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Easy Blackened Shrimp

The process of blackening shrimp is both easy and remarkable. To begin, the spices are whipped together in a bowl, including a bit of brown sugar to help create an amazing crust on this sizzling seafood. These bold flavors from ingredients such as paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, and cumin will be sure to flavor your taste buds with delight!

A bowl of blackened shrimp topped with cilantro. A fork is holding a single shrimp up to the foreground.

This recipe will help you make your favorite seafood restaurant-style blackened shrimp at home. With only 5 minutes total cook time, blackened shrimp is wonderful when you need dinner fast but still want to pack in the flavor.

Ingredients

  • Chili seasoning
  • Cumin
  • Brown sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Large shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • Lemon slices (optional)
Blackened shrimp dry rub ingredients. Pictured is chili seasoning, cumin, brown sugar, and black pepper.

Preparation

I used thawed from frozen shrimp in this recipe for convenience. You can purchase frozen shrimp already peeled, deveined, and with the tail removed. Be sure to thaw them before making this recipe.

An easy way to thaw frozen shrimp is to fully submerge the bag of shrimp itself in warm water. Make sure the water isn’t hot (that will cause the shrimp to start cooking!) but warm is fine if you’re in a rush since the frozen bag will cool the water temperature almost immediately. You can also open the bag and thaw them directly in the water if that’s easier for you.

Large shrimp that have been peeled, deveined, and had the tails removed. They are thawed from frozen.

To make things extra simple, this blackening seasoning is just a mixture of cumin, black pepper, brown sugar, and a packet of your favorite brand chili seasoning. A dry rub for shrimp basically. Mix everything together in a small bowl before dumping it over your shrimp to coat them generously. Set the shrimp aside to marinate for 30 minutes so all that Cajun flavor can soak in. There’s no need to marinate them in the fridge.

marinating raw shrimp in cajun seasoning for blackening.

Cooking

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer and cook for about 2 minutes.

Seasoned shrimp cooking in a large iron skillet in a single layer.

Flip each shrimp over. I flipped them quickly and individually with tongs. You might want to use a large spatula if you’re cooking a big batch.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 minutes.

Flipping seasoned shrimp to the other side for blackening.

Serving

Remove the shrimp from the skillet and top with chopped cilantro. Serve warm with lemon or lime wedges.

A close up of a bowl of blackened shrimp topped with cilantro. Lemon wedges are used as a garnish.

Tips

You can cook the shrimp at high heat for a darker crust, but you’ll want to use oil with a higher smoke point like peanut or avocado oil.

Fresh shrimp works too, of course, but unless you can find it already peeled, deveined, and with the tails removed, plan on a little extra time for prep work.

Serving Suggestions

While blackened shrimp is delicious all on its own, here are a few ways to enjoy it as a full meal:

  • Make shrimp tacos.
  • Serve blackened shrimp over jasmine rice.
  • Serve over pasta. Scrape up all the goodies in the pan and you probably won’t even need sauce between the pan scrapings and lemon juice.
  • Add blackened shrimp to a Caesar salad.
  • Mix shrimp into another dish for protein like I did with the cucumber salad with quinoa pictured below.
blackened shrimp served over cucumber salad with quinoa.

Other Shrimp Recipes

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Shrimp Alfredo Bake

Instant Pot Shrimp and Rice

A close up of a bowl of blackened shrimp topped with cilantro. Lemon wedges are used as a garnish.

Blackened Shrimp

Jenn
This recipe will help you make your favorite seafood restaurant-style blackened shrimp at home. With only 5 minutes total cook time, blackened shrimp is wonderful when you need dinner fast but still want to pack in the flavor.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 210 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1.25 oz packet chili seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar packed
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1.5 pounds large shrimp thawed, deveined, with tails removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lemon sliced into wedges
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chopped

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, mix together chili seasoning package, cumin, brown sugar, and black pepper
  • Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the shrimp and mix until shrimp is coated.
  • Marinate for 30 minutes
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil has heated, place the shrimp in a single layer in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Flip each shrimp over and cook another 2 minutes.
  • Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Top with cilantro and serve with lemon or lime wedges.

Notes

You can cook the shrimp at high heat for a darker crust, but you’ll want to use oil with a higher smoke point like peanut or avocado oil.
Fresh shrimp works too, of course, but unless you can find it already peeled, deveined, and with the tails removed, plan on extra time for prep work.
Keyword blackened shrimp, cajun shrimp, seafood, shrimp recipes
Nutrition Facts
Blackened Shrimp
Amount Per Serving
Calories 210 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 214mg71%
Sodium 966mg42%
Potassium 265mg8%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 457IU9%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 113mg11%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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