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This bbq grilled shrimp skewers recipe (sometimes called shrimp kabobs) takes a quick-cooking protein and elevates it with smoky char… it’s the best way to cook shrimp on the grill! And, they take a handful of basic ingredients and just minutes to cook. Learn my best tips for how to grill shrimp skewers, so they turn out smoky and juicy, not rubbery.
I love to use my grill to make fast and flavorful seafood! It’s a delicious cooking method for grilling lobster tails, salmon on the grill, foil packet meals, and so much more… and these garlic shrimp skewers will have you running back to the grill again and again.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Grilled Shrimp Recipe
- Smoky, garlicky taste
- Juicy shrimp (not rubbery!)
- Easy prep (simply marinate and skewer)
- Just 5 minutes cook time
- Makes a great appetizer or an easy healthy dinner
Ingredients For Grilled Shrimp Skewers
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for bbq shrimp skewers, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
How to select the shrimp:
- Size – This recipe uses large shrimp, which will be labeled 31/40, but other sizes work fine as long as you account for he size of the shrimp. For jumbo shrimp, the cook time might be a minute or two longer. I don’t recommend going much smaller though, as large shrimp on the grill gets more juicy.
- Appearance – Raw shrimp should look gray and translucent — avoid any with discoloration or a smell like ammonia.
- Fresh vs frozen – Unless you can access live shrimp, frozen and thawed shrimp will be the next-freshest option.
- Shell on vs easy peel vs peeled – Shells add the most flavor and moisture to shrimp, while easy peel shrimp have been conveniently split and deveined. Peeled shrimp are the easiest of all to handle, but may not look as pretty due to the peeling process.
- Deveined – It’s safe to use veined shrimp, but for the best appearance they should be deveined.
- Make sure it’s raw – If you get precooked shrimp and cook them again, they’ll turn rubbery.
For the grilled shrimp marinade:
- Olive Oil – Use a light olive oil for neutral flavor, or try avocado oil.
- Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice tastes outstanding in this grilled shrimp skewers marinade, but use bottled if necessary. For extra lemon flavor, feel free to add in the lemon zest, too. If you have limes on hand instead of lemons, feel free to swap the lemon juice for lime juice.
- Garlic – Can’t make garlic shrimp skewers without it! Mincing fresh garlic tastes the best, but you can use the jarred kind to save time.
- Italian Seasoning – Use a pre-made version, or make homemade Italian seasoning. Alternatively, you can chop up some fresh herbs, such as fresh parsley, basil, or thyme.
- Smoked Paprika – Regular paprika will work if that’s what you have, but smoked paprika adds the best flavor for the grill.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
How To Grill Shrimp (Step By Step)
This section shows how to cook shrimp on the grill with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Soak. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30-60 minutes before grilling. (This prevents them from burning on the grill.) Thin metal skewers will work as well and don’t need to be soaked.
- Make marinade. Whisk all ingredients except shrimp in a large bowl.
- Marinate shrimp. Turn the shrimp to coat, and allow them to marinate for 20-30 minutes.
TIP: Don’t marinate for too long. If marinated for more than 30-60 minutes, the acid in the marinade will start to “cook” the shrimp (similar to shrimp ceviche).
- Preheat. While shrimp marinates, preheat the grill for 15 minutes on medium high heat.
- Skewer. Remove shrimp from marinade and thread onto skewers. Grilling shrimp on skewers will prevent it from falling through the grates and makes it easier to flip.
- Grill. Lay the shrimp skewers on the grill and cook, flipping once, until shrimp is opaque.
Grilled Shrimp Variations
Change up the technique, serving style, and seasoning for grilled shrimp skewers for delicious flavor!
- Grilled shrimp in foil – Place all marinated shrimp on a large piece of foil and fold into a lightly closed packet. Grill for 8-10 minutes.
- Grilled shrimp on the stove – If you can’t make bbq garlic shrimp skewers on an outdoor grill, simply use a grill pan on the stove top — the cooking time won’t change.
- Grilled shrimp skewers with vegetables – Use veggies that cook quickly (or taste good with a little crunch) like zucchini, mushrooms, onions, or bell peppers. Alternate shrimp and cut veggies on the skewers, and grill for the same amount of time.
- Change up the grilled shrimp seasoning – Try marinating shrimp with lemon pepper seasoning, Cajun seasoning, or your favorite herbs and spices.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are simple grilled shrimp skewers, but there are so many ways to prepare them. Don’t worry, the technique doesn’t have to be complicated!
Do you peel shrimp before grilling?
It depends on how you want your shrimp to cook — and look on the plate. Leaving shells on creates more flavor and can make shrimp juicier, but peeling can make it easier to enjoy them after cooking.
How long to grill shrimp?
Grilled garlic shrimp skewers only need 2-3 minutes per side. Watch them closely so they don’t overcook.
Is grilled shrimp healthy?
With lots of clean protein, simple flavors, and low calories, grilled shrimp are definitely a healthy choice.
How to grill shrimp on the stove?
Can’t fire up the grill? You can easily make this bbq shrimp skewers recipe on the stove instead. Simply use a grill pan and the same amount of cook time, though your stovetop will reach cooking temperature faster than an outdoor grill.
Can you grill frozen shrimp?
It’s best to thaw shrimp before grilling — it only takes a few minutes!
The texture of reheated grilled shrimp is nowhere near as good as fresh, but you can save it for later if you really want to:
- To store leftovers: Wrap tightly or place in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- To reheat: Reheat in a lightly oiled skillet on medium heat until completely warmed. (Avoid the microwave!)
- To freeze: Cool completely, place in an airtight storage bag or container, and freeze up to 6 months.
What To Serve With Grilled Shrimp
What goes with grilled shrimp skewers? These are my favorite sides to pair with this main course:
- Leafy salads – Spring mix salad or kale crunch salad make easy side dishes for grilled shrimp skewers. Or use them for a shrimp Caesar salad.
- Lettuce-free salads – Change up the side dishes with grain-free tabbouleh, fresh coleslaw, zesty zucchini salad, or creamy cucumber salad.
- Grilled veggies – If the grill is already fired up, make some grilled broccoli or grilled asparagus to serve with shrimp.
- Simple sauces – Lemon butter, homemade tartar sauce, or lemon garlic aioli make the best sauce for grilled shrimp skewers.
More Easy Seafood Recipes
Seafood is one of my favorite weeknight dinners — it gets to the table so fast! If you feel the same way, you’ll love these quick dishes, too:
- Perfect Grilled Salmon
- Shrimp Fajitas
- Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
- Broiled Lobster Tail
- Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp
- Steak and Shrimp (Surf & Turf)
- Pan Seared Halibut
The Best Grilled Shrimp Skewers Recipe
Grilled Shrimp Skewers Recipe
This grilled shrimp skewers recipe is so EASY and flavorful! Learn how to grill shrimp skewers perfectly every time, and get the best marinade for BBQ garlic shrimp skewers.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30-60 minutes before using them on the grill, to prevent burning.
In a large bowl, whisk together the grilled shrimp marinade: olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
Add the shrimp and gently turn to coat. Marinate shrimp for 20-30 minutes, but no longer than 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the grill for about 15 minutes, or a grill pan for 5-10 minutes, over medium-high heat.
While the grill preheats, remove the shrimp from the marinade and thread onto the skewers.
When the grill has preheated, put the shrimp skewers on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until shrimp is opaque.
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Serving size: 2 skewers, about 8-10 shrimp total
Nutrition info includes 1/3 of the marinade, as the rest is discarded.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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