With the bright flavor of lemon, umami soy sauce, and just a little bit of honey for sweetness, this Grilled Shrimp Marinade is your ticket to a flavorful summer dinner!
Why You’ll Love This Grilled Shrimp Marinade Recipe
- You Probably Have Everything You Need to Make It. Okay, maaaaybe you’ll need to buy a lemon and garlic, but everything else in this grilled shrimp marinade is a pantry staple. That’s always a win!
- It Comes Together Lickety-Split. Like my Chicken Marinade and Salmon Marinade, this grilled shrimp marinade recipe simply requires you to give everything a good whisk. That’s it! It’s just a few more minutes than using a store-bought marinade, but the flavor is miles better.
- The Flavors Go With Everything. Which means you can use this grilled shrimp marinade for shrimp skewers, a Tex-Mex dinner like Shrimp Tacos, or serve your grilled shrimp alongside Cauliflower Fried Rice.
- It Gives Shrimp the Oomph It Needs. Shrimp always needs a little somethin’-somethin’ to bring the flavor, whether it’s Grilled Shrimp Seasoning or this marinade. Between the sweet, savory, and citrusy marinade and the light char from the grill, your Grilled Shrimp will be delectable.
How to Make Grilled Shrimp Marinade
- Garlic. I prefer fresh garlic cloves to garlic powder here because fresh has a little more punch to it.
- Lemon. You’ll need the juice and the zest, so zest the lemon first.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. A staple in marinades!
- Low-Sodium Soy Sauce. This brings that umami goodness, without all the sodium.
- Honey. We want a little bit of sweetness without making the marinade cloying.
- Dried Thyme. Parsley is often the go-to for shrimp, but don’t sleep on thyme! It’s a fantastic addition to our grilled shrimp marinade.
- Ground Black Pepper. Freshly ground is best; it’s much more pungent.
- Red Pepper Flakes. Use more, use less, or leave them out altogether.
- Shrimp. I highly recommend peeling and deveining the shrimp; peeling helps the marinade soak in better.
- Garnishes. Serve with thinly sliced green onions and lemon wedges.
Use tamari instead of low-sodium soy sauce to make your shrimp marinade gluten-free.
- Mix the Marinade. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.
- Prep the Shrimp. Rinse the shrimp, pat them dry, then place them in a zip-top bag.
- Marinade. Pour the marinade into the bag with the shrimp and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
- Drain. Let the shrimp and marinade come to room temperature for 15 minutes, then pour off the marinade and shake off any excess from the shrimp.
- Grill. Grill the shrimp as desired until it is opaque and pink. Serve with green onions and lemon wedges and ENJOY!
To cook the shrimp in the oven, preheat the broiler. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat with nonstick spray. Broil the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and broil the other side for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until opaque pink.
- To Store. Grilled shrimp is best enjoyed right after it’s cooked, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Warm leftover grilled shrimp in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Transfer grilled shrimp to an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat according to the directions above.
Meal Prep Tip
Whisk together the grilled shrimp marinade up to a day in advance and refrigerate it in an airtight container.
What to Serve with Marinated Grilled Shrimp
- Vegetables. Veggie side dishes like Air Fryer Zucchini and Sautéed Broccoli are excellent with grilled shrimp.
- Pasta. The flavors in the grilled shrimp marinade pair well with Garlic Pasta and Pesto Pasta.
- Grains. Plate grilled shrimp with Lemon Rice or Instant Pot Brown Rice.
- Grilled Dishes. As long as you’ve got the grill fired up, you might as well make some Grilled Asparagus or Grilled Corn!
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Skewers. Either double prong grill skewers or simple wood skewers work for grilling marinated shrimp.
- Measuring Spoons. I love these magnetic spoons because they store so easily!
- Liquid Measuring Cup. Mix the grilled shrimp marinade in a liquid measuring cup so it’s easy to pour into the zip-top bag.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Thaw the Shrimp Before Marinating. If you’re using frozen shrimp, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight before you marinate them. If you’re in a time-crunch, you can place the frozen shrimp in a big bowl of cold water; let them soak for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they thaw.
- Use Skewers for Small Shrimp. Jumbo shrimp can be cooked directly on the grill, but you’ll need skewers for smaller shrimp to keep them from falling through the grates. Be sure to soak wooden skewers for at least 30 minutes!
- Place the Bag of Marinade in a Dish. This will keep the marinade from leaking all over your refrigerator. (Leaks don’t always happen, but when they do, you’ll be glad you took this extra step!)
- Don’t Over-Marinate. After 4 hours, the acid from the lemon juice will begin to make your shrimp tough.
Grilled Shrimp Marinade
- 3 garlic cloves minced or grated about 1 tablespoon
- Zest and juice of 1 small lemon about 3/4 teaspoon zest and 3 tablespoons juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined use jumbo, 15-18 count shrimp to cook directly on the grill without skewers; if using smaller shrimp, skewer them cook for less time
- Chopped green onions lemon wedges, for serving
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, soy sauce, honey, thyme, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
- Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Place in a ziptop bag.
Pour the marinade over the shrimp, the seal the bag removing any excess air. Gently turn the shrimp to coat. Place the shrimp in a shallow dish to catch any drips and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Remove the shrimp from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Shake off the excess marinade from the shrimp and discard the excess marinade.
Cook the shrimp as desired: Grill the shrimp over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side (see Grilled Shrimp for specific step by steps), cook them under the oven broiler on a foil-lined baking sheet placed about 6 inches from the top for 3 to 5 minutes (rotate the pan as needed so they cook evenly), or sauté them in a skillet. For all methods, cook just until the shrimp is pink and no longer opaque—shrimp cook fast! Transfer to a serving plate. Enjoy hot or at room temperature, with a sprinkle of green onions and lemon wedges for squeezing over the top.
- TO STORE: Grilled shrimp is best enjoyed right after it’s cooked, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm leftover grilled shrimp in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Transfer grilled shrimp to an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat according to the directions above.
Frequently Asked Questions
The secret to grilling shrimp is to cook them quickly and keep a close eye on them—as soon as they go from gray and translucent to pink and opaque, they’re done cooking. Another sign they’re done is when the tail curls slightly.
With this marinade, you don’t need to oil the shrimp themselves; instead, you’ll brush oil on the grates of the grill.
You don’t have to peel shrimp before grilling, but it’s a good idea if you’re marinating shrimp first because it allows the flavors to soak in better. It’s also easier to eat shrimp that have been peeled first!
The answer to this question depends on the ingredients in your marinade, but with this grilled shrimp marinade, you can marinate the shrimp for up to 4 hours.