Quick cooking Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special…a fun meal to enjoy any night of the week. Seasoned with paprika and cayenne pepper, then tossed in a lemon butter sauce with crisp caramelized garlic. Every last shrimp has just the right amount of heat, lemon, butter, and crispy garlic. Serve this shrimp up with mounds of steamed rice and a creamy lemon pepper sauce for dipping. Simply add a couple of pineapple wedges on the side for a truly tropical feel. And if you really love sauce…do a double-dip with a sweet and spicy chili sauce. Trust me, it’s beyond GOOOD.

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special | halfbakedharvest.com

Anyone else slowly starting to dream up that topical spring vacation? I’ve hit that point in the winter when I want nothing more than a trip to Florida for some warmth and sunshine. Anyone else?

When I was growing up, my family would travel to Florida every Easter. I’m longing for one of those trips right now! So instead I’ve been thinking about all the places I’m excited to travel to once traveling is “normal” again. Since traveling is still difficult right now, or at least out of the country is, I figured a fun dinner inspired by a tropical destination is exactly what we all need.

Enter this shrimp, it feels very fresh and topical. The fun part is that we can all make this at home, and pretty darn easily too!

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special | halfbakedharvest.com

The inspiration and backstory.

This shrimp was very much inspired by the shrimp you’ll find on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. It’s served up at the local food trucks, one of the more popular being Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. If you’ve been lucky enough to travel to Hawaii, hopefully you’ve experienced the famous garlic shrimp. After reading about Giovanni’s shrimp, it sounded way too delicious. I knew I wanted to try and create a homemade version.

The funny thing is that I’ve actually shared a similar recipe years ago inspired by the famous Hawaiian garlic shrimp, but I wanted to give it another try as I didn’t love my original recipe. So here we are. There seem to be a lot of recipes for this specific shrimp online, each varying from the other just slightly. I read Giovanni’s menu, looked through photos on Pinterest, and tried to find as much info I could before diving into creating the recipe.

The most popular trucks are Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp. If you’re visiting, both trucks are worth stopping in for some shrimp. I used Giovanni’s as more of my inspiration. Again, this is just my take, I’m sure it’s not exactly how they make their shrimp by any means.

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special | halfbakedharvest.com

The quick details.

The key is using shell-on shrimp, which adds so much flavor to the dish. Some people like to eat the entire shrimp, shell and all. While others prefer to suck the sauce off then remove the shell and eat. I still can’t quite get fully on board with eating the shell, so I cooked half the shrimp with shell on/tail on, and the other half, shell off. It gives you all the wonderful flavors and mix of shrimp to enjoy. But you can do whatever you prefer, of course.

And don’t forget to devein your shrimp. I’ve made this mistake before, so putting out a friendly reminder for you guys!

Once you have the shrimp all prepped, toss them into a mix of paprika and cayenne. I like to go heavy on both spices, but make sure to use the cayenne pepper to your taste.

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special | halfbakedharvest.com

Pan sear the shrimp in olive oil until crisp on both sides, then pull it out of the skillet and cook the garlic and butter. The trick here is to slowly caramelize the garlic in the butter. You need to be careful not to burn the garlic. Instead, you want the garlic to turn deep golden in color and become crisp. It happens quickly so keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn.

As soon has you have the garlic crisp, toss in more butter and add the shrimp back, tossing it with all that butter. At this point, just squeeze over lots of lemon juice…beyond delicious. The shrimp is a little spicy, perfectly buttery, and that garlic…well it just seals the deal. It’s rich, caramelized, and just ever so slightly crispy.

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special | halfbakedharvest.com

Before you serve, the sauces.

Of course, these sauces are not traditional. You can make them both or simply make the shrimp. But you know that over here we love sauce, so the more the better.

The creamy lemon pepper sauce adds just the right amount of creamy tang, but the chili sauce adds a sweet and spicy element. Both are delicious and pair wonderfully with the shrimp. Again, make one, both, or neither…though I do recommend both!

Be sure to serve each plate of shrimp with steamed rice and lemon wedges. Then add the sauces and spoon over any leftover lemon butter from the pan.

If you’re in need of a little reprieve from winter, this is the perfect tropical-inspired dinner! Hope you guys love this one as much as we do!

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other spring seafood recipes? Here are some favorites:

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special | halfbakedharvest.com
3.68 from 292 votes

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

The Recipe

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special

This shrimp has just the right amount of heat, lemon, butter, and crispy garlic. Add lemon pepper sauce and pineapple wedges for that truly tropical feel!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 280 kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shell on or off, and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 rounded tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to your taste
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons cold salted butter, cubed
  • 8-12 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • juice from 1-2 lemons
  • chili sauce, for serving (recipe in notes)

Lemon Pepper Sauce


  1. 1. Pat the shrimp dry. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the flour, paprika, cayenne, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt.

    2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet to a plate. Set aside.

    3. If needed, let the skillet cool slightly. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and the garlic together over medium heat. Cook until the garlic begins to turn golden, 2-3 minutes. Melt in 4 more tablespoons butter. Add the shrimp and toss. Cook 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp is warmed and the garlic is dark golden and crisp. Squeeze over the lemon juice, remove from the heat.

    4. To make the lemon pepper sauce, whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

    5. Serve the shrimp with the garlic butter spooned over top. Add rice, lemon wedges, lemon pepper sauce, and chili sauce on the side.

Recipe Notes

Spicy Chili Sauce: mix 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1-2 cloves grated garlic, and a pinch each of chili flakes and salt. Add 1/4 cup chopped pineapple if desired. 

Shell on Shrimp: for best flavor use, shell-on shrimp. You can either suck the sauce off the shell and then eat the shrimp. Or eat the shell, though I prefer to not eat the shell. 

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special | halfbakedharvest.com