This Pan Seared Shrimp recipe will show you how to pan fry shrimp in a hot skillet on the stove. This dish is seasoned with herbs and spices, and drizzled in a homemade lemon butter sauce. Serve this with any of your favorite side dishes.
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What Type of Shrimp to Use
This dish is considered a main dish so large shrimp are the best shrimp to use. The size of shrimp can vary depending on the species and where they are caught. Large and jumbo shrimp are considered to be those that are at least 21-25 count per pound. This means that there will be 21-25 or less shrimp per pound.
The common raw shrimp you will find in stores include tiger shrimp, jumbo shrimp, and wild-caught shrimp.
For taste, wild-caught shrimp are generally considered to be the best option as they have a more flavorful and firmer texture compared to farm-raised shrimp. Wild-caught shrimp are shrimp that are caught in their natural habitat in the ocean or other bodies of water, as opposed to being farmed or raised in captivity.
Farm-raised shrimp are raised in captivity on a shrimp farm. These farms can be located in ponds or in tanks on land. The shrimp are typically fed a diet of fishmeal, soy, and other ingredients, and are sometimes given antibiotics or other chemicals to prevent disease. Those chemicals are then passed into the food you eat.
I prefer wild-caught and large shrimp.
If you want to use frozen shrimp check out my Air Fryer Frozen Shrimp Recipe. You can use the same spices and lemon butter sauce noted in this recipe.
Do You Leave the Tails on the Shrimp?
This is completely up to you and is a matter of preference. Often the tails are left on for presentation purposes only. The shrimp simply looks nicer and will have a nice curve to it when the tails are left on.
How to Season
You will need to use quality lemon pepper seasoning to actually add flavor to the fish. I also love the Lemon Garlic Seasoning from Trader Joe’s.
Once the shrimp is cooked, I love to drizzle it in a lemon butter sauce for even more flavor.
What Type of Pan to Use
- Cast iron skillet: This is my favorite go-to option! Cast iron can withstand high temperatures and distribute heat evenly. Cast iron also has the added benefit of being able to be used on the stovetop and in the oven.
- Stainless steel pan: Stainless steel pans are also a good option for searing as they can withstand high heat.
I don’t recommend non-stick pans for searing. The surface can’t withstand high heat and the coating can release harmful fumes if overheated. You can use one if you prefer.
Lemon Butter Sauce
The homemade lemon butter sauce is what amplifies the flavor of the shrimp. You can dip the cooked shrimp in the sauce while serving, or glaze the shrimp in the sauce.
How to Zest a Lemon
I use this lemon zester from Amazon. You can also use a box/cheese grater. If using the zester hold it one hand and the lemon in the other. Graze the lemon over it, away from you and back and forth. You can read more about How to Zest a Lemon here.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge tightly sealed for 3-4 days.
How to Reheat
The best way to reheat leftover shrimp is in a pan on medium heat with butter or oil. You can also reheat in the air fryer on 350 degrees until warm. Be careful, because the same rules regarding overcooking apply. If you heat it for too long it will be rubbery. I don’t use the microwave for this reason.
How to Tell if the Shrimp Is Done and Fully Cooked
Cooked shrimp will turn pink and opaque. The shrimp will also become firm when you touch it. Perfectly cooked shrimp usually has a C-shape, as opposed to a tightly curled O shape.
You can also check out my guide on How to Tell if Shrimp is Cooked here.
Overcooked shrimp is grayish-white in color. The flesh is tough and rubbery. It is difficult to chew and may have a mushy texture. You can avoid overcooked shrimp by not cooking it for too long and by following the tips above. Shrimp only takes a few minutes to cook!
Pair With These Recipes
More Shrimp Recipes
Pan Seared Shrimp with Lemon Butter
Lemon Butter Glaze
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice For me this was the juice from 1 small lemon.
- 1 1/2-2 teaspoons lemon zest
Lemon Butter Glaze
- Add the butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a saucepan on medium-high heat. Stir and cook until the lemon zest has dissolved.
- Ensure the shrimp is completely dry.
- Sprinkle both sides of the shrimp with lemon pepper, paprika, and salt to taste. Rub the spices into the shrimp.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cooking oil or butter to a skillet on medium-high heat.
- When hot, add the seasoned shrimp. Do not overcrowd the pan. The shrimp shouldn’t touch. Cook the shrimp in batches if needed.
- Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side until the shrimp is cooked through. It will turn opaque at the center. The shrimp will form a C shape when fully cooked.
- Top the shrimp with the lemon butter glaze.