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As I mentioned last week, I’ve been experimenting a with shrimp a little more lately. Why? It’s super fast and easy to cook, and you can add it to so many different things! So it’s a great à la carte protein that you can cook on the side and then add to any recipe. This is super helpful for families that need to feed both vegetarians and omnivores. This Garlic Butter Shrimp is super tasty, takes only minutes to make, and can be paired with a variety of different flavored dishes (recommendations below). 

Tips for Enjoying Shrimp on a Budget


 Shrimp is not usually thought of as a budget item. But there are ways that you can make it a little more affordable. And you may still only be able to splurge on something like this once per year, depending on your budget, but I want to make sure you know how to cook it when you do. 🙂 So here are some tips for making shrimp work on a budget: 


  • Purchasing frozen shrimp is usually less expensive than fresh, and you can keep it on hand without worries of it going bad, so head to your freezer section when shopping for shrimp. And as always, keep an eye out for sales!
  • Buy the right size shrimp for the recipe. Because smaller shrimp have more pieces per pound, it often feels like you’re getting more even when you’re using less. Reserve jumbo shrimp for appetizers or dishes where you’ll be eating one piece at a time. User smaller shrimp for salads, stir fries, pastas, and other recipes where the shrimp will be mixed in with other ingredients.
  • Pair your shrimp with less expensive ingredients, like pasta, rice, or vegetables to keep the overall cost of the recipe down.
  • Compare prices of peeled and shell-on shrimp. Sometimes you pay more for shrimp that is already peeled, but it only takes minutes to remove the shells by hand. 

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What Size Shrimp to Use for Garlic Butter Shrimp

This recipe can be made with any size shrimp. Keep in mind that cooking time will be slightly longer for larger shrimp and slightly less for smaller shrimp. Because I planned to add this shrimp to other dishes, like salads, pasta, or rice pilafs, I used a slightly smaller shrimp so I would get more pieces per serving. 

The shrimp I used on the day of the photos was 41-60 size, which means there are approximately 41-60 pieces per pound. The higher the number, the smaller the shrimp. This size number is usually listed on the front of the package of shrimp.

Tail On or Tail Off?

You can cook this Garlic Butter Shrimp either with the tail on or the tail off. Leaving the tail on adds to the visual appeal and may add a little extra flavor to the pan sauce, but it can make for extra work while eating the shrimp. If you’re adding the shrimp to a dish where you don’t mind picking the shrimp up by hand to remove the tail as you eat, go ahead and leave the tail on. If you’ll be adding the shrimp to something like a saucy pasta where it would be difficult to pick out each shrimp and remove the tail before eating every bite, then remove the tail before cooking the shrimp.

How to Serve Garlic Butter Shrimp

As I mentioned in the intro, I love this Garlic Butter Shrimp because it’s a super fast protein that can be added on top of just about any recipe, like salads, pastas, stir fries, and more. 

Garlic Butter Shrimp


This super quick Garlic Butter Shrimp is a great à la carte protein that can be added to just about any meal!
Total Cost $4.37 recipe / $2.19 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 2 ¼ lb. shrimp each
Calories 289.55kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes


  • 1/2 lb. shrimp* $3.33
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 fresh lemon** $0.43
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.26
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.12
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.05


  • If your shrimp is frozen, place it in a colander and run cool water over the shrimp for a couple of minutes, or until thawed. If your shrimp is shell-on or tail-on, remove the shell and tail (if desired). Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.
  • Squeeze two tablespoons of juice from the lemon. Mince the garlic.
  • Add the butter and olive oil to a large skillet. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium until the butter is melted and is beginning to foam.
  • Add the prepared shrimp to the skillet and cook the shrimp on each side just until pink and opaque. Be very careful not to overcook the shrimp. It should only take 1-3 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the shrimp.
  • Finally, add the garlic and about 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to the skillet. Continue to sauté the shrimp in the garlic butter for about one minute more, or just until the raw edge is cooked out of the garlic.
  • Season the shrimp with a little salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and chopped parsley. Toss to combine, then serve.


*Use fresh or frozen shrimp, shell and tail on or off. Any size shrimp will work, keeping in mind that larger shrimp will take slightly longer to cook than smaller shrimp.

**If you do not have a lemon you can replace the juice with chicken broth or white wine.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 289.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.1g | Protein: 23.35g | Fat: 20.3g | Sodium: 849.95mg | Fiber: 0.1g




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