This Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta features succulent shrimp and al dente pasta, tossed in lemony garlic butter sauce - It sounds fancy but is deceptively easy to make, ready in under 30 minutes and made without wine, to keep it family friendly.
This garlic butter shrimp pasta is packed with so much flavor from lots of garlic, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and a hint of spice from red pepper flakes - It's all of my favorite things in one - Lemon, butter, garlic, parmesan…. so much yum!
An amazing combination of lemon garlic butter sauce tossed with sautéed shrimp and cooked noodles. There's something about this combination that always works, like this creamy lemon chicken pasta.
Shrimp scampi is simple dish, made with a handful of flavorful ingredients that work wonderfully together. It is usually made with shrimp, olive oil, butter, lots of fresh garlic, seasonings, white wine and lemon juice and then served with linguine. It's popular for all the right reasons.
This homemade garlic butter shrimp pasta recipe, takes all those flavors but minus the wine, and then toss it with cooked noodles, to make a quick dinner on the table in a matter of minutes.
It’s a classic dish of tender plump shrimp coated in a zesty, buttery garlic sauce, and so easy to fall in love with, just like the shrimp and rice.
Why this recipe works?
- Shrimp thaws and cooks in minutes, making this recipe fast and easy.
- Bright, zesty, creamy, buttery and flavorful sauce.
- No wine, makes it kid friendly.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Shrimp – Unless you are buying shrimp fresh off a boat, it's best to buy the frozen kind. The vast majority of "fresh" that you find in grocery stores are previously frozen shrimp, that has been defrosted and stocked in the shelves.
- Chicken Stock – I always use 33% reduced sodium stock like in shrimp soup recipe.
- Pasta – I used Cellentani Spiral noodles, however this lemon butter sauce is delicious paired with any pasta shape like penne, linguini, fettuccini, bow tie, spaghetti, fusilli or ziti.
- Seasonings – Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. The spice pairs very well the buttery sauce.
- Lemon – Adds acidity and cuts through the butteriness.
- Parmesan– Adds nuttiness and complexity.
- Butter - Makes it rich, smooth and restaurant-worthy.
Tip: Buy frozen shrimp from the freezer section! Shrimp is usually processed and frozen, right on the boat or farm, before it reaches your supermarket.
- Make it creamy - Add ¼ to ½ cup heavy cream, along with stock for a creamier pasta.
- Broccoli – Blanched for couple of minutes along with pasta or sautéed in olive oil before proceeding with the recipe.
- Spinach – Add baby spinach leaves when sauce is almost done simmering, and stir to wilt.
- Zucchini – Saute diced zucchini in olive oil, until partially cooked. Transfer to another bowl and continue with the recipe. Toss it back into the simmering garlic sauce.
- Add asparagus – Cut trimmed asparagus into 1-inch pieces and saute along with garlic in the recipe.
- Use diced boneless skinless chicken thighs instead.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1.Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, add shrimp in a single layer, season with some salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, until it is opaque pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp into a seperate dish.
Tip: Shrimp is sweet, plump and cooks in minutes. To be able to handle them gently and effectively is necessary to ensure, they don't turn out rubbery. It should just become opaque and pinkish.
2.Add remaining butter into the same pan, saute garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until it begins to get pale golden.
Add chicken stock or pasta water, heavy cream (if using - it gives a creamy texture), Italian seasoning, remaining salt and ground pepper. Let cook for 1 to 2 minutes or the liquid has reduced in half.
3 & 4. Stir in cooked pasta, shrimp along with any accumulated juices, parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Serve garlic butter shrimp pasta!
Tip: Cook pasta according to manufactures instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water, until al dente and reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water (if not using chicken stock).
How to serve?
I love to serve this for dinner with crispy air fryer asparagus.
Storage and Reheating
This dish is best served hot! If you have leftovers, then store for 2 to 3 days in your fridge, in a sealed container. Microwaving at a lower power is the best method to reheat this dish.
To freeze: Freeze in sealed containers or zip lock bags for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature and heat on the stovetop with a splash of stock over low heat or warmed through.
- Be sure to cook your prawns in a single layer so it gets a golden brown. If you overcrowd the pan, it might steam instead. It’s best to work in batches if your pan is not large enough to fit everything at once.
- Salt depends on the use of chicken stock or pasta water. Adjust based on your taste.
- Use your favorite noodle shape instead of Cellantani.
- Always saute garlic in low heat.
- I used 33% reduced sodium stock. If you are using regular or no sodium stock then adjust salt accordingly.
- Add about ¼ cup heavy cream along with stock for a creamier texture.
- Cook the pasta until just al dente.
- Don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta cooking water, it’s quite starchy and great for loosening up the sauce.
The cooked shrimp that you find in grocery stores are overcooked and impossible to add any sort of shrimpy flavor to the dish. It's great when your want to bulk up a dish with more protein, but does not contribute any flavor.
The simple velvety sauce is made by sautéing garlic in butter and then tossing it with the pasta, and some of chicken stock or pasta cooking water. The acid blends with the garlicky butter, and adds zestiness to the dish.
Place them in a large bowl and fill it with cold or room temperature water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, until thawed (the time will depend on the quantity used). You can change the water, once halfway to speed up the process. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Although it is best to buy shrimp with shells and clean them at home, I often buy frozen shrimp from Costco, that is peeled and deveined with or without tails attached. If you buy them with veins, then it can be very easily cleaned at home.
The dark line you see on the backs of shrimp is their digestive tract and removing them is a matter of preference. There are shrimp cleaners available in the market or online that does makes the job easier when dealing with large amounts of seafood.
We just like to use regular pairing knife with ease. Hold the peeled prawn in one hand and make a shallow slit along the center of the shrimp along the back. Lift out the black stringy looking part with the tip of your knife until there’s no vein visible. Rinse all deveined ones in water after.
More garlicky recipes
Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta
- 8 ounce pasta cooked **
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup pasta water or chicken stock
- ¼ cup heavy cream optional
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3 to 4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Cook pasta according to manufactures instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water, until al dente and reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water (if not using chicken stock).
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, add shrimp in a single layer, season with some salt and pepper. Cook until stirring occasionally, until it is opaque pink, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp into a seperate dish.Tip: Shrimp is sweet, plump and cooks in minutes. To be able to handle them gently and effectively is necessary to ensure, they don't turn out rubbery. It should just become opaque and pinkish.
- Add remaining butter into the same pan, saute garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until it begins to get pale golden.
- Add chicken stock or pasta water, heavy cream (if using - it gives a creamy, crave-worthy consistency), Italian seasoning, remaining salt and ground pepper. Let cook for 1 to 2 minutes or the liquid has reduced in half.
- Stir in cooked pasta, shrimp along with any accumulated juices, parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Serve!
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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