This blackened shrimp recipe is smoky, flavorful, and juicy and cooks in less than 10 minutes. Made in just one pan, it makes a quick weeknight dinner.
We love cooking with shrimp.
Some of our favorite ways to enjoy it are in curry, air fried, or doused in blackened seasoning and cooked to perfection.
Why this recipe works
Blackened shrimp gets its signature color from the seasoning mix of cumin, peppers, and dried thyme. It achieves a smoky and umami flavor that no one can resist! We make it often because it’s:
- Get a spice kick. If you love spicy food, this blackened spice recipe is a treat. You get a triple kick from the heat of cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and pepper.
- Versatile. My blackened spice mix works with chicken and salmon, too.
- Healthy. This dish is low in carbs and high in protein and pairs well with almost anything.
There isn’t much that goes into making this blackened shrimp recipe. Here is everything you will need:
- Shrimp – We used fresh Jumbo shrimp for this recipe, but frozen ones work well too. To use frozen shrimp, thaw them overnight in a refrigerator over a colander and pat dry them with clean kitchen towels before coating them with spices.
- Blackened spice seasoning – This simple spice mix has dried thyme, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, and salt. It has just enough heat to get your taste buds going.
- Olive oil – This is the oil we used but any neutral flavored oil works.
- Garlic butter – Melted garlic butter adds richness and a subtle garlic flavor giving blackened shrimp a glossy appearance. It also helps to mellow down the heat.
- Parsley – To serve.
How to make blackened shrimp
Step 1 – Make the blackened seasoning.
Combine ground cumin, thyme, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Step 2: Coat the shrimp
Toss the seasoning mix through the jumbo shrimp and ensure each one is well coated in the seasoning.
Step 3: cook the shrimp
Add olive oil to a cold heavy-bottom non-stick skillet and place it on the stove on medium heat.
Once the oil is heated, place the coated shrimp in a single layer. After two minutes, flip the shrimp and cook the other side. Once they appear pinkish and opaque, take them off the heat.
Prepare the garlic butter by whisking minced garlic with melted butter. Brush it over the hot shrimp.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Devein the shrimp. Always remove any veins or shells from the shrimp before coating them in the seasoning mix.
- Cook shrimp in a single layer. This ensures that all the shrimps have even heat distribution. This way, you will have uniformly cooked shrimp with crispy outsides and juicy insides.
- Avoid overcooking. It is very easy to overcook shrimp. You lose track of time and end up with rubbery and tough shrimps before you know it. Stick to 2 minutes per side rule. Even after you take them off the heat, they continue cooking.
- Always use a non-stick skillet. They are best to pan-sear the shrimps as they are amazing conductors of heat. You’ll have a lovely crust on your perfectly cooked blackened shrimp.
What to serve with this recipe
Enjoy the blackened shrimp alone as an appetizer, or serve it with cauliflower or curry fried rice.
You can also use it in a pasta salad like this keto pasta salad or serve it with our keto pasta.
Make blackened shrimp tacos or use them as the main protein in mulitas, tacos dorados, or stuff them in a pupusa.
For a balanced meal, serve it with a side of veggies like air fryer broccoli or air fryer zucchini.
Cooking and flavor variations
- Use a grill. Instead of cooking shrimp on the pan, you can grill the coated shrimp on the skewer. Cook them for two minutes on each side and enjoy.
- Bake your shrimp. Spread the spice-coated shrimp on a baking tray with aluminum foil. Place it in a preheated oven and bake for 6-8 minutes or until your shrimp appear opaque. Be wary of the shrimp size and the baking time.
- Use an air fryer. Like our air fryer shrimp, air fry these at 200C/400F for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Squeeze some lemon. The acidity from the lemon will add fresh flavor to the cooked shrimp. Also, it complements beautifully with mild and sweet shrimp, blackened spice, butter, garlic, and parsley flavors.
- Adjust the spices to your liking. Amp up or dial down the heat by playing around with the peppers. Add dried oregano, onion powder, and brown sugar to tease the flavor profile.
To store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
To freeze: You can freeze the shrimp in freeze-safe bags and store them for several months. However, it could compromise the texture after thawing.
To reheat: Because shrimp doesn’t smell fishy, you can also meal prep it beforehand. For reheating, stir-fry it with some oil or butter briefly. If taken to work, you can heat in the microwave quickly. Rest assured; shrimp don’t have an unpleasant fishy smell, so it’s safe to heat in your office kitchen.
More shrimp recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
No, blackened food is not burnt. The black color is because of the fried spices.
No, blackened shrimp and Cajun shrimp are the same. Blackening is a common cooking technique used in Cajun cuisine, hence the interchangeable names. If you find Cajun spice mix, use it instead of blackened seasoning to make this recipe.
Yes, this recipe works well with fresh and frozen shrimp.
This recipe has bold flavors and is medium spicy. You can omit the cayenne pepper if you prefer a milder spice level.
- 1 1/2 lbs jumbo shrimp peeled
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teapsoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 clove garlic minced
- In a small bowl, whisk together the spice mix until combined.
- Toss through the jumbo shrimp until combined.
- Add the oil to a large non-stick skillet and place over medium heat.
- Add a single layer of shrimp to a pan and cook for 4 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Remove the shrimp from the pan. Whisk the butter and garlic together, and brush over the shrimp.
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