January 20, 2022

Spicy Calabrian Shrimp

If you make any of my dishes this is the one. This spicy Calabrian shrimp is spicy, buttery, with depth of flavor, but most of all this dish is addicting, very very addicting.

If you’ve been following for a while you have probably picked up that there are a few flavor profiles I often play into. Salty, sour, texture, but by far my favorite is spicy. This spicy Calabrian shrimp recipe is buttery, and garlicky, and packed with tremendous flavor. Might I also mention it’s herby, with just the right amount of heat and flavor from the Calabrian chili paste. If you are having a hard time figuring out what this dish tastes like, it’s as if shrimp scampi got a serious bold makeover. Designed to be eaten with a crusty loaf of bread, you might just have a hard time deciding which is better. The juicy shrimp? Or the spicy herb butter?

spicy calabrian shrimp on plate


  • Shrimp – Peeled and deveined. This dish is JUST shrimp nothing else. If there was ever a time to buy the big juicy shrimp from the seafood counter this is it. I splurge on this dish and buy “2 biter” fresh shrimp, not to say that I am above frozen shrimp. If you go the frozen route, make sure they are completely defrosted.
  • Calabrian Chili Pepper Paste– I’ve gone through this ingredient in several of my previous recipes, but incase you missed it Calabrian chilis are a medium-hot Italian chili that is often turned into a flavorful paste. Truly there is no substitute here since this paste adds so much more than heat, it brings a slightly smokey, salty, BEYOND flavorful punch to any dish. With that said this one might be difficult to find at your local supermarket. I love Trader Joes Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce. No Trader Joes? Amazon sells THIS.
  • Cilantro – If you are in the small percentage of people who taste soap when you taste cilantro, sub for parsley. If you aren’t, trust me it’s better with cilantro.
  • Garlic – Does this recipe call for 10 cloves? Yes. Fresh only, do not use the pre chopped refrigerated kind.
  • Butter – Salted, and a lot of it.
  • Olive Oil – This dish is cooked on low-medium heat to prevent the garlic from burning. Use good EVOO.
spicy calabrian shrimp


Construct the Sauce – In a large pan over low heat add the butter and the olive oil. Once heated and melted add the garlic. You are going to cook the garlic a tad longer than you normally do so watch out for browning. On low heat the garlic should not brown or burn. Cook the garlic until it is fragrant and soft, 3-5 minutes. Add Calabrian chili paste and cook for another minute. Add half the cilantro and stir to combine.

Cook the Shrimp – Salt the shrimp with a heavy pinch. In one layer add the shrimp. If all the shrimp don’t fit, cook in multiple batches. Depending on the size this could be up to 2-4 minutes on each side.. Do not overcook! Shrimp should be juicy not rubbery. Top with rest of the cilantro, and serve with crusty bread.


Can I reduce the amount of butter? Tested, tried, it just doesn’t taste the same. Part of what makes this dish so good is the spicy butter that is BEGGING for crusty bread.

Can I swap the butter out for oil? The butter cuts into a lot of the heat of the chilies, keep the butter in.

I have a low tolerance for heat, can I make this less spicy? This dish is for spicy lovers. However if you are sensitive to heat, don’t turn away. Reduce the amount of Calabrian chili paste from 3-4 Tbsp to 1-2.


Calabrian shrimp can be stored in an airtight container for 1-2 days. When ready to reheat you have a few options. Option 1 is to use the microwave which I do not recommend. Option 2 is to pop the shrimp on a sheet tray and place in a 350 degree oven until warm. Finally you can place it back in the pan on low heat to reheat, however this method only really works if you have enough of the butter sauce left over.

Obsessed with Calabrian chili paste as much as I am? Trying to figure out how to use the rest of the jar? Check out my recipes for Spicy Caper Pasta or Spicy Vodka Rigatoni or search “Calabrian Chili” in the search bar.

January 20, 2022

Spicy Calabrian Shrimp

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This calabrian shrimp recipe is buttery and garlicky and packed with tremendous flavor, not to mention herby with just the right amount of spice.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Shrimp, Spicy
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 3-4 tbsp Calabrian chili paste
  • 10 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp butter salted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • salt


  • In a large shallow pan over medium-low heat melt butter. Add olive oil.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant and soft (3-5 minutes). Do not burn the garlic. If it begins to brown, lower the heat.
  • Add Calabrian chili paste and cook for another minute. Add half the cilantro and stir to combine.
  • In one layer add the shrimp (if all the shrimp don't fit, cook in multiple batches). Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle a little bit of salt on each side. Do not overcook! Shrimp should be juicy not rubbery.
  • Top with rest of the cilantro, and serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!


  • Want additional heat? Add a pinch of chili flakes to the butter as it heats up.
  • If you notice halfway that there isn’t enough butter sauce, add an additional tbsp of butter or olive oil.

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Best recipe ever. It’s so easy with just a few ingredients and some frozen shrimp in the freezer. I did reduce the butter and oil quite a bit because of my dietary restrictions and replaced real butter with ghee, but the bomba chili paste from Trader Joe’s is so tasty, all I had to do was add a little more salt to get to taste right. It’s also a bit more spicy because it’s not cut with all the butter, but I enjoy spice ALOT. And yes, it DOES need that much garlic. My boyfriend’s not sleeping in the bed tonight #vampiremode Thanks TBA!!!

  2. 4 stars
    Solid recipe. The 10 cloves of garlic seems excessive but it gives some substance to the sauce and a nice flavor. The flavor is a bit one-note, which is why I finished it with a splash of lemon juice and a little parmesan to cut some of the spicy. Definitely going to play around with this chili paste more now!