Easy grilled shrimp kabobs, tossed up in a Mediterranean marinade with garlic and fresh herbs, then quickly grilled for the perfect dinner or appetizer to feed a small crowd.
Be sure to check out my tips and video for how to grill shrimp perfectly every time! No outdoor grill? You can cook these shrimp skewers using an indoor griddle or skillet.
As a girl who grew up on the Mediterranean, I'm a big fan of seafood and really enjoy cooking all sorts of it. For the most part, unless it's paella, I can put together a simple fish dinner like baked cod or fish en papillote in just over 20 minutes.
And I would say the same of shrimp, which I conveniently keep in the freezer for a quick weeknight shrimp pasta or barbecue like today's shrimp kabobs!
These kabobs can double up as an appetizer for a big party or dinner next to your favorite side or salad. And if the weather puts a damper on your plans, you can totally grill them indoors!
Tips for best grilled shrimp
A few simple tips make all the difference in achieving flavor packed and perfectly grilled shrimp.
- Start with large shrimp. I usually go with 20/25 shrimp per pound (larger if I can find them). They're meatier and easier to work. Buy easy-to-peel shrimp and peel them yourself, they're cheaper this way and they taste better.
- Marinate the shrimp for just a few minutes in a tasty olive-oil based marinade (ideally 30 minutes in the fridge, but even just 10 minutes will help). This is a great way to infuse the shrimp with flavor and keeps them nice and juicy when grilling (more on the shrimp kabob marinade later)
- Use Skewers. I've been known to grill shrimp in a skillet without skewers; usually I will only do this in a skillet or griddle. But how do you keep shrimp from falling into the grill or from accidently overcooking? Skewers are your ticket! Threading the shrimp into skewers also makes them so much easier to flip over (I use a pair of tongs to hold and turn over my shrimp). If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes to an hour before using.
- Do not overcook the shrimp. Even the largest of shrimp will grill quickly (anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes).
Grilled shrimp marinade
When it comes to what goes in the marinade for your shrimp kabobs, avoid using citrus as the acid will change the texture of the shrimp. I hold off on adding lemon juice until the shrimp is cooked.
I like to use an olive oil-based marinade (Private Reserve Greek EVOO is great for this) with fresh garlic, lemon zest (not lemon juice) and a few spices and herbs--fresh parsley, dry oregano, paprika, coriander, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (you can change the spices up to your liking).
The olive oil in the marinade will help in three ways:
- It will help distribute the flavors from spices and dry herbs evenly all over the shrimp
- The fat from the olive oil will also protect the fresh garlic from burning and really enhance its flavor
- And, particularly if you're using an outdoor grill, it provides a nice protective coating for the shrimp, keeping them plump and juicy as they develop a little char on the grill
How to cook shrimp kabobs: two ways
I love making these shrimp kebabs all year-round! Although, when the weather is nice, I will often opt for my outdoor grill. Once the shrimp has marinated, thread them on skewers. From there, you can grill them one of two ways:
- Outdoor Gas Grill. Heat the grill to high, then lower the heat until it reaches somewhere between 275 and 325 degrees F. Carefully and lightly oil the grates, then arrange the shrimp skewers on the grates. Close the lid and cook the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn them over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes with the lid closed. In my experience, this method produces super juicy grilled shrimp!
- Indoor Griddle or Cast Iron Skillet. Heat a dry griddle over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the shrimp skewers and cook on one side about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn shrimp over and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
How do I know my shrimp kebabs are ready?
I shared this before with my Greek shrimp recipe, but it applies no matter how you cook your shrimp.
Shrimp is cooked when it’s turned from grey and flabby to opaque pink with a bright red tail. And as far as texture, cooked shrimp should be slightly firm in texture with enough crunch with your bite (look for enough resistance to the teeth, but should give way to a gentle bite.)
For more great information about working with shrimp be sure to check out our Guide to Buying and Cooking Shrimp.
