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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: 478 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. 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. 5 stars
    SO good. We subbed out orzo for “Dirty Rice” – felt like we were keeping with the theme. Easy dinner, just the right amount of spice.

    I also have a question/comment (and I’m not a web guy, so don’t know if this is possible): Is there some widget you can add to the comments section so people can add in photos of how they cook your recipes? I know we can post on Instagram, but… thought it could be fun to have photos right here on the site. Just a thought. Thanks again!

    1. Hey David,
      Awesome!! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Unfortunately, allowing that option can mess with the site, so it’s not a feature that we offer, so sorry! xxTieghan

  2. 3 stars
    Hello, I followed your recipe to the T. Used pinot grigio wine and when I added the milk it completely curdled… what did I do wrong?? I was able to rinse the peppers and remade the sauce without the wine and it was good.

    1. Hi LJ,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try, sorry to hear you had some issues. Was your wine super cold? That could have been the issue! Let me know! xT

  3. 5 stars
    This was a hit with my family! So easy and delicious. Will definitely add to the dinner rotation.

    1. Hey Britt,
      Fantastic!! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! 🌸Tieghan

  4. 5 stars
    Tieghan, this was phenomenal for the palate! All your recipes hit the spot. Thank you for helping me fall in love with cooking again. Been trying a new recipes of yours each week and all have been so delicious.

    1. Hey Anna,
      Fantastic!! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! 🌸Tieghan

  5. 5 stars
    My husband and I LOVED this. So flavorful and I wasn’t in the kitchen for hours. I want to make it for my parents, who cannot have dairy. Do you think coconut or oat milk would work?

    1. Hey Kristi,
      So glad to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it:) Yes, any milk you like would work here! xx

    1. Hi Asa,
      Thanks so much for trying this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Have a great week! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    5 star, restaurant quality dish. Easy and fast overall. The seasoning is fantastic. Sauce is so flavorful without being too hot and seasoning the orzo with lemon on its own really adds depth. Great recipe!

    1. Hi Emma,
      Wonderful!! Love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks for sharing your review and making the recipe!! xTieghan

  7. Sunday night dinner. My partner enjoyed it and he is particular about Cajun spices – not a fan of too much heat – and this recipe was just right. I used Chardonnay and a 1% milk because that’s what I had in the fridge and the sauce turned out great. The orzo was particularly impressive with flavours of fresh basil and lemon – and I made sure not to overcook it. I’ll make this recipe again!

    1. Hey Theresa,
      Wonderful!! Thanks for sharing your feedback and giving this recipe a try, love to hear that it was enjoyed! Have the best Monday! xx

    1. Hey Angie,
      Thanks for your feedback! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it:) Have the best week! xxT

  8. 5 stars
    Wow! My entire family absolutely loved this meal. Even my small children ate it all and asked me to make this again. An easy recipe that everyone loved. This will go in my regular rotation!

    1. Hey Amy,
      Happy Sunday!! Thanks for giving the recipe a try and your comment, love to hear that it was enjoyed!! xTieghan

  9. Can you recommend an affordable wine that would go well with this recipe? I‘ve never really cooked with wine before! Excited to try this out for Mother’s Day.

    1. Hi Kasandra,
      You can always use chicken broth in place of the wine:) But I like to use a Chardonnay, typically anywhere in the $15-$20 range is great! I hope you love the recipe, let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  10. 3 stars
    This recipe had a lot of potential, and I think I’ll try it again. The problem I had is that it is just realllllly salty. I added no salt to the sauce, just to the pasta water. I’m not sure if my Cajun seasoning had an obscene amount of salt or what? I used slap ya mama Cajun seasoning. Thank God for the lemon. Without the lemon I wouldn’t have been able to eat it. I’ll be trying it again with less Cajun seasoning and more lemon!

    1. Hey Megan,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear it was not enjoyed. Please let me know if you give it another try with a different cajun seasoning:) xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    Wow!!!! Amazing recipe! I made it to a T and it did not disappoint! Added to my recipe book, thank you!

    1. Hey Laura,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! 🌸xx

    1. Hey Scott,
      Awesome!! Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! Have the best weekend:) xx

  12. 5 stars
    We really liked this and it came together relatively quickly. Used green peppers but might try red next. A keeper!