also just give a few shakes of each spice without measuring anything which is the way I tend to cook this recipe because it’s quicker and easier.
How to Make Perfect Grilled Shrimp in Just 4 Minutes
Depending on how much time you have (or don’t have) once you season the shrimp, you may cover them and place them in the fridge to marinate in the spice rub and olive oil for 20 minutes or up to overnight. You can also just season and grill them immediately. Both options are delicious.
- Clean and season the shrimp. Remove the shells from the shrimp leaving only the tail attached and devein. Butterfly the shrimp if desired to give them more surface area for cooking. Pat the shrimp dry and place them into a bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil and spices and gently massage the shrimp until evenly coated. Use immediately or cover them and place them in the fridge to marinate for 20 minutes, or up to overnight.
- Grill the Shrimp. Increase the heat to medium-high heat and just when the skillet begins to smoke, add the shrimp in one single layer (avoid overcrowding the pan) and sprinkle them with salt to taste. Do not move them once they hit the hot skillet. Let the shrimp cook for about 2 minutes, or until they turn reddish-orange and have a golden sear. Flip them over and grill for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more, until just opaque and cooked through. Remove from the skillet and serve immediately, Enjoy!
Perfect Grilled Shrimp step-by-step recipe photos
How to Buy the Best Shrimp (Even If It’s Frozen)
Sometimes frozen shrimp can be a better option than buying fresh shrimp especially if you live in a landlocked area of the country. Follow these basic guidelines for buying the best shrimp.
- Buy shrimp from a reputable source like a local fishmonger, or mom-and-pop seafood shop.
- Buy fresh (never frozen) shrimp when available and always ask the employee which shrimp is the freshest and how old it is.
- Check all the dates of frozen or fresh shrimp and don’t buy shrimp with very old dates or you risk getting an inferior product that may even be inedible.
- Smell the shrimp if they’ll let you and if it smells clean and fresh that’s a good sign, but if it smells like ammonia take a pass and buy something else.
- Check the texture and do not buy shrimp that looks leathery or “shreddy” which indicates it’s been frozen too long, stored improperly, or just old.
What Texture Should Cooked Shrimp Be
Shrimp should be tender and springy and the best way to avoid rubbery or chewy shrimp is not to overcook them. It’s essential to cook shrimp just until they’re opaque and have turned a reddish-orange or pink color (about 2 to 4 minutes total depending on the size and type of shrimp). Keep in mind red shrimp cook just a bit faster than other types of shrimp because they’re fattier.
Below are A Few More Quick Shrimp Recipes You May Enjoy
If you love shrimp as much as we do, here are a few delicious ways to cook Argentinian Red shrimp or any other type of shrimp you have available.
- The Best Shrimp Fettucine Alfredo
- Easy + Delicious Shrimp Au Gratin (Gamberi Gratinati)
- Anniversary Pasta (Spicy Shrimp Tomato-Alfredo Sauce w/Rigatoni)
- Easy Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry (w/Cantonese Style White Sauce)
- 4-Minute Perfect Pan-Seared Shrimp
- Delicious Shrimp Scampi for Two (or a Crowd)
- 15-Minute Shrimp Pasta w/Garganelli (the Italian Way)
- Triple Shrimp Trighetto Pasta (Creamy Shrimp Pasta)
- Dim Sum Har Gow Shrimp Dumplings (虾饺) (The Ultimate Guide)
- Cajun Style Royal Red Shrimp Pasta for One (or a crowd)
- Mediterranean Pigtail Pasta Salad with Shrimp (Featuring Sautéed Vegetables + Fresh Mozzarella)
- How to Make Featherlight Fried Shrimp 4 Ways (we tested so you don’t have to)
Royal Red Shrimp tips + tricks + FAQ’s
- American Royal Red Shrimp’s scientific name is pleoticus robustus native to the Gulf Coast, the Keys, and even Connecticut.
- Royal Red shrimp are sweeter, fattier, and more tender than any other variety of shrimp.
- Royal Reds are fished (or rather, shrimped) out of very deep water (1200-2400ft (365m-731m) which makes them more labor-intensive and can also make them more dangerous to catch.