Cilantro Lime Shrimp

This cilantro lime shrimp is a healthy, easy dinner recipe that takes just 10 minutes! Serve with rice, in tacos, or as a Mexican-style salad topping.

Cilantro lime shrimp

What’s better than shrimp for dinner? It’s healthy, easy to cook, and delicious: making it the triple threat of weeknight cooking! And here’s our new favorite way to cook it: Cilantro Lime Shrimp! This recipe takes only 10 minutes to make and comes out beautifully tangy and fresh! It pairs perfectly with Mexican-style flavors: serve it with rice, an avocado salad, or in tacos. Or make it into a main dish salad topped with our cilantro dressing. Here’s how to make it!

What’s in this cilantro lime shrimp?

This cilantro lime shrimp is packed with zingy flavor: and it takes less than 10 minutes to put together! Alex and I served it recently with green rice and homemade guacamole and it was an incredibly satisfying healthy dinner recipe! All you need is a handful of ingredients:

  • Large shrimp Fresh or frozen, peeled or unpeeled, tail on or removed; deveined is preferable!
  • Lime juice & zest Use both juice and zest to get the best zingy flavor
  • Cilantro
  • Butter or olive oil Both have great flavor; butter is slightly more savory, oil works for dairy-free
  • Fresh garlic
  • Cumin & cayenne

All you have to do is heat the oil, toss in the shrimp, lime juice and zest, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes per side until opaque. Easy peasy! Head to the full recipe to make it!

Shrimp in saute pan

Step it up: serve with cilantro sauce!

This cilantro lime shrimp comes out with a zesty, fresh flavor. If you want to step it up even more and add an even bigger cilantro flavor: might we suggest serving with cilantro sauce? Here are a few sauces that would be just perfect for dipping or drizzling on top:

  • Creamy Cilantro Dressing Tastes incredible! It takes just 5 minutes and you’ll want to use it on everything: salads, tacos, fries, and more.
  • Easy Cilantro Lime Dressing Fast to whip up and its zesty flavor is perfect: also this one is dairy free!
  • Shrimp Taco Sauce This sauce is basically a cilantro ranch dressing: it amps the cilantro flavor to the next level!
Cilantro lime dressing
Try it with Creamy Cilantro Dressing!

Ways to serve cilantro lime shrimp

This recipe is so versatile: it’s hard to know where to begin! Our favorite is simply to add rice and a salad. But there are so many creative ways to serve it, based on whether it’s a quick weeknight meal or a dinner party! Here are all our favorite ways to serve cilantro lime shrimp!

  1. With Rice and Tomato & Avocado Salad
  2. With Black Beans and Rice
  3. With Mexican Chopped Salad (or atop the salad to turn it into a main dish!)
  4. In Shrimp Tacos
  5. With Homemade Tortilla Chips and Simple Guacamole
  6. With Black Bean Salad
  7. In Lettuce Wraps
  8. With Elote (Mexican Street Corn)
  9. With a Classic Margarita, Jalapeno Margarita or Skinny Margarita. Or Michelada!
  10. With Homemade Refried Beans
Cilantro lime shrimp

A good lime juicer and zester

This recipe uses lime juice and lime zest to get big flavor! What are the best tools for the jobs? Here’s what we’ve found are the best tools for juicing and zesting citrus:

  • Use a juicer. Alex and I use a juicer to quickly juice limes. Here’s the juicer we use: it works great!
  • For zesting, use a microplane or grater. A microplane makes quick work of zesting! If you don’t have one, use the fine holes on a box grater. For more info, here’s How to Zest a Lime.

Want more lime recipes? Head to 15 Zingy Lime Recipes.

How to zest a lime

Is shrimp healthy?

One medium shrimp has only 7 calories, making it a great low-calorie way to a healthy dinner! Shrimp are part of a healthy Mediterranean-style diet. (Here’s more on shrimp nutrition.) The calories & protein in shrimp are as follows:

  • 1 medium shrimp = 7 calories, 1 gram protein
  • 1 jumbo shrimp = 14 calories, 1.5 grams protein

How to thaw frozen shrimp

You can definitely use frozen shrimp for this recipe: it’s not necessarily better than fresh! In fact, if shrimp is frozen right when it’s caught and stays frozen, it’s fresher than fresh fish that has been transported for days. How to thaw frozen shrimp? There are a few different options:

  • Day before: If you think ahead, simply place the frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Day of: Place the shrimp in a large bowl of very cold water for 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes to break up clumps that freeze together. The shrimp should defrost in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Cilantro lime shrimp

This cilantro lime shrimp recipe is…

Gluten-free, dairy-free (with olive oil) and pescatarian.

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Cilantro lime shrimp

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 6 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This cilantro lime shrimp is a healthy, easy dinner recipe that takes just 10 minutes! Serve with rice, in tacos, or as a Mexican-style salad topping.



  • 1 pound large shrimp, deveined (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus zest from 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Thaw the shrimp (see the notes above).
  2. Mince the garlic.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry. In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with the garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the butter or olive oil on medium high heat. Cook the shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes per side until opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs.
  5. Spritz with lime juice and stir in the lime zest and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Cilantro Lime Shrimp

More shrimp recipes

There are so many delicious and healthy shrimp recipes, it’s hard to keep track! Here are our favorites:

  • Garlic Butter Shrimp HUGE flavor in under 10 minutes! A fast and easy dinner for weeknights or entertaining, it will become your go-to.
  • Shrimp and Broccoli Soy sauce and rice vinegar flavor this shrimp and broccoli, which comes together in minutes! Serve with rice or over noodles.
  • Creamy Shrimp Pasta Easy to make with the best big flavors: garlic, lemon, and Parmesan. A home run dinner idea!
  • Coconut Shrimp Curry Tastes better than a restaurant in under 30 minutes! It’s a Thai red curry flavored with coconut milk and curry paste.
  • Shrimp Fried Rice Taste just like your favorite takeout!
  • Easy Baked Shrimp or Broiled Shrimp The very best flavor, seasoned with garlic and herbs. Add a crispy breading for an irresistible crunch!
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Jill Uffelman
    March 13, 2020 at 7:42 am

    I didn’t see in the instructions when you add the cilantro. Can you please clarify? Thank you

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      March 13, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Updated! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Lynn Simmons
    August 19, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    How much zest? From one lime?

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      August 20, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Yes, the zest from 1 lime! I added a clarification to the recipe — thank you!

  • Reply
    September 8, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Love your recipes but I print them and the black text boxes are unreadable and use a lot of ink

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      September 8, 2020 at 8:54 am

      Hi! I made an update to the colors. Let me know if it’s working better.

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