Thai Coconut-Lime Shrimp Recipe

Grilled shrimp in savory sauce
Getty Images/Krit of Studio OMG
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: serves 2 to 4

This simple recipe for Thai Coconut-Lime Shrimp/Prawns will be sure to please and delight all the seafood lovers at your table. Four key Thai ingredients -- coconut, lime, coriander, and chili -- combine to create a marinade and dipping sauce that marry beautifully with the tender succulence of shrimp. Simply stir the sauce together, pour over the shrimp, then either grill or oven-broil to perfection. This dish can be made anywhere from very spicy to mild, depending on whom you are cooking for, and it can be grilled or cooked in your oven -- either way it's delicious!


  • 18 to 25 medium to large shrimp (or prawns medium to large, shells removed tails can be left on)
  • Garnish: black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (full-fat)
  • 1 lime ( juice fresh squeezed)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/3 cup coriander (fresh leaves & stems chopped)
  • 2 spring green onions (sliced and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 red chili (red fresh minced, add more as desired, or 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon chili flakes)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons palm sugar (or brown sugar, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon shrimp paste (or 1/2 extra tablespoon fish sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Garnish: lime wedges and fresh-cut red chili (optional)

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine all the coconut-lime sauce ingredients (coconut milk, lime juice, coconut oil, fish sauce, garlic, chopped coriander, spring onions, fresh red chili, sugar, shrimp paste, and lime zest) together in a bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Taste-test for a balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty. Adjust to your liking, adding more sugar if you find it too sour, more chili for more spice, or more fish sauce for more salt. If too salty, add another squeeze lime juice.

  2. Set prepared shrimp in a bowl and pour 1/3 to 1/2 of this sauce over, depending how many shrimp you are cooking. Gently turn shrimp in the sauce and set aside to marinate 10 minutes. Reserve remaining sauce for serving.

  3. If shrimp are smaller, skewer them onto satay sticks (soak wooden ones before using), 3 to 5 shrimp per stick.

  4. If grilling: Brush your grill first with a little vegetable oil, then set marinated shrimp on the grill. Season with freshly-ground black pepper, and baste with a little of the leftover marinade the first time you turn them.

  5. If cooking in your oven: Switch oven to BROIL setting. Place loose or skewered shrimp on a broiling pan OR cookie sheet (cover sheet with tin foil or parchment paper first for easier clean-up) and set under the heating element (first or second rung of your oven). Season with freshly-ground black pepper and turn shrimp every 4 to 5 minutes. The first time you turn them, baste with leftover marinade. When shrimp are cooked they will turn pink and plump and be lightly charred at the edges.

  6. Briefly, heat up remaining coconut-lime sauce (don't boil or you will lose the fresh flavor of the herbs and coconut milk). Serve shrimp with rice and the sauce on the side. If desired, garnish with lime wedges and fresh-cut chili.