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 skewers with tomato, garlic, and herbs on a plate.

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

Shrimp ingredients including lemon, tomato paste, and garlic.

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

Water pouring into a bag of shrimp.

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.

Marinade ingredients in a food processor.

Process until the mixture resembles a thick paste.

Food processor of marinade.

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

Shrimp and marinade in a bowl.

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

Marinated shrimp on skewers.

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

Tongs greasing a grill.

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!

Shrimp skewers on a grill.


Grilled shrimp skewers with tomato, garlic, and herbs on a plate.You may also like

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

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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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  • Hi Jenn! Do you think the marinade (alone) would freeze well? Looking to prepare this ahead. Thank you.

    • — Paulette on May 28, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Paulette, based on the ingredients, I think it would be fine to freeze it. My only thought is that the basil, when frozen, may get a bit discolored, so when you thaw the marinade, it may be a little bit darker.

      • — Jenn on May 29, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Would these be Ok with large shrimp as opposed to the jumbo shrimp cooked on the grill?
    Like so many others, I just love your recipes.


    • — Barbara Miller on May 15, 2024
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! Yes, this will work with large shrimp. Just keep in mind they will cook a little faster. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 15, 2024
      • Reply
  • Made these last week by broiling in the oven and they were divine! The leftovers right out of the fridge were such a treat the next day!

    • — Shannon C on June 19, 2023
    • Reply

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