Make (hands down) the BEST Hawaiian garlic shrimp with this easy recipe! It's made with simple ingredients that create INSANE umami flavor - and don't worry, it's beginner-friendly! Your family won't be able to resist coming back for more!
One of the most popular dishes eaten while in Hawaii, aside from tuna poke, is the Hawaiian garlic shrimp… It’s so finger-licking good!
After gorging myself with a plateful of garlicky buttery shrimp in Hawaii, I was so excited to recreate it to bring some island vibes home!
If you're a straight up garlic lover, don't miss out on my super easy Asian Garlic Noodles that are done in only 15 minutes!
- Shrimp: I recommend going for large or jumbo shrimp that's deveined WITH the shells. Shrimp shells add SO much more flavor to the dish, so I don't recommend skipping it.
- Fish Sauce & Oyster Sauce: These two ingredients are key to creating an INSANE amount of umami to the dish and blends beautifully with the butter.
- Potato Starch & All-Purpose Flour: The combination of the two starches create an addictively crisp texture to the Hawaiian shrimp. You can find potato starch at your local Asian market or on Amazon. Alternatively, you can use cornstarch.
- Pat dry shrimp for even coating & crisp frying.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Dust shrimp in dry ingredients until evenly coated.
- Pan fry shrimp on medium-high heat until golden & crisp, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Make the sauce by adding minced garlic, fish sauce, oyster sauce, & butter. Mix well until butter is melted.
- Toss in shrimp & coat well in the sauce. Turn off heat and serve with steamy hot rice and lemon wedges.
This garlic butter shrimp recipe is SO simple to make. There are just a few small nuances that’ll make sure you have the BEST garlic shrimp!
- Shell On or Shell Off? One of the classic seafood debates! Hawaiian garlic shrimp is traditionally cooked with the shell on. Kind of like cooking other proteins with the bone on, the shrimp shell packs on so much flavor when cooking the dish. It also adds another level of crunch and color (yes, you can eat the shell!).
If you aren’t a fan of the shells, I still highly recommend you give it another shot when cooking this dish. However, if you need to get rid of it, know that the crust on the shrimp will be a slightly different texture and cook a little faster, so watch them cook carefully so they don’t dry out.
- Tossing Shrimp in the Coating: Make sure the pat dry the shrimp well before dredging in the flour mixture. This prevents clumping of the dredge and gives a much more even crust. The shrimp may look like it’s a light dusting, but it’ll quickly form a thin crisp crust once it hits the hot pan.
- Don’t Cook Shrimp in Just Butter: It’s tempting to cook the shrimp in straight butter or the garlic butter we made... But this is a no-no. The butter and shrimp would burn because the butter doesn’t have a high smoke point. The garlic would also burn in the butter by the time the shrimp was cooked.
Instead, cook the shrimp in a hot pan with oil first. Then, toss them in that delicious garlic butter sauce once they’re fully cooked.
I highly recommend cooking the shrimp with its shell on. Not only for the robust flavor but also because it helps lock in the shrimp's juices so it doesn't dry out.
I highly recommend trying it at least once with the shell on since it's the original way of eating it!
Most places in Hawaii serve the garlic shrimp with the shell on and it's intended to be eaten that way because it's SO much more flavorful that way.
You can reheat any leftovers in a skillet on medium-low heat with a little more oil. Alternatively, you can also microwave it. Remember to cover it to prevent splattering.
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The BEST Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp Recipe
Watch How to Make It!
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon potato starch* see notes for substitution
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
For the Shrimp
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp* deveined and shell on, pat dry
- ½ cup oil for frying
- lemon wedges optional for serving
- In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together then add shrimp to dust them evenly in the dry seasoning.
- Heat large pan or wok on medium-high heat, then once hot, add in the oil for frying. Fry shrimp in the wok until golden, crisp, and cooked thoroughly, about 1 - 2 minutes on each side. Cook in batches if needed to prevent overcrowding. If your pan is overcrowded, your shrimp will end up soggy instead of crispy. Set aside cooked shrimp.
- Drain most of the oil out of the wok, leaving a few tablespoons to cook with.
- Add minced garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Pour in fish sauce, oyster sauce, butter, and olive oil then mix well for a couple of seconds until butter is melted.
- Toss shrimp back into the wok to coat in the garlic sauce thoroughly. Turn off heat, then serve over steamy hot rice with lemon wedges. if desired.
- Shrimp: This dish is traditionally made with the shrimp shell on and it packs on so much more flavor and acts as a barrier to keep the shrimp juicy. However, if you prefer to cook it with the shell off, watch the shrimp closely when cooking so it doesn't dry out.
- Potato Starch: Potato starch creates a beautifully crisp texture. It can be found at most Asian markets or Amazon, but if you have any trouble finding it, cornstarch can be used as an alternative.
- Sauce Ingredients: The recipe makes enough sauce to coat the shrimp, however, if you'd like it EXTRA saucy to soak up in the rice, you can double or triple the sauce ingredients.
Exact calculations may vary. For the most accurate nutritional information, use your preferred nutrition calculator, actual ingredients, and quantities used for the recipe. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian if more precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.