These scrumptious Hawaiian Garlic Butter Shrimp Kabobs are super easy and delicious! Succulent shrimp gets marinaded for maximum flavor, then pan-seared and bathed in buttery goodness. Just the smell of garlic and browned butter will make your mouth water!
Easy Shrimp Skewers For Summer
This recipe was inspired by our trip to Hawaii and our visit to the famous Giovanni's food truck on Oahu's North Shore. They're known for their very popular Shrimp Scampi plates, which has garlicky pan-fried prawns with two scoops of rice and a wedge of lemon.
These Garlic Shrimp Kabobs are take you to the islands! Large prawns are marinated in olive oil, paprika, cayenne, and garlic for plenty of flavor. Instead of pan-frying the prawns, they're threaded onto skewers and either grilled or pan-seared. Then they get basted in a generous amount of brown butter and finished with a fresh squeeze of lemon.
Hawaiian-style garlic shrimp is the perfect dish to serve at a party or gathering. And serving them on skewers allows for easy portioning and entertaining. This recipe is simple, satisfying, and packed with flavor!
Why You'll Love It
- Quick and easy: Prawns are a very quick protein to cook. Whip together a simple marinade, sear the prawns, and you're good to go! It doesn't get much easier than that.
- Staple ingredients: This recipe only uses 7 ingredients and they're all familiar, easy-to-find pantry and fridge staples.
- Great for a party: Use small skewers to serve Garlic Butter Shrimp as appetizers or double the recipe to make a larger portion for the main meal. Either way, these are a crowd-pleaser for sure!
- Shrimp: You can decide the size of the shrimp and whether you want tails and skin on or off. I prefer using peeled shrimp with tails removed for this recipe so it's easier to eat.
- Garlic: 10-12 cloves seems like a lot but it's just enough! You can even use a whole head if you'd like. I recommend using fresh cloves as opposed to pre-minced garlic for more potency.
- Paprika and cayenne: Just a dash to add a little flavor and smokiness. I don't find these prawn skewers spicy at all, but use half or skip it if you're very opposed to spice.
- Lemon: Fresh is key here! We use the zest to impart citrus flavor into the marinade. Then we finish the kabobs with fresh lemon juice to brighten the whole dish.
- Olive oil: The base of the marinade. Helps make the prawns extra juicy and rich.
- Unsalted butter: For basting - it adds richness and flavor
Substitutions & Variations
- This recipe is easily customizable! Add your favorite spices to the marinade like Italian seasoning, cumin, Tabasco, or thyme.
- If you want to make larger kebabs for a main entree, add some vegetables between the prawns. Make sure to cut the vegetables smaller and use one that you'd enjoy just lightly cooked, since they'll only be cooking for a couple minutes. I recommend bell pepper, onion, grape tomatoes, cooked and sliced sausage, or pineapple.
- Add variations of protein. Cut small cubes of steak and alternate with the prawns for a surf-and-turf skewers. Or mix it up with tuna, salmon, scallops, or cod.
How To Make It
- Soak the skewers. If you're using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 20 minutes. This will make sure they don't burn while cooking.
- Mix the marinade. In a large bowl, add the shrimp, garlic, paprika, cayenne, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Marinade the shrimp. Mix thoroughly to ensure every shrimp is coated in the marinade. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. If you're marinating for longer than 30 minutes, cover and place back into the fridge. Make sure it reaches room temperature before you start cooking.
- Assemble kebabs. Thread the shrimp onto your skewers. I used 8" skewers and U31-40 prawns and fit 4 on each skewer.
- Cook the prawns. Heat a cast iron pan or griddle over medium-high heat. When hot, add a single layer of kabobs. Let the first side cook until the sides of the shrimp start to get opaque, about 2-3 minutes.
- Baste. Flip the kebabs and add the butter. Once the prawns are cooked through and the garlic is fragrant (about 3 minutes), transfer the kabobs to a plate. Pour the garlic butter sauce all over the shrimp and squeeze a wedge of lemon all over. If you have more kabobs to cook, wipe the pan out with a dry paper towel to remove any garlic or butter. Then repeat.
To Grill The Kabobs
- Marinade and thread the shrimp onto the skewers.
- Melt the butter. I usually microwave it in 10-15 second intervals until melted.
- Heat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Lightly brush the grates with the melted butter.
- Place kabobs onto the grill over direct heat. Cook 2-3 minutes until first side is opaque. Generously brush with butter, then flip. Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through.
- Transfer skewers to serving dish and squeeze lemon all over.
- If you're using wooden or bamboo skewers, you must soak them in water. This prevents them from burning and catching fire.
- For appetizers, use smaller skewers. I used these 6" wooden skewers.
- Use a cast iron pan or flat griddle. That way, you can brown the butter and make a delicious garlic butter sauce.
- Don't move away from the kebabs as they're cooking. The shrimp and garlic cook very quickly so you want to keep an eye on them.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Let the Hawaiian Garlic Butter Shrimp Kabobs cool to room temperature, then store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Option to remove the shrimp from the skewers.
Freezing: Remove prawns from skewers and place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or container. Store in the freezer for 2 months.
Reheating: Microwave in 30 second intervals until warmed through. Avoid overcooking the shrimp or else it'll be tough and rubbery.
If reheating from frozen, let thaw overnight in the fridge first or microwave in longer intervals.
This easy shrimp recipe is great as an appetizer or a main entree. As an appetizer, I love serving these alongside Air Fryer Crab Rangoons or Seafood Salad. As an entree, these would go great with German Potato Salad and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
With this marinade, you can go up to 4 hours. Be sure to place the shrimp in the fridge and take it out 30 minutes before you're ready to cook. If the marinade has acid (lemon or lime juice, vinegar, etc), shrimp should only be marinaded for 30 minutes or else it'll get mealy.
I prefer to buy frozen shrimp because it's more affordable. Besides, the fresh prawns on display is the same, just thawed. You can either thaw frozen shrimp in the fridge overnight or place them in a colander or bowl and run under cold water until thawed.
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Hawaiian Garlic Butter Shrimp Kabobs
- Skewers I used 6 inch bamboo skewers
- If using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 20 minutes.
- Pat shrimp dry and add to large bowl, along with ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, garlic, paprika, cayenne, lemon zest, and olive oil. Let marinade for 15-20 minutes.
- Thread shrimp onto skewers.
- If cooking on a pan, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a single layer of shrimp skewers, making sure to not overcrowd the pan. Cook until sides of shrimp start to get opaque, about 2-3 minutes. Then flip the skewers and add a couple cubes of butter. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through and butter is lightly browned. Transfer skewers to a plate and pour garlic butter sauce over the shrimp. Use a dry paper towel to wipe the pan clean, then repeat with remaining skewers. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over the shrimp and serve warm.
- If grilling outdoors, heat the gas grill to medium-high. Melt the butter in the microwave and lightly brush grates with melted butter. Place skewers on grill and cook 2-3 minutes first side. Brush with a generous amount of butter, flip, and cook for 2 minutes more or until shrimp is opaque. Transfer to serving plate and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the shrimp.
- Serving size depends on size of shrimp and skewers.
- If marinading for more than 30 minutes, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before cooking to allow it to reach room temperature. Marinade the shrimp for up to 4 hours.
Products I Used
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