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This shrimp marinade brings incredible flavor to shrimp! It’s made with just a handful of ingredients, including lemon, garlic and fresh herbs. This recipe is perfect for quick meals – cook the shrimp on the grill, in a skillet or in the air fryer!

Cooked shrimp on a platter with a small dish of marinade and lemon wedges.

The Best Shrimp Marinade

Garlicky, lemony and fresh, this shrimp marinade is something to celebrate!

Shrimp are one of my favorite proteins for a quick meal. This shrimp marinade is my go-to when I want to add lots of flavor to shrimp with little effort. The marinade comes together in just a few minutes, and it packs in so much flavor. Honestly, after trying this marinade I don’t want to season shrimp any other way!

My favorite way to cook the marinated shrimp is on the grill, but you can also sauté them in a skillet or cook in the air fryer. I’ll include directions for each cooking method below.

Close up of cooked shrimp.

Shrimp Marinade Ingredients

Here’s a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make this shrimp marinade. Find the full recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.

Ingredients for shrimp marinade with labels.
  • Olive Oil: Helps to infuse the flavors of the other marinade ingredients into the shrimp.
  • Fresh Parsley: For a pop of fresh flavor and vibrant color.
  • Lemon Zest: The bright citrus flavor is one of my favorites with seafood like shrimp.
  • Garlic: I use 4 cloves of fresh garlic for lots of garlicky flavor. You can use less if you prefer.
  • Salt and Pepper: To enhance all of the flavors.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Makes the shrimp a bit spicy. The spice isn’t overpowering, but if you prefer less heat you can reduce the red pepper flakes to 1/4 teaspoon or omit them.
  • Shrimp! I like to buy peeled and deveined shrimp to save time. You can use shrimp with the tails on or off. If the shrimp are frozen, thaw them in the refrigerator before marinating. They’ll take about 24 hours to thaw in the fridge. I usually put them in a colander set over a bowl to catch the liquid that they’ll release when thawing.

Use Lemon Zest, not Juice in a Shrimp Marinade

I use lemon zest, not lemon juice, in this marinade because acids like citrus juice will start to cook the shrimp as they marinate, which could cause the shrimp to turn out tough. Using lemon zest is the perfect way to add lemon flavor without the risk of rubbery shrimp.

Shrimp marinade ingredients added to small mixing bowl with bowl of raw shrimp in the background.
Raw shrimp tossed with marinade in a bowl.

How Long Can You Marinate Shrimp?

Marinate the shrimp for at least 20 minutes, and up to 2 hours. Even 20 minutes is enough to infuse them with delicious flavor. Since shrimp are so tender and quick-cooking, you don’t want to marinate them longer than 2 hours or the tender tissues could start to break down, affecting the texture of the cooked shrimp. Be sure to place the shrimp in the refrigerator while they marinate.

How to Cook Shrimp: Grill, Sauté or Air Fry

After marinating, discard the used marinade and cook shrimp according to your preferred cooking method:

  • Grilled Shrimp: Grill shrimp over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, until they are opaque and pink. I like to thread the shrimp onto skewers for grilling, but you can also cook them directly on the grill grates.
  • Sautéed Shrimp: Cook shrimp in a skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  • Air Fryer Shrimp: Preheat air fryer to 400° F for 5 minutes. Air fry shrimp at 400° F for 3 minutes. Flip shrimp over and air fry for 1-5 more minutes, until they are cooked through.
Cooked marinated shrimp on a serving platter.

Serving Ideas

This shrimp marinade makes the tastiest shrimp, perfect for serving in so many ways! Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Make Shrimp Tacos! I love serving the shrimp in shrimp tacos, wrapped in warm tortillas with crunchy cabbage, avocado, fresh cilantro and a drizzle of fish taco sauce.
  • Over Pasta: I like to make pasta primavera (pasta with veggies) and add shrimp for protein.
  • On a Salad: Shrimp makes a great addition to many of our favorite salad recipes.
  • In a Bowl: Serve the shrimp with rice, with a fresh fruit salsa (I’m thinking mango avocado salsa would be delish!). Or, make a bowl with rice, shrimp and grilled veggies.

More Favorite Marinade Recipes!

Cooked shrimp on a platter with a small dish of marinade.

Shrimp Marinade

Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Marinate: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
This Shrimp Marinade is garlicky, lemony and fresh – it brings the BEST flavor to shrimp! Cook the marinated shrimp on the grill, in a skillet or in the air fryer. Then serve it on a salad, in tacos, over pasta or with rice and veggies for a quick, delicious meal!


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional, use ¼ teaspoon for less spice
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined


  • In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Whisk to combine.
  • Add the shrimp to the bowl and coat with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 20 minutes, and up to 2 hours.
  • Then cook shrimp as desired (be sure to discard the used marinade):
  • To Grill: Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. If desired, thread the shrimp onto skewers, or they can be cooked directly on the grill grates. Grill shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side, until they are opaque and pink.
  • To Sauté: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until opaque and pink.
  • To Air Fry: Preheat air fryer to 400° F for 5 minutes. Air fry shrimp at 400° F for 3 minutes. Flip shrimp over and air fry for 1-5 more minutes, until shrimp are cooked through.


  • If using skewers, I recommend using flat skewers (I use reusable metal flat skewers) to prevent the shrimp from rotating when you flip them. If using wood skewers, soak them in warm water for 20 minutes before using.
  • If the shrimp are frozen, thaw them before using in this recipe. To thaw, place shrimp in a colander set over a bowl and thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Or, to thaw shrimp quickly, place the frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold water for 10-15 minutes, until thawed. Pat dry with paper towels and then add to the marinade.
Calories: 207kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 143mg, Sodium: 940mg, Potassium: 168mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 595IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 74mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
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