Grilling Guide

How to Grill Shrimp

Planning to host a game day gathering with friends? Or, looking for quick and easy weeknight meal for the family? Nothing could be simpler than serving grilled shrimp as an appetizer, the main course, or even a quick side. Best of all, you can have grilled shrimp ready in less than 10 minutes. Learning how to grill shrimp is simple. With such a variety of seasonings that pair well with shrimp, it’s a great way to incorporate seafood into your diet.


Raw shrimp is the best choice, but frozen shrimp works just fine since it freezes well and maintains flavor and texture. You just need to thaw before grilling. Make sure your shrimp is fresh, even if it has been frozen. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is safe to eat thawed shrimp if they have translucent and shiny flesh with a light saltwater smell.

Large and jumbo shrimp are the perfect size for the grill. Smaller shrimp tend to dry out quickly. Buy shrimp by the per pound count. Large shrimp, often labeled 16/20, means there are roughly 16-20 shrimp per pound. Shell-on shrimp are also preferable to peeled, as the shell will help protect the meat and retain juices while cooking.


Drizzle shrimp with olive oil or melted butter before adding herbs and spices. Coating them with fat before grilling helps impart the seasoning flavor and locks in moisture. There are no shortage of herbs and spices that can be used for seasoning shrimp. Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder and chili powder are all great options to choose from.


Preheat grill for medium heat. While the grill is heating, pat shrimp dry and season as desired. You can toss shrimp onto the grate, use a grill basket, or use skewers. Grill baskets and skewers eliminate the risk of shrimp falling beneath the grate and makes it easier to turn shrimp while cooking. Allow shrimp to cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side until they are slightly pink with opaque flesh.

Now that you know all about how to grill shrimp, it’s time to fire up the grill! Try out one of our recipes below and wow your friends and family at the next gathering.

Coconut Shrimp and Dipping Sauce

Serves: 6 to 8 as an appetizer


Coconut Shrimp:

1 pound large shrimp (21-25 count), peeled and deveined with tails left on

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Light olive oil, vegetable oil or coconut oil


Coconut Shrimp Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

1/4 cup apricot preserves or apricot fruit spread

Rinse shrimp in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Set up 3 shallow bowls. In the first, stir together 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp salt. In the second, add eggs and beat with a fork. In the third, combine 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes and 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs.

Dredge shrimp in flour then dip in beaten egg and then finally dip in crumb mixture using your hands to press the coconut crumb mixture onto your shrimp. Transfer to a Reynolds parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining shrimp.

Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add enough oil to generously cover the bottom. Once oil is hot, add shrimp and sauté 2-3 minutes, flip and sauté another 2 minutes until golden brown on both sides and shrimp is firm and pink then remove to a paper towel lined plate. Cook in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan.

For the Dipping Sauce: Stir together 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce with 1/4 cup apricot preserves. Serve with coconut shrimp.

Charcoal Grilled Shrimp

Makes: about 60 shrimp


2 pounds large shrimp in the shell

1/3 cup safflower oil

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons dry white wine or vermouth

1 tablespoon minced shallots or green onions (white part only)

1 clove garlic minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill

Several dashes Tabasco® sauce

Place shrimp in a shallow ceramic or glass baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients, and pour over shrimp, reserving about a quarter cup for brushing while cooking. Cover, and chill several hours or overnight. Drain the shrimp.

Thread shrimp on skewers, or place in a wire grill basket. Grill shrimp over hot coals, turning and brushing with reserved marinade, until pink and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with wooden picks.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs with Garlic Butter

Serves: 4 (2 skewers each)


For the Cilantro Lime Marinade:

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup blanco (silver) tequila

¼ cup freshly-squeezed lime juice

¾ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper


For the Kebabs:

16 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined and partially butterflied with tails removed

8 slices of bacon, cut in half

4 large jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1 by 1/2-inch rectangles

8 10-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water


For the Garlic Butter:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon fine grey sea salt

For the marinade: process the ingredients in a food processor until the cilantro and garlic are very fine. Transfer to a medium-sized non-reactive bowl and add the shrimp. Gently toss to coat the shrimp evenly, cover tightly, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Prepare the grill with two cooking zones: a medium-hot zone with a cast iron griddle, a steel plancha, or Kalamazoo Hibachi surface; and a hot zone with a regular grill grate (or a Kalamazoo meat-pattern laser-cut cooking surface). This allows the bacon side of the skewers to cook fully without overcooking the shrimp, and the shrimp side to cook over the open flame.