Serve it with
You can easily serve these shrimp kabobs as your main dish, on their own, or with a side of Garlic Aioli for dipping. These side dish recipes also go perfectly with shrimp:
- Skordalia (Greek garlic and potato dip); plain couscous; or lemon rice
- Grilled Vegetables; Greek baked fries; baked zucchini; or fried eggplant
- A simple like white bean salad; balela salad; Mediterranean tomato salad; or Greek salad
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Mediterranean Grilled Shrimp Kabobs Recipe
For the Marinade
- ⅓ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup packed chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the Shrimp
- 2 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined
- Kosher salt
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoon of the marinade in a separate bowl for later.
- Pat the shrimp dry and season with kosher salt. Place the shrimp in a large bowl and pour the marinade all over. Toss to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes (do not go longer).
- Thread the shrimp on skewers, about 4 large shrimp per skewer. (If using bamboo skewers they need to be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes first).
- To grill on an outdoor gas grill. Preheat a gas grill to high. Then, reduce heat to low (temperature should be somewhere between 275 to 325ºF). Carefully grease the cooking grates. Once the grill reaches the recommended temperature, add the shrimp skewers and close the lid. Cook shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until no longer translucent.
- To grill on an indoor griddle or cast iron grill. Heat a dry griddle over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the shrimp skewers and cook on one side about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn shrimp over and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer the grilled shrimp skewers to platter and spoon the remaining marinade your reserved earlier over the grilled shrimp skewers. Add a splash of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
- Leftovers: To store leftover grilled shrimp, remove it from the skewers. Store in a tight-lid glass container in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can enjoy it cold as an appetizer or over a salad.
- Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oils and spices used in this recipe.
*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2016 and has been recently updated with information and new media for readers' benefit.
Loved this! We had this last night with fresh local corn on the cob. Really, really tasty! I cooked the shrimp in a hot skillet rather than on the grill and it came out wonderful. A ciabatta roll to sop up the delicious marinade left in the pan is recommended.
I want to prepare ahead of time and take camping. Why can’t the shrimp be marinated longer than 30 mins?
Hi, Ashley. It's because the acid in the lemon juice will actually start to cook the shrimp if left to sit for too long and affect the texture in a not so great way. Could always prepare the marinade separately ahead of time and just add it to the shrimp 20-30 minutes before cooking.
really delicious!! i baked it at 425 for 6mins!!
Can I make the marinade the day before as long as I refrigerate it?
Sure! Just don't add the shrimp until 20-30 minutes before cooking. You don't want to marinade the shrimp very long here at all. Enjoy!
Hi! Can’t wait to try this recipe! Do you have instructions on “grilling” it in the oven over a rack?
I don't have specific instructions for that, but I don't see why it wouldn't work
Probably one of the best shrimp recipes I have 3ver made! Highly recommend this one paired with the Greek Lemon Rice!
Thank you so much, Wes!
Your recipes are incredible and we actually make this one on a weekly basis!
Doctor told me to switch to a Mediterranean to both lose weight and reduce my A1C. Working great so far.
That's wonderful, Wes!!
Came across your shrimp kabob recipe and prepared it on a gas grill as written for Valentine’s Day. Super flavorful marinade and paired well with grilled veggie kabobs and rice pilaf. A big hit! Looking forward to sampling through your wealth of Mediterranean recipes, thanks!
Ooo! That meal has me feeling warm weather vibes! So glad you enjoyed it!
Hi! I really want to try this, but don't have lemon zest. Is there a substitute or can I just leave it out.
You can just omit it here 🙂
I ordered your olive oil and love it. I’ve made some of your delicious recipes. My problem is my husband is allergic to shrimp and your recipes look so good. Is there anything I can substitute for the shrimp and still follow the recipe?
Hi, Arleen. You could try this marinade with my salmon kabob recipe.
Great idea. Thank you, I will try that.
I made these shrimp skewers last night and they were amazing! I used a heavy grill pan on my gas stove and it worked beautifully.
I’ve been cooking my way through your recipes and they’ve all been delicious!
Wonderful! Thanks, Stephanie!
