Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Tomato, Garlic & Herbs

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Shrimp marinated in a mix of olive oil, tomato paste, lemon, garlic & herbs and then grilled until slightly charred.

grilled shrimp

In this easy recipe, shrimp are quickly marinated in a bright and tangy mixture of olive oil, tomato paste, lemon, garlic, and herbs and then grilled until plump and slightly charred.  They’re perfect for entertaining because all of the prep is done ahead of time. All you have to do when your guests arrive is throw the skewers on the grill. But be forewarned: people will eat more than their fair share. Make extra!

What you’ll need to make Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Tomato, Garlic & Herbs


For this recipe, try to find jumbo frozen shrimp (21-25 to a pound) labeled “shell split and deveined.” Come dinnertime, all you have to do is poke a few holes in the bottom of the bag, run the shrimp under warm water to quickly defrost, and then peel.

Fact is, unless you live on the coast and have access to fresh shrimp, it’s best to buy frozen. The “fresh” ones you see in the seafood case at the supermarket have almost always been frozen and then thawed, and you never know how long they’ve been sitting there. Most shrimp are cleaned and flash-frozen shortly after being caught, so you’re better off buying the frozen variety and defrosting them yourself.

How to make them


Begin by making the marinade. Combine the tomato paste, olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, herbs, salt, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a mini food processor or blender.


Process until the mixture resembles a thick paste.


Toss the shrimp with the marinade and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.


Thread it onto skewers. This is optional, but I think the skewers make it so much easier to turn them over on the grill.


Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, then grease the grates with a wad of paper towels dipped in oil.


Grill the skewers about 1-1/2 minutes per side. It sounds crazy but I always set a timer — three minutes goes by faster than you think, and it’s a sin to overcook them!



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Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Tomato, Garlic & Herbs

Shrimp marinated in a mix of olive oil, tomato paste, lemon, garlic & herbs and then grilled until slightly charred.

Servings: 4 - 6
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


  • 2-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and de-veined (leave tails on if desired), thawed if frozen


  1. To make the marinade, combine all of the ingredients except for the shrimp in a mini food processor or blender; blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
  2. Combine the shrimp and the marinade in a medium bowl and stir until shrimp are evenly coated. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, thread the shrimp onto skewers (going through the top and bottom of each shrimp). Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over grates several times until glossy and coated. Grill the shrimp skewers about 1-1/2 minutes per side. Be sure not to overcook! Serve hot, room temperature or cold.
  4. *If you're entertaining and want to get everything done ahead of time, you can thread the shrimp onto the skewers right after mixing with the marinade.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 251
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 21 g
  • Sodium: 911 mg
  • Cholesterol: 191 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Could I use 4 tablespoons oil instead of 6? Just trying to cut back some of the fat.

    • — Erika on August 4, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 4, 2019
      • Reply
  • Jen,
    Can I omit the sugar? I don’t use any sweeteners at all. Not artificial either. If you think it’s a necessity I may skip this recipe.
    Dale Goldstone

    • — dale goldstone on August 12, 2018
    • Reply
    • Fine to leave it out, Dale – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • Would the sauce work with salmon or a white fish.

    • — Sandra Bragg on July 20, 2018
    • Reply
    • Do you mean as a marinade or a sauce? Either way, it will work, but if you’re planning to marinade the fish just limit your marinating time to 60 minutes. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on July 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! I have had so much success with your recipes and am about to try this one this weekend. I’m just a little concerned about leaving the raw shrimp out of the refrigerator. Can this be marinated cold or is it necessary to leave out for the flavor to develop? Thanks so much 😊

    • — Kathy on July 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, it’s fine to marinate them in the fridge if you’d feel more comfortable with that. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 15, 2018
      • Reply
  • If I wanted to do everything the night before, would it be ok to let the shrimp sit in the marinade on the skewer that long? Would it be ok to thaw them out that much ahead of time (about 20 hours)?

    • — Beth on July 12, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Beth, because the marinade has lemon juice, I wouldn’t recommend it. If it sits in the marinade too long, the shrimp will start to “cook” in the lemon juice. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on July 18, 2018
      • Reply
  • I can honestly say I have never left a review/comment on a recipe, even though I find and make recipes off the internet all the time. This shrimp marinade is AMAZING! So flavorful & so easy. I made it once and wad blown away and made it again few days later. Best shrimp recipe I’ve found!

