This Grilled Shrimp Marinade is a cinch to put together with simple ingredients and your shrimp will be deliciously flavored and ready for the grill in just 15 minutes!
I entertain a lot, so I feel like it’s a definite necessity to have a couple simple, go-to marinades. Shrimp is one of those easy foods that you can fix so many different ways and it always tastes amazing.
Whether it’s one of those dinners that’s planned or impromptu, you’ll typically find some shrimp thawing in the sink and me whipping up a quick marinade for it. That’s another thing that makes marinating shrimp so great — they thaw super-fast and they don’t take longer than 15 minutes to take on the flavors of the marinade.
Why this Recipe Works
Fast – I can have my shrimp thawed and headed into the marinade just about the time my last-minute guests are due to arrive. Within the hour, we’re all enjoying a yummy, citrusy grilled shrimp and one another’s company.
Simple – All you need is garlic, a lemon or lime, oil, cilantro, salt, and soy sauce to create this amazing marinade for grilled shrimp.
Versatile – Use this as an appetizer all by itself or add the shrimp to a salad, over rice, in a wrap, a grain bowl, you name it, it works!
Easy clean up – I marinate the garlic shrimp right in a Ziplock bag. So after I pull out the shrimp to put it on the grill, I can just toss the bag. There is one bowl and one whisk to clean but if you want to skip that step, you can always put all the ingredients in the bag and swish it around before adding the shrimp. OR you can put the shrimp right in the bowl you made the marinade in, give it a good stir to coat, cover, and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Here’s How You Make It
You almost don’t need directions to put together this marinade for grilled shrimp…almost!
- First, whisk together the olive oil, lime or lemon juice, garlic, salt, soy sauce, and cilantro in a bowl. (Red pepper flakes too if you want a little kick of heat.) Then, pour the marinade into a large resealable bag.
- Put the thawed shrimp in the bag, press the excess air out, and seal it. Chill it in the fridge for just 15 minutes.
- Thread the shrimp onto skewers or add them to a grill pan or directly onto the grill over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until they are pink and cooked through. (See below for alternate baking instructions.)
- Take the grilled shrimp off the grill, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice (or serve with wedges) and garnish with cilantro if desired. Serve.
What Flavors Go Well with Cilantro?
Cilantro is a very polarizing herb. You either love it or hate it. But, since I loooooove cilantro I say everything goes! There are some flavor combinations that work better than others. My advice there is to just try it and see if you like it.
One of my go-to combos for cilantro though is garlic. Frankly garlic goes with just about any herb you think of. Cilantro and garlic are common spices in Mexican/Tex-Mex food. In fact, I can’t think of one single Mexican-inspired recipe that doesn’t include those two ingredients.
Cilantro goes with a lot of other herbs and spices too — try adding it together with basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint, or parsley. Garlic should go with any and all of these as well, in my opinion.
Ideas for Serving Garlic Shrimp
As I mentioned, I often use this grilled shrimp marinade as an appetizer, however, I also have been known to eat it a time or two or three for dinner. I do like to have something with it — usually several somethings — to round out the meal.
- Rice. This grain ALWAYS pairs well with grilled shrimp. Next to it, under it, in a dish near it. You name it, I love all the rice. If you want a little sauce with your rice, double (or even triple) the marinade. Use one serving for the shrimp and cook down the rest in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. Time the rice so that it’s done when the shrimp is done. Plate your rice, shrimp, and then top with more of that hot sauce.
- Salad. Simple side salads are the bees’ knees. Whether you use a lettuce-based salad or corn, you can typically throw one together with whatever you have on hand and pair with a cilantro dressing. Yum!
- Roasted Veggies. Veggies like Brussels sprouts, green beans, and roasted beets are all tied for my favorite side dishes.
- Dips. If you are looking for a complementary app to go along with the shrimp or you’re just having a finger-food kind of party (my favorite), then serve this dish with Mexican Volcano Dip, queso party dip cups, and other Southwestern-flavored dishes.
How Long Should You Marinate Shrimp
Grilled shrimp doesn’t need that long to marinade at all. I typically give it 15 minutes, but anything more than 30 minutes, and it will start to break down, especially if there are any acids in the marinade (like lemon or lime) in this one.
- Bake shrimp in a single layer on a greased sheet pan at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes until pink and cooked through.
- For the best and most flavorful results, I recommend using peeled and de-veined shrimp, tails can be on or off.
- Do not reuse any of the leftover marinade you might have from the shrimp — it can make you sick. Throw that out and use fresh marinade for a sauce.)
More Grilling Recipes
Did you make this deliciously marinated grilled shrimp recipe? YAY! Please rate the recipe below!
Garlic Cilantro Lime Shrimp Marinade
- 1-2 pounds medium or large raw shrimp - (see note)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice - (2-3 juicy limes)
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, salt, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes. Pour mixture into a large resealable bag.
- Add shrimp to the bag, press the excess air out, and seal. Chill for 15 minutes.
- GRILL shrimp on skewers or on a grill pan over medium heat, 3-4 minutes on each side until pink and cooked through. Or BAKE shrimp in a single layer on a greased sheet pan at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes until pink and cooked through.
- Garnish with extra lime juice and cilantro if desired and serve.