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Quick cooking Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special…a fun meal to enjoy any night of the week. Seasoned with paprika and cayenne pepper, then tossed in a lemon butter sauce with crisp caramelized garlic. Every last shrimp has just the right amount of heat, lemon, butter, and crispy garlic. Serve this shrimp up with mounds of steamed rice and a creamy lemon pepper sauce for dipping. Simply add a couple of pineapple wedges on the side for a truly tropical feel. And if you really love sauce…do a double-dip with a sweet and spicy chili sauce. Trust me, it’s beyond GOOOD.

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special |

Anyone else slowly starting to dream up that topical spring vacation? I’ve hit that point in the winter when I want nothing more than a trip to Florida for some warmth and sunshine. Anyone else?

When I was growing up, my family would travel to Florida every Easter. I’m longing for one of those trips right now! So instead I’ve been thinking about all the places I’m excited to travel to once traveling is “normal” again. Since traveling is still difficult right now, or at least out of the country is, I figured a fun dinner inspired by a tropical destination is exactly what we all need.

Enter this shrimp, it feels very fresh and topical. The fun part is that we can all make this at home, and pretty darn easily too!

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special |

The inspiration and backstory.

This shrimp was very much inspired by the shrimp you’ll find on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. It’s served up at the local food trucks, one of the more popular being Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. If you’ve been lucky enough to travel to Hawaii, hopefully you’ve experienced the famous garlic shrimp. After reading about Giovanni’s shrimp, it sounded way too delicious. I knew I wanted to try and create a homemade version.

The funny thing is that I’ve actually shared a similar recipe years ago inspired by the famous Hawaiian garlic shrimp, but I wanted to give it another try as I didn’t love my original recipe. So here we are. There seem to be a lot of recipes for this specific shrimp online, each varying from the other just slightly. I read Giovanni’s menu, looked through photos on Pinterest, and tried to find as much info I could before diving into creating the recipe.

The most popular trucks are Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp. If you’re visiting, both trucks are worth stopping in for some shrimp. I used Giovanni’s as more of my inspiration. Again, this is just my take, I’m sure it’s not exactly how they make their shrimp by any means.

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special |

The quick details.

The key is using shell-on shrimp, which adds so much flavor to the dish. Some people like to eat the entire shrimp, shell and all. While others prefer to suck the sauce off then remove the shell and eat. I still can’t quite get fully on board with eating the shell, so I cooked half the shrimp with shell on/tail on, and the other half, shell off. It gives you all the wonderful flavors and mix of shrimp to enjoy. But you can do whatever you prefer, of course.

And don’t forget to devein your shrimp. I’ve made this mistake before, so putting out a friendly reminder for you guys!

Once you have the shrimp all prepped, toss them into a mix of paprika and cayenne. I like to go heavy on both spices, but make sure to use the cayenne pepper to your taste.

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special |

Pan sear the shrimp in olive oil until crisp on both sides, then pull it out of the skillet and cook the garlic and butter. The trick here is to slowly caramelize the garlic in the butter. You need to be careful not to burn the garlic. Instead, you want the garlic to turn deep golden in color and become crisp. It happens quickly so keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn.

As soon has you have the garlic crisp, toss in more butter and add the shrimp back, tossing it with all that butter. At this point, just squeeze over lots of lemon juice…beyond delicious. The shrimp is a little spicy, perfectly buttery, and that garlic…well it just seals the deal. It’s rich, caramelized, and just ever so slightly crispy.

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special |

Before you serve, the sauces.

Of course, these sauces are not traditional. You can make them both or simply make the shrimp. But you know that over here we love sauce, so the more the better.

The creamy lemon pepper sauce adds just the right amount of creamy tang, but the chili sauce adds a sweet and spicy element. Both are delicious and pair wonderfully with the shrimp. Again, make one, both, or neither…though I do recommend both!

Be sure to serve each plate of shrimp with steamed rice and lemon wedges. Then add the sauces and spoon over any leftover lemon butter from the pan.