    • — Leslie on July 10, 2018
    • Reply
  • A friend/fellow OUAC fan brought this dish to our Memorial Day barbecue and everyone flipped for it! The marinade combination of smokey, herby, tangy flavors is soo good together, and the fact that you can throw it all in the food processor and have it ready for the grill in less than an hour is super convenient. Can’t wait to have them again at our next barbecue!

    • — Yvonne on June 28, 2018
    • Reply
  • Delicious and flavorful!

    • — Dara Brevard on June 22, 2018
    • Reply
  • It’s too cold and snowy to grill outside. Any suggestions for cooking this indoors?

    • — Susan on January 29, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, Sure – I would broil in the oven them for the same amount of time they should be grilled. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2018
      • Reply
  • Absolutely wonderful! I made these for my husband to BBQ a few a family gathering. Everyone, including the children, raved about it! I added 2 extra garlic cloves (because I love garlic) other wise the recipe was done as is. We served it as an appetizer. Another winning recipe. Thank you so much, I will definitely make this again.

  • Yet another recipe that got raves from my whole family. Will be putting this in the rotation for sure! Super tasty with flavors that enhanced the shrimp. Thanks again!!!!

  • Great recipe and really easy to throw together with things we have in the house – we use frozen shrimp when in a pinch. Great crowd pleaser for BBQs!

  • Loved this! This is a staple in our house in the summer. When my husband asks for “the shrimp” for dinner, he means this. We have made it for company also and it was a huge hit!

  • Great recipe! Just the right amount of seasoning for me.

  • I am a Personal Chef and I used the recipe for a cooking class. It was overwhelmingly
    a hit. Great Job on the marinade. Keep up the good work. Thank you, Chef Steven Crowe

  • Fabulous! Made this just as written for dinner last week and we LOVED IT. Thanks Jenn — this is my new favorite site; I want to make everything you’ve posted!

    • So glad you enjoyed it Susan! Happy cooking 🙂

  • Hi Chef! I would like to ask what particular sauce can be made for that?

    • Hi Daniel, It really doesn’t need a sauce, but you could always serve it with a vinaigrette.

  • Jenn, our family really loved the shrimp with your tomato, garlic and herb marinade. The recipe is a keeper. Thanks for sharing it!

  • This recipe and your grilled pesto shrimp are now tied for best of all time. Both have fresh, vibrant flavors. I’ve also used the pesto as a topping on snapper. Will be trying the same with this. Yummy!

  • Quite simply, the best shrimp dish I have ever had. My husband kept going on & on as to how incredible it was. Thank you so much!

  • This was very tasty, if a little sweet. I may cut down the sugar the next time I make it. Served with rice pilaf and the corn and scallion salad also on this site.

  • I made this shrimp dish again for our Memorial Day weekend barbecue… we were only using half the shrimp, but I made the full amount of marinade. Put half of the marinade in the fridge to use the next day. This shrimp dish is my favorite summer dish… it is fabulous. The next day, following your recommendation in another comment, used the leftover marinade on boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Wow!!! Absolutely delicious, and I already plan on making both the chicken and the shrimp again very soon. Thank you for not only this recipe, but for so many others of yours that I use all the time.

  • Hi Liz, I like their mild, slightly sweet flavor.

  • Definitely making it this weekend!!!

  • Made these only using a small amount of the marinade for the shrimp, used the rest of it on chicken breast the next night and both were really good. Husband said keeper!

    • Good to know, Nancy. Thank you!

  • What would you serve these with? Thanks!

    • Hi Sally, You could serve them on their own as an appetizer if you’re entertaining outdoors. For a main course, they’d go with just about anything…I typically serve them with either a pasta salad, fresh corn salad or green salad. They are also excellent with a simple sauté of diced zucchini, cherry tomatoes and garlic in olive oil.

  • Made these last night. Awesome! Ours did take longer than 3 minutes to grill. We brought them in to the table, then had to put them back on the grill. I guess our fire was not as hot as yours. It just tempted our diners more!

  • Made these for dinner tonite. They were fabulous! Everyone raved Was wondering if you could use on chicken too?

    • Hi Kathy, Yes but I would use on bone-in, skin-on chicken or boneless skinless chicken thighs and marinate much longer. I never use acidic marinades on boneless skinless chicken breasts.

      • Hi Jenn,
        I have been searching for a marinate for bone, in skin-on chicken breast!! How much longer is best to marinate?

        Thank you!!

        • Hi Cheryl, I’d marinate for at least six hours or overnight.

  • This recipe sounds wonderful. Very soon I am going to try this.

  • The marinade sounds SO good here. Will have to give this a try soon!

  • Absolutely making this, it sounds amazing!

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