Jun 10, 2016

Hawaiian Garlic Butter Shrimp

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
The goal is juicy shrimp loaded with seasoning, visible garlic, hints of lemon and lots of butter. It’s basically shell-on shrimp scampi with rice substituted in for the pasta.

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I wanted to replicate the shrimp served at shrimp trucks on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii served with rice and sweet pineapple. The goal is juicy shrimp loaded with seasoning, visible garlic, hints of lemon and lots of butter. It’s basically shrimp scampi with rice substituted in for the pasta. Since the shrimp are served with the shell on make sure you provide plenty of napkins, it will get messy!

Hawaiian Garlic Butter Shrimp

What’s Special About These Garlic Shrimp?

These shrimp are tossed in a cayenne and paprika seasoning blend mixed with flour and pan fried with lots of garlic and butter. While in Hawaii these shrimp are just referred to as “Garlic shrimp” I refer to them as “Hawaiian garlic butter shrimp” to differentiate them from scampi shrimp. This style of shell-on shrimp have been popularized at Hawaiian shrimp shacks and stands like Romy’s and Giovanni’s shrimp truck in Hawaii. I love getting the shrimp with sides of rice which soak up the garlic butter sauce and macaroni salad.

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Spices – The shrimp are marinated in a bowl with a combination of paprika and cayenne for a bit of spice.
  • Shrimp – The terms “jumbo” and “extra jumbo” and “colossal” aren’t standardized terms within the industry. Instead look at the numbers – they estimate approximately how many shrimp are in 1 pound. These shrimp are cooked with the shell on, this helps lock in the moisture and keep the shrimp tender. If using frozen shrimp look for them with the shell still on.
  • Flour – Dredging the shrimp in a flour mixture before pan-frying them in butter gives them a slightly crisp exterior and helps to hold in the garlic butter.
  • Garlic – I always use fresh cloves of garlic, the pre-minced jars of garlic don’t taste the same. It loses a lot of the powerful garlic flavor when it’s jarred. This is because it has been soaked in water for a long period of time. Peeling garlic only takes a bit. As the garlic is sautéed the flavor mellows so it’s not very pungent but adds an amazing garlicky base flavor to this shrimp recipe.
hawaiian garlic butter shrimp marinating in spices

How to Make Hawaiian Garlic Butter Shrimp

  1. Toss shrimp in seasoning. In a large re-sealable bag add the shrimp, olive oil, paprika, cayenne, kosher salt, and pepper then toss well to combine, making sure all the shrimp are evenly coated.
  2. Marinate shrimp. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  3. Dredge shrimp. When ready to make the shrimp remove from the refrigerator. Add the flour to a shallow baking dish. Dredge the shrimp on both sides in the flour and set aside.
  4. Sauté garlic and cook shrimp. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and melt butter. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds then add the shrimp in an even single layer (working in batches if needed as to not overcrowd the pan). Cook the shrimp until just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Add wine and lemon. Add the wine and lemon juice and stir to combine. Continue to cook for about a minute then remove from heat. Garnish with parsley.
  6. Serve. Divide the shrimp among plates and serve immediately with a side of rice and a fresh lemon wedge.
shell on Hawaiian garlic butter shrimp recipe

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

To Make this Recipe Gluten Free

To make this shrimp recipe gluten free, simply swap the flour dredge for cornstarch.

Tips for cooking shrimp
  • Cooking the shrimp in an even single layer allows the shrimp to crisp up and cook evenly. If you don’t have a large skillet, I recommend cooking the shrimp in batches for the best result.
  • The cooking time can depend on the size of the shrimp so look to the changing color of the shell and meat as a signal for when it’s time to flip the shrimp.
Hawaiian garlic butter shrimp with parsley and lemon

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this Hawaiian garlic shrimp recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Hawaiian Garlic Butter Shrimp

Print Pin
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound 26/30 shrimp, deveined, shell on
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1” pieces
  • 10 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • white rice, for serving
  • lemon wedges for serving

Instructions:

  • In a large re-sealable bag add the shrimp, olive oil, paprika, cayenne, kosher salt, and pepper then toss well to combine, making sure all the shrimp are evenly coated.
  • Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to make the shrimp remove from the refrigerator. Add the flour to a shallow baking dish. Dredge the shrimp on both sides in the flour and set aside.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add butter and allow to melt. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds then add the shrimp in an even single layer (working in batches if needed as to not overcrowd the pan). Cook the shrimp until just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  • Add the wine and lemon juice and stir to combine. Continue to cook for about a minute then remove from heat. Garnish with parsley.
  • Divide the shrimp among plates and serve immediately with a side of rice and a lemon wedge.

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  1. Hi, just wanted to lyk, being someone who has lived in HI a for half her life, we definitely don’t serve or eat this dish with pineapple. That could even be considered offensive. Did you know pineapple isn’t even indigenous to HI..? It’s from South America etc. We eat & serve this dish with macaroni salad, or just rice.

    Aloha,
    Claire, an annoyed local haole