Grilling Shrimp on a Skewer

grilling shrimp on a skewer

Grilling skewers is easy, especially with meat and vegetables. But it’s more difficult with seafood. The slippery nature of shrimp makes it hard to hold on to a skewer.

GirlCarnivore Tip: Soak the skewers in water for about 20 minutes before you use them. This helps them retain moisture and prevents them from burning on the grill.

Gas Grill

Grilling shrimp on skewers is easy and quick, especially when you use a gas grill. Toss the cleaned shrimp in a marinade of olive oil, garlic, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and lemon juice, then cook on a preheated grill for about 3 minutes on each side. The resulting shrimp are moist and savory, with just enough spice to make your mouth tingle.

Serve these grilled shrimp skewers with a fresh lettuce-free salad, a creamy cucumber salad, or roasted vegetables for a healthy meal. A simple sauce like lemon butter or a homemade tartar sauce also pairs well with these shrimp.

If you prefer not to thread the shrimp on skewers, try using a grill basket or sear them loose on a dry griddle over indirect heat. You can also bake these skewers in the oven instead of grilling them outside. The cooking time will be a bit longer if you bake the shrimp on a skewer, but they will still be tasty and juicy.

Wooden Skewers

Shrimp skewers make for a tasty alternative to hamburgers and hot dogs at your next backyard barbecue. They are also quick to prepare for weeknight dinners or summer entertaining. The key to these shrimp skewers is the herbed lemon garlic marinade that infuses them with flavor.

When shopping for shrimp, look for jumbo size. This larger size will better withstand the heat of the grill and still be juicy. You can also use frozen jumbo shrimp as long as the bag indicates it has been deveined and cleaned (this will be labeled on the package).

Soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes before using to prevent them from burning while cooking. Alternatively, you can cook the skewers on a baking sheet under the broiler instead of on the grill and still get great results. Stainless steel skewers work well too. If you prefer, you can leave the shrimp shell on as it will infuse more flavour into the meat during grilling.


The smoky flavor of a gas grill pairs well with shrimp, but the shrimp in this recipe is also complemented by the flavors of cilantro and parsley. Fresh herbs are available in grocery stores and make a great addition to many dishes. You can also add basil, thyme or oregano to the marinade for a different flavor.

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Grilling Time

Grilling skewers is fun and easy, but it requires attention. Shrimp cook very quickly and must be turned frequently. Overcooking shrimp results in chewy, rubbery meat.

To prevent overcooking, use a gas grill with moderate heat. Oil the grill grates to keep food from sticking. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes (this step is not necessary with metal skewers).

Combine the oregano, thyme, black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and Italian seasonings in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate the shrimp in a large resealable plastic bag; reserve some of the marinade for basting later. Before you are ready to grill, preheat the grill and remove the shrimp from the refrigerator. Thread the shrimp onto skewers, leaving a little space between each one. If desired, use a grill basket instead of skewers. If you don’t have a basket, lightly oil the grill grate and grill the shrimp over indirect heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Grilling Shrimp on a Skewer Recipe

Grilling shrimp on skewers is a great way to infuse them with smoky flavors while keeping them from falling through the grill grates. Here’s a simple recipe for grilled shrimp on skewers:


  • Large shrimp, peeled and deveined (with or without tails)
  • Wooden or metal skewers
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional seasonings: minced garlic, paprika, lemon juice, fresh herbs (such as parsley or cilantro), or your favorite marinade


  1. Preheat the Grill:
    • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 350-400°F or 175-200°C). Ensure the grill grates are clean and well-oiled to prevent sticking.
  2. Prepare the Shrimp:
    • Rinse the shrimp under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
  3. Thread the Shrimp onto Skewers:
    • If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 30 minutes to prevent them from burning on the grill.
    • Thread the shrimp onto the skewers, leaving a little space between each shrimp. If using metal skewers, you don’t need to soak them.
  4. Season the Shrimp:
    • Drizzle the shrimp skewers with a little olive oil to prevent sticking and enhance flavor.
    • Season the shrimp with salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can also add minced garlic, paprika, a squeeze of lemon juice, fresh herbs, or your favorite marinade for extra flavor.
  5. Grill the Shrimp:
    • Place the shrimp skewers on the grill over direct heat. Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until the shrimp turn pink and opaque.
    • Shrimp cook quickly, so be attentive to avoid overcooking, which can result in a tough texture. Use tongs to turn the skewers gently.
  6. Check for Doneness:
    • To check for doneness, cut into a shrimp near the thickest part. It should be opaque throughout, with no translucency. The internal temperature should reach 120-145°F (49-63°C), depending on your preference.
  7. Remove and Serve:
    • Once the shrimp are cooked to your liking, remove them from the grill and slide them off the skewers onto a serving platter.
  8. Garnish and Enjoy:
    • Garnish the grilled shrimp with fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice, or your choice of sauce or dip, such as cocktail sauce, a garlic aioli, or a spicy sriracha mayo.

Grilled shrimp skewers are a versatile and delicious dish that can be served on their own, as an appetizer, or as part of a main course. They pair well with a variety of sides, from salads to rice or pasta, for a complete and satisfying meal. Enjoy your grilled shrimp skewers!