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Home Recipes Best Grilled Shrimp on the Planet

I’ve grilled dozens upon dozens of shrimp in my life. They’re one of my favorite healthy snacks. Before creating this recipe, I always thought my shrimp were pretty good. But pretty good isn’t good enough.

Bowl of grilled shrimp.

Once I added this one ingredient, my grilled shrimp went from pretty good to being the best damn grilled shrimp on the planet. I’m not exaggerating here. I can down a pound of shrimp like no tomorrow when I follow this method. This recipe takes minimal effort and has the best flavor.

How do you grill shrimp?

Before we get to the ingredients, let’s talk about the grilling process. If you want juicy, flavorful shrimp, you’ve got to grill them with the shells on. They add so much more flavor to the shrimps, and they protect the delicate skin from the brutal fire.

Leaving the shells on creates a little more work when it comes time to eat them, but honestly, it makes you slow down to enjoy each succulent bite.

skewered shrimp cooked on grill.

Grill them hot and fast over direct heat. You can put them straight on the grill, but if you buy smaller shrimp, they may fall through the grill grate. As an alternative, you can use a grill basket or get a set of Grill Grates. Place the Grill Grates upside down to make a plancha, which is a flat grilling surface.

You can also cook them on metal skewers. If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water first so the skewers don’t burn.


What ingredient makes this the best grilled shrimp on the planet?

Okay, now to that one ingredient that makes these the best damn grilled shrimp on the planet. It’s sesame oil.

Bottle of sesame oil.

Sesame oil is oil extracted from sesame seeds. It’s usually thicker than traditional vegetable oil and has a rich, amber color, but the best part about sesame oil is that it’s a concentrated burst of umami.

When you toss the shrimp in sesame oil, the sweetness of the shrimp is somehow amplified. I add a little bit of garlic and ginger to this marinade, too, for extra aromatics.

This grilled shrimp recipe is for two pounds of shrimp. If you are feeding a crowd, I recommend to double or triple the amount of food. These will be consumed quickly.


Ingredients

Grilled shrimp ingredients.

This recipe calls for simple ingredients:

Raw shrimp: Look for deveined, shell-on shrimp. The ones that are deveined are already cleaned and much easier to peel after you cook them. As for size, I look for the bag that says 16-20 shrimp per pound. You’re welcome to use larger or smaller shrimp.

two pieces of shrimp, showing that they're deveined with the peel still on.
Deveined shrimp with the shells on
  • Olive oil: I like using olive oil, but you can also use avocado oil or any other cooking oil.
  • Soy sauce: Regular or low-sodium is fine.
  • Sesame oil: You can find this in the Asian aisle of your grocery store.
  • Garlic: Fresh minced garlic is best, but you could also use granulated garlic.
  • Ginger: Use ginger powder or buy a piece of fresh ginger. Then, peel it and mince it.
  • Kosher salt: Shrimp naturally contain sodium, so you can adjust the salt to your liking.
  • Black pepper

PRO TIP: If you want to add a little kick, you can throw in some crushed red pepper flakes.

See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.

How do you marinate shrimp?

If you bought frozen shrimp, be sure to let it thaw before making this recipe. To thaw shrimp overnight, place the bag in a bowl in the refrigerator. For a quick thaw, pour the shrimp into a large bowl and run cold water over the shrimp in the sink.

To create this simple marinade, you’ll want to mix together all of your ingredients and toss with the shrimp. Let the shrimp sit for at least 30 minutes in the marinade at room temperature before grilling.

As the shrimp marinates, you can light your grill.

PRO TIP: If you don’t want to grill them, you can cook them on a grill pan or in a 425F degree oven. You just won’t get the same grilled or smoky flavor.


How to cook grilled shrimp

You can make these on any type of outdoor grill. I usually use a gas grill. It’s a quick way to cook, but is ultimately a personal preference. 

  1. STEP ONE: Combine all ingredients, and toss the shrimp in a bowl to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  1. STEP TWO: Skewer the shrimp onto metal skewers. For best results, use skewers that are flat, so the shrimp doesn’t spin as you turn it. If you don’t have skewers, you can also just place the shrimp straight on the hot grill.
Seasoned shrimp on skewers.
  1. STEP THREE: Grill on high to medium-high heat, turning once until charred and pink, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cook time may vary based on the heat of your grill.
skewers of grilled shrimp on grill.

