With a bold flavor that’s the perfect combination of spicy and smoky, this Blackened Shrimp Recipe makes a quick weekday meal. Serve garnished with cilantro and lime wedges or add to a rice bowl, tacos, salads, and more.
Easy Blackened Shrimp Recipe
If you want an impressive seafood dinner that can made in just 20 minutes…this blackened shrimp recipe is it! It’s one of my favorite shrimp recipes as it comes together so quickly and has so much flavor.
Blackened shrimp has a distinct and bold flavor profile, with both spiciness and smokiness. The blackening seasoning used includes spices like red chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin and oregano, plus some brown sugar. The brown sugar caramelizes in the pan, forming a crust on the outside of the shrimp while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
There are so many ways to serve this recipe, whether you want it as an appetizer or the main course for a nicer meal or to add to burritos, tacos, rice bowls, salads, and more. The possibilities are endless!
Why You’ll Love This Easy Shrimp Dinner
There are so many reasons to love this shrimp recipe but here are my top 3!
- Quick and easy. Shrimp cooks in just minutes and the seasoning is super easy to prepare as well. You do want to let it “marinate” for 20 minutes but you could even do that in advance.
- Versatile. Blackened shrimp is one of those dishes that works as an appetizer for nicer dinners or to impress guests but can also be served in a rice bowl or in tacos for a quick, casual meal.
- The perfect amount of heat. The blackened seasoning in this recipe offers the perfect balance of spicy and smoky flavor, all balanced out by the sweet brown sugar. (Though you can spice it up if you prefer, of course!)
What You’ll Need
This shrimp recipe is made with just a handful of ingredients. Scroll down to the recipe card below for measurements.
- Shrimp – Peeled and deveined but you do want the tails on.
- Brown sugar – Helps to caramelize the blackened seasoning and balance out the spice.
- Seasonings – Red chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper make up the blackened seasoning for this shrimp.
- Olive oil – For cooking the shrimp
- Cilantro and lime wedges – For garnish.
- To build a bowl – If you opt to build a blackened shrimp bowl, you’ll also want cooked Jasmine rice, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and canned corn.
How to Make Blackened Shrimp
Here’s how to make this easy shrimp recipe. See the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
- Season the shrimp. Pat the shrimp dry with a kitchen towel. Combine the spices in a bowl then sprinkle the seasoning blend over the shrimp. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes.
- Cook the shrimp. Cook the seasoned shrimp in the olive oil, working in batches. Cook frying pan or cast iron skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Enjoy. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro and lime wedges or assemble into a bowl with cooked rice, avocado, tomatoes, and corn.
Tips & Variations
Here are a few things to keep in mind when making this blackened shrimp recipe.
- Adjust the spice level. The seasoning mix in this recipe does have some heat to it but if you need an extra kick, please feel free to add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the spice mixture.
- Larger shrimp work perfectly for the recipe. I recommend using jumbo shrimp or extra-large shrimp. Smaller shrimp are harder to handle and easier to overcook. We used frozen shrimp, but you can also use pre-cooked. Cook them for about 30 seconds on each side making sure they do not overcooked.
- Add other veggies. Adding vegetables like bell peppers, onions, broccoli, zucchini, etc., can also be a great way to customize the recipe to your liking.
- Avoid overcooking the shrimp. The shrimp cooks quickly, just 2 to 3 minutes per side for large shrimp, so keep an eye on it. It should be opaque and start to curl in. It’s a bit harder to see the color with the seasoning so if needed, you can always cut one in half to double check.
Ways to Serve Blackened Shrimp
One thing I love about blackened shrimp is that there are so many ways to serve it.
My personal favorite is to make a blackened shrimp bowl as the rice, avocado, tomatoes, and corn complement the bold and spicy flavors of the shrimp.
You can also make blackened shrimp tacos with some coleslaw, add it to a salad, enjoy in a burrito, lettuce wraps or serve with grilled veggies.
Another option is simply to serve it as an appetizer with some lime wedges on the side!
- Fridge. Shrimp is best served immediately but you can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Reheat. Reheat quickly in a heated pan, about 30 seconds per side. Microwaving or overheating the shrimp can result in a rubbery texture.
More Easy Shrimp Recipes
For blackened shrimp
- 1 ½ pounds large shrimp peeled and deveined , tails ON
- 1 tablespoon red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro to garnish
- Lime wedges to garnish
For building a bowl
- 1 cup cooked Jasmine rice
- 1 medium avocado sliced
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup canned corn drained and washed
- Pat dry the shrimp with a kitchen towel and set them aside.
- In a bowl or on a plate, combine the spices by mixing red chili powder, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Sprinkle the spice mixture over the shrimp, ensuring they are evenly coated. Allow the shrimp to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat with some oil. Add the marinated shrimp in batches to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side.
- Transfer the cooked shrimp to a platter and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
- To assemble a bowl, arrange the cooked rice, avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, corn, and blackened shrimp on top. Enjoy your meal!