How to make beer shrimp scampi in a skillet – enjoy as an appetizer or serve over pasta.
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About This Beer Shrimp Scampi Skillet
Our easy shrimp skillet recipe delivers plump, juicy shrimp and plentiful tasty dipping sauce with bright notes from lemon.
It is built around the idea of scampi sauce – both ingredients and technique wise, but leverages beer as the deglazing liquid and source of deep flavor. We also add a bit of cream as a liaison to create a homogeneous pan sauce that does not break. All the cooking takes place on the stove.
We typically enjoy this particular dish as a shared appetizer, but once in a while we add a bit more cream to ensure there is enough of the sauce to serve the beer shrimp over pasta.
- Shrimp. Use raw, as fresh as possible shrimp sized anywhere from 21-30 per pound. Wash, peel and devein as necessary, tail-on is fine.
- Lemon. A bit of zest and juice from a fresh lemon as well as thin lemon slices for garnish. You can also use preserved lemons in lieu of the lemon zest to amplify the citrus essence without introducing any bitterness.
- Olive oil. Use a good quality cold pressed oil.
- Garlic. Two minced cloves go into the skillet to flavor the sauce, before that two grated cloves are used in a marinade for the shrimp.
- Red pepper flakes. For a touch of heat to the sauce.
- Salt & pepper. For seasoning.
- Beer. We used an American craft lager with bright herbal hoppy notes, low bitterness and bready/biscuity malt flavor. More beer style suggestions are listed below. The beer beautifully replaces the much more acidic white wine typically used in scampi style sauces.
- Butter. To contribute flavor and act as liaison for the pan sauce.
- Heavy cream. Not traditionally used in scampi sauce, we add it to our beer shrimp sauce as an additional liaison in combination with the butter.
- Parsley. Freshly chopped, to add herbal zing to the finished sauce.
Best Beer for Shrimp Skillet
When we cook with beer we typically chose a brew the flavors of which complement and/or amplify those of the other ingredients in the dish. This recipe is no exception.
For best results choose one of the styles below – they will seamlessly integrate into the Scampi flavor profile.
- American wheat ale, fermented with clean American yeast with subtle citrus notes and strong bread character
- citrusy pale ales and lagers (low bitterness)
- American craft lagers or sweeter pilsners like Czech and Munich Helles
- sour wheat ales such as gose or Berliner Weisse – if using one of these skip the addition of lemon juice to the skillet sauce
- saison or other suitably flavored Belgian ales
As an overview of the cooking process – first you will
- marinate the shrimp (only for less than an hour, but doing so brings about a ton of flavor) and then
- make the skillet sauce and add the marinated shrimp to it at the very end – they will cook through pretty fast.
- Step 1. For the marinade toss the peeled and deveined shrimp in olive oil, grated garlic, lemon zest and salt.
- Step 2. To make the pan sauce first saute minced garlic along with red pepper flakes in olive oil, then add the beer and lemon juice and bring to simmer to reduce. Once reduced by about a third, add butter and cream, mix well and let reduce for a bit longer.
- Step 3. Finally add the shrimp to the creamy beer sauce in the skillet and cook them until they turn opaque. Finish with freshly ground pepper and chopped parsley.
NOTE: It is important to reduce the beer in order to concentrate its flavors. Cook the shrimp in the skillet for about 3 to 4 minutes or until it just turns pink – do not overcook.
Serve Beer Shrimp Scampi
You can transfer the finished shrimp and the sauce to a serving dish if you’d like or just garnish with a few lemon slices and present it in the cast iron skillet with a basket of garlic bread, or freshly baked bread or even beer biscuits next to it.
If you’d rather enjoy it over pasta, add a bit more cream to the skillet (up to 3/4 cup), perhaps an extra pinch of salt and red pepper flakes.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- 1 lb raw shrimp (peeled and deveined, tail-on optional)
- 4 cloves garlic ( 2 grated and 2 minced)
- 2 tsp lemon zest + 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil (1 tbsp for marinade and 2 for skillet)
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp)
- 8 oz beer (American craft lager or Czech pilsner)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream**
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- black pepper, to taste
1. In a bowl toss the shrimp with the lemon zest, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and the two grated garlic cloves. Let marinate for about 1 hour, refrigerated.*
2. Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the minced garlic and the red pepper flakes and stir around until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 40-50 seconds.
3. Deglaze with a little bit of the beer, then add it all after the initial foaming subsides. Add the lemon juice, bring to simmer and let the beer reduce for a few minutes (by about a third).
4. Add the butter and the cream** and stir to mix into the reduced beer. Let simmer for a couple of minutes and add the shrimp to the skillet. Cook until they just turn pink, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and ground pepper to taste over and garnish with lemon slices. Serve.
*You can skip this step if you are short on time, but we highly recommend that you don't - it is all about more flavor.
**If you'd like to make more sauce so that you can serve the beer shrimp over pasta, add 3/4 cup of cream and season with extra salt to taste. Let the sauce reduce a bit longer before you add the shrimp.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 190mgSodium: 1323mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 17g