Lemon Garlic Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Lemon Garlic Shrimp

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Lemon Garlic Grilled Shrimp are one of my favourite grilling recipes. Shrimp grill up quickly and the grill imparts a smoky flavour that’s perfect for shrimp.

Lemon Garlic Grilled Shrimp Skewers

Is it a Prawn or a Shrimp?

The words “prawn” and “shrimp” are used interchangeably, and many people think that a shrimp is simply a small prawn. However, shrimp and prawns are actually entirely different animals

But, because they are so similar in both appearance, flavour, and texture, you can use either in a recipe calling for the other.

Lemon Garlic Grilled Shrimp on Skewers

Choosing Your Shrimp

There are dozens of different varieties of both shrimp and prawns, and you can buy them fresh or frozen. You can also buy them with heads on or off, or peeled or not.

I’m taking advantage of the wild-caught spot prawn season here where I live, but any large or jumbo shrimp or prawn will work for the barbecue. However, there are two factors to keep in mind when shopping for shrimp:


Of course, food safety dictates that you should buy the freshest shrimp possible. But taste and texture are also compromised if the shrimp is not fresh.

Shrimp are highly perishable, so if buying fresh shrimp, take a sniff. There should be no real odour, just a slightly briny sea smell. If the shrimp smells like ammonia, don’t buy it.

Fresh shrimp should always be stored on ice, and should never be limp or slimy.

Frozen shrimp are often a better choice for freshness, particularly if the shrimp have to travel a long way from the ocean. Frozen shrimp are usually deep-frozen at sea as soon as they are caught.

Sustainable Shrimp

Protecting our oceans, so that we can continue to enjoy what it produces, is vitally important. And, many commercial fishing methods can be damaging to marine life and our oceans themselves. Many species of marine life throughout the world are endangered.

Look for the Ocean Wise label, or the Marine Stewardship Council label to be sure that your shrimp have been sustainably harvested. (And, please have a look at those websites to learn more about what we can all do for the health of our oceans.

A close up of a pan of cooked shrimp on a table, with lemon wedges

Grilling Shrimp

Unless your shrimp are huge, you will need skewers to grill them. Wooden skewers work well and are easy to thread the shrimp on.

Soak your wooden skewers for half an hour before they go on the grill with the shrimp. This will reduce the chance of them catching fire.

As I mentioned, shrimp cook very quickly, so you will want to have everything you need at the ready. Grill shrimp over direct high heat for just three minutes per side.

Shrimp are cooked when the exterior is pink, and the flesh is white, but not too white. If the flesh is bright white, the shrimp is overcooked and rubbery.


Marinating Shrimp for the Grill

This recipe for lemon garlic grilled shrimp is very simple, and unlike marinating meat or chicken, very quick. The marinade is intended just to soak in the flavours, which happens quickly for delicate shrimp. So 5 minutes for marinating the shrimp is all that is required.

Grilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

What to Serve with Grilled Shrimp

You can serve these delicious shrimp as appetizers, and I have included a cocktail sauce recipe for dipping. You can also serve these skewers as a meal alongside summer salads like  Cucumber Melon SaladFennel Cabbage Slaw, or Grilled Corn & Black Bean Salad -Summer Bean Salad. They’re perfect for tacos, too!

Grilled Lemon Garlic Shrimp


Grilled Lemon Garlic Shrimp

Lemon Garlic Grilled Shrimp

Lemony, garlicky, slightly spicy shrimp take just minutes to grill and make a delicious appetizer or entree.
5 from 22 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 6 mins
Total Time 16 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 4
Calories 167 kcal


  • Barbecue
  • Wooden Skewers


Cocktail Sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce to taste


  • 20 Shrimp large, peeled
  • 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 2 tbsp parsley fresh


Cocktail Sauce

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all cocktail sauce ingredients
  • Refrigerate until ready to use


  • Soak 4 wooden skewers in water.
  • Preheat grill on high, and spray with cooking oil
  • Blot shrimp dry with paper towel
  • In a medium bowl whisk together oil, juice and zest of one of the lemons, garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, and celery salt.
  • Add shrimp and toss to coat. Allow to marinate 5 minutes
  • Thread shrimp on skewers, 5 per skewer.
  • Grill shrimp over direct high heat, about 6 minutes, turning halfway through. Shrimp should be pink, and the flesh opaque.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce.