To assemble the kebabs: use pairs of skewers on each kabob to keep the ingredients from rotating on the skewer. Start a pair of skewers through one end of a slice of bacon. Slide a shrimp on so it lays on top of the bacon, passing the skewers through the top of the curled shrimp and out through the tail. This leaves the bacon exposed on only one side of each shrimp. Add a piece of jalapeno against the tail, matching the curve. Then pull the end of the bacon tight against the shrimp and jalapeno, and pass it through the skewers. Trim off any excess bacon. Repeat this process to make 4 kebabs with 4 shrimp each. Reserve the marinade.

Combine the garlic butter ingredients in a small saucepan and place on the edge of the grill or cooktop to melt the butter.

Place the kebabs, with the bacon side down, onto the hibachi surface, plancha or griddle over medium heat. Baste each kebab with a generous amount of the reserved marinade. Dispose of the remaining marinade. Cook the kebabs until the bacon is fully-browned on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Move the kebabs to the open grill grate over high heat flipping them over so the shrimp sides face down. Continue cooking until the deepest part of the slit in the back of the shrimp turns opaque, about 5 minutes.

Serve the finished kebabs with the garlic butter on the side.

Applewood Grilled Shrimp and Plum Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves: 6


1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Sicilian Sea Salt

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Organic Cinnamon, Roasted Saigon

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 cup plum preserves

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon McCormick® Grill Mates® Applewood Rub

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 pound extra jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined

3 plums, each cut into 6 slices

1 package (5 ounces) spring mix salad greens

3/4 cup fresh raspberries

6 slices applewood bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

For the Cinnamon-Honey Dressing, mix lemon juice, honey, sea salt and roasted cinnamon in small bowl. Slowly whisk in 6 tablespoons of the oil. Set aside.

Mix plum preserves and water in small bowl. Set aside. Mix Applewood Rub and lemon peel. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Coat with Rub mixture. 

Grill shrimp skewers over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes per side or just until shrimp turn pink, brushing occasionally with plum preserves mixture. Grill plums 1 to 2 minutes or until grill marks appear, turning frequently and brushing with 2 tablespoons of the dressing.

To serve, divide salad greens among 6 plates. Top each with shrimp, plums, raspberries and bacon. Serve with remaining Cinnamon-Honey Dressing.

Smoked Shrimp Cocktail with Chipotle-Orange Cocktail Sauce

Method: Smoke-roasting or grilling Prep time: 30 minutes Smoking time: 30 to 60 minutes in a conventional smoker or 4 to 6 minutes on a grill Serves: 4 as a starter


For the Chipotle-Orange Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1–2 canned chipotle chiles, minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce

2 tablespoons finely diced white onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus 4 sprigs


For the shrimp

1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled with tails intact, and deveined

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts thinly sliced

1–2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly cracked black pepper

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling the rack

MAKE the cocktail sauce: Place the ketchup, orange zest and juice, Worcestershire sauce, chipotles, adobo sauce, onion and chopped cilantro in a bowl, and whisk to mix. Divide the cocktail sauce among four small bowls. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Place a cilantro sprig in the center of each just before serving. 

RINSE the shrimp, drain and blot dry. Place the shrimp, cilantro, scallions, hot red pepper flakes, cumin and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to mix. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil, cover, and marinate for 15 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto bamboo skewers, 2 to a skewer. Leave ¼ inch exposed skewer at the point end and the bottom half of the skewer shrimp-free. Place the skewers on a lightly oiled wire rack if smoking.

SMOKER METHOD: Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 225° to 250°F. Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer. Place the rack with the shrimp in the smoker and smoke until bronzed with smoke and firm to the touch, 30 to 60 minutes, or as needed. Baste with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil after 20 minutes.

GRILL METHOD: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high (450°F). Toss the wood chunks or chips on the coals. Direct grill the shrimp, turning them over once, until sizzling and brown on the outside and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Slide a folded strip of aluminum foil under the exposed parts of the skewers to keep them from burning. Baste with the remaining oil after you turn the shrimp.

SERVE the shrimp on the skewers with the Chipotle-Orange Cocktail Sauce for dipping.