One of the best compliments I’ve ever received was from a close friend who said, “For being such a foodie, you are so not a food snob.” It’s true. I will eat just about anything. It’s not that I don’t appreciate really good food; I just appreciate the idea of sharing food that much more! This spicy shrimp skillet is perfect for sharing, especially alongside a cool glass of white wine.–Kelley Epstein


Shrimp cooks fast–like, really fast–depending on their size. So our first piece of advice for you is to not get distracted while preparing any dish full of these little babies because overcooked shrimp is a travesty. Raw shrimp is grey and translucent, while cooked shrimp is opaque and white with a hint of pink. It can be harder to tell when your shrimp is covered in sauce though, so keep an eye on your timing.

Here are 2 other ways to tell when you’ve got perfectly cooked shrimp. First, you can whip out a meat thermometer–you’re looking for a temperature of 165ºF. But if that seems too fussy, you can try something else. A raw shrimp is almost straight and an overcooked shrimp curls up into an “O” shape. Shrimp that’s perfectly done will be shaped like a “C” (C for cooked, O for overcooked. Smart huh?). Remember that they’ll continue to cook after you remove them from the pan, so you’ll want to stop cooking them just before that.

A large white serving tray with 3 pieces of toasted bread covered with dark red sauced shrimp, a lemon slice and a drizzle of sauce. A large basket of garlic and garlic cloves sits beside it.

Spicy Shrimp Skillet with Garlic Toast

5 from 1 vote
This is my spin on a decadent shrimp appetizer we love from one of New Orleans' oldest restaurants, Commander's Palace. It's easy enough to whip up as an afternoon snack at home and you can enjoy it all year round. Using a light beer, like a lager, works best here.
David Leite
Servings3 to 4 servings
Calories456 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


For the garlic toast

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) salted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Eight 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick slices crusty bread, such as a baguette

For the shrimp

  • 1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, divided
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade hot sauce
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1/2 cup light beer
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) salted butter, cut into chunks


Make the garlic toast

  • Preheat broiler.
  • In a small skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil and butter until butter melts. Add garlic and salt, cook just until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat
  • Brush both sides of bread with some of the garlic mixture, arrange on a baking sheet. Broil until both sides are toasty and golden, 60 to 90 seconds per side.

Make the shrimp

  • Season shrimp with 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning.
  • Preheat a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pepper starts to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Turn heat up to medium-high. Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add remaining 2 teaspoons of Creole seasoning, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and juice from a lemon half. Cook for 1 minute, tossing shrimp in sauce.
  • Add beer and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until shrimp are cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter, one piece at a time. The sauce will thicken as you stir in the butter. Finish with a squeeze of juice from remaining lemon half.
  • Serve immediately, either right in the skillet or on a serving platter, with garlic toast for mopping up the sauce.
Après All Day

Adapted From

Après All Day

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 456 kcalCarbohydrates: 9 gProtein: 22 gFat: 37 gSaturated Fat: 17 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 14 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 254 mgSodium: 1629 mgPotassium: 371 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 2 gVitamin A: 2498 IUVitamin C: 49 mgCalcium: 115 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Kelley Epstein. Photo © 2021 Ren Fuller. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We loved this rich and flavorful spicy shrimp skillet with garlic toast: the garlic toast was the perfect vehicle for mopping up the delicious buttery sauce in the pan and I loved how easy and quick the whole meal was to put together. The dish was visually appealing and the aromas of garlic, peppers, and Creole sauce put the whole thing over the top.

A large cast-iron skillet filled with shrimp in a dark red sauce, beside a cutting board with toasted slices of bread and a bottle of hot sauce.

I’d probably grill the bread on a panini maker or outside on the grill next time rather than use the broiler. I find it difficult to keep the edges of the bread from burning and although I used the lowest setting on my broiler, it still cooked the bread unevenly. Next time I’ll reduce the Creole seasoning to 2 tsp total as the dish was just slightly saltier than it needed to be and cook the shrimp for slightly less time. Definitely a keeper!

I love this shrimp–I only wish I had made some grits. This spicy shrimp skillet with garlic toast is the best. The flavor and spicy heat are just perfect. The smell is amazing. The sauce is perfect for sopping up with the toast.

A cast-iron skillet filled with shrimp in a dark red sauce, with a wooden spoon and 2 pieces of toasted bread.

As we were eating this, I thought man I should have made grits, it would be the best shrimp and grits. We had some shrimp leftover so I will be making grits tomorrow. We had ours with a green salad. Should have made those grits!

This spicy shrimp skillet with garlic toast is a very tasty, very easy recipe to throw together. There are not a lot of ingredients or steps but it yields a very flavorful recipe.

I honestly should have doubled or tripled the recipe because my kids ate over 1/2 of the shrimp. One son made a po’boy out of the garlic bread and shrimp then got extra bread to sop up the sauce. I was concerned it would be overly spicy but it balanced out very well when everything was combined. We served it with caesar salad.

Shrimp is one of my favorite foods and I prepare it in a number of different ways. This spicy shrimp skillet with garlic toast is now one of my favorites. It is a quick, easy preparation and is bursting with flavor. Given the name, I did expect a hotter spicy flavor. It is, however, a delicious blend of flavors and could easily be spiced up with additional hot sauce if that is your preference.

I personally wouldn’t bother with the garlic toast the next time I prepare this. The sauce on the shrimp has so much flavor that the garlic doesn’t really add much. If you make the toast, watch it closely as it burns quickly. A sourdough or similar bread to soak up the sauce would be my preference. I served this with couscous (to soak up more sauce!) and a quinoa salad.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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