Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti


Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti is an easy and quick pasta dish for the weekday menu. Savory, succulent shrimp sizzling in a garlic butter sauce paired with light and airy spaghetti. It’s a family favorite that I can usually whip up in 15 minutes.

Table of Contents

2Ingredients Overview
3Preparing the Shrimp
4Cooking the Perfect Pasta
5Making the Garlic Butter Sauce
6Combining Shrimp and Pasta
7Adding the Final Touches
8Serving Suggestions
9Variations to Try
10Health Benefits
11Tips for the Best Results
12Frequently Asked Questions


Imagine this: you’ve had a long, exhausting day at work, and the thought of preparing a complicated dinner feels overwhelming. But wait, there’s a simple, delicious solution that can be ready in just 15 minutes – Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti. This dish combines the savory flavors of succulent shrimp with the aromatic punch of garlic butter sauce, all enveloped in light and airy spaghetti. It’s a family favorite that never fails to satisfy. Let’s dive into how you can make this delightful meal a staple on your weekday menu.

Ingredients Overview

To get started, you’ll need a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen:

  • 1 lb medium shrimp, deveined and tails removed: Fresh or frozen shrimp both work well. Just make sure they are properly cleaned and deveined.
  • 1 lb spaghetti noodles: Adjust the quantity depending on your family size. Any type of spaghetti will do, but I prefer the classic kind for this recipe.
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced: Garlic is the star of the show. Adjust the amount based on your love for garlic.
  • 1/4 cup butter: This adds richness to the sauce.
  • Olive oil (3 drizzles): Olive oil enhances the flavor and helps in cooking the shrimp.
  • Italian seasoning: A mix of herbs that brings out the best in the dish.
  • Fresh ground pepper and red pepper flakes: For that slight kick.
  • Salt and herbs: According to taste.

Preparing the Shrimp


Before you start cooking, it’s essential to prep your shrimp properly. If you’re using frozen shrimp, make sure they are fully thawed.

  1. Wash the Shrimp: Rinse them under cold water to remove any residual ice or debris.
  2. Devein and Remove Tails: Most store-bought shrimp come deveined, but double-check. Removing the tails is optional but recommended for easier eating.

Cooking the Perfect Pasta

While the shrimp are getting ready, you can start on the pasta. Cooking spaghetti is straightforward, but a few tips can make a big difference.

  1. Boil the Water: Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt. The water should be as salty as the sea.
  2. Add Spaghetti: Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Save Pasta Water: Before draining, save 1 cup of the starchy pasta water. This will help to thicken the sauce and make it cling to the pasta better.
  4. Drain and Set Aside: Once the pasta is al dente (tender but firm to the bite), drain it and set it aside.

Making the Garlic Butter Sauce

The sauce is what makes this dish irresistible. Here’s how to create the perfect garlic butter sauce:

  1. Melt the Butter: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Be careful not to burn it.
  2. Cook the Shrimp: Add the shrimp to the skillet. Cook them until they start to turn pink and curl slightly.
  3. Add Garlic: Once the shrimp are partially cooked, add the minced garlic. Stir frequently to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn.
  4. Drizzle Olive Oil: Add three drizzles of olive oil to the mixture. This helps to keep the shrimp moist and adds extra flavor.

Combining Shrimp and Pasta

Now that both the shrimp and pasta are ready, it’s time to bring them together:

  1. Add Pasta to Skillet: Transfer the drained spaghetti into the skillet with the shrimp and garlic butter sauce.
  2. Mix in Seasonings: Sprinkle in the Italian seasoning, fresh ground pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste.
  3. Add Pasta Water: Gradually add the saved pasta water. Start with 1/4 cup and add more as needed to reach the desired consistency. The sauce should lightly coat the pasta without being too watery.
  4. Toss Everything Together: Keep tossing the ingredients in the skillet until everything is well incorporated and heated through.

Adding the Final Touches


To elevate your Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti, consider these final touches:

  1. Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle fresh parsley or basil on top for a burst of color and flavor.
  2. Grated Parmesan: A bit of grated Parmesan cheese adds a salty, umami richness to the dish.
  3. Lemon Zest: A little lemon zest can brighten up the flavors and add a fresh note.

Serving Suggestions

Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti is versatile and can be paired with various sides to make a complete meal:

  1. Side Salad: A crisp green salad with a light vinaigrette complements the rich pasta.
  2. Garlic Bread: More garlic is never a bad idea. Serve with warm, buttery garlic bread.
  3. Roasted Vegetables: Oven-roasted veggies like asparagus or broccoli add a healthy component.

Variations to Try

While the classic recipe is delightful on its own, here are a few variations you can experiment with:

  1. Spicy Shrimp Spaghetti: Add extra red pepper flakes or a splash of hot sauce for a spicy kick.
  2. Creamy Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti: Stir in a splash of heavy cream or a dollop of cream cheese for a richer sauce.
  3. Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti: Add more lemon juice and zest for a bright, citrusy flavor.

Health Benefits

Despite its indulgent taste, Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti can be part of a healthy diet:

  1. Shrimp: Low in calories and high in protein, shrimp is also a great source of selenium, vitamin B12, and iodine.
  2. Garlic: Known for its immune-boosting properties, garlic is also good for heart health.
  3. Olive Oil: Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.

Tips for the Best Results


To ensure your Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti turns out perfectly every time, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Don’t Overcook the Shrimp: Shrimp cook quickly and become rubbery if overcooked. As soon as they turn pink and curl, they’re done.
  2. Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh garlic, herbs, and quality shrimp make a big difference in flavor.
  3. Adjust Seasoning to Taste: Everyone’s palate is different. Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning to suit your preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use frozen shrimp for this recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen shrimp. Just make sure they are fully thawed and patted dry before cooking.

2. What type of pasta works best with this dish?

While spaghetti is the classic choice, you can use any long pasta like linguine or fettuccine.

3. How can I make this dish gluten-free?

Simply substitute regular spaghetti with gluten-free pasta. The rest of the ingredients are naturally gluten-free.

4. Can I make this dish ahead of time?

This dish is best served fresh, but you can prep the ingredients ahead of time. Cooked pasta and shrimp can be stored separately in the fridge and combined just before serving.

5. What other vegetables can I add to this dish?

You can add sautéed spinach, cherry tomatoes, or bell peppers for extra flavor and nutrition.


Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti is more than just a quick meal; it’s a delightful combination of flavors and textures that can transform a regular weekday dinner into something special. With its savory garlic butter sauce, tender shrimp, and perfectly cooked pasta, this dish is sure to become a staple in your household. So next time you’re pressed for time but still want a satisfying meal, remember this recipe. It’s simple, delicious, and ready in just 15 minutes. Enjoy!


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