Creamy Garlic Shrimp Toast


Sweet, butterflied shrimp in a garlicky cream sauce with a smoky paprika flavor are served over thick slices of buttery, pan-toasted French bread in this simple recipe for two! This sauce would be good over pasta, rice, or potatoes, but I think enjoying it like this is the best way to go.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
2 servings

I love serving saucy things over toast. And when that saucy thing is creamy garlic shrimp, and the toast it's over has been pan-fried in butter, I really love it. Frying the toast in lots of clarified butter prevents it from getting soggy while it soaks up the garlicky sauce. This creates a perfect partner, in both texture and taste, for the sweet shrimp.

Speaking of soaking up sauce, you don't have to butterfly the shrimp, but if you do take the extra 5 minutes, I think you'll love the results. The way the halved shrimp curl up when you cook them produces the perfect shape for grabbing lots of that creamy, garlicky goodness. Plus, it just looks cool.

I kept things very streamlined here, and there are many other ingredients you could add in, but I'm having a hard time thinking of too many that would make this any better than it already is. So, proceed with caution, but whether you embellish or not, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


  • 12 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed, or more to taste

  • 2 thick slices French bread

  • 6 tablespoons clarified butter, melted, divided

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley

  • 1 pinch salt, or to taste


  1. Butterfly shrimp and place in a mixing bowl. Add cayenne, paprika, and garlic and stir until shrimp are evenly coated. Refrigerate until needed.

  2. Trim most of the crusts off of the bread.

  3. Add 4 tablespoons melted butter to a skillet over medium heat. Add both slices of bread and toast until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove bread to a plate and wipe out any crumbs.

  4. Add remaining melted butter to the skillet and increase heat to high. When the pan is very hot and you see the first wisp of smoke, add shrimp and use tongs to spread into an even layer. Sear, without stirring or tossing, for 1 minute.

  5. Sprinkle with lemon zest and add lemon juice and cream. Stir with a spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom. Let cream boil and reduce for 1 ½ to 2 minutes as the shrimp finishes cooking and the sauce thickens up.

  6. Turn off the heat and stir in parsley. Taste and add salt if needed.

  7. Divide shrimp and sauce evenly over each piece of toasted bread.

    Creamy shrimp on toast on a white plate
    Creamy Garlic Shrimp Toast. Chef John

Chef's Notes:

Cooked shrimp will not work in this recipe. If you substitute small or medium shrimp, you don't need to butterfly them. Instead of shrimp, you could use other types of shellfish, like scallops, lobster, or crawfish.

Make sure your French bread slices are 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick.

In Step 5, if the shrimp finish cooking before the sauce thickens, remove them to a bowl and cover while you finish the sauce. Then add them back with the parsley in Step 6.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

835 Calories
64g Fat
26g Carbs
40g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 835
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 64g 82%
Saturated Fat 38g 192%
Cholesterol 435mg 145%
Sodium 580mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 40g
Potassium 470mg 10%

* 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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