Chef John's Grilled Garlic and Herb Shrimp


This grilled garlic and herb shrimp recipe is very easy, IF you can just walk out into the backyard, and pick a handful of your own fresh, green sprigs. However, these are so amazingly delicious, if you don't have a garden, then do splurge and buy a bunch of all the herbs. And get the extra large shrimp so they can grill longer and get maximum caramelization.

Prep Time:
12 mins
Cook Time:
4 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 44 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs
6 servings


  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon thyme leaves

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, or as needed

  • 2 pounds extra large shrimp (16-20), peeled and deveined, tail left on

  • skewers


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • ½ lemon, juiced

  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Place salt, lemon zest, and 3 cloves garlic in bowl of a mortar and pestle. Pound with the pestle until mixture begins to form a paste, about 2 minutes. Add chopped basil, parsley, oregano, and thyme and pound with pestle until mixture begin to come together, about 5 minutes.

  2. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into herb mixture. Grind together until mixture begins to form a sauce for marinating, about 1 minute. Pour in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir mixture with a spoon until mixture is thoroughly combined, adding additional olive oil as needed. Mixture should be fairly thick but pourable.

  3. Place shrimp in a large bowl and mix in about 2/3 of the sauce, reserving 1/3 for serving. Stir until shrimp are evenly coated with the sauce, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce.

  4. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate.

  5. Thread shrimp onto skewers (pierce each twice, once through large part of shrimp, once through small part). Place skewers on hot grill. Cook on each side until shrimp are bright pink and opaque and exterior is beginning to caramelize, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer skewers to serving platter.

  6. Pour remaining sauce into mixing bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Spoon sauce over shrimp. Serve with lemon wedges.

    close up view of Grilled Garlic and Herb Shrimp on a white platter
    Chef John

Chef's Note:

Measurements for herbs are approximate. And you can use other herbs from your herb garden such as tarragon or dill. But be careful with rosemary as it can be over-powering.

The herb mixture can be made in a food processor or blender, but the taste is not quite as intense.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

223 Calories
13g Fat
2g Carbs
25g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 223
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 230mg 77%
Sodium 773mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 14mg 71%
Calcium 65mg 5%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 258mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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