Garlic Butter Shrimp with Cilantro and Lime

These garlicky, buttery shrimp come together in under 20 minutes. Inspired by traditional shrimp scampi, we swap lemon for lime and parsley for cilantro. Serve these delicious garlic butter shrimp as an appetizer, over rice or pasta, or piled into tortillas. Jump to the Garlic Shrimp Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

Garlic Butter Shrimp with Cilantro and Lime

One Of My Favorite Shrimp Recipes

Of all the shrimp recipes we’ve shared, this cilantro lime version just might be my favorite. I love traditional shrimp scampi made with lemon and parsley, so I suppose it was inevitable that these extra buttery shrimp would climb to the top of my favorites list.

This garlic butter shrimp is very simple to make, so this can absolutely happen tonight 🙂 You’re looking at under 20 minutes from start to finish and our recipe doesn’t call for too many ingredients.

What You Are Going to Need

As I already mentioned, the ingredient list required to make this shrimp isn’t a long one. To make the basic recipe, you will need shrimp, butter, garlic, lime, cilantro, salt, and pepper. I’ve also included two optional ingredients that I think really elevate the flavors of the dish. These are ground coriander and fresh scallions.

These garlicky, buttery shrimp come together in under 20 minutes. Inspired by traditional shrimp scampi, we swap lemon for lime and parsley for cilantro.

How to Make Garlic Butter Shrimp

When we’re craving garlicky shrimp, we go all in. That means no holding back when it comes to how much garlic we use. For one pound of shrimp, we use six cloves of garlic (sometimes more).

For the lime, we use the juice and zest of a whole lime. Do you cook with citrus zest? We do it all the time. In fact, we will often add the zest (or peel) of citrus whenever we are using the juice. There’s a lot of flavor lying in the zest of citrus fruit. To remove the zest, we use our microplane — it’s quick and easy, plus the tool isn’t expensive.

We also use a lot of cilantro! We know not everyone loves cilantro and if that’s you, don’t worry. You can swap the cilantro for any tender fresh herb.

How to Make the Best Garlic Shrimp // For maximum flavor, we add the zest and juice of one lime to the shrimp.
For maximum flavor, we add the zest and juice of one lime as well as lots of cilantro to the shrimp.

For The Best Butter Shrimp, We Use Butter Two Ways

  1. We cook the shrimp along with the garlic in a tablespoon of butter.
  2. As the shrimp finishes cooking, we slide the skillet off of the heat and swirl in more butter. Since the pan isn’t too hot, the butter melts down into a creamy sauce. It’s incredible.

Serving Suggestions

These garlic butter shrimp are perfect served family-style. The shrimp are a bit messy, but in this case, that’s a good thing. Serve these by themselves, with pasta (hello garlic shrimp pasta), next to rice or wrapped in tortillas.

Possible Variations and Substitutions

Our recipe is flexible. In our photos, we use garlic, cilantro, and lime to make the sauce. That doesn’t mean you need to.

You can always take our method and swap the flavors around a bit. Swap lime for lemon and the cilantro for parsley. This lemon parsley version is similar to more traditional lemon garlic shrimp. Or try fresh basil, dill, and tarragon — they are all excellent options.

These garlicky, buttery shrimp come together in under 20 minutes. Inspired by traditional shrimp scampi, we swap lemon for lime and parsley for cilantro.

More Easy Shrimp Recipes

Garlic Butter Shrimp with Cilantro and Lime

  • PREP
  • COOK

Garlic shrimp cooked in a creamy cilantro lime butter sauce. Serve this as an appetizer, with pasta, over rice or in tortillas for tacos. The recipe is easy to adapt. Swap lime for lemon and try other tender herbs like parsley, dill, basil or tarragon in place of cilantro.

Makes 1 pound shrimp (16 to 20 shrimp, depending on size)

You Will Need

1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled with tails left on and deveined

1 lime plus a few extra wedges for serving

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced garlic, about 6 cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, optional

2 scallions, chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped


  • Cook Shrimp
  • Pat the shrimp dry then season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and fresh ground black pepper.

    Use a microplane to zest the lime and set aside. Cut the zested lime in half ready for the sauce later in the recipe.

    Add one tablespoon of the butter to a wide skillet. Save the remaining two tablespoons for later.

    Place the skillet with butter over medium heat then add the garlic and coriander. Stir the garlic around the pan until the butter melts and is bubbling; about 1 minute.

    Add the shrimp, nestling them into the pan so that they are in one layer. A few shrimp stacked on top of each other is okay. Cook until the shrimp start to turn pink, about 1 minute.

    Stir in the scallions and lime zest. Continue to cook, stirring, until the shrimp are firm and opaque throughout; another 1 to 2 minutes. Slide the skillet off of the heat.

