Shrimp scampi is the OG of quick — yet impressive — pastas. It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner, as well as a dinner for entertaining guests. Once you get the basics down, you don’t really need a recipe to make it. Here, from the store to the kitchen to the table, we outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method you’ll remember and whip out whenever you like. We present to you the most basic way to cook shrimp scampi. Elaborate as you like with your own flourishes. But remember, sometimes simple is best.

This Italian dish is a classic bad-ass meal because it’s so freakin’ easy. You can throw it together in about 15 minutes. Literally. OK, maybe 20ish, if you mince your garlic slowwwwwly. That’s what’s so great about it. There’s not much prep work. You can add some chopped Italian parsley for color and lemon wedges for garnish, but you don’t have to. That buttery, complex, soulful sea flavor is all there.

Before you begin, you’ll need to buy the shrimp, of course. Our shrimp-buying guide can help you learn about the different kinds of shrimp, the way they’re caught, and what’s best for your dish. Once you’ve got your shrimp in hand, then get started.


  • frying pan
  • knob of butter
  • one large clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • pound of raw, peeled, deveined shrimp with tails on (if you’re using frozen shrimp, defrost them first)
  • white wine or vermouth
  • pasta, like linguine (or crusty bread or rice)


  1. Mince the garlic and add it to the pan, then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the shrimp and enough wine to cover the bottom of the pan.
  3. Stir, turning the shrimp occasionally, until the shrimp turn pink.
  4. Serve the shrimp and their buttery sauce in a bowl with crusty bread or over pasta or rice.
  5. Melt the butter in the frying pan over medium heat.

Once you have this recipe down, why not try these nine crowd-pleasing dishes. For everything else shrimp-related, visit our shrimp page for videos, recipes, and articles. You’ll want a good cocktail recipe to pair with your shrimp dinner too, especially if you’re entertaining.

Amy Sowder is a writer and editor based in NYC, covering food and wellness in publications such as Bon Appétit, Women's Health, Eat This, Not That!, Upworthy/GOOD, Brooklyn Magazine, and Westchester Magazine. She loves to run races, but her favorite finish lines are gelato shops. Learn more at
See more articles