Blackened Shrimp


5 from 26 votes
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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. 

Love easy shrimp recipes? Try my sauteed shrimp, shrimp bowls, and honey walnut shrimp next.

blackened shrimp.

If you took a look at my blackened shrimp recipe and thought the shrimp was burnt, think again!

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! Honestly, my family craves this at least once a week!

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make blackened shrimp
  4. Alternative cooking methods
  5. Arman’s recipe tips
  6. Storage instructions
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. More easy seafood recipes to try
  9. Blackened Shrimp (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • The ultimate spicy hit. I mean, there is a reason why this shrimp is such a hit with spice fiends!
  • Versatile. If you’ve tried my blackened salmon and blackened chicken already, you know it pairs well with almost anything!
  • Healthy. This dish is low in carbs and high in protein.

Ingredients needed

  • Shrimp. I use 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. 
  • Homemade blackening 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. My go-to oil, but any neutral flavored oil is fine.
  • Garlic butter. Melted butter adds richness and a subtle garlic flavor, giving blackened shrimp a glossy appearance. It also helps to mellow down the heat.
  • Cilantro, lemon, and lime juice. To serve. 

How to make blackened shrimp

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1 – Make the blackened seasoning. Combine ground cumin, thyme, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

blackened seasoning.

Step 2: Coat the shrimp. Toss the seasoning mix through the shrimp and ensure each one is well coated in the seasoning. 

seasoned shrimp.

Step 3: Cook. Add olive oil to a cast iron skillet and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Brush with garlic butter and serve immediately.

how to make blackened shrimp.

Alternative cooking methods

While I prefer using a cast iron skillet, I’ve tested this recipe in the oven and on the grill, so you have options!

Grill method: Skewer 3-4 shrimp on bamboo skewers and grill on high heat for 2 minutes per side.

Oven method: 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 appears opaque. Be wary of the shrimp size and the baking time.

Air fryer method: Pretty much identical to my air fryer shrimp recipe, air fry these at 200C/400F for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Devein the shrimp so you can eat this in one bite!
  • Cook shrimp in a single layer for even heat distribution. This way, you will have uniformly cooked shrimp with crispy outsides and juicy insides. 
  • 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.
  • Avoid overcooking. It is very easy to overcook shrimp, which results in rubbery shrimp. Stick to 2 minutes per side rule. Even after you take them off the heat, they continue cooking. 
  • Adjust the heat to suit your preference by amping up or dialing down the chili. You can also use other seasonings like dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and brown sugar to tease the flavor profile.   

What to serve with this

Enjoy the blackened shrimp alone as an appetizer, or serve it with cauliflower fried rice or curry fried rice

You can also use it in a pasta salad or in a hearty grain salad, like an orzo salad or rice salad.

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.

Storage instructions

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. 

how to blacken shrimp.

Frequently asked questions

Is there a difference between blackened shrimp and Cajun shrimp?

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.

How spicy is this?

This recipe has bold flavors and is medium spicy. You can omit the cayenne pepper if you prefer a milder spice level. 

More easy seafood recipes to try

blackened shrimp recipe.

Blackened Shrimp

5 from 26 votes
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. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 9 minutes



  • 1 1/2 pounds 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

Garlic butter

  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 clove garlic minced


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and dried thyme until combined.
    blackened seasoning.
  • Toss through the jumbo shrimp until combined.
    seasoned shrimp.
  • 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.
    how to make blackened shrimp.
  • Remove the shrimp from the pan. Whisk the butter and garlic together, and brush over the shrimp.


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. 


Serving: 1servingCalories: 161kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 16gFat: 10gSodium: 738mgPotassium: 157mgFiber: 0.3gVitamin A: 376IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 77mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 2g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Cajun
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published January 2023, updated and republished May 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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5 from 26 votes (22 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    You failed to
    Include the SMOKED PAPRIKA in the-ingredient recipe section. (You mentioned the
    Smoked paprika in the beginning of the recipe section on top of page)??