Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 24/07/2023 Updated: 28/11/2023
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 25 minutes
Hawaiian shrimp trucks are famous for their buttery Hawaiian garlic shrimp. These large succulent garlic shrimp are cooked in a loaded garlic butter-infused sauce.
Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp

Hawaiian shrimp trucks are famous for their buttery Hawaiian garlic shrimp. These large succulent garlic shrimp are cooked in a loaded garlic butter-infused sauce.

A bowl of Hawaiian garlic shrimp garnished with parsley and two lemons.

Hawaiian garlic shrimp has become an iconic dish in the local food scene. These large juicy prawns are cooked in an absolutely mouthwatering garlic-infused buttery sauce.

With this easy-to-follow Hawaiian garlic shrimp recipe, you don’t have to hop on a plane to enjoy this delicious Hawaiian shrimp truck dish. The best part about this garlic shrimp recipe is that you can cook it in your own kitchen in under 20 minutes!

This garlic shrimp recipe is perfect for those busy weeknights when you are short on time, but don’t want to sacrifice flavor. If you are looking for more Hawaiian recipe inspiration, make sure to check out our spam and eggs, spam musubi, and a Hawaiian poke bowl.

A plate with garlic shrimp, pineapple, and rice.

What is Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp?

Hawaiian garlic shrimp is a popular dish that originated in Hawaii. The famous Hawaiian shrimp trucks are parked along the North Shore of Oahu.

It features large, succulent shrimp that is cooked in a very flavorful garlic butter sauce that is then drizzled with a hint of lemon juice. Hawaiian garlic shrimp is commonly served with a side of steamed rice, macaroni salad, or a fresh salad.

Chopsticks holding up a piece of hawaiian garlic shrimp above a plate.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

There are too many reasons why you’ll love this garlic shrimp recipe. Here are the top 3:

  1. Flavorful and Delicious: Hawaiian garlic shrimp is simply bursting with a slightly smokey garlic butter flavor that is truly mouthwatering and addicting.
  2. Easy to make: while the flavors are complex, this Hawaiian garlic shrimp recipe is really simple to prepare with only a few pantry staple ingredients and straightforward cooking techniques.
  3. Versatile: you can enjoy this copycat Hawaiian shrimp truck recipe in multiple ways such as with steamed rice, as a filling for tacos, or on top of noodles or pasta.
A serving bowl filled with garlic shrimp and a few lemon slices.

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following items of kitchen equipment to make this Hawaiian garlic butter shrimp.

  • Mixing Bowl: you will need a mixing bowl to mix together your seasoning batter for the shrimp.
  • Large Skillet: you will use a large skillet to cook the garlic butter and the shrimp.

Ingredients

You will only need a handful of ingredients for this Hawaiian garlic shrimp recipe! The measurements can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

  • Fresh Jumbo Shrimp: make sure to wash, and devein your shrimp and pat to dry. You have the option of leaving the skin on or peeling it completely.
  • Glutinous Rice Flour: the glutinous rice flour thickens the sauce and creates a slightly crisp coating on the shrimp.
  • Paprika: paprika adds a warm and delicious spice to the dish that will balance out the savory flavors.
  • Cayenne Pepper: cayenne pepper adds a bit of heat to the garlic shrimp.
  • Salt: salt seasons the shrimp.
  • Unsalted Butter: unsalted butter is the base of the sauce which infuses with garlic to make the most delicious and addicting sauce.
  • Garlic: fresh garlic is key for a strong, and rich aromatic garlic flavor.
  • Olive Oil: olive oil is needed to cook the garlic butter shrimp.
  • Lemon Juice: a sprinkle of lemon juice at the end helps cut through the rich garlic butter and brighten up the overall composition of flavors.
  • Parsley: freshly chopped parsley is optional for garnish.
All the ingredients to make Hawaiian garlic shrimp organized in mixing bowls.

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize your own Hawaiian garlic shrimp recipe with the following substitutions and additions below.

  • Frozen Shrimp: if you don’t want to use fresh shrimp, you can alternatively use frozen shrimp instead.
  • All-Purpose Flour: if you don’t have glutinous rice flour in your pantry, you can always use regular all-purpose flour instead.
  • Salted butter: instead of unsalted butter, you can use salted butter instead if you are looking to add more salt to the dish.

How to Make Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp

Here are the steps on how to make this easy-to-make Hawaiian garlic shrimp recipe. The best part about this recipe is that you can finish it in under 20 minutes!

  1. Prepare the shrimp. Wash and devein the shrimp. You can either peel the shrimp leaving the tail on or leave the shrimp shell on. Pat dry with a paper towel.
A tray of freshly prepared and cleaned shrimps.
  1. Coat the shrimp. Mix the glutinous rice flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt in a mixing bowl. Evenly coat each piece of shrimp. Set aside.
Setting down coated and seasoned shrimps onto a wire rack.
  1. Cook garlic butter. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the garlic. Cook the garlic until fragrant and lightly golden brown, about 3 minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside.
  1. Cook shrimp. In the same pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the shrimp in a single layer for about 1-2 minutes on each side until crisp and cooked through. You may need to cook the shrimp in multiple batches make sure to add oil to the pan with every batch.
Cooked shrimp inside a large deep skillet.
  1. Combine. Turn off the heat and pour the garlic butter back into the skillet and toss with the shrimp.
  2. Serve. Drizzle the lemon juice and minced parsley and enjoy!
Up close with a bowl of Hawaiian garlic shrimp.

Tips for the Best Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp

  • Pat the excess moisture and evenly coat the shrimp shells. Make sure to dry the excess moisture from the shrimp or the seasoning mixture will clump up. You’ll want a thin even coating on the shrimp.
  • Remove the garlic butter when it is very lightly browned. Watch the garlic closely when it is cooking over medium heat. You don’t want the butter to burn too quickly. Remove it once the edges of the garlic pieces are golden brown.
  • Cook the shrimp until golden and pink. Watch the thick part on the back of the shrimp where the vein was removed. When the flesh of the thickest part of the shrimp turns from translucent to opaque the shrimp is cooked through.
  • Finish with fresh lemon. Don’t forget the fresh lemon drizzle at the end. This will add a delicious brightness to the final garlic butter shrimp.

Storage Instructions

You can store the Hawaiian garlic shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheat: reheat the garlic butter shrimp in a skillet over medium-low heat with the sauce until warm or reheat in the microwave covered until warm.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

How do you serve Hawaiian garlic shrimp?

You can serve this garlic butter shrimp with white rice, fresh pineapple, Hawaiian macaroni salad, or roasted vegetables.

Can you eat the shell of Hawaiian garlic shrimp?

Most food places in Hawaii serve garlic shrimp with the shell on since the shell holds in the juices of the shrimp and is much more flavorful. Shrimp shells are edible but you can easily peel the shrimp before consuming if you prefer.

Can I make this garlic butter shrimp spicy?

Yes! If you enjoy a kick of spicy flavor, go ahead and add more cayenne pepper or chili flakes for your preferred level of spiciness.

Can I use pre-cooked shrimp for this dish?

It is possible to use pre-cooked shrimp, but I recommend using raw shrimp instead. Raw shrimp will absorb all the flavors of the sauce as it cooks for a more flavorful and satisfying dish.

Other great Hawaiian recipes to try

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Looking down at a bowl of Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp.

Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Hawaiian shrimp trucks are famous for their buttery Hawaiian garlic shrimp. These large succulent garlic shrimp are cooked in a loaded garlic butter-infused sauce.
Servings: 5 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb shrimp deveined
  • 2 tablespoon glutinous rice flour (sweet rice flour) or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (100 g) garlic, minced about 2 heads of garlic
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley minced for garnish

Instructions

  • Prepare the shrimp. Wash and devein the shrimp. You can either peel the shrimp leaving the tail on or leave the shrimp shell on. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Coat the shrimp. In a mixing bowl, mix the glutinous rice flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt. Evenly coat each piece of shrimp. Set aside.
  • Cook garlic butter. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the garlic. Cook the garlic until fragrant and lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully to not to burn the garlic. Then remove from heat and set aside.
  • Cook shrimp. In the same pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the shrimp in a single layer for about 1-2 minutes on each side until crisp and cooked through. You may need to cook the shrimp in multiple batches make sure to add oil to the pan with every batch.
  • Combine. Turn off the heat and pour the garlic butter back into the skillet and toss with the shrimp.
  • Serve. Drizzle with lemon juice and garnish with minced parsley. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Pat the excess moisture and evenly coat the shrimp shells. Make sure to dry the excess moisture from the shrimp or the seasoning mixture will clump up. You’ll want a thin even coating on the shrimp.
  • Remove the garlic butter when it is very lightly browned. Watch the garlic closely when it is cooking over medium heat. You don’t want the butter to burn too quickly. Remove it once the edges of the garlic pieces are golden brown.
  • Cook the shrimp until golden and pink. Watch the thick part on the back of the shrimp where the vein was removed. When the flesh of the thickest part of the shrimp turns from translucent to opaque the shrimp is cooked through.
  • Finish with fresh lemon. Don’t forget the fresh lemon drizzle at the end. This will add a delicious brightness to the final garlic butter shrimp.
  • Storage Instructions: You can store the Hawaiian garlic shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat: you can reheat the garlic butter shrimp in a skillet over medium-low heat with the sauce until warm or reheat in the microwave covered until warm.

Nutrition:

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 821mg | Potassium: 321mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 781IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 1mg

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