How to Grill Shrimp Perfectly Every Time—Plus 4 Recipes to Try

In a hurry? You can grill shrimp in less than 10 minutes.

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Grilled shrimps
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One of the most delightful foods you can cook over a fire, grilled shrimp are quick to make, easy to eat, and so versatile. No matter which cuisine you prefer, grilled shrimp absolutely fits in. For more details about grilling this luscious protein, we consulted New York City restaurateur, chef, and seafood expert Mike Price. Read on to learn about selecting, seasoning, and cooking shrimp on the grill, and then try one of our favorite grilled shrimp recipes.

What You Need:

How to Grill Shrimp

Make sure you have all your meal components ready before your start grilling shrimp, because it goes fast!

Step 1: Preheat Grill

Pre-heat your grill to medium and, once it’s hot, clean the grill grate with a wire brush. Just before grilling, oil the grill grate to keep the shrimp and other grilled food from sticking.

Step 2: Pat Dry and Season

While the grill is heating, pat your shrimp dry and season them with a drizzle of oil and seasonings. Alternatively, if you've marinated your shrimp, remove them from the marinade and let them rest so that excess sauce doesn't drip and burn in the flames.

Step 3: Skewer

Larger shrimp often result in a more succulent, delectable meal, but if your shrimp are on the small side, cook them on skewers—or use a grill basket or cast-iron pan—to ensure they don't fall through the grill. The use of skewers also makes flipping grilled shrimp faster and easier.

If using wooden skewers, presoak them in water to prevent them from cooking along with the shrimp.

Step 3: Cook

Depending on the size of your shrimp, place them over the heat for 1 to 2 minutes per side. "While shrimp cook, it's crucial to monitor them and flip them, to prevent the shrimp from overcooking," Price advises.

Step 4: Rest

"Once cooked to your liking, make sure to space the shrimp out, not piling them on top of each other," says Price, "which would allow the cooking process to continue and may lead to overcooking the shrimp."

Grilled Shrimp Recipes to Try

Grilled shrimp are excellent right off the grill, rested at room temperature, or even chilled for a unique take on a shrimp cocktail or a New England-style shrimp roll. Price recommends adding grilled shrimp to Caesar salad or atop a risotto. If you're fresh out of ideas, choose one of our recipes and get grilling!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Roland Bello

For this recipe, shrimp isn't alone on the grill. It's joined by tortillas and lime halves, giving them a subtle, smoky grill flavor, too. Top these shrimp tacos with shredded cabbage, a creamy cumin-spiked sauce, and tomatillo salsa, and then drizzle with a squeeze of those grilled limes.

Shrimp and Pineapple Tacos With Black Bean Salad

Shrimp and Pineapple Tacos With Black Bean Salad
José Picayo

This recipe calls for broiling skewers threaded with shrimp and pineapple, but you can just as easily grill them. While you're at it, put a few extra skewers of pineapple on the grill, because grilled pineapple is great in lemonades, cocktails, and pineapple granitas.

Japanese-Style Shrimp Salad

Japanese-Style Shrimp Salad Recipe
Greg DuPree

The cooked shrimp called for in this salad could be bought that way, but using grilled shrimp gives this dish a deeper, smokier flavor that puts it over the top. Its Japanese-style dressing also tastes great on grilled salmon.

Grilled Chicken With Blueberry-Peach Salsa

Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Peach Salsa
Greg DuPree

What's a chicken dish doing among grilled shrimp recipes? Just swap out the chicken thighs for shrimp and you have a zesty, fruity seafood dish in half the grill time. Try its blueberry-peach salsa on fish and tacos, too!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you grill shrimp from frozen?

    Yes and no. You can grill shrimp from frozen, but you probably shouldn't. "It makes the outside tough and cooks unevenly, tending to leave the inside raw," Price says. "It's best if the shrimp is thawed, peeled, deveined, marinated, then grilled."

    If you're short on time, place frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold tap water, cycling the water every 10 minutes until the shrimp is thawed, which should take less than an hour. Voila, you have defrosted shrimp to grill!

  • How should I season grilled shrimp?

    While any seasoning you like works on grilled shrimp, Price is a fan of Old Bay, curry, sambal, sriracha, chipotle, garlic, ginger, and salt and pepper. He also likes to use bold citrus—such as lime, lemon, and orange—to season shrimp. Regardless of the seasoning he goes for, Price always uses a fat, like olive oil, to impart flavor and lock in moistness.

  • What are the best types of shrimp to grill?

    Any kind of shrimp can go on the grill, but some grill up better than others. Price prefers wild shrimp (versus farmed) from locations like the Gulf of Mexico or the Carolinas. "You want to make sure you have good-sized shrimp, preferably 16/20," Price suggests. And don't worry about beheading or de-tailing your grilling shrimps, "It's always fun to cook and serve head-on shrimp depending on the dish and use," he adds.

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