Gambas Al Ajillo (Authentic Spanish Garlic Shrimp)

If you’re a fan of seafood, then you absolutely must try this amazing Gambas al Ajillo recipe! This Spanish garlic shrimp dish is incredibly popular for a reason – it’s simply bursting with flavor. Imagine big, juicy shrimp swimming in a deliciously tangy sauce made from olive oil, garlic, and just the right amount of spice. The best part? It pairs perfectly with some warm and crusty bread!

And the best news is that this garlic shrimp recipe is super easy to make – you can whip it up in just 10 minutes! But before you get started, be sure to read through my tips to ensure that your gambas al ajillo turn out just right. With a few simple steps, you’ll be able to create a dish that will impress even the most discerning of seafood lovers. So go ahead and give it a try – your taste buds will thank you!


  • 1 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (start with less if you don’t want it too spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or dry white wine
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

How to make this Spanish shrimp

This recipe could not be easier to make. Here’s the step-by-step with photos (print-friendly recipe with ingredient measurements below)

Step One

Pat shrimp dry and season with kosher salt. Set the peeled and deveined shrimp aside to marinate a little in the salt, while you work on the sauce. Note: If the shrimp had been frozen, run it under cool water to thaw before using it in this recipe.

Step Two

Warm up the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, and Red Pepper Flakes. Start by warming up the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 to 60 seconds, tossing the garlic with your wooden spoon. Watch for the garlic to gain a little color but do not let it brown (this is very important or the sauce will taste bitter).

Step Three

Cook the shrimp. Add the shrimp and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Toss in the warm oil until the flesh is opaque and the shrimp is pink (about 3 minutes or so). Do not overcook the shrimp; remember, it will continue to cook in the warm oil sauce after you remove it from the heat. Remove the pan from the heat.

Step Four

Add the sherry (or white wine), lemon juice, and parsley. You’ll do this off heat, you do not need to cook down the liquid here.

Step Five

Serve! Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with your favorite crusty bread.


This recipe will serve 4 to 6 people as a tapas or appetizer with a side of crusty bread to dip in the sauce.

Cook’s tip for the sauce. Use quality extra virgin olive oil as the flavor is important to the sauce. Do not cook the oil too much and be careful not to burn the garlic or it will make the sauce bitter.

Cook’s tip for the shrimp. Even the largest of shrimp will cook fast, so watch the shrimp carefully. The flesh should turn opaque and pearly pink in color. And remember, even when you take the pan off the heat, the warm sauce will continue to cook the shrimp.

Nutrition information on Gambas Al Ajillo Recipe

Calories: 249.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.4g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 19.2g | Saturated Fat: 2.6g | Cholesterol: 190.5mg | Sodium: 982.2mg | Potassium: 115.8mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 634.8IU | Vitamin C: 11.3mg | Calcium: 125.6mg | Iron: 2.2mg

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About the Author: Rachel Michaels

A food photographer and travel blogger from New York City. Rachel's interest in cooking and travel began during her study abroad program in Italy, where she fell in love with Italian cuisine. She now captures the beauty of food and travels through her photography and blog posts.

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