This sauteed garlic shrimp recipe is PACKED with so much flavor! Spanish garlic shrimp, or gambas al ajillo, is a popular Spanish dish traditionally made of shrimp, garlic, and olive oil. I’ll walk you through how to cook garlic shrimp and I have a feeling you’ll want to make it ASAP. It makes a great appetizer, or you can serve it over some cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles for a main meal.
This garlic shrimp recipe comes from the cookbook Paleo Planet. I’ve loved Becky’s work for years, and this easy garlic shrimp is no exception. It seriously takes no time at all to throw together a batch, and it tastes like it was made in a restaurant. Healthy food that I can make fast and delicious? Count me in!
What Is Gambas al Ajillo?
Gambas al Ajillo is a well known dish in Spain. It’s essentially shrimp and garlic cooked with seasonings and spices.
Sometimes it goes by other names in the US, like Spanish garlic shrimp! No matter what you call it, this healthy shrimp recipe is delish.
How To Cook Garlic Shrimp
Thankfully, you don’t have to do a ton of planning ahead for this easy garlic shrimp recipe. Just throw ingredients in a skillet and saute.
Take a look at how easy this simple garlic shrimp really is:
- Saute garlic in a heavy skillet with a bit of oil.
- Cook shrimp. Place the shrimp, sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne in the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, then flip. Once the shrimp turn pink and opaque, the best garlic shrimp recipe is done.
Don’t worry, I didn’t skip any directions – this simple shrimp recipe is truly that easy!
How Do you Know When Shrimp Is Done?
Spanish garlic shrimp is done when the shrimp is opaque, meaning you can no longer see through it. The sauteed garlic shrimp will also have a slight white color.
TIP: Don’t cook it so long that it turns bright white. By then, it will be tough and rubbery.
Is Garlic Shrimp Healthy?
Yes, this sauteed garlic shrimp is very healthy. There are lots of nutrient-rich vitamins and minerals in Spanish garlic shrimp such as zinc, iron, vitamin B12, protein, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, and more.
You’ll definitely feel good about feeding gambas al ajillo to your family. And, everyone else will be happy because it tastes so good. Win-win.
Is This Garlic Shrimp Recipe Spicy?
No, this gambas al ajillo isn’t really spicy. It gets a slight heat from the cayenne, but it’s not a lot.
If you want your sauteed garlic shrimp to be spicy, you can add in more cayenne or some red pepper flakes while it’s cooking.
How Do You Store Sauteed Garlic Shrimp?
Store spanish garlic shrimp in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Warm the shrimp up in the microwave or in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil. It will heat up fast, so be careful to not overcook it.
Can You Freeze Garlic Shrimp?
Yes, you can freeze this sauteed garlic shrimp recipe. Place it in a freezer container or freezer-safe bag.
When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the fridge overnight and warm it up until just hot.
More Paleo Shrimp Recipes
Now that you know how to cook garlic shrimp, you might also enjoy some of my other paleo shrimp recipes:
- Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi – This paleo twist on shrimp scampi with pasta is always a big hit. Lots of flavor and lots of nutrition.
- Healthy Fried Coconut Shrimp – This one is a great appetizer, especially if you love coconut flavors. So good!
- Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits – The southern staple gets a nutritious upgrade!
Sauteed Spanish Garlic Shrimp Recipe (Gambas al Ajillo):
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Sauteed Spanish Garlic Shrimp Recipe (Gambas al Ajillo)
This EASY sauteed garlic shrimp recipe (gambas al ajillo) is a Spanish tapas classic. Learn how to cook sauteed garlic shrimp with just 5 ingredients!
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- 1/2 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
- 1 pound Jumbo shrimp (peeled and deveined, tails removed)
- 3/4 teaspoon Flaky sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Bittersweet smoked paprika
- 1 pinch Cayenne pepper
More TIPS about this paleo recipe in the post above!
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant and softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer, raise the heat to medium-high, and sprinkle on the salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Cook until the shrimp turn pink on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, another 2 or 3 minutes. Serve Hot
Serving Size: 1/4 entire recipe, or ~1/2 cup
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols (though the latter are rarely seen on this site), because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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Did you make this recipe?
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My mother is from Burgos, Spain and she made this for my family for the past 40 years.
She never added paprika (although she added that to many other dishes) and she used crush red chili flakes instead of Cayenne.
And then my last two comments are the most important….If you really want to call this Authentic Spanish style….you would never used peeled and deveined shrimp. The part of eating this shrimp that my Mom and relatives got the most satisfaction from was picking up the shrimp with the shell still on and sucking the juices off and then peeling the shrimp. My mother even objective when I started splitting the shell to devein prior to cooking (they never did that).
And lastly, you can’t do this and call it Spanish style without getting a good loaf of French bread, heat the oven up to 400, put the bread in for 5-7 minutes just to get the crust a little bit crunchy, then slice and serve with the shrimp. Use the bread to sop up the olive oil infused with garlic, pepper and shrimp flavor. That’s almost as good as the shrimp itself!
This recipe hit the spot for me. I am a total garlic addict and the smoked paprika really brought out the flavor in the shrimp and the garlic. Will totally make it again. I served mine over rice.
We love cooking up shrimp this way! Never heard about the bittersweet smoked paprika but trying it asap!
Thank you SO much for sharing, Lauren! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the book and that you and Alex loved the shrimp 🙂
You can never have enough shrimp or garlic IMHO!! I could eat this for days on end!
Ok these look absolutely amazing. Garlic and shrimp. you really can’t beat it!
Yum – shrimp and garlic two of my favorite things! Looks delicious!
Jill Silverman Hough
This sounds like just the recipe for all the pre-Thanksgiving craziness, simple and satisfying. I hear you re: licking the bowl clean or having some bread or rice to sop it all up!
Shrimp is one of my favorite foods on earth, and I love garlic shrimp! Love the addition of flaky sea salt in this recipe. It looks amazing!
That shrimp dish looks so good. I make shrimp a lot in my house to go with pasta and I bet this would pair really nicely!