How to Make Hawaiian Shrimp

Shrimp is one of our favorite things to cook. You can add shrimp to so many dishes for a tasty, seafood twist that always pleases everyone.

Hawaiian cuisine brings together five distinct food styles that reflect the rich history of immigration and settlement in the Hawaiian Islands. Before western people immigrated to Hawaii, the native Polynesian voyagers settled the area with animals and plants of their own. And when Hawaiians settled, they raised taro, fished, and planted foods such as sugarcane, coconuts, yams, and sweet potatoes.

In 1778, Americans and Europeans made their first contact with native Hawaiians and they began descending on the islands with whalers and missionaries. These immigrants brought their own cuisine and started building sugarcane plantations. Pineapples also started being regularly harvested.

If you want to try something new, why not give our Hawaiian shrimp recipe a go? This dish will whisk you away to a tropical island paradise, and is bursting with flavor!

Later, I’ll share my Hawaiian garlic shrimp and Hawaiian shrimp scampi recipes.

Hawaiian Shrimp

Hawaiian shrimp is a popular dish that combines the rich flavors of the ocean with tropical seasonings, satisfying cravings for a taste of the islands. This mouth-watering meal, often served from food trucks and beachside shacks, combines succulent shrimp with fragrant garlic, butter, and fresh herbs, and is frequently served over a bed of steamed rice. Many people enjoy this dish for its exquisite taste, simplicity, and ability to transport them to the shores of Hawaii with each bite.

To make the perfect Hawaiian shrimp at home, it is important to select quality ingredients, follow the correct cooking techniques, and pay attention to proper seasoning. Choosing fresh, sustainably sourced shrimp is crucial for the best flavor, as well as caring for the environment. Additionally, using fresh garlic and herbs will significantly elevate the taste and enhance the authenticity of the dish. Following these principles while cooking will result in a delicious, easy-to-make meal that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their culinary expertise.

What is Hawaiian Shrimp?

Our Hawaiian shrimp recipe is so easy to make, and will be ready in just a matter of minutes. This dish can be served up as an impressive appetizer, or paired with veggies and other accompaniments for a filling, fanciful main course.

Hawaiian shrimp is sautéed shrimp tossed in a garlic, buttery sauce for a full bodied flavor. This delicacy has become a famous local dish in Hawaii, beloved by locals and travelers alike! 

What is great about this dish is that it is so quick and simple to make, and can be served with rice, spaghetti or pasta depending on your preferences. With a hint of spicy paprika and succulent, garlicky prawns, this dish is sure to delight everyone. 

Is Hawaiian Shrimp good for you?

Cooking and eating Hawaiian shrimp as an appetizer is relatively healthy. Of course there is a little butter and oil in there, but the majority of the dish is simply spices and juicy, tender shrimp full of protein. 

Shrimp also has a range of health benefits, as they are high in vitamins and minerals, and a wonderful source of protein. They are also full of omega-3 fatty acids whilst still remaining tasty and healthy.

In just about three ounces of shrimp, you get 20 grams of protein which is nearly as much as you would have in a chicken breast, however each shrimp contains very small amounts of fat and carbohydrates. 

What to serve with Hawaiian shrimp

Hawaiian shrimp can be served as a stunning appetizer to impress your guests, however our favorite way to eat this meal is as a main course.

Hawaiian shrimp is best served with a little white rice, or jasmine rice, along with some steamed veggies and a slice or two of fresh pineapple.

You could also try serving your garlic Hawaiian shrimp with coconut rice for an island twist, or even serve your shrimp up with some linguine for a delicious result! 

How to make the most delicious Hawaiian Shrimp

If you are ready to serve up this dish for yourself, then look no further! We have a simple, and easy to follow step by step recipe for this island delight. 

Before you start this recipe, there is a little preparation that you will have to do! For example, the first thing you want to do is choose your shrimp.

We recommend using large or jumbo shrimp for that tender, chunky bite when eating them.

You will also want to ensure that your shrimp is properly thawed after purchasing, which you can do by running cold water over them for about 4-5 minutes before cooking.

You will also want to devein the shrimp, removing any little dark lines in their flesh. This can be done by making a little slit in the back of the shrimp and using the point of your knife to lift out the veins. 

Once you have prepared your shrimp, you are ready to start the recipe! 

The first thing you need to do is grab your seasonings. We recommend using black pepper, a little bit of salt, paprika and some flour to bind them to the shrimp.

You will need to combine your seasonings and flour in a large releasable plastic bag and mix them together.

Make sure that you pick a large resealable bag, and one that will fit all of your shrimp is ready for tossing. Once you have mixed your flavorings, you can put the shrimp inside the bag, seal it completely and then shake things up! 

By shaking the shrimp inside the bag, you will ensure that all of them are properly coated, and it saves a lot of mess and time on your hands. Shake and mix the bag well so that the shrimp will be bursting with taste and flavor. 

Next, you will need a large skillet. Grab your butter and melt it inside the skillet over a medium-high heat.

Once the butter is completely melted, you will want to add your chopped garlic into the skillet pan. This will only need to be cooked for a short amount of time, around 2-3 minutes so that the garlic does not catch or burn. 

Once your garlic is ready, remove it from the skillet and add in the shrimp.

As you may have a lot of shrimp for your pan, you will need to spread them out to cook rather than pile them in. Therefore, you may have to cook your shrimp in separate batches, and swap them over. 

Cook each lot of shrimps for around 2-3 minutes on each side and flip them so that both sides are cooked properly. This means that the shrimp will cook for around 5 minutes in total!

Once both lots of shrimp are cooked nicely, you will want to pour over the garlic and butter sauce that you previously made.

Allow the sauce to heat back up over the prawns and stir to mix them together. To finish off the dish, add a little chopped parsley for a professional touch.

Finally, serve your garlic Hawaiian shrimp with a dome of jasmine rice, and a few wedges of pineapple, and you will really feel like you are in the paradise of the aloha state. 


Top Tips for making Hawaiian Shrimp

  • Always serve this kind of shrimp up warm. The melted butter and cooked garlic just will not taste the same cold!
  • Try not to overcook the shrimp as the flavor truly is not the same when the shrimp is tough and not tender.
  • Remember to devein, clean and dry off your shrimp or they may be a little watery.
  • Be careful not to overcook the garlic, or it will be brown and bitter in taste. 
  • Serve your shrimp up with a little rice and a slice of pineapple!

Hawaiian Shrimp

Easy garlic shrimp recipe served up Hawaiian style
5 from 69 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 4 people
Calories 312 kcal


  • Large iron skillet


  • 12 oz. Shrimp deveined and cleaned
  • 7 cloves Garlic
  • ½ stick Butter unsalted
  • 2 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 tbsp. Flour
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper

For garnish:

  • Parsley freshly chopped


  • Add your seasonings of salt, black pepper, flour and paprika into a resealable bag, and shake them to mix.
  • Place the shrimp inside the bag, ensuring it is sealed and allow the mixture to coat the shrimp fully.
  • Grab a large iron skillet, and add your butter, allowing it to melt. Next, add your chopped up garlic and leave to sizzle for 2 or 3 minutes until cooked.
  • Take the garlic out of the skillet, and throw in a little olive oil.
  • Once it has heated up, place the coated shrimp in the skillet.
  • Cook coated shrimp on a medium high heat for about 3 minutes, turning them so each side is cooked.
  • Once done, pour the garlic and butter over the top of the shrimp in the skillet and stir to mix. To garnish, finish with some chopped parsley.


Calories: 312kcal
Keyword Hawaiian Shrimp, Shrimp
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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