I don't have a grill but use an air fryer. Could you include directions for using an air fryer when the recipe can be adapted to air fry? Clean up is so much easier.
I love your recipes and have created a special binder for them. I'm on the ancient side now (89 yo) and got tired of cooking but your recipes sound so delicious it has encouraged me to start cooking again. It's taking a while to try them because I live alone but I plan on making some of them for pot-luck dinners with friends.
I do watch some of your videos and find you a delight to see.
Keep up the good work.
Thank you for the sweet words, Sheila! I do try to add air fryer instructions when I can, but I don't actually own an air fryer, so it's hard for me to include those very often. Sometimes our other wonderful readers will share their experience using an air fryer on a particular recipe in the comments section, so that would be a great place to look for guidance.
Could you use this marinade on chicken
Sorry forgot to add this dish is amazing. Had my mom for dinner and she loved the shrimp she is 96 yrs young.
Best grilled shrimp ever! We served them on top of your simple Mediterranean Olive Oil Pasta. I have a new favorite dinner. This is crave worthy!!!
Suzy every recipe of yours I’ve made has been outstanding and this one too is exceptional. In a word , WOW ! I’ve never done shrimp on the grill until tonight and loved it . The marinade was out of this world yummy . I’ll be wanting to make this recipe again and again . I’m so glad I found your food blog because everything is so tremendously good . The Mediterranean dishes are so wonderfully flavorful and a joy to make as well as eat . Now to pick another Mediterranean Dish to make . They all look amazing and I look forward to making each one .
Thank you so much for your kind words, Greg! I am so glad you are enjoying the recipes you find here.
Simple and absolutely delicious-- great recipe!
I'm sorry that I've been so neglectful leaving a comment after making many of your recipes. I must tell you that I have made this Grilled Shrimp Kabobs recipe numerous times and it is consistently delicious!!! The marinade is wonderful. I have followed your instructions exactly, and it always comes out perfect!
I have also made the following recipes you have posted and my husband and I, along with family and friends have so enjoyed the flavors of these dishes: Greek Chicken & Potatoes, Italian-Style Sheet Pan Chicken with Vegetables, Cilantro Lime Chicken, Juiciest Baked Chicken Thighs, Easy Mediterranean Lemon Chicken, Easy One-Pot Chicken and Rice, Chicen Shawarma, Lemon Chicken Piccata, Seared Trout Recipe with Tzatziki, Lentil Spinach Soup with Lemon, Lemony Artichoke Pasta Salad, Healthy Chicken Salad-Mediterranean Style, Eggplant Rollatini, Greek Lemon Rice, Greek Green Beans (fasolakia), and Mujadara: Lentils and Rice with Crispy Onions.
The use of olive oils and all the various new spices I have tried with your recipes, have introduced me to the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean. Thank you so much for sharing these flavorful family delights!!!
Wonderful, Debbie! I'm thrilled you've found so many recipes you enjoy here!
For six weeks, I have been cooking solely from recipes on your site for lunch and dinner! You have never let me down, and this shrimp recipe hit it out of the park big time tonight. My wife and I cannot stop talking about it. I called my family and my friends to tell them about your excellent site. We will want this shrimp weekly from now on, and it is so easy to make that it might just happen. I paired it with your zucchini boat recipe (https://www.themediterraneandish.com/mediterranean-grilled-zucchini-tomato-feta-2/#recipe), and it was a match made in heaven. I love your recipes, your flair for life, and your Greek olive oils! Thank you for giving us something to look forward to at every meal, and keep up all of the hard work that has to go into this site.
YUM - that shrimp. Lunch-time cannot come fast enough for me.
You are very sweet, Kit. Thank you! So glad this recipe was such a hit, and that you're enjoying others you find here, as well!
Easy and tasty. Used fresh coriander/cilantro (because that’s what I had)and left out the parsley and ground coriander. I think you could riff on this pretty freely as long as you kept the same technique and proportions and it would still be great!
Loved this recipe. Doubled the red pepper, skipped the kabobs and just threw in the frying pan. Few minutes each side, awesome