BBQ Thai Garlic Shrimp in the Shell

Grilled garlic shrimp

The Spruce / Nita West

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
128 Calories
1g Fat
20g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 128
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 84mg 28%
Sodium 2679mg 116%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 18mg 89%
Calcium 92mg 7%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 298mg 6%
*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.

These shrimp make a perfect appetizer or main course to serve guests—they'll think it took you a lot longer to make. If serving for dinner, pair this dish up with some Thai rice, and steamed veggies.


  • 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

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, for garnish

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for BBQ Thai garlic shrimp
    The Spruce / Nita West
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients—soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, and lime juice— together in a bowl. Set aside.

    Hand pouring brown sugar in bowl for marinade
    The Spruce / Nita West
  3. If grilling shrimp without shells, skip the next two steps. To grill the shrimp in their shells, you need to open them 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.

    Person cutting shrimp down the center of its shell
    The Spruce / 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).

    Person removing vein from prawn
    The Spruce / 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.

    Shrimp arranged in baking dish, covered in marinade
    The Spruce / 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 / 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).

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

    Shrimp arranged on platter with lime and cilantro garnishes
    The Spruce / Nita West


  • The shell actually makes them easier to eat and 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 them or place them on a piece of aluminum foil or banana leaf.

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