BBQ Thai Garlic Shrimp in the Shell

Grilled garlic shrimp recipe

The Spruce Eats / Nita West

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 3 as an entree
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
167 Calories
1g Fat
35g Carbs
9g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 2 to 3 as an entree
Amount per serving
Calories 167
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 19mg 6%
Sodium 2436mg 106%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 9g
Calcium 187mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This grilled garlic shrimp in the shell is super delicious and so easy to make. Jumbo or large to medium-large shrimp are grilled in their shells (if you prefer, you can remove the shells). They are marinated in a very quick and easy garlic sauce and then quickly grilled. Makes a perfect appetizer or main course to serve guests — they'll think it took you a lot longer to make!


  • 12 jumbo tiger shrimp (or 15 to 18 large shrimp, preferably with shells on)
  • For the Garlic Sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (loosely packed) 
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Garnish: 1/2 cup fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • Garnish: 1 lime (cut into wedges)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.

    Mix the sauce
    The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  3. If grilling shrimp without shells, skip the next two steps. To grill the shrimp in their shells, you need to open the shrimp so they lay flat in their shells on the grill. Leaving the shell in place, hold the prawn in your hand so that it curls naturally into your palm. Or hold the prawn on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make a cut from the start of the tail (leave tail on), through the middle of the "belly" and down to the head of the prawn.

    Cut shrimp
    The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  4. Now turn the prawn over on your cutting board (so that its back is facing up). Use your palm to flatten it out by pressing down gently. When you're done, the prawn should lay fairly flat (don't worry if the shell loosens slightly).

    Turn prawn over
    The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  5. Place the prawns in a flat-bottomed bowl or dish. Pour over the garlic sauce. Allow prawns to marinate in the sauce while you warm up the grill.

    Pour garlic sauce
    The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  6. If your prawns are large enough that they won't fall through the grates, place directly on the grill. If your prawns are smaller, spread a piece of aluminum foil or banana leaf on the grill first, and then place prawns on top. Or skewer the shrimp with satay sticks (if wood, soak in water first).

    Prawns on the grill
    The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  7. Baste the prawns the first time you turn them with a little of the leftover sauce. Grill 3 to 5 minutes each side. Prawns are done when the flesh turns from translucent to pinkish-white (and the shells turn a very attractive bright pink).

    Baste prawns
    The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  8. Serve immediately with fresh lime or lemon wedges on the side and a sprinkling of fresh coriander. They are equally excellent on their own or with rice. 

    Grilled garlic shrimp
    The Spruce Eats / Nita West


  • The shell actually makes them easier to eat and is a nice finger food.
  • This recipe calls for placing the jumbo shrimp directly onto the grill. If your shrimp are too small and will fall through the grates, you will need to skewer or place on a piece of aluminum foil or banana leaf.

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