Chimichurri shrimp is an herbaceous and flavor-packed dish perfect for the heat of summer. The shrimp are marinated in a garlicky, bright chimichurri that also gets mixed into a creamy dipping sauce. Juicy, vinegary, and full of flavor, these shrimp are always a crowd pleaser!
These delicious chimichurri shrimp are perfect eaten with your fingers and dipped into the creamy sauce, but they can be turned into lots of different meals. Make them into tacos and add feta, fresh corn, and quick pickled red onion. Or serve these juicy shrimp over rice, polenta, or a dinner salad.
Chimichurri shrimp is the perfect appetizer, side, or even meal bulked up with some grains or salad. Looking for other options to serve alongside these shrimp? Try these Marinated Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Aioli, Burrata Caprese Salad with Garlic Basil Oil or Hot Crab Spinach Artichoke Dip.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Herbaceous. This chimichurri is packed with a trio of fresh herbs - parsley, cilantro, and oregano. This combination of herbs makes the shrimp and the dipping sauce burst with bright, herby goodness. Add dill for even more flavor!
Fast. This flavor-packed meal is surprisingly quick to make. The chimichurri comes together quickly in a food processor, only 15 minutes of marinating time, and the shrimp cook on the grill in minutes! It's a great weeknight meal.
Versatile. There are many ways to enjoy these chimichurri shrimp. Serve these instead of shrimp cocktail for a spicy twist on the classic, or make a grilled shrimp po' boy with the dipping sauce in place of traditional remoulade sauce.
What is Chimichurri?
Chimichurri is a deliciously herbaceous, uncooked Argentinian sauce (though adopted in most of South America) that is used as condiment for grilled meat.
It's wonderful on steak, shrimp, or chicken and is packed with garlic, herbs, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar for brightness, and extra virgin olive oil.
- Jumbo shrimp. Raw, peel-on (or tail on) shrimp at a 21-25 count or 16-20 count should be used.
- Fresh herbs. Parsley, cilantro, and oregano are all used in the chimichurri sauce. Fresh dill can also be incorporated, which is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the sauce!
- Extra virgin olive oil. Use a good quality, cold pressed olive oil for this recipe. My favorite brand is California Olive Ranch.
- Red wine vinegar. Used to offset the olive oil, and provide brightness to the sauce.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic cloves give the sauce a punch of flavor.
- Spices. Red pepper flakes, salt and pepper are used to season the chimicurri.
- Mayonnaise and sour cream. Both of these get combined with the prepared chimichurri sauce to make an additional, creamy dipping sauce.
See recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
What Type of Shrimp Should I Use?
Jumbo or extra jumbo shrimp should be used in this recipe. This means at least 21-25 count (jumbo), or 16-20 count (extra jumbo), which you will see on any bags of shrimp.
I prefer to buy the shrimp frozen, raw with peels on (then peel and leave tails), or raw with tails on. Do not buy pre-cooked shrimp.
How to Defrost Shrimp
- Add the bag of frozen shrimp to the refrigerator the day before you plan to use them.
- Add the unopened bag of frozen shrimp to a bowl of cold water and add something on top to weigh it down. It will be defrosted in about 1 hour.
- Empty the bag of frozen shrimp into a large bowl of cold water. Mix around every 5 minutes or so. The shrimp will defrost in about 20 minutes. Drain completely.
Substitutions and Variations
- Add the shrimp to skewers and grill rather than adding them directly onto the grates.
- If you don't have a grill, broil the shrimp in the oven for about 1 minute on each side.
- Use a grill pan on your stovetop to get grill marks if you don't have outdoor space or a grill!
- Pan-sear the shrimp in 2 tablespoons of oil in batches so you don't crowd the pan.
- Substitute red onion or shallots.
- I love to add fresh dill, as well. Try other combinations of fresh herbs based on what you have on hand.
How to Make This Recipe
Hot tip! Traditionally, the chimichurri is chopped completely by hand, which can absolutely be done if you don't have a food processor (or don't want to dirty the appliance). Just be sure everything is minced very finely, then combine with the spices and liquids.
One: Pulse the garlic and red onion in a food processor until minced.
Two: Add the herbs and pulse until broken down. Don't allow it to turn into a paste.
Three: Add the red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and olive oil and mix. Allow it to rest for 1 hour for the flavors to merry.
Four: Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails on, then pat dry on a paper towel.
Five: Mix the shrimp and some of the chimichurri and marinate for 15 minutes.
Six: The shrimp can be added to skewers, if desired, or just added straight to the grill grates without the skewers.
Seven: While the oven preheats, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, and some of the chimichurri. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Eight: Grill the shrimp over high heat, about 1-2 minutes each side until slightly curled and charred. Remove to a platter and serve with dipping sauces.
- Make the chimichurri 1 hour before marinating the shrimp and serving. This allows the flavors to meld.
- Only marinate the shrimp for 15-30 minutes, then grill. Marinating for much longer will start to break down the shrimp because of the vinegar in the marinade.
- Only use fresh herbs. Because this is a raw sauce, dry herbs should not be substituted.
- Keep the tails on the shrimp if serving as an appetizer or for people to dip in the sauce.
- Make the chimichurri by hand or blitz the herbs in a food processor (stopping before it becomes a paste!), then mix with the oil and other ingredients.
It goes with many things, but particularly proteins such as shrimp, scallops, steak (traditionally flank or skirt steak in Argentina), chicken, salmon, or vegetables.
It's incredibly flavorful and herbaceous because it is filled with fresh herbs, raw garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes and vinegar to brighten everything.
Once the shrimp turn pink and start to curl slightly, the shrimp are done. They cook very quickly, and should not be overcooked.
Store the shrimp covered in the fridge for up to two additional days. Reheat in the microwave or back on the grill.
Store the sauces covered in the fridge for up to one week.
More Delicious Appetizers You'll Love
Grilled Chimichurri Shrimp
- grill grill pan, broiler, or large pan can also be used
- Food processor not necessary, a knife can produce the same results
- Mixing bowls
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ shallot or ¼ red onion roughly chopped
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped and packed
- ½ cup cilantro roughly chopped and packed
- ⅛ cup oregano leaves only
- 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound shrimp peeled, deveined, and tails left on (jumbo 21-25 or larger)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup prepared chimichurri
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add the garlic and shallot to a food processor and pulse until minced. Add the parsley, cilantro, and oregano and pulse until minced. Do not allow a paste to form. Alternatively, very finely mince all ingredients with a sharp chef's knife.4 cloves garlic, ½ shallot or ¼ red onion, 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, ½ cup cilantro, ⅛ cup oregano
- Transfer the herb mixture into a bowl, then add the red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Mix together until combined, then allow it to sit for one hour, stirring occasionally.1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Thaw the shrimp, and remove the peel, leaving the tails on. Pat very dry with paper towels.1 pound shrimp
- Add the shrimp to a large bowl, then add ⅓ cup of the chimichurri and mix to combine. Marinate for 15 minutes. If desired, the shrimp can be added to skewers after marinating.
- While the shrimp marinates, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and chimichurri. Add salt and pepper to taste.¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup sour cream, ⅓ cup prepared chimichurri, Salt and pepper to taste
- Transfer the dip to a small bowl for dipping. Add the remaining chimichurri to another small bowl for dipping.
- Preheat the grill over high heat until at least 500F, then add each piece of shrimp to the grates (careful not to let them fall through) without touching. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until charred, pink, and just slightly curled.
- Remove to a platter and drizzle with extra chimichurri. Add the dipping sauces to the platter. Serve with an additional small bowl to discard shrimp tails.