Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti

5 from 1989 votes

This Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti is an easy and quick dish for the weekday menu that comes to together in 15 minutes with buttery garlic taste!

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Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti is an easy and quick pasta dish for the weekday menu. Savory, succulent shrimp sizzling in a garlic butter sauce paired with light and airy spaghetti. It’s a family favorite that I can usually whip up in 15 minutes.

Large skillet of garlic butter shrimp pasta with serving spoon and fork in skillet
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How to make garlic shrimp spaghetti

  1. Cook the shrimp with salt and red pepper flakes in butter until cooked through.
  2. Flip the shrimp to the other side to finish cooking, then remove the shrimp and set aside.
  3. Cook the remaining garlic and butter in the same skillet, along with the lemon juice, pasta water (reserved from cooking the pasta) and parmesan cheese. Use a whisk to combine the sauce and scrape up any bits from the shrimp.
  4. Add in the cooked spaghetti on top of the sauce.
  5. Toss to combine until the sauce coats the spaghetti well.
  6. Return the shrimp to the skillet, and garnish with parsley before serving.
Collage of 6 images showing step by step how to make the recipe in one skillet

Tips for making the recipe

  1. Cook the pasta al-dente. That’s because you’ll be tossing it with the sauce and shrimp for a couple minutes after it’s done cooking and you want to make sure it doesn’t get too soggy.
  2. Thaw and dry frozen shrimp before cooking. I prefer to buy frozen shrimp, so after I thaw it, I always make sure to dab it dry so the excess moisture doesn’t affect searing the shrimp properly.
  3. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp. They only require a few minutes of cooking and if you over cook them they will get chewy. Cook until they are opaque pink in color.
  4. Use milk instead of pasta water for a more creamy texture. I prefer keeping it light with the lemon juice and pasta water because the garlic and butter give it great flavor. But milk is a great option as well!

Frequently asked questions

What kind of pasta can you use in this dish?

I like making this dish with long pasta such as spaghetti or linguini, but you can use whatever you have to hand. Penne and shells would both work well. Use a whole grain pasta for extra fiber and to lower the calorie content.

What do you serve with shrimp pasta?

A healthy portion of this pasta dish is a great meal by itself, but I like to serve a smaller portion alongside a fresh caesar salad. If you’d like, try my olive oil garlic bread with it too!

How long does shrimp pasta last?

This pasta is best served straight out of the pan. If you have any leftovers, you can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge to enjoy the next day.

Garlic butter shrimp pasta served in a bowl with parsley and parmesan cheese

This garlic shrimp with spaghetti is such a great recipe for a quick and easy weeknight meal. It’s family friendly and packed full of flavor!

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Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti

This Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti is an easy and quick dish for the weekday menu that comes to together in 15 minutes with buttery garlic taste!
5 from 1989 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 446
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
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  • 8 ounces spaghetti or pasta of choice
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 pound large shrimp peeled deveined
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions; drain well and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt two tablespoons butter. Add shrimp, salt and crushed red pepper, and cook stirring occasionally, until shrimp is opaque pink, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the remaining butter and garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the lemon juice, pasta water and parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Transfer the spaghetti to the skillet and toss with the sauce.
  • Add the shrimp on top and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3 days in the fridge.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • To make it gluten-free, you can use any gluten-free pasta of your choice.
  • To make the sauce more creamy, you can add some milk instead of some of the water. 


Calories: 446kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 318mg, Sodium: 1195mg, Potassium: 229mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 453IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 230mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Main Course
5 from 1989 votes (1,918 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Donna says:

    Excellent. Also stir fried zuke in with the shrimp and think green pepper would be a great addition. We loved it. I used more garlic and pepper flakes as used the wrong measuring spoon on pepper flakes so …5 stars

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yum, zucchini sounds great in this dish!! Perfect for summer. So happy you loved it, Donna!

  2. cindy says:

    Made this wonderful pasta twice now. Family LOVED it! It’s so simple, quick, delicious! Can’t ask for more than that. Thank you, thank you, Yumna! This is a perfect dish for the family on-the-go!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yay, I’m glad you found it delicious and easy to make! Thank you!

  3. Colleen says:

    I did something wrong because my parmesan cheese clumped and stuck in the whisk. It was delicious but lost the cheese.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Oh no! Did you use pre-shredded cheese? Depending on the type of parmesan you used, it could have been coated with cellulose powder, which prevents the cheese from sticking together and makes it ball up into one big lump when heated. I’m glad you still liked the pasta without the cheese!

  4. Marcie S says:

    I made this last night for the first time and it was delicious. I liked that it wasn’t heavy or too buttery. The red pepper flakes cooked with the shrimp gave it a little kick that I liked. I’ll definitely make this again. Hubby loved it too!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yay, so happy you and your husband liked it!! Thank you!

  5. Margarette says:

    This is an easy-to-follow recipe yet delicious flavors and beautiful presentation! I doubled the recipe and added mushrooms & marinated artichokes. I additionally added a 1/2 cup of the pasta water, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and an extra dash of red pepper flakes. Next time I prepare this dish I will add 2 extra garlic cloves with shrimp. I also recommend using fresh shrimp as they were amazing in this dish.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Love the tweaks you made! Thanks so much, Margarette!!

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