How to serve grilled shrimp

You have two options when serving this grilled shrimp recipe. Either serve the shrimp straight from the grill with the shells left on or remove them before serving.

Bowl of grilled shrimp next to peeled shrimp and shrimp peels.

They’re so flavorful that they don’t need a dipping sauce, but you can add some sliced lemon wedges and fresh herbs to the platter.

These are great as an appetizer but also work well as a main dish for lunch or dinner. They’re really good on top of a fresh salad.

Once you peel them, you can make delicious shrimp tacos. Just add some fresh slaw, pickled veg and a little sriracha mixed with mayo. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice.

Storage

You can keep leftover grilled shrimp in the fridge in an airtight container for about 3-4 days. They’re great to eat cold. You can also freeze the cooked shrimp if you want to make this recipe ahead of time. Just let them thaw in the refrigerator before serving.


GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • You should only have to grill the shrimp for about 3 minutes on each side
  • I prefer jumbo or colossal sized shrimp to grill
  • Gulf coast shrimp, if you can find it, is super tasty for this recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my shells sticking to the shrimp?

That can happen if they’re overcooked. Also, look for the bag that says EZ-peel. That should help.

Is grilled shrimp healthy?

Yes, it is. Grilled shrimp is very healthy, and shrimp themselves contain tons of valuable nutrients such as heart healthy DHA omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, magnesium and more.

Can you grill ready to eat shrimp?

I don’t recommend grilling pre-cooked shrimp, because the texture will become rubbery. However, what you can do is combine the marinade ingredients from this recipe in a large bowl. Then, toss in a bag of thawed, peeled, ready-to-eat shrimp. Mix well and chill for about 30 minutes before serving.

How long to grill shrimp?

When cooking over high to medium-high heat, jumbo shrimp will be fully cooked in 4-6 minutes.


What to serve with grilled shrimp

Some of my favorite sides to go with this simple grilled shrimp recipe are dishes like a Caesar salad or veggies. Some of my favorite things to pair grilled shrimp with are: 

More delicious grilled shrimp recipes

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4.51 from 171 votes

The Best Grilled Shrimp on the Planet

What does it take to make the best-grilled shrimp on the planet? One secret ingredient, shrimp shells and about 15 minutes.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 lbs shrimp , (shells on, deveined)
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsps sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions 

  • Combine all ingredients, and toss to coat.
  • Grill on high, turning once until charred and pink, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Peel and eat.

Video

Notes

If you don’t have fresh ginger, use 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. 
You can also use 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic in place of the fresh garlic. 
To make grilling the shrimp even easier, add them to metal skewers before placing them on the grill. 

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 47gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 571mgSodium: 2595mgPotassium: 200mgVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 333mgIron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @girlscangrill

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Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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53 Comments

    1. Tried the recipe tonight and the shrimp were fantastic. I used less salt and added a few drops of chili oil. Thanks for sharing.

  1. Perfect use of flavors!
    I love using sesame oil for so many dishes! I also added sesame seeds, a spicy pepper blend, and some lemon juice… it was OUTSTANDING. Most flavorful shrimp!
    I didn’t use the grill because it’s too cold out there, but made them on the stove in some extra sesame oil – and it was an absolute delight! Thank you chef! Looking forward to more recipes from Girls can Grill! I am a FAN!!!

    1. Wow! I just tried this recipe and it was outstanding! I had all the ingredients except sesame oil. So I substituted canola oil. This was my 1st grilled shrimp recipe and the only one I will ever use. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. The shrimp was super flavorful and would not change a thing.

    1. That can happen if they’re overcooked. Also, I found some brands of shrimp peel better than others.

  2. I have a PROBLEM where I perpetually overthink recipes. I always want to tweak or add something. I found this recipe and thought, “No way something so simple can be good… That doesn’t look like enough to coat the shrimp… I never cook shrimp with the shells on…”

    I was wrong – these shrimp are perfect. I left out the kosher salt, but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter.

    We served with mango salsa, grilled peppers, and and rice and it felt like vacation on the patio!