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How to Grill Shrimp Skewers [Recipes]

by Pam Silvia

As Bubba from the film Forrest Gump wisely said, “Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it.” You can also grill it. Turn up the heat on National Shrimp Day (May 10) with our “How to Grill Shrimp Skewers” guide and these 4 grilled shrimp kabob recipes.

How to Grill Shrimp Skewers

Before we dive into the recipes, we would like to turn your attention to our step-by-step guide to help you tackle any grilled shrimp kabob recipe on your outdoor grill or conventional kitchen oven!

bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp over a fired-up grill

Step 1: Soak your wood skewers.

Bamboo skewers are the most readily available in most grocery stores. To prevent the wood from easily catching fire on your cooking appliance, soak your skewers in a container filled with water for an hour prior. If you are using steel skewers, wipe them with a clean rag before use.

Step 2: Season your shrimp and prep any other food ingredients.

A quick, go-to recipe is to drizzle olive oil on your shrimp with a dry seasoning of your choice. If you decide to use a marinade, we recommend staying away from acidic ingredients (like lemon juice) to avoid shriveling up your shrimp. If you do want to squirt a little citrus, we suggest working the grill quickly when it's time to cook!

Step 3: Assemble your grilled shrimp skewer.

Thread the skewers so that the shrimp and other food ingredients are touching but not squished up against one another. Alternate the shrimp and pieces of vegetables or fruits as desired.

Step 4: Turn up the heat.

If you’re using an outdoor grill, it’s recommended to preheat it at high heat. For gas grills, this means setting the dial between 400 and 500 degrees. For charcoal grills, you’d have to set up a two-zone fire to regulate the temperature as you’re grilling. And If you’re trying your hand at using your oven to make your kabobs, coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray before placing your skewers, and preheat your oven at 425 degrees.

Step 5: Get grillin’ (or bakin’)!

With both types of grills, you can eye the char, turn the shrimp over, and be done in as little as one minute! For charcoal grills, remember to let the grilled shrimp skewers finish cooking through on the cool side of the two-zone fire if the fish is particularly meaty. In your kitchen oven, an 8-minute bake (turning after 5) is optimal.

And after that, you’re pretty much done! Enjoy!

Without further delay, here are 4 grilled shrimp skewer recipes you can try:

1. Grilled-Shrimp Fajita Skewers

For our first grilled shrimp skewer recipe, we turn to one that packs the heat with Mexican flavors. Make it a fiesta for your palate by searing sliced bell peppers (the more eclectic the colors, the better) in oil on high heat, until they are charred on the edges—season them with some salt and pepper.

In a bowl, prepare your shrimp seasoning by mixing together some chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika (a few more shakes of salt and pepper are also encouraged). Generously bathe your shrimp in olive oil and sprinkle your seasoning on top. At this point, you’re ready to assemble your skewer and get cooking.

We recommend garnishing your masterpiece with some cilantro on top. And a squeeze of lime juice can’t hurt!

a skillet of grilled shrimp skewers with fajitas

2. Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers

This grilled shrimp kabob might seem like a strange take on surf-and-turf cuisine, but trust us: after you try this porky recipe, skewers will never be the same again.

To make it, simply coat your shrimp with some fresh lime juice and chili powder. Wrap individual prawns with single strips of bacon, and your prep work is done! However, for juicier results, brining the shrimp and pre-cooking the bacon is recommended.

Brine the shrimp by whisking together Kosher salt, sugar, and water in a bowl and then incorporating the shrimp with some ice. Let the shrimp brine for 30 minutes—any longer could result in overly salty skewers. To pre-cook the bacon, microwave the strips only briefly so that the shrimp isn’t over-cooked by the time it takes for the bacon to char on the skewer.

bacon-wrapped shrimp on skewers against the wood

3. Grilled Pineapple-Shrimp Skewers

The key to executing a mouthwatering pineapple-shrimp skewer is in the marinade. Made with creamy coconut milk, fresh lime juice (or orange juice!), soy sauce, and Tabasco sauce, this grilled shrimp skewer recipe is a melting pot of salty-sweet Cajun and tropical flavors.

After tossing your shrimp in a bowl with the wet mixture, refrigerate them for about 2 hours. When you’re ready to cook your kabobs, populate your skewers with diced pineapple. We’ll leave it up to you if you’d also like to invite some mango, bell peppers, red onion, and sausage to the party.

We think the flavors in these grilled shrimp skewers really thrive when they’re served hot and are garnished with finely chopped cilantro and green onion.

grilled pineapple-shrimp skewers served on a plate

4. Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Skewers

Our final recipe marries several flavors from the previous grilled shrimp kabob recipes. After preheating your grill or oven, combine crushed garlic cloves, ground cumin, Kosher salt, and chopped cilantro in a bowl. Brush the shrimp with olive oil, and toss them in the bowl of flavorings.

String the seasoned shrimp along the length of your skewer. As an option, you may add a thinly sliced disc of lime between each prawn—these thin lime wedges may be scrunched up to accommodate more shrimp (plus, we think the shape adds more whimsy).

With this flavor profile, we think the more charred the better, as the sour citrus flavor really soars with crunch and smokiness. After your skewers are done cooking, top them with more cilantro and a squeeze of lime, and enjoy!

grilled cilantro-lime shrimp skewers served on a plate

We hope our “How to Grill Shrimp Skewers” guide inspires you to seek adventure in the kitchen. For more savory recipes, check out our blog! And for all of your kitchen-appliance or grill needs, visit our catalog, and give us a call. Our home appliance experts are always happy to help. Make the call today!