When the age-old question of “what’s for dinner” comes about, and when you’re bored with the same meals over and over, I’ve got your answer: Shrimp Piccata.

up close shrimp in picatta sauce

Yep, we’re taking a little spin-off of the traditional Chicken Piccata and using shrimp in its place for an elevated weeknight (ok, or weekend) dinner.

Our Shrimp Scampi Pasta recipe is a reader favorite with many 5-star reviews, so I knew this buttery, bright lemon, and caper sauce with shrimp would also be a hit. It’s like shrimp scampi but with capers. And who can argue with a 20-minute meal? Not anyone I know!

Ingredient Spotlight for Piccata Sauce

An Italian dish, Piccata (sometimes spelled picatta outside of Italy) means thin slices of meat dredged in flour and served with a lemon butter sauce. We’re making the lemon butter sauce with capers, but we’re not worrying about any dredging here, letting the shrimp shine on their own – saving us some time overall.

If you’ve never had piccata sauce before, it’s a bright butter sauce with a punch of acidity from lemon juice and white wine, with brininess from capers. If your tastebuds love brine, acid, and brightness, this is the dish for you.

Here’s an overview of the other ingredients you’ll need to make the sauce, and well, obviously the shrimp that’s going in it.

  • Shrimp – peeled and deveined shrimp make life easy. You can also get them without the tail, too.
  • Shallot – a sweet, mild member of the onion family, it creates a lovely base for the sauce.
  • Garlic – what’s a sauce recipe without garlic? I have no idea.
  • White Wine – the base of the sauce. In a pinch, you can substitute stock.
  • Vegetable Stockadds some volume to our sauce. You can also use seafood stock or chicken stock.
  • Capers – a classic ingredient for piccata sauce, the brined capers are drained and added to the sauce for a briny punch.
  • Lemon Juice & Zest – for the bright, acidic notes in the sauce. The zest brings it up another notch, and if we’re juicing a fresh lemon, why not zest it too? Also, please, please use fresh lemon.
  • Parsley – fresh parsley is a must-have garnish, it’s bright, with its own slightly lemon and peppery flavor notes that round it all out SO WELL.

Looking to add more veggies? Wilt in some kale or spinach leaves at the end.

How to Make Shrimp Piccata

You’re really going to love how easy this is, and if you’re not serving it with pasta, it’s truly a one-pan wonder. If you are serving it with pasta, I recommend starting that salted pasta water first thing so it has time to come to a boil. The rest comes together quickly, and that will take the longest amount of time.

First, saute the aromatics in olive oil, then add in the shrimp. By cooking them with the aromatics, the shrimp are going to absorb all those delicious flavors.

Cook the shrimp but not all the way through, because they will finish cooking in the sauce, and we definitely don’t want overcooked shrimp. You can always cook the shrimp longer at the end, but there’s no going back if you’ve gone too far. Besides, cooking in the sauce helps them absorb more flavor, too.

Remove the shrimp, and set aside. Deglaze the skillet with white wine, scraping up any bits that are on the bottom of the pan. Hello, our flavorful sauce base.

Then, add lemon juice, lemon zest, and vegetable broth. Bring the sauce to a simmer to reduce slightly, and then add the capers.

Once the sauce has reduced, and you’ve taste-tested it for salt levels, add the shrimp back in the sauce and simmer for a minute or two longer until cooked through. Then, stir in butter and chopped parsley until the sauce is silky and smooth.

shrimp picatta in serving dish

If you’re making pasta, cook according to the package directions just to al dente. Then, drain it and toss with the sauce and shrimp for the perfect meal!

What should I serve with the shrimp?

As mentioned, Shrimp Piccata is excellent with pasta. Angel Hair noodles are my favorite for this dish, as they twist in and out of the sauce, and shrimp, making for the perfect bite.

You can, of course, use any noodle shape you prefer, if you’re going the noodle route. Just toss the noodles with the shrimp and sauce for a delicious pasta dinner.

bowl of shrimp picatta with angel hair pasta next to wine glass

Another option: sourdough bread or garlic herb rolls, good butter, and roasted broccolini or asparagus. Bread is a wonderful item to have on hand because it helps you sop up all the bright delicious sauce.

For a more carb-free (or maybe gluten-free) route, garlic smashed potatoes or mashed potatoes would also be an excellent side dish to this meal.

More Shrimp Recipes to Love:

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side view of shrimp picatta with pasta
5 (9 ratings)

Get the Recipe 20-Minute Easy Shrimp Piccata

This Shrimp Piccata recipe is easy enough to make on a weeknight and also feels fancy enough for a date night at home. Juicy shrimp are paired with briny capers in a bright, lemon wine sauce. Serve it with angel hair pasta or sourdough bread slices for a delicious dinner.




  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Once the oil is warm, add the chopped shallot, and cook for 1-2 minutes. I recommend a pinch of salt here to begin layering in the flavor. Add the garlic slices, cooking for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.
    2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup shallot, 6 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper the shrimp on one side. Add the shrimp to the skillet, salt side down, cooking until one side is pink, approximately 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper the other side of the shrimp while they cook. Flip the shrimp and cook for 1 more minute. The shrimp will not be cooked all the way through at this point, as they will finish cooking in the sauce. Remove from the skillet and place on a plate. Set aside.
    1 pound large or extra-large shrimp
  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up any stuck bits on the pan. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 cup vegetable stock. Let the sauce reduce for 2-3 minutes. Taste test and add additional vegetable stock as needed to thin out the flavors. Add in the capers and cook a minute or two longer. 
    1/2 cup white wine, 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable stock, 1 lemon, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup capers in brine
  • Return the shrimp back to the sauce, along with the chopped parsley, and cook 1-3 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through.
    1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Garnish with additional parsley and lemon wedges; serve with pasta as desired.
Calories: 226kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 183mg, Sodium: 504mg, Potassium: 500mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 139IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 108mg, Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!