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Spicy grilled shrimp are easy to assemble and cook in about 5 minutes. A simple marinade of cilantro with a kick of cayenne pepper make these a delicious and spicy-as-you-like addition to summer meals. String the shrimp onto two skewers to them very easy to turn on the grill.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp served on a white platter with lime wedges.

When I asked about the recipe for these spicy grilled shrimp, I was certain that Christian had forgotten something. “Just olive oil, cilantro, cayenne, salt and pepper,” he assured me. I believed him (mostly), but when it came to making them, I was tempted to tamper with the recipe – add a little garlic or perhaps some lemon juice. I resisted and, if you’re similarly inclined, you should too.

Spicy Shrimp on the Grill

These shrimp were piled high on a platter next to grilled artichoke halves with homemade mayonnaise, Mexican corn on the cob, dry rub ribs and pulled pork with all of the trimmings. We were at our friends Christian and Christen’s house, there to celebrate their beautiful, sweet daughter Sidney’s high school graduation. And let me just say, these people know how to throw a party.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp served on a white platter with lime wedges and photographed from the top.

On a recent weeknight, we made these as the main course of a simple dinner – on the table in about 20 minutes – all cooked on the grill: shrimp, Mexican Street Corn, and Grilled Green Beans.

If you’re serving people who don’t care for shrimp, pair with Carne AsadaGrilled Lamb Chops, Grilled Tuna Steaks, Grilled Swordfish, Grilled Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Chicken Kabobs or Lamb Kabobs, and a hearty side like Grilled Cauliflower SteaksGrilled Bok ChoyZucchini Salad, or Tabouli Salad. Or, maybe even better, pile them into Grilled Shrimp Tacos, Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa or on a Mexican Street Corn salad for quintessential summer meals.

If you’re making this shrimp recipe in the fall or winter, grill shrimp on a stovetop grill pan instead of your outdoor bbq.

Recipe Video

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Total: 21 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Calories: 176
Servings: 4 people
Note that this easy recipe serves 4 as an appetizer, if you're serving as a main dish, double the recipe. String the shrimp onto two skewers to them very easy to turn on the grill.


  • 10 9-inch bamboo skewers soaked in water 15-30 minutes
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound medium or large shrimp peeled except for the tail and deveined


  • Preheat grill to medium-high.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together cilantro, salt, pepper, cayenne and olive oil. Add shrimp and gently toss to coat.
  • Run one skewer through the fattest part of 7 or 8 shrimp (depending on shrimp size), nesting the shrimp so they are curved in the same direction. Run a second skewer through all of the shrimp near the tail. Adjust shrimp, giving each a little space, to help them cook evenly. Repeat with remaining shrimp and skewers.
  • Grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Transfer to platter and serve.


Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 286mg | Sodium: 1027mg | Potassium: 91mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 142IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. David @ Spiced says:

    Don’t you just love how quick and easy shrimp is to make…and it gets such an amazing grilled flavor, too! I love spicy food, and I definitely want to give these shrimp a shot sometime. That party must have been something else with piles of shrimp skewers along with Mexican corn and ribs. Sounds like somewhere I need to be! 🙂 I hope you have an awesome weekend, Marissa…and make sure to get the grill out, ok?

    1. Marissa says:

      I think it’s supposed to rain all weekend! But if the sun decides to turn up, we’ll definitely be at the grill. You have a wonderful weekend too, David!

  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Wow it really is so simple!? I’ll save this for when I need something delicious and quick! Thanks Marissa 😀

    1. Marissa says:

      It looks almost too simple, but I promise they’re packed with flavor. 🙂

  3. Sonali- The Foodie Physician says:

    5 stars
    These sound so simple yet so delicious! I can’t wait to try them!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you, Sonali! I’d love to grill up a batch for you and your family myself!

  4. Ben | Havocinthekitchen says:

    5 stars
    I love shrimp (especially grilled), and I believe it’s a must during hot summer days (or not really hot summer days). I could easily live on shrimp, brushettas, bread, tomatoes, and olive oil for the whole season (Oh, and ice cream of course). Love these simple yet delicious flavors. Nicely done, Marissa!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thanks, Ben! And you’re speaking my language with your list of summer foods!

  5. Dorothy Dunton says:

    Hi Marissa. I love shrimp cooked in any form, but grilled shrimp are high on my list. I have had shrimp on my mind lately and you have just given me an ideal way to cook them. Some corn and a salad and I’m all good.

    1. Marissa says:

      Hi Dorothy…as usual, we’re simpatico. Sounds like the perfect meal to me.