    • Make Butter Sauce
    • With the skillet off of the heat, add the cilantro, juice from the lime and the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Stir the butter around the pan so that it melts into the lime juice making the creamy butter sauce.

      Taste then season as needed with salt and pepper. Serve with extra lime wedges on the side.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • How to make lemon garlic butter shrimp: Swap lime for lemon and the cilantro for parsley then follow the recipe as written above. For an extra bit of flavor, add a splash of dry white wine at the end along with the lemon juice.
  • How to make spicy garlic shrimp: Add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes to the pan at the same time as adding the garlic.
  • While the sauce will not be as creamy, you can substitute olive oil for the butter. You will need one tablespoon for cooking the shrimp and only a light drizzle at the end (about 1/2 tablespoon).
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/4 pound / Calories 193 / Protein 23.6 g / Carbohydrate 5.2 g / Dietary Fiber 1.2 g / Total Sugars 1.4 g / Total Fat 9.4 g / Saturated Fat 5.5 g / Cholesterol 205.4mg / Sodium 284.9 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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16 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Tracy September 1, 2019, 8:59 pm

    OMG – Just made for supper & hubby & I loved it! Thank you for such a great recipe! Served it with celery/onion fried rice and a Papaya Korean Melon Salad with Ginger- Mango Dressing & Mint – Delish!!!

  • Afton July 31, 2019, 8:08 pm

    I made these a few nights ago, and they were delicious!!! Only thing I would do different next time is not add as much cilantro. That’s just me though. I will definitely be making these again. Thank you for a great shrimp recipe!

  • Vicki July 8, 2019, 10:06 pm

    Tired of shrimp and white wine sauce, I discovered your recipe. I had all ingredients listed and served with a thin spaghetti. My husband and I loved it! I would’ve loved to send you a picture as the presentation is beautiful,
    I really like that you can make and serve under thirty minutes. Can’t wait to make it for a larger family meal.

  • Gloria Ruth May 28, 2019, 2:13 pm

    PARTY. IN. YOUR. MOUTH. That’s what my husband and I. It’s said after trying this for lunch today. It’s amazing! I subbed some apple cider vinegar just because I didn’t have limes or lemons on hand. Followed all other directions exactly and what a unforgettable dish this was! I served with Brazilian white rice and steamed fresh broccoli. Huge winner for us and I’ll definitely make again soon! Best way I’ve ever cooked shrimp.

    • Joanne May 29, 2019, 1:31 pm

      Yes! We completely agree with your husband 🙂 Thanks for coming back and sharing, Gloria!

  • Carol Jean Rigdon May 7, 2019, 10:08 pm

    This recipe was a 5 star recipe for sure. We had to make substitutions but it was so delicious. My cilantro was not big enough to harvest so I used flat leaf parsley and oregano. We couldn’t find the coriander so we used Italian herb blend. My lime was so dry I had to add lemon juice. We served it with Pasta and it tasted like something from a fine restaurant. This is something that does not require a high degree of cooking skills but it produces a great product.

    • Adam May 11, 2019, 4:49 pm

      Great thinking on your toes for the substitutions. Serving this shrimp with pasta is our favorite way to serve it. It also does well with zucchini noodles.

  • juper12 March 28, 2019, 11:10 pm

    Wow just made this for dinner, it was delicious and easy to put together. I grilled the shrimp 1st and it was so flavorful!

  • Anne January 25, 2019, 7:36 pm

    Flavorful goodness! I just made this and LOVED it! I loaded it on taco shells with greens, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole. It will be one of my go to recipes. Thanks

  • Shalini Sen December 19, 2018, 7:56 pm

    Made this for a potluck Christmas lunch at work. So easy to make and jam-packed with fresh and zesty flavours. Will become my go-to prawn recipe from now on.

  • Christian September 23, 2018, 3:54 pm

    This site has been instrumental in me and my boyfriend’s endeavor to cook more often and this recipe was a perfect example of why – so easy to make that the level of flavor was surprising! We did it over angel hair with peas. I’d never been super confident cooking shrimp before but these steps make me much more comfortable with it. I only wish fresh shrimp was a little less expensive!

  • CCO September 18, 2018, 7:39 pm

    I have made this recipe twice now and my husband and I love it! It’s so flavorful and the lime is what makes this dish. Thank you for sharing.

  • Alexis September 16, 2018, 9:44 pm

    This sounds delicious. How should I adjust this recipe if I have frozen shrimp?

    • Joanne November 16, 2018, 1:26 pm

      Hi Alexis, It is best to use fresh or thawed frozen shrimp for this recipe.

  • Carolien August 18, 2018, 7:41 am

    Wowwww! I never liked fish and shrimps much but this is so very tasty!!! It’s one of my favourite recipes now, thank you so much from the Netherlands

  • Phyllis Provo August 14, 2018, 7:06 pm

    This looks delish! I think I will try it out on an appie night with my seafood loving friends.


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