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Bringing together all the flavor with this Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo. Golden seared shrimp in a creamy, spicy sauce that’s truly so delicious. This shrimp is made all in one skillet with fresh herbs, bell peppers, and a squeeze of lemon. It’s simple and quick cooking, yet roll your eyes back GOOD. Serve this skillet shrimp over a simple lemony basil orzo for a quick and easy summer dinner. This dish makes great use of those delicious herbs and garden bell peppers. It’s the 25-minute dinner that everyone will love!

Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo |

There are two things I really love about summer shrimp recipes. One, shrimp cooks up in no time at all, so it usually makes for a quick and simple summer dinner. And two, shrimp can really take on so many flavor profiles. From spicy Mexican, to herby Italian, and in today’s case a little spicy southern flare.

I’m not sure what brought on the inspiration for this recipe, other than the fact that I knew I had a bag of shrimp in the freezer and needed a quick weeknight dinner. Sometimes the best inspiration really does comes from the ingredients you have on hand.

Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo |

I remembered this creamy chicken lazone I shared last year. I LOVED that sauce so much. So I kind of based this recipe off of that. I used it for this shrimp with a few new additions and it turned out just delicious.

I love to give you guys simple and complete meals…all in one’s. Because in reality, when I develop recipes, I develop them as I would want to make them. And personally, I don’t want a recipe just for shrimp in a cream sauce. So we’re making a quick basil orzo to serve alongside the shrimp.

Start with the orzo since the shrimp cooks so fast. Simply boil it off and toss it together with olive oil, lots of fresh basil, lemon, and a pinch of salt. Nothing fancy, but I find it to be a nice switch up from say rice, which is often served with shrimp.

Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo |

While the orzo cooks, make the shrimp

I tossed the shrimp with a mix of spices that’s essentially a homemade cajun seasoning blend. It’s one of my favorite spice mixes to keep on hand for quick meals like this.

Once the shrimp is tossed in the spices, just sear it in a skillet, then add a small pat of butter. Pull the shrimp out of the pan then toss in lots of bell peppers. Add a splash of wine, then some milk to create a creamy sauce. You can use any milk…nut milk, whole milk, or in my case goat milk…all will work.

Finish the sauce off with a small amount of parmesan cheese, then simply slide the shrimp right back in.

Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo |

Now serve it up

At this point, the orzo should be finished and you can spoon the creamy sauce and shrimp over plates of warm orzo. As with a lot of my summer dishes, I like to top this with plenty of fresh herbs. Today it was basil.

If you’re feeling it, a side of beer bread would go really great with this dinner. It feels very southern and summery to me!

Then if you’re really trying to impress, make a side salad and you’ll have the perfect simple summer dinner. It’s fresh, bright and so delish!

Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo |

Looking for other simple skillet recipes? Here are a few ideas: 

20 Minute Florentine Butter Chicken with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Skillet Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Chicken

One Skillet Cheesy Cuban Chicken Rice Bake

Lastly, if you make this Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 634 kcal

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



  • 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and add it right back to the hot pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup basil, lemon juice, and season with salt.
    2. Meanwhile, toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon
    olive oil and 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning.
    3. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook on both sides until seared, about 2-3 minutes per side. Add the butter, then remove the shrimp from the pan. 
    4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, bell peppers, garlic, and thyme. Cook another 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the wine. Simmer over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Then add the milk, parmesan, and 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Slide the shrimp into the sauce, simmer 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in a handful of basil.
    5. Spoon the orzo onto plates, then spoon the shrimp and sauce over the orzo. Top with fresh basil. Enjoy! 


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. 
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Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo |

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  1. This is SO GOOD! I added an additional bell pepper and substituted Delallo shellbows pasta since our store was out of orzo and it was so delicious. Our toddler just slowly smiled after trying some of it and had seconds and thirds 🙂 Definitely a dish to add to the routine!