If you’re in need of a little reprieve from winter, this is the perfect tropical-inspired dinner! Hope you guys love this one as much as we do!

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special |

Looking for other spring seafood recipes? Here are some favorites:

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 280 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shell on or off, and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 rounded tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to your taste
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons cold salted butter, cubed
  • 8-12 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • juice from 1-2 lemons
  • chili sauce, for serving (recipe in notes)

Lemon Pepper Sauce


  • 1. Pat the shrimp dry. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the flour, paprika, cayenne, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet to a plate. Set aside.
    3. If needed, let the skillet cool slightly. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and the garlic together over medium heat. Cook until the garlic begins to turn golden, 2-3 minutes. Melt in 4 more tablespoons butter. Add the shrimp and toss. Cook 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp is warmed and the garlic is dark golden and crisp. Squeeze over the lemon juice, remove from the heat.
    4. To make the lemon pepper sauce, whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
    5. Serve the shrimp with the garlic butter spooned over top. Add rice, lemon wedges, lemon pepper sauce, and chili sauce on the side.


Spicy Chili Sauce: mix 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1-2 cloves grated garlic, and a pinch each of chili flakes and salt. Add 1/4 cup chopped pineapple if desired. 
Shell on Shrimp: for best flavor use, shell-on shrimp. You can either suck the sauce off the shell and then eat the shrimp. Or eat the shell, though I prefer to not eat the shell. 

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special |

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  1. 5 stars
    Love this shrimp dish. I served as an appetizer and everyone loved it. Making again as an appetizer for tonight company and will have extra to serve again as an appetizer tomorrow night. Different couples of course! Enjoy your recipes very much! You are very creative have have great dishes and ideas!

    1. Hey Suz,
      Awesome! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Have a wonderful weekend☀️ xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Tieghan, huge fan of your blog and cookbooks! I made this tonight for my family following your recipe almost to a T and it turned out great! Some of my family members said it was restaurant quality. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Melissa,
      Happy Sunday! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it! xxTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    Holy moly, this recipe was so quick and easy but incredibly delicious!!! Made it for my girlfriends and I tonight and they were begging me for the recipe. This was my second time cooking shrimp. The first time was a disaster and I was scared to make it again. This recipe was spot on with cook times and flavor. So happy to add this recipe to my repertoire.

    1. Hey there,
      Happy Friday!! I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! xTieghan

  4. 10 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Both sauces are a must!!! The flavors you put together blow my mind and my husband. I’ve cooked your recipes since March 2020, five or six night a week, you have never disappointed. Thank you!!

    1. Hey Margaret,
      Fantastic! I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a go! Happy Friday:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Shannon,
      Fantastic! I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a go! Happy Friday:) xTieghan

        1. Hey Megan,
          Wonderful! Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  5. Terrific recipe and a real hit with guests. Highly recommend for entertaining as it was very easy on the prep yet packed with flavor.

    1. Hey David,
      So great to hear! Love that this recipe was enjoyed and thanks so much for making it! Have a great week🌟 xTieghan

  6. Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. My husband who owns two restaurants said this should be in our restaurant!! Thanks so much!!

    1. Hey Jonelle,
      Awesome! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it! Happy Friday:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Dee,
      I am so excited that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! 💕Tieghan

  7. 5 stars
    I made this with de-shelled shrimp and it was still delicious! The dip really takes the recipe up a notch.

    1. Hey Amanda,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed. Have a great Wednesday! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    This shrimp was perfection…thanks for giving me the experience of making something everyone loved! I’m already craving it again 🙂

    1. Hey Carrie,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad that it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xTieghan

  9. I just made these last night as a snack while sitting by an outside fire on the 1st day of spring!! YUMMY!! I love leaving the shells on!

