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Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta…a delicious bowl of late summer comfort food. This simple brown butter corn and parmesan polenta is creamy, perfectly buttery, and swirled with sweet corn. The shrimp is cooked in butter with spices and garlic, then finished with lemon…so flavorful and delicious! Especially when spooned over bowls of creamy polenta. A great under 30 minutes dinner.

Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta |

Sometimes recipes are just a little more special. They might be more delicious, simpler to prepare, or just prettier. And while I know this shrimp might not seem oh so special or better than any other shrimp, I promise you it’s delicious.

Extra special as I love to say.

Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta |

The only reason this recipe came to be is simple. My brother Red and his girlfriend, Hailey, are in town for the week. Whenever I have brothers in town I usually try to make something they love. But Red and Hails are even more fun because they’re down to try pretty much anything, and they love seafood.

I love cooking for others, so I used these two as a good excuse to make something they’d love. Since Hailey is really into shrimp I started with that, then built this quick recipe.

It’s spicy shrimp in a crazy delicious lemon butter sauce with creamy polenta.

Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta |

Here are the details – start with the polenta

You need lots of corn, butter, and quick cooking polenta.

Start by cooking the butter and corn together until the butter browns and the corn begins to pop. Stir in a little milk and then the polenta.

The key here is to stir the polenta for five minutes until it gets creamy, then cover, and let it sit while you make the shrimp.

Once the polenta has been sitting for a bit, stir in lots and lots of parmesan cheese.

Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta |

Now make the shrimp

It’s pan seared in butter with cajun seasonings until both sides are browned. I love to make my own homemade cajun spice mix, but if you’re in a pinch, store bought works too.

When the shrimp has crisped, add the garlic and fresh thyme. Then remove the shrimp from the heat and add the lemon juice. It takes maybe five or ten minutes from start to finish – tops.

Simple, but so much flavor from all the spices, garlic, and lemony butter pan sauce.

Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta |

Finish it up

Spoon the creamy polenta into bowls, then spoon the shrimp and sauce overtop. I top with lots of fresh basil, and serve with crusty bread and a big arugula salad from the garden.

So quick and simple – so delicious.

The shrimp is definitely the star here, but it really can’t be the star without it’s supporting actor, the polenta. So be sure to make them both. Trust me, you’re going to love it!

Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta |

Looking for other shrimp recipes? Here are a few ideas: 

Honey Garlic Shrimp, Corn, and Avocado Bacon Salad

Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo

Sheet Pan Jalapeño Pineapple Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Garlic Sauce

Lastly, if you make this Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta, 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 Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 434 kcal

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


Parmesan Corn Polenta



  • 1. To make the polenta. In a medium pot, melt together the butter and corn. Cook 5-8 minutes, until the butter browns around the corn. Add 2 cups water and the milk. Bring to a low boil, then whisk in the polenta, stirring until the polenta is soft and thick, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let the polenta sit 5 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, make the shrimp. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, shrimp, cajun seasonings, and a big pinch of pepper. Cook on both sides until seared, about 2-3 minutes per side. Stir in the garlic and thyme and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and basil.
    3. Spoon the polenta into bowls, then spoon the shrimp and sauce over the polenta. Eat and 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 Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta |

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  1. 5 stars
    This is so delicious and easy to make! It’ll definitely be in my biweekly rotation. How do you get your shrimp so crispy? Thank you so much!

    1. 5 stars
      I’m obsessed with this recipe. I make it as is, and serve it with honey glazed carrots on the side. It is *chefs kiss* perfection.

  2. Made this back in October and it was so delicious! Everyone loved it! Am planning on making it for our Christmas Eve dinner. Can I make the polenta ahead of time? How would I reheat it? How would you recommend prepping things ahead of time so it will be easy to prepare when family arrives?

    1. Hi Debra! I think you should be fine to make the polenta ahead of time, I would maybe just reheat on the stove and add a splash of liquid to ensure the polenta stays smooth! 🙂 xT

  3. Will make this week, love your quick weeknite elegant recipes.
    I don’t see water in the the ingredients section, do you a mix of water & milk? Thanks, Monica

  4. I’ve tried several shrimp and grits recipes and was disappointed by each. This was fabulous after I added some cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and white pepper to satisfy my spicy/heat craving. Adding corn to polenta was your stroke of genius! I used canned corn and substituted 1/4 cup juice from the can for some of the water. Delicious!

    1. Thank you so so much for giving this recipe a try! And thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! Have a great day! xT

  5. 5 stars
    This was soooo good!! My family raved about this meal. Followed the recipe except I forgot to buy the thyme. I will definitely be making this again and again!!

    1. 5 stars
      Absolutely love this recipe! I always add sausage and chicken with the shrimp to escalate it just a bit. Highly recommend. Plus it’s easy!