    1. Hey Chelsea,
      Happy Monday!! I am so glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it! xx

  2. I’ve made this a few times and it’s become a family favourite! This past time the sauce separated.. any ideas why that would’ve happened? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lindsay,
      Happy Wednesday!! 🌞 Love to hear that this recipe has always turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it so often! Weird, is there anything you may have adjusted this time? xT

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for dinner. It was delicious! The only thing I would do differently next time is to add some thickener to the sauce before I added the shrimp back in.

    1. Hi Meg,
      Perfect!! Thanks so much for making this dish and sharing your comment, so glad it was a hit! Have a great weekend:)

  4. 5 stars
    Such good flavor ! But not sure what happened my would not thicken at all 🤦🏽‍♀️👎🏽. Not sure what happened. We keep looking over everything and we did as said. I did use whole milk maybe that was it. ? Hopefully will thicken next time🤞🏽

    1. Hi Mary,
      Amazing!! Love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! Are you saying your sauce would not thicken? I would simmer for longer next time, but it’s not meant to be super thick. xx

  5. Amazing!! I used rice instead of orzo and it was absolutely divine. The sauce is SO good and thickens as it sits. I added red pepper flakes to spice it up even more, and topped it with more parmesean. I think next time I’ll add a minced shallot in addition to the bell peppers. YUM!!

    1. Hey Lindsay,
      Amazing!! Love to hear that you enjoyed this recipe, thank you so much for making it and your comment! xx

  6. This was excellent, made a TON, and was really good the next day as leftovers. Would be great with lobster meat or even chicken!

    1. Hey Laura,
      Perfect!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xT

  7. 5 stars
    Excellent!!! We made this dish as directed and served in a large bowls with a side of an arugula salad with lemon garlic vinaigrette and crusty bread! YUM! Shrimp was easy and so delicious!

  8. 3 stars
    I love a good shrimp dish and it was good! Although, I struggled with the sauce because the cream kept curdling with the wine. I tried twice to no avail, so guessing it would’ve been better had I gotten the cream correct.

    1. Hi Corinne,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback! You could try broth next time in place of the wine to see if that helps at all! xx

        1. Hey Kelly,
          Happy Wednesday! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it and sharing your feedback! xx

  9. 5 stars
    This was soooo good! You would never think that something this delicious would be this easy to make. I will 100% be making this again! I had to cut the recipe in half due to having only 1 lb of shrimp and it was more than enough for two people. Only note to myself is that Orzo is deceiving- I still made 1lb (just in case?) which as it turns out…is a lot!

  10. 5 stars
    This recipe is just my favorite. It hits the taste buds in all of the right spots. Whenever I feel like treating myself to making a nice meal, this is what I turn to! Cannot emphasize enough how much I love this!

    1. Hey Megan,
      Happy Sunday!!🎃 I truly appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed!

      1. Hey Julie,
        Fantastic!! 🍁🍂 I am delighted to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks so much for making it and sharing your review! xT

  11. 5 stars
    Super flavorful, loved the spicy creamy combo. I used Trader Joe’s couscous/orzo/quinoa harvest blend and that was perfect. Love how much this made! Served it for 2 people and will have lots of leftovers for work!

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Happy Wednesday!👻 I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and appreciate you giving it a try and sharing your feedback! xx

  12. I love so many of your recipes, but this might be my favorite. I think it will be perfect the next time I need to bring a meal to a friend! Thanks so much for always being my go to for new meals for my family and to share!

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Thanks so much for your kind message and making so many recipes! I love to hear that this one was a hit! xx

  13. 4 stars
    Family enjoyed this, with the following changes: Omitted the red peppers, used thyme and oregano instead of basil, and used butterfly pasta instead of orzo. Suggest splitting the shrimp into two batches, since two pounds was too many for 1 batch in even my largest pan. Even then getting an actual sear would require some modifications, I think. Maybe small batches on a grill pan? Anyone? Will definitely try it again bc the flavors were good!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Happy Sunday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for sharing your review and making it! Sure, you could grill the shrimp next time or make in smaller batches. xxT