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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


  • 2½ 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
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1½ 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 1½ 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

Powered by Edamam

  • 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, Edamam.com. 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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  • This is a favorite recipe we’ve been making for years. We also use it on boneless chicken thighs- even more frequently than shrimp.

    Since it calls for fresh herbs I make two triple batches during the summer when our herbs are growing in the garden. I then freeze it in a couple ounce portions in small containers so I can use it year-round.

    I also make this with the double rich

    • — Larry Simon on May 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is a favorite recipe we’ve been making for years. We also use it on boneless chicken thighs- even more frequently than shrimp.

    Since it calls for fresh herbs I make two triple batches during the summer when our herbs are growing in the garden. I then freeze it in couple-ounce portions in small containers so I can use it year-round.

    I also make this with the double-concentrated Italian tomato paste that comes in a tube.

    • — Larry Simin on May 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • Thank you, Jennifer once again ! Just outstanding with an amazing flavor, 3 notches above my own simple way too easy BBQ shrimp. Totally worth a few extra minutes of cutting/prep to upgrade to this recipe,

    • — Ignatious Y. Starkey on January 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • My family LOVES this shrimp! We’ve made it many times! I like to pair it with veggie risotto and grilled veggies.

    • — Laura on November 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this for a party. I used bigger shrimp (11-15 per lb), everybody loved it! I marinated shrimp, skewered them, stored in large cooler, and then headed to the party. After couple hours, we grilled at the party. Big success! Thank you for sharing your recipes!

    • — Karen M on August 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Thanks Jenn, my new favorite.

      • — Jim on August 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • The marinade was amazing! I kept sampling it with a spoon before putting it on the shrimp. The entire flavor profile was delicious, and I’m looking forward to trying it on bone-in chicken. An easy, company worthy winner!!

    • — Alex S. on May 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • This marinade tastes like ketchup. I should have seen that coming since the ingredients include tomato paste, salt and sugar. I suppose that if you like your grilled shrimp with ketchup then you will like this recipe. My family thought it was gross and barely ate any, which was a waste of really nice shrimp.

    • — Marie on May 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Marie…

      you must have left a lot of the ingredients out…there’s no way a recipe calling for fresh thyme,basil,shallots & garlic along w/ tomato paste, and sugar creates a recipe comparable to ketchup. The flavor isn’t remotely one that tastes of ketchup.

      I made this over the weekend. It was incredibly simple, and great tasting!!!!!! So much so, my guy is requesting it again ASAP.

      To go with it, I made Jenn’s Caesar Salad & Focaccia. So,so delicious!
      Jenn, I never get enough of Once Upon A Chef! In fact I thoroughly enjoy browsing through your recipes on your website & both cook books daily…it’s a part of my day I look forward to…

      I know I’ve said this before, but “THANK YOU “ …you’re a bright light 💡 🙏💗


      • — Lisa on April 24, 2023
      • Reply
      • ❤️

        • — Jenn on April 25, 2023
        • Reply
  • I love this marinade on grilled shrimp so I tried it on chicken. Skinless, boneless thighs seem to work better than chicken breasts, but it was good on both! I grilled it in a cast iron skillet, pouring the marinade and chicken into an oiled, preheated pan. It browned beautifully and smelled wonderful!

    • — Shirley on October 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Is it ok to omit the crushed red pepper? Plan to serve this for Father’s Day dinner that my 3-year-old granddaughter will be at. Thanks for so many wonderful recipes. I always know the recipe will be good coming from you!

    • — Maureen on June 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! And, yes, it’s fine to omit the crushed red pepper. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • My new “go-to” grilled shrimp recipe!! Actually used a bit of pesto because I didn’t have fresh basil on hand. Came out great! Thanks Jenn for the wonderful recipe!

  • Hi Jenn! If I broil these in the oven, should the rack go in the top position? Thank you!

    • Yes – hope you enjoy!

  • I have never commented on a recipe before but this shrimp was so delicious I had to. My hubby & I loved it. It was excellent! Thank you. I am going to try more recipes on your website now. After this recipe, I trust that I will find many more excellent recipes.

  • I need the recipe for 20 people. How do I adjust the ingredients.

    • Hi Toni, you’ll need to multiply all the ingredients by 4 or 5 (you’ll likely have leftovers if you multiply by 5). Hope everyone enjoys!

  • We absolutely love this recipe and I have shared it with so many people. Either way we make it, with shrimp or chicken thighs, it is just wonderful. We had it for dinner last night and I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your skill and awesome abilities with all of us. You are very talented and I have always been so grateful I found your website years ago. Thanks again!

    • So glad you like the recipes! ❤️

  • This one will make it into our regular rotation AND onto the short list for dinner for guests. Easy to make, but the presentation is beautiful. We had it with polenta, a Caesar salad (dressing from this site), and Italian bread. I used bottled lemon juice (I was out of lemons) and dried thyme, but followed the directions exactly. I love the tip for poking holes in the bottom and thawing the shrimp in the bag! I always use frozen shrimp and this was neater and quicker than my colander method. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • This was the best shrimp dish I have ever had. The marinade for the shrimp is fabulous and the time on the grill was just right.

  • Made this in about 10 minutes flat! I had all the ingredients in my kitchen except the shallots, so replaced it with a small onion. Also broiled in the oven instead of grilling. Delicious and fast and my family asked for it again next week.

  • I read all the wonderful reviews for these grilled shrimp and decided to give this recipe a try.
    My little grandson, who absolutely loves shrimp, pushed these away when he tasted them. That summed up my feelings as well.

    • — Florence Jensen
    • Reply
  • The marinade is yum and I’m going to use it for just about anything in sight! Prepping the grill would have taken too long so I put olive oil in a pan and cooked the shrimp on top of the stove. It was delicious but I think I marinaded the shrimp too long.

    Just delicious.

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

  • 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
    • Reply
    • Fine to leave it out, Dale – enjoy!

  • Would the sauce work with salmon or a white fish.

    • 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!

  • 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 😊

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

  • 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)?

    • 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!

    • I’m sure you already figured this out, but you could thaw the shrimp and make the marinade but not combine until you’re ready to cook.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Delicious and flavorful!

  • It’s too cold and snowy to grill outside. Any suggestions for cooking this indoors?

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

  • 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.

        • One of the many recipes we love from your site. We are headed out for a few days in our RV and I would love to make this marinade ahead of time. How many days Do you think it would it be good for? Thank you!

          • Hi Jenn, You could make the marinade up to 3 days ahead. Hope that helps, and have a great trip!

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

    • — Harpreet kaur Chadha
    • Reply
  • The marinade sounds SO good here. Will have to give this a try soon!

  • Absolutely making this, it sounds amazing!

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