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Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp)

Gambas al ajillo make an excellent party appetizer or light dinner. Garlicky shrimp with crushed red pepper and parsley is a classic Spanish appetizer. Served with a crisp white wine, it makes an excellent addition to a tapas party, as do Spanish-style marinated olives and tortilla española

gambas al ajillo with sliced garlic, crushed red pepper and parsley

Whether you are serving this as an appetizer for a fancy New Year’s Eve party, or as a nibble for a summer BBQ with a glass of wine, this Spanish garlic shrimp recipe is great for any occasion.

You can increase the portion and have it for a light dinner with a piece of crusty bread for soaking up all the delicious juices.

Gambas al Ajillo

This Spanish garlic shrimp tapas dish is super easy to make and quick. It’s garlicky and delicious, with just a little bit of heat. Any gambas al ajillo recipe should be just that – quick, easy, garlicky and delicious.  

The fact that it’s on the plate in about 10 minutes is a bonus.

Spanish garlic shrimps with crushed red pepper flakes and chopped parsley

Gambas al ajillo is found on virtually every tapas menu. It is a great appetizer to have while you are enjoying a glass of wine. When making this Spanish garlic shrimp recipe, one thing you want to make sure of is to have plenty of garlic. This dish should be very garlicky, so don’t skimp on the garlic.

How to make Gambas al Ajillo

Making Spanish garlic shrimp is very fast, so make sure that everything is ready before you begin. Have the garlic sliced and ready to go, the shrimp peeled and deveined, parsley chopped and everything else measured out.

Heat oil in a sauté pan and cook garlic for a minute or two, then add shrimp. Cook on both sides for a few minutes until pink, but still tender.

Add wine (or sherry) and chili flakes to the empty pan and let it cook for a few minutes before adding the shrimp back in to combine it all together. Cooking gambas al ajillo is quick and easy, which makes it an excellent option for parties.

What can I serve with Spanish Garlic Shrimp?

If you are hosting a Spanish-themed tapas party, or just a fun dinner party, here are a few suggestions for a tasty menu:

Spanish-Style Marinated Olives

Spanish Grilled Tomato and Garlic Bread (also a classic tapas recipe) 

Rosé Sangria

Lobster on Thick-Cut Potato Chips (a delicious party appetizer!)

White Wine Spritzer with Blood Orange

Spanish garlic shrimp in terra cotta dishes

What do I need to make Gambas al Ajillo?

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gambas al ajillo Spanish garlic shrimp with red pepper and parsley

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Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp)

Cheryl Bennett
A delicious, classic Spanish tapas dish, perfect for appetizers or as a larger portion for dinner - Gambas al ajillo is tender garlicky shrimp with red pepper flakes and parsley.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Course Seafood
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 8 oz
Calories 256 kcal


  • 1/2 lb. raw shrimp tail-on
  • 6 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. Spanish olive oil I used arbequina olive oil
  • 1 TB. unsalted butter
  • 1/8 c. dry Spanish sherry or dry white wine
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 TB chopped fresh parsley
  • pinch of salt & pepper


  • In a medium saute pan, combine olive oil and butter over medium low heat. When butter has melted, add garlic and saute until fragrant (about 1 - 2 minutes)
  • Turn heat up to medium/medium high and add shrimp, salt & pepper. Cook shrimp until it is bright pink, 2 - 3 minutes per side for medium shrimp. Remove shrimp & garlic.
  • Add sherry (or white wine) and chili flakes, swirl around and let the wine cook out for a minute or two, add shrimp & garlic back in and toss to combine.
  • Sprinkle parsley over top & serve immediately.


Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 for an entreé portion.


Serving: 1gCalories: 256kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 8gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 388mgSugar: 1g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day!




Originally published: 5/15/16, this post has been recently updated.


  1. Your garlic shrimp look terrific! Those and some crusty bread and I’d be set for dinner 🙂 Have fun tonight!!! xo

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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