When threading shrimp, space them tightly together. This will mean less surface area so the shrimp will stay juicy and tender.


Serving: 1gCalories: 167kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 8gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 933mgPotassium: 235mgFiber: 2gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1015IUVitamin C: 39.3mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 1.4mg
Keyword grilled seafood, grilled shrimp, shrimp
Tried this recipe? What changes did you make?Let us know how it was!

Shrimp in a pan on a table with lemon and sauce

45 thoughts on “Lemon Garlic Grilled Shrimp

  1. Lemon and garlic, love both flavours in my cooking and these grilled shrimps perfect for seafood lovers. Lovely pictures.

  2. I am shrimp crazy and don’t eat nearly enough of them. Perhaps it’s because I’m land-locked? This looks like such a delicious way to cook them!

  3. Chili-lime-garlic is the best spice rub for grilling. What a fantastic looking grilled shrimp. Perfect summer recipe.

  4. This looks delicious! Unfortunately I can’t eat shrimp but I’m sure my husband would appreciate this recipe.

  5. mmmm, Colleen, we would love these lemon garlic shrimp at least once a week πŸ™‚ ! Delicious flavors, plus Loreto loves to use the barbecue! Thank you for the info on buying sustainable fish, really appreciated!

  6. I have to agree – grilled shrimp tastes incredibly. I mean there is nothing else that can beat that flavor. Really excited to try your recipe now!

  7. I never knew there was a difference to be honest! Love the detail to this post and the shrimp looks fantastic!

  8. Lovely recipe, Colleen! I appreciate both the shrimp recipe and the cocktail sauce, and I agree with your readers comments that it is awesome to have some frozen shrimp/prawns in the freezer to make this dish anytime. Many thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Love that you’ve kept the flavours simple: lemon and garlic is a classic combo for a reason. It’s just so good! We’re loving wild spot prawn season right now, too. I’m planning to thaw some prawns and make your recipe tonight! Thanks.

  10. Such a light and fresh recipe just perfect for summer! Love that you made your own cocktail sauce…love that stuff! Extra horseradish for me please πŸ˜‰

  11. I love cooking shrimp on the grill, however, I have never added lemon or garlic to them. This is all I can think of now and I am going to have to throw these down tonight!

  12. This is the perfect meal for me! I love shrimp (and always have some in the freezer) and the combo of flavors on the shrimp sounds delicious!

    1. Hi Elaine. Shrimp are so great to have on hand in the freezer, aren’t they? I think you are going to love this simple but flavourful dish.

  13. I just learned that prawns and shrimp are different animals! Wonderful summer recipe, simple and fresh. I like the idea of horseradish in the sauce!

  14. I always have frozen shrimp. Perfect to throw on the grill for easy dinners. This recipe looks and sounds delicious. I know my family would enjoy it any night of the week.

    1. Hi Gloria. I always keep frozen shrimp around too. It defrosts and cooks quickly so it’s perfect to have on hand. Cheers to easy dinners!

  15. I really appreciate that you went into so much detail about buying fresh shrimp! The quality of the shrimp obviously has a huge impact on how it tastes. So well written and looks absolutely delicious!

  16. I love how quick and easy this is to make. Grilling is perfect this time of year and I am ready for this lemon garlic grilled shrimp.

  17. I love shrimps, and this is a really nice alternative to our usual grilled burger and steak. Plus, shrimps cook so fast, so we can all enjoy our food that much faster. πŸ™‚

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