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Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Tomato, Garlic & Herbs

5 stars based on 12 votes

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 — either as an appetizer or main course — 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!


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” shrimp you see in the seafood case at the supermarket are almost always thawed frozen shrimp, 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 frozen shrimp and defrosting them yourself.


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 the shrimp onto skewers. This is optional, but I think the skewers make it so much easier to turn the shrimp 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 shrimp 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

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)


  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.
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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, 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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 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
  • 5 stars

    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.

    - Carlin jones on September 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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!!!!

    - sherri on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • 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!

    - Eric on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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!

    - Elizabeth on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

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

    - Carol on September 2, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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

    - Steven Crowe on May 25, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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!

    - Susan on October 5, 2015 Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it Susan! Happy cooking 🙂

      - Jenn on October 6, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

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

    - Daniel on July 14, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Daniel, It really doesn’t need a sauce, but you could always serve it with a vinaigrette.

      - Jenn on July 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

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

    - Val H. on July 6, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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!

    - Karen on July 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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!

    - tamarie on May 23, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    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.

    - Amber Romero on July 23, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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.

    - Suechef2 on May 27, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Liz, I like their mild, slightly sweet flavor.

    - Jenn on January 25, 2014 Reply
  • Definitely making it this weekend!!!

    - yesenia on October 24, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Nancy on September 9, 2013 Reply
    • Good to know, Nancy. Thank you!

      - Jenn on September 9, 2013 Reply
  • What would you serve these with? Thanks!

    - Sally on September 6, 2013 Reply
    • 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.

      - Jenn on September 7, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Debbie on September 4, 2013 Reply
  • Made these for dinner tonite. They were fabulous! Everyone raved Was wondering if you could use on chicken too?

    - Kathy on August 18, 2013 Reply
    • 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.

      - Jenn on January 25, 2014 Reply
      • 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!!

        - Cheryl on July 13, 2017 Reply
        • Hi Cheryl, I’d marinate for at least six hours or overnight.

          - Jenn on July 14, 2017 Reply
  • This recipe sounds wonderful. Very soon I am going to try this.

    - Harpreet kaur Chadha on August 16, 2013 Reply
  • The marinade sounds SO good here. Will have to give this a try soon!

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on August 15, 2013 Reply
  • Absolutely making this, it sounds amazing!

    - Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig on August 15, 2013 Reply

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