Firecracker Shrimp – just 5 ingredients for these spicy garlic shrimp skewers! Make them for your next backyard BBQ, or for quick and easy sizzling appetizer recipe.

side angle of silver tray with parchment paper with shrimp skewers piled on top of each other next to lime wedges and red pepper flakes

This post was originally published in May 2017. The photos and text were updated in May 2020.

Firecracker Shrimp here to blow your mind!


They are bursting with flavor, and you won’t believe how easy they are to make (that is until you make them yourself!).

They’re a go-to dinner for those nights when it’s just too dang hot to turn anything but the grill on.

overhead view of skewers on top of each other on a tray in diagonal directions with shrimp next to lime wedges and cup of red pepper flakes

Or those days when the sun has been shining down, and you’ve been soaking it in, and you need a delicious, quick dinner to get back to resuming the sun-soaking-up.

Or those afternoons when you’re craving happy hour on the patio with snacks. Like, appetizer snacks that fill your soul and your belly all at once.

This spicy shrimp recipe is THE recipe for those occasions. But trust me, it doesn’t stop there.

What is ‘Firecracker Shrimp’?

When firecracker comes to mind, so does explosion, bursts, brightness – and this shrimp recipe has it all!

It’s spicy and even though it has just 5 ingredients (plus some S&P), those ingredients pack a flavor punch and keep the shrimp juicy and succulent.

When grilled, the result is a slightly smoky, charred flavor that’s unbeat. But no grill? No problem! Use a grill pan on the stove or a skillet if it’s all you have. The spicy flavor and juicy shrimp won’t let you down.

Ingredients for Spicy Shrimp

plate of raw shrimp next to ginger root, red pepper flakes, garlic cloves, salt, and olive oil for firecracker shrimp ingredients

Those five ingredients, let’s take a look:

  • shrimp
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • red pepper flakes
  • olive oil

Seriously, that’s IT!  Five ingredients.  FIVE.  

And I don’t mean 5 ingredients you have to go searching for. I mean five ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry.

clear bowl with ginger, red pepper flakes, garlic salt, and pepper next to whisk

Ginger tip: I’ve loved having this minced ginger on hand to add a pop of flavor to Asian dishes or marinades. Keep it in your fridge and you’ll always be ready to make this Firecracker Shrimp recipe!

If using fresh ginger, a zester workers wonders to grate it.

First: whisk together the ingredients.

marinade whisked in glass bowl with whisk

Next: let the shrimp marinade in the deliciousness.

glass bowl with raw shell-on shrimp in marinade with spoon

Last: Grill!

What kind of shimp should I grill?

You want to use raw shrimp so it soaks in the flavors. This also allows the flavors to develop in the cooking process. It means juicy, just-right shrimp.

As for the type of raw shrimp, you can use either shelled and deveined shrimp, or shell-on shrimp. I’d recommend buying shrimp with the tail on if you can, as it helps give you something to hold onto when you’re removing them from the skewer (if using) and eating.

Using shrimp with its shell on will result in more flavor from the shrimp, and keep more juices in, but it does need a longer marinade than shrimp that has its shell removed.

up close firecracker shrimp on skewers

The Skewers

Skewering shrimp makes cooking and transferring the shrimp easy peasy!

I find metal skewers so easy to use, but you can use wood skewers, too. Don’t forget to soak wood skewers for 30 minutes in water before using to prevent them from burning.

How do you cook shrimp without skewers on the grill? It’s absolutely doable and just requires a bit more patience as you use your tongs to move the shrimp one-by-one instead of many on the skewer.

When grilling shrimp without a skewer, be careful when placing them on the grill so they don’t slip through your grates.

hand holding skewer with shrimp and tray of shrimp skewers blurred in background

How to Enjoy Shrimp Skewers

As the shrimp soak in the bath of olive oil, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes, they take on all of those fiery flavors. Giving you hands-off time to keep enjoying the sun…

…or to cook up some coconut rice, make a mango salsa side, or pour yourself that much-deserved glass of sangria. They’re also great with cilantro lime rice.

After the little shrimps have soaked up all the goodness, grill ‘em up and in no time dinner is served!

Regardless of your cooking method – grill, grill pan, saute pan – these juicy, flavorful, and spicy firecracker shrimp are going to be a summer game changer no doubt.  

Aside from mango salsa, pineapple salsa – or grilled pineapple – is amazing with Firecracker Shrimp.  Some Edamame Black Bean Salad would be killer with it, too, or serve them with roasted broccolini or spicy chili garlic green beans to keep the kick rolling.

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Get the Recipe Firecracker Shrimp

Firecracker Shrimp is a go-to summer dinner! It’s incredibly easy to make, with only 5 ingredients. Serve it with coconut rice and pineapple salsa for a tropical vibe, or add them to a salad. The possibilities are endless, but the result is always delicious! 



  • Whisk olive oil, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.  Toss with shrimp and let marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge (marinate for 1 hour if shells are on).
  • Heat grill, or grill pan on the stove, over medium-high heat. If skewering, thread the shrimp on a skewer, evenly spacing them. Place shrimp on grill over indirect heat, cook for 2 1/2 minutes on each side, until pink and translucent. Serve immediately with your sides of choice!


If using a grill pan, I recommend rubbing the pan with a big of oil before cooking. 
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Serving: 1/4 recipe, Calories: 294kcal, Carbohydrates: 4.8g, Protein: 26.4g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 3.1g, Sodium: 512mg, Fiber: 0.6g, Sugar: 0.2g
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