Gambas Al Ajillo

An easy Spanish Style Shrimps in A Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sauce

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This amazingly simple Gambas Al Ajillo is one of the most popular Spanish tapas dish . Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Huge jumbo shrimps collaborating with the abundance of garlic and extra virgin olive oil surly makes it super delicious. Hence, that flavor mashup makes it the primary reason that it is the number one most popular dish served in tapas bars or many small plates restaurants.

While this amazing Spanish style shrimps is usually served as an appetizer or as part of a tapas style menu, it can also definitely be served as a main course. Moreover, many people typically eat Gambas Al Ajillo with bread. That’s the perfect umami taste combo because the bread soaks up that scrumptious garlicky sauce. As a main course choice it pairs very well with rice or pasta. The garlicky sauce with the shrimps swimming in it soaks the rice or pasta similar to shrimp scampi.

Further, there are many slight variations of this Spanish style shrimps dish, similar to the variety of shrimp scampi recipes. However, the basic ingredients do remain the same. Shrimps., lots of garlic and extra virgin olive oil. The original Spanish Gambas Al Ajillo recipe usually calls for using hot paprika. Nowadays, red hot pepper flakes is commonly used. No matter what tweaks are made to the dish, using quality ingredients yields the most flavorful and delicious shrimps in garlic sauce.

Choice of ingredients and cooking vessel matters when making this Gambas Al Ajillo or Spanish Style Shrimps in Garlic Olive Oil

Moreover, the shrimps choice for this Gambas Al Ajillo is important. At minimum, the desired shrimp size should be extra large. However, jumbo shrimps, used in this recipe, is the preferred size. Kick it up a notch by using prawns or colossal size shrimps. They are the ultimate juicy selection. Because shrimps cook quickly, the larger sizes allows for less chance of overcooking. Next, the garlic. A lot of fresh garlic. As much as needed to make the shrimps and oil very garlicky. Then the oil. Be sure to use a quality extra virgin olive oil. My go to oil is this California Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The flavor and color of this oil are perfect for many recipes.

As important as the ingredients, the cooking vessel plays a key role. A well seasoned cast iron skillet like this Lodge works amazing. The cast iron allows the shrimps to get a nice grill-like crust in a short amount of time. And cooking the sauce in the same pan is an opportunity to use of the tiny bits of delicious fond left behind by the shrimps. However you choose to tweak the Gambas Al Ajillo,, you are going to love it, while impressing your guests. Happy Cooking!

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Gambas Al Ajillo
5 from 1 vote

Gambas Al Ajillo

This popular Spanish tapas dish is a very tasty garlicky dish. Make this for your guests or date night appetizer and the epic reviews will keep flowing your way.

Course Al La Carte, Appetizer
Cuisine American, Easy, Gluten free Cuisine, Mediterranean, Spanish
Keyword 15 minute cooking, Best appetizers recipes, Easy shrimps recipes, Gambas Al Ajillo, how to cook shrimps, Spanish Tapas, Tapas
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
MARINADE TIME 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 People
Calories 283 kcal
Author Julietkitchen By Chef Yasmin



  • 1 -2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 -2 teaspoons fresh rosemary chopped
  • 4 -6 large cloves garlic peeled and chopped (about 2 – 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust for your heat tolerance)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • 15 – 20 jumbo shrimps peeled, deveined, washed and dried thoroughly
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (adjust for your diet)
  • 1 -2 tablespoons butter Optional
  • 2 lemons juice one lemon and use the other for garnish
  • freshly chopped parsley for garnish



  1. Add the shrimps to a mixing bowl. Add in all the marinade ingredients. Mix to coat. Let it rest for 30 minutes.


  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.

  2. Remove the shrimps from the marinade and reserve the marinade for the sauce.

  3. Add the shrimps in a single layer in the pan.Cook 2 minutes per side. Remove to a bowl or plate.

  4. In the same pan, add the reserved marinade. Turn the heat to medium

  5. Add the marinade ingredients into the pan. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to brown the garlic.

  6. Add back the shrimps to the pan. Season with the salt. Mix. Add in butter and stir to melt. Turn up the heat to medium high and continue cooking for up to 1 minute.

  7. Turn off the stove. Pour in the lemon juice. Mix to coat the shrimps.

  8. Transfer to a platter. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley. Serve and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts
Gambas Al Ajillo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 283 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 20g
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 614mg27%
Potassium 92mg3%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 272IU5%
Vitamin C 30mg36%
Calcium 21mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Looks very inviting and delicious

    1. Julietkitchen By Chef Yasmin says:

      Thanks a lot. Best Regards.


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