    1. Hey Tina,
      Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am thrilled that it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xTieghan

  10. I am not a great cook, but this recipe looked reasonably easy! My husband is a good cook, so when I do cook I feel I need to make sure he likes it as well as I do. This was a good one, spicy, but just the right amount of spice! Will definitely make again

    1. Hey Terri,
      Thanks a lot for making this recipe, it makes me so glad that it was enjoyed. Have the best weekend!! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    So many flavors in every bite! I put this over rice with a side of green beans and everything paired so well together. I am definitely keeping this in my back pocket for whenever I don’t know what to make for dinner.

  12. 5 stars
    Wow – so good! We peeled and deveined the shrimp, cut them in half long ways and they were so flavorful. I used honey mangos and your 2 sauces on the side and served it over sushi rice. We served it with Mexican salad and our family of 4 polished it off. Everyone gave it a solid five. Nicely done Tieghan!

    1. Hey Ellen,
      Thanks! I left the shell on and was able to brown them in my cast iron skillet. I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

  13. I thought that I saw a recipe for your homemade Cajun seasoning blend And now can’t find it. Can you direct me?

    Thanks you!

    1. Hey Christine,
      Homemade Cajun Seasoning: mix 2 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon black pepper. Makes 3/4 cup.
      Please let me know if you have any other questions. xTieghan

  14. Omg this was a huge hit! My teenage boys devoured! I couldn’t get a pic because they were dishing and eating so fast. Soooo good!

    1. Hey Lisa,
      I am thrilled to hear this recipe was enjoyed. Thanks so much for giving it a try. Have a great week! xTieghan

  15. 5 stars
    This was so delicious!! I cut the butter back a bit just for calorie sake. I was actually going to take a picture and post but everyone dug in to quick.

    1. Hey Kim,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

  16. Made this yummy recipe this evening and both sauces. May husband and I really enjoyed it and marveled at how the garlic was not overwhelming. I was a little partial to the lemony pepper sauce. We love the bold flavors and appreciate all your culinary ideas.

    1. Hey Janeese,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

    1. Hey Kim,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

  17. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness. I knew when this popped in my email I’d be making it soon and I just made it. I decided that since I had both types of paprika I’d use them both. I am not a fan of lemon with my seafood, but I love lime so I used that instead. And for the sauce, instead of using plain honey and cayenne, I used a spiced hot honey. So good, so easy and it will be made again. Thanks.

    1. Hey Jody,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

  18. In reading this, I’d suggest cutting the shell down the back, allowing cleaning of the shrimp, thus retaining the shells for the full flavor, but also allowing for the sauce to seep under the shell. I agree with you, I tried eating the shell once. Nope, not again.

  19. This looks amazing! I completely understand about how the shells bring the flavor, but for those who want a less messy eating experience, do you have suggestions on how to use the shells in the sauce but not leave them the shrimp?

    1. Hey Laura,
      I would just recommend following the recipe as is and then peeling the shrimp when you are ready to eat. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Thanks so much Cate! The recipe for the chili sauce is listed above under the recipe notes. I hope you love the dish! xTieghan

    1. Hey Marie,
      I would serve this with white rice and your fave veggie on the side. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  20. For someone that has visited Gionanni’s many times, the shrimp is just so darn delicious. This recipe is not the same but still looks delicious. Chickens and old cats were running around and shrimp on paper plates made it very memorable. The shrimp had a little more sauce. I loved the recipe from your cookbook but will tweak it a bit to mirror this recipe here. Can’t wait to try it! I hope you get to visit this amazing place in Hawaii sometime.

  21. Omg yum!!! I’m living on Oahu right now and will make sure to 1) cook these up and 2) visit those trucks. Who knew I’d get some Hawaii recs on HBH!! Thanks for sharing, and I’ll give both a proper taste test 😉

  22. I opened up the link and I could tell immediately what kind of shrimp you were trying to emulate. They look just like mine and my husband’s favorite shrimp from the shrimp truck on the North Shore. I’m excited to make them this weekend to see how close they taste!

  23. will be making this soon with few suvs will dm you if i make this soon and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya