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20-Minute Shrimp Piccata

Lemony, garlicky, buttery shrimp piccata is on the table in 20 minutes. Serve over rice or as an appetizer straight from the skillet.

A simple and delicious classic.

20-Minute Shrimp Piccata is lemony, garlicky and buttery. great appetizer or main dish.

Actually, Chicken Piccata is probably the more common version, but this recipe is pretty much the same except for the shrimp. Lemon, capers, garlic, wine, broth, butter and parsley come together in flavorful tangy sauce that coats the plump shrimp.

Some people – and you know who you are – would prefer to skip the extra butter in the final step. Try to restrain yourself. The butter creates a velvety smooth, slightly thickened sauce and adds a beautiful richness. If you are really wary of the butter, just add a bit less.

Here’s a good article from Epicurious on how to buy shrimp. Spoiler: it’s safest to buy frozen shrimp.

Tips on How To Make Shrimp Piccata

  • Have everything ready to go before you start cooking as the process is quick.
  • Use large shrimp so they don’t overcook.  I try to use 16-20 count which means 16-20 shrimp per pound.
  • Pat the shrimp dry and toss with a light coating of flour to avoid them steaming in the pan instead of frying.
  • Make sure the butter is cold when you whisk it into sauce at the end to avoid any greasiness.
  • Add the parsley just before serving to keep its vibrant green color.
  • You can vary the thickness of the sauce. For a thinner sauce, use less flour to dust the shrimp. For a thicker sauce mix 1 tsp of cornstarch into the broth before adding it.

Tailor To Your Taste

  • You can replace the wine with broth if you prefer.
  • Add more or less lemon, garlic, capers, salt.
  • Replace the parsley with cilantro or chives or a combination of herbs.

Shortcut

  • Buy pre-peeled and deveined shrimp

Serving Options

  • Serving the shrimp over rice is pretty classic. I like to plate a bed of fresh baby spinach, then rice then the shrimp as you see in the pictures.
  • If you’re looking to cut the calories, though (notwithstanding the butter!), a great option is our cauliflower rice stir fry.
  • Other options include serving the shrimp with soft warmed dinner rolls to sop up the yummy juices or over pasta or quinoa.
  • And don’t forget trying this dish as an appetizer served right out the pan. Guests inhale it and it’s fine to serve it at room temperature.

Make Ahead

  • Shrimp Piccata is best made fresh.  You can, however, have all the ingredients prepped which will cut the time by half.  And, you can even get it down to just 5 minutes of cooking and assembly before serving by sautéing the shrimp ahead of time.

Quick and easy shrimp recipes you might like

Step by step

raw shrimp, wine, broth, lemon zest and juice, butter, flour, parsley, capers
Get ingredients ready to go: Shrimp dusted in flour, parsley, flour, olive oil, butter, lemon zest and juice, capers, minced garlic ,white wine
shrimp sauteed in pan
Sauté shrimp in butter and olive oil.
piccata sauce ingredients in pan
Add sauce ingredients and boil until slightly thickened. Then add cold butter to create velvety texture.

shrimp piccata in pan

shrimp piccata over spinach and rice on plate

single shrimp picatta on fork close up

Shrimp Piccata over spinach and rice ff
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4.65 from 28 votes

20-Minute Shrimp Piccata

Lemony, garlicky, buttery shrimp piccata is on the table in 20 minutes. Serve over rice or as an appetizer straight from the skillet. A simple and delicious classic.
Prep Time12 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 3 or 2 Mains (or 6 appetizers))
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound large (e.g. 16-20) shrimp, peeled and deveined (400 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon flour or a bit less
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Sauce

  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • zest from 1 large lemon
  • juice from half large lemon
  • 2 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoon cold butter, cut into pieces (or less if preferred)
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

Instructions

  • GET READY: Have all ingredients measured and ready to go.
  • PREPARE AND SAUTE SHRIMP: Pat shrimp dry. Toss with flour, a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil to medium high. Saute shrimp for 1-2 minutes on each side (do 2 minutes if shrimp are very large). Shrimp will finish cooking later. Spoon onto a plate. Loosely cover with foil to keep warm.
  • MAKE SAUCE: Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, white wine and broth. Cook on medium high until reduced and slightly thickened (4-5 minutes). If you prefer a thicker sauce, add a tsp of cornstach mixed into a tbsp of water or broth.
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Whisk in cold butter a piece at a time until sauce is smooth and emulsified/thickened - about 30 seconds. Add cooked shrimp and parsley. Stir for a minute or two until heated through. Taste and add salt, pepper or more lemon if needed. Serve over rice or pasta if desired or with fresh bread to soak up the juices.

Notes

Tips for Making Shrimp Piccata
  • Have everything ready to go before you start cooking as the process is quick.
  • Use large shrimp so they don't overcook.  I try to use 16-20 count which means 16-20 shrimp per pound.
  • Pat the shrimp dry and toss with a light coating of flour to avoid them steaming in the pan instead of frying.
  • Make sure the butter is cold when you whisk it into sauce at the end to avoid any greasiness.
  • Add the parsley just before serving to keep its vibrant green color.
  • You can vary the thickness of the sauce. For a thinner sauce, use less flour to dust the shrimp. For a thicker sauce mix 1 tsp of cornstarch into the broth before adding it.
Make Ahead: Shrimp Piccatta is best made fresh.  You can, however, have all the ingredients prepped which will cut the time by half.  And, you can even get the dish down to just 5 minutes of cooking and assembly before serving by sauteing the shrimp ahead of time.
 
Nutrition values are estimates and based on 1/3 of the shrimp per person. Truth be told, my husband and I polish the whole thing off between the two of us 🙂

Nutrition

Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 326mg | Sodium: 1186mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1031IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 177mg | Iron: 3mg
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