This quick, easy recipe for Camarones al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp) makes one mouthwatering meal! With white wine, butter, olive oil, and plenty of garlic, you’ll love their succulent flavor.
A Super-Easy Sauteed Shrimp Dish
Guys, these are some good shrimp. I know there are a ton of easy and delicious ways out there to make shrimp (my family is very partial to Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp, Shrimp Alfredo and my Camarones a la Diabla (Deviled Shrimp), just to name a few). But this particular recipe is such a winner on so many levels: it’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s loaded with garlic!
Camarones al ajillo is popular from Spain to Puerto Rico, and all in between – and each region has its own special spin on the dish. In some places, it’s known as “gambas al ajillo” instead of “camarones.” The words are basically synonyms, like prawns and fish, with just technical differences.
My recipe is super-simple, with the standard butter, olive oil garlic, seasonings, and wine. You can serve it as an appetizer, or make it a meal by adding pasta or rice. And with the addition of white wine and fresh parsley, this simple recipe takes on a fancy, party-appropriate flavor that’ll leave friends and family begging you for the recipe.
How Do You Pronounce Camarones al Ajillo?
Okay, Jessica, I hear you saying. I’m sold on making camarones al ajillo, but how do I say it? Good question. It’s a Spanish name, so keep in mind that the “j” sounds like an English “h,” while the “ll” sounds like our English “y.” That means you pronounce it, “cah-mah-ROW-ness all a-HEE-yo.” Not too bad, right? Of course, you could always skip the Spanish name and just call it garlic shrimp!
What Is Camarones al Ajillo Made Of?
- Shrimp: Go for large shrimp, and make sure they are peeled and deveined before you start cooking.
- Olive Oil and Butter: For sautéing.
- Garlic: Plenty of fresh, minced garlic is key to this recipe.
- White Wine: Go for a dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, or pinot grigio.
- Lime: You’ll need the juice of one lime.
- Herbs and Seasonings: Dried oregano, ground cumin, salt and pepper, and some chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro).
- Hot Sauce: Just a dash of hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce, Tabasco, etc.
Can I Use Frozen Shrimp?
Definitely! Just make sure to thaw them and dry them with paper towels before using in this dish. You may find that frozen shrimp are higher quality than the shrimp at your fishmonger’s counter, because it is frozen immediately after cooking and then thawed only when you’re ready to cook – no sitting around on ice.
Once you start cooking, this recipe comes together fast, so it’s helpful to read the instructions a couple of times before you begin. That way, you’ll already be familiar with the process.
- Gently Cook the Garlic. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil. Once it’s hot, melt the butter in the oil, and use a wooden spoon to slowly stir them together. Finally, add in the garlic, and gently saute for a couple of minutes, until the garlic pieces are softened and fragrant. Don’t let them brown or burn.
- Add the Remaining Ingredients Except Shrimp. Now, deglaze the skillet by pouring in the wine, and gently rubbing/scraping the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon. Once that’s done, add the lime juice, oregano, and cumin to the mixture, along with a dash of hot sauce. Stir once again.
- Cook the Shrimp in the Sauce. Place your prepared shrimp in the skillet and saute for 4 – 5 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. You’ll know the shrimp are done when they turn pink and opaque. Don’t overcook them at that point – make sure you take them off of the heat once they are cooked through, or they’ll turn tough and rubbery.
Enjoy! Turn off the heat, and sprinkle in the freshly chopped parsley. Toss the shrimp to coat with the sauce, and serve warm.
Now that you know how to make this dish, let me share a few helpful tips for working with the ingredients. Read on, and enjoy your garlic shrimp!
- Prepping the Shrimp: The most time-consuming part of working with shrimp is peeling and deveining them. You can take a shortcut with this, by purchasing shrimp that are already prepped, or by asking your fishmonger to prepare them for you. Pro tip: removing the tails is optional. You can always leave them on and simply cut them away from the shrimp while you’re eating, similar to leaving behind the bones of a piece of fish.
- Watch the Garlic: Make sure to cook the garlic gently, just to bring out the flavors. No need to brown it, and definitely don’t burn it, or it will be bitter and strong.
- Wine Options and Alternatives: Dry white wine is my go-to for Cameron’s al ajillo. You don’t have to use an expensive wine, but I do recommend using wine for drinking, rather than “cooking wines.” Cooking wines are usually treated with salt and preservatives to keep them shelf-stable, and don’t have as good a flavor. If you’d rather not use wine at all, try using a bit of water mixed with lemon juice, vinegar or Dijon mustard, to mimic the tangy taste. You can also just use chicken broth or water, although those aren’t as flavorful.
- Cilantro, Anyone? Some recipes for camarones al ajillo use cilantro instead of (or in addition to) the parsley. You can definitely do this too, if you like cilantro!
Easy Side Dishes
To serve camarones al ajillo, it really pays to have something to soak up the sauce – pasta, rice, and bread are all great for this. You can also add a veggie or two for some extra nutrition, color, and texture. These easy recipes will get you started.
- Bread: A simple baguette would be perfect with this dish, or you could make Easy Mexican Bolillos – these simple rolls have a lovely texture for tearing and dipping.
- Asparagus: Steam it, roast it, or try this amazing Air Fryer Asparagus recipe – it’s the best! With a little lemon and parmesan, and a quick blast in the air fryer, basic asparagus spears take on a whole new depth of flavor.
- Maduros: Fried sweet plantains, aka Maduros, are a beloved side dish that works beautifully alongside flavorful shrimp. This indulgent but healthy combo will wow your tastebuds.
- Rice/Beans: If you are looking for some heartier sides, Mexican Rice and beans (Refried Beans, Ranch-Style Beans, or Charro Beans) are always a yes! If you prefer white rice, try our favorite way of cooking Arroz Blanco Puertorriqueño!
Storing and Reheating Camarones al Ajillo
If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, the good news is that they keep for several days in your fridge! Here’s how to store and reheat for the best flavor and texture.
- Store the garlic shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge. Make sure to use or toss within 3 – 4 days.
- Reheat this dish by placing the desired portion in a covered skillet over low heat (add a little butter or olive oil if it seems dry). Heat until fully warmed through, and then immediately take it off of the heat so the shrimp don’t overcook.
Can I Freeze This Dish?
Yes! You can freeze camarones al ajillo successfully. Just place the cooled shrimp and sauce into freezer bags, and mark with the date. The shrimp will keep for around 3 months in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Camarones al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp)
- 1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons minced garlic
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 lime, juiced
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup fresh parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
- Add olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the butter and allow to melt. Use a wooden spoon or utensil to slowly combine with the oil. Add the garlic and saute 1 – 2 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.
- While remaining on medium-high heat, add the wine to deglaze, gently rubbing the bottom of the pan with your wooden utensil. Add in the lime juice, oregano, and cumin. Stir to combine. Add in a dash of hot sauce and stir once again.
- Add the prepared shrimp to the pan and saute 4 – 5 minutes, or until they turn pink in color. Flip the shrimp halfway through cooking.
- Turn off the heat and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Gently toss to evenly coat the shrimp in the sauce. Serve warm over brown rice or your favorite pasta.
More Easy Shrimp Recipes
- Teriyaki Shrimp Stir Fry
- Air Fryer Shrimp Po’ Boys
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Creamy Thai Shrimp Bisque
- Easy Shrimp Boil
- Camarones Empanizados (Mexican Fried Shrimp)
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