Garlicky Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi
The yummiest, garlicky Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi! These take no time to make at all and would be delicious served with a traditional Hawaiian macaroni salad or even just good old rice! Garlic shrimp scampi is sure to become a family favorite!
I am taking you to a Hawaiian Shrimp Truck today with my homemade Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi!
Just a word of warning, these shrimp are GARLICKY!
As in, you have to love garlic to make my garlic shrimp scampi. Suffice it to say if you are anything less than an all-out garlic lover, you might find this to be a little too garlicky for your liking. This isn’t something I suggest making on a first or second date. This is we’re-going-steady material right here.
I should also mention here and now that my Hawaiian shrimp scampi doesn’t contain any type of pineapple or pineapple juice. I don’t know about you, but any time I hear the word “Hawaiian” I think of pineapple and barbecue and it’s kind of off-putting. These scars are from a Hawaiian pulled chicken recipe I was testing for the blog, and until this day, it’s the worse thing I’ve EVER made.
Don’t get me wrong, I love pineapple; I just prefer it not be in a savory recipe!
Ever since we went to Hawaii a couple of years ago, I’ve been dying to come up with a homemade version of the Hawaiian shrimp scampi we had on our trip. We waited what seemed like forever because it was an itty bitty food truck with a huge line (at lunchtime,) and just two people working. But just as I took that first bite, I knew it was worth it and that I’d be willing to do this all over again! You could smell the garlic before they even handed you your food and that is so entirely not a bad thing, IMO. Also, we had our flight back home shortly afterward, and I’m so glad the universe naturally quarantined us to a corner of the plane. We probably reeked of garlic!
I’ve shared a recipe for the garlic noodles we had on the same trip, are you sensing a theme here? We are some serious garlic-loving people. So today, I felt it was time you had a chance to try out the most amazing garlicky shrimp scampi of life!
One thing I want to point out, the traditional Hawaiian garlic shrimp are served shell-on. Neither hubby nor I am a fan of the shrimp shells, so I’m making my Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi without them. Instead, I’m giving them a light dusting of cornstarch for a hint of crispness rather than going the tradition AP flour route. Gluten-free folks, rejoice! You are welcome to make this with shell-on shrimp if you’d like! I wanted to put it out there, so I don’t get hate mail later saying this isn’t authentic!
It can be as authentic as you wanted it to be!
What do you need to make Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi ?
- garlic (!!!)
- soy sauce
- fish sauce
- brown sugar
- fried garlic
- lemon juice
How to fry garlic from scratch:
There are tons of videos on the internet that show you how to make homemade fried garlic so feel free to give youtube a go if you feel like you need to see the process.
- You’ll need a cup of oil, and about 15-20 cloves of garlic (for just this recipe.) start by heating the oil in a large 9-10 inch skillet and let it get warm — not hot.
- Add chopped garlic and immediately lower the heat to low so that the garlic doesn’t gain color too quickly.
- Keep stirring continuously with a heatproof spatula, so the garlic doesn’t burn. Cook for roughly 1-2 minutes or until garlic is golden brown.
- Place a large sieve over a bowl and carefully pour the garlic into the sieve, so all the garlic catches, and the oil filters into the bowl.
- Now you’ve got garlic oil (that you can use in this recipe or another) and fried garlic.
I find this takes a while to make, so I usually use pre-fried garlic.
Where can you buy pre-fried garlic?
I usually find it next to the fried shallots at my local Vietnamese grocery store. I’ve also seen some of the larger grocery stores in my area carrying it in the spice aisle. It’s usually in one of those fancier glass spice bottles. If you can’t find it at a grocery store, you can also buy it here.
Why do you fry your own garlic and use prefried as well?
The two types of garlic provide two very different flavors. The fresh garlic gives this recipe a nice punch and the fried garlic gives it a hint of crispy texture and really adds to the overall aroma of the dish. Trust me; you won’t have to call the family for dinner, not for this one. They’ll all show up themselves!
How to make the best hawaiian shrimp scampi:
- Infuse the butter with all that garlic
- Dust the shrimp with cornstarch and cook the shrimp in the garlic-infused butter
- Toss it with all the flavorings
- Finish with the fried garlic, scallions, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice
What should I serve with this?
- Coconut rice (I’ve got a recipe that I’ll be sharing soon!)
- If you’re from the there’s-no-such-thing-as-too-much-garlic family, the garlic noodles are fantastic. But admittedly, I think that actually would be too much garlic for me!
- Steamed rice
- macaroni salad
- steamed broccoli
- sautéed green beans
I would KIS (keep it simple) the shrimp have soo so much flavor that something like butter egg noodles, white rice, or steamed veggies is all you need!
What to know about Hawaiian shrimp scampi:
- It’s a ton of garlic! But you can cut back if it’s too much for you.
- Traditional Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi (or any garlic butter shrimp scampi, really) is made with a TON of butter, and though I don’t mind having butter, my yoga pants entirely do not approve. So I cut the recipe back to 4 tablespoons. Still more than what we normally use, but we have this shrimp scampi as a treat, it’s not a weekly occurrence!
I hope I’ve convinced you to grab some shrimp on the way home for a round of garlic butter shrimp scampi. And the best part is you really don’t need to fuss too much with the sides.. so yeah, this should get on the table in no time!
- 1 ½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or any high heat oil)
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 tablespoon EACH: low sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, AND brown sugar
- ¼ cup pre-fried garlic, for topping
- 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (scallions/parsley, for topping)
- INFUSE THE BUTTER: Add the garlic, butter, and oil to a large skillet and set it over medium-low heat. Let the butter infuse with the garlic for 5-7 minutes, stirring often. The garlic should barely sizzle here, you don’t want it to brown! Prepare the shrimp while the butter is infusing.
- SHRIMP: Add the cornstarch and smoked paprika to a large zip top bag, zip and shake to combine. Add the shrimp in, shake to combine, and set aside. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar, stir and set aside for later.
- SHRIMP SCAMPI: When the garlic is done, carefully remove it to a small bowl, leaving behind as much of the oil-butter mixture as possible. Kick the heat up to medium-high. Add the shrimp in a single layer, allowing them to cook for roughly a minute on each side or until they start to turn up into a ‘c’ shape. You may need to do this in multiple batches depending on the size of your skillet. Add the prepared sauce mixture, toss to combine. Top with butter infused garlic, sliced scallions, and the fried garlic! Squeeze lemon juice on top before serving.
- I found pre-fried garlic at my local Vietnamese store, but you can also find it here (affiliate link.) There's also a how-to written in the blog post, or you can search 'fried garlic' on youtube for a video demo!