Shrimp Scampi (Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta)

Cara Campbell
by Cara Campbell
4 people
25 min

This garlic butter shrimp pasta, also known as shrimp scampi, is a classic for a reason. It's pure deliciousness on every. Single. Level.

If you love shrimp, butter and garlic (and really, who among us doesn't), then this is the pasta dish for you. A few ingredients, 20 minutes, and hot pan and you're good to go.

Shrimp scampi (garlic butter shrimp pasta) is a classic beloved pasta dish. It's easy, flavorful, and so satisfying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let's get right too some of the most pressing issues shall we?

What is shrimp scampi?

Shrimp scampi is a classic dish made from shrimp, butter, garlic, and white wine. There's lots of different variations on it. It's often made with hot pepper flakes, lemon and garlic as well.

Can you make it without wine?

Yes, you can. Substitute the wine for some chicken broth and you're good to go.

Is shrimp scampi spicy?

It can be, if you add hot pepper flakes. Otherwise, it's not spicy.

Why You'll Love this Recipe

  • It's so easy (and fast). You can put it together in about 20 minutes on a Friday night after work!
  • It feels light and fresh (the butter makes it...not that actually). But the lemon, shrimp and parsley go to work, making it a great meal for any time of the year.
  • It's full of flavor.
  • You can mix it up and have different variations depending on your taste.


Simple ingredients, but complex flavors make this dish a hit every time.

  • Pasta: I used angel hair, and it was truly amazing. Highly recommend, but see below for other types of pastas you can use.
  • Pasta water: save some for the sauce!
  • Garlic: lots and lots of it. It's definitely a main flavor in the dish.
  • Shrimp: you can use whatever kind you like, but my personal favorite for almost anything is Argentinian.
  • Hot pepper flakes: optional
  • White wine: See the list below for what type to look for, but the TL;DR version is something dry and crisp with moderate acidity.
  • Parmesan cheese: brings the umami to add complexity.
  • Lemon zest: optional, but brings a delicious lightness and freshness to the dish. Also pairs well with wines that have citrus notes in them.
  • Parsley: Really the only choice of herb to use here. It's perfect.
Best Wine to Use

In any recipe, you can absolutely use whatever wine you like best. However, if you're looking for something that will pair well both in the dish, and what you drink with the dish, here's a few recommendations. You'll want something light, crisp, and dry with a clean finish. It should have a moderate amount of acidity to help cut through the fatty richness of the butter. You're looking for something that's not going to overpower the shrimp and garlic flavors in this dish. Try:

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Dry Riesling

Best Type of Pasta to Use

Angel Hair

This is definitely the first choice. The delicate nature of the pasta pairs perfectly with the light sweetness of the shrimp. Plus, when else do you get to use angel hair pasta? It's delicious, and the texture is to die for.


The toothsome bite of this pasta holds up well with the butter and shrimp (and the red pepper flakes if you add them). Really, you're looking for a long and skinny noodle with this pasta, and linguine certainly fits the bill.


Same as the linguine, but if you prefer a slightly wider noodle, then go for it. (This is the widest I would go though. No need for pappardelle here).


This is a really fun and interesting choice. The short, rice shaped noodles makes it feel more like a risotto (although not creamy).

How to Make Shrimp Scampi

Let's go through this step by step.

First, heat your oil in a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Add your garlic, (and pepper flakes if you're using them), and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

Add you shrimp, and cook until completely opaque, about two minutes per side. Remove the shrimp to a plate and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with white wine. Reduce by about a half.

Add the remaining butter, pasta water, parmesan cheese and the shrimp. Stir.

Add the angel hair pasta, and toss to coat.

Add lemon zest and parsley, right at the very end.

Serve and enjoy!

Shrimp Scampi without Wine

You can absolutely just leave it out of the recipe entirely, it will still be delicious. It does bring a hit of acidity though, so if you want to keep that, try adding a small amount of white wine vinegar and letting it reduce.

You can also swap it with an equal amount of chicken broth. Let it reduce, as you would let the wine reduce, and carry on.

Storage and Reheating

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

The best way to reheat is to gently warm the leftovers in a sauce pan over low-medium heat. You can do it in the microwave, but the shrimp does tend to overcook this way.

Other Awesome Pasta Recipes

Lobster Ravioli Sauce

Luxurious Lobster Pasta with Champagne Cream Sauce

Easy and Elegant Arugula Pesto Pasta with Almonds and Burrata

Baked Béchamel Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Broccolini

Shrimp Scampi (Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta)
Recipe details
  • 4  people
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes Total time: 25 min
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  • 8 oz angel hair pasta
  • 6 tablespoon butter divided
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 20 shrimp about a pound, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 C dry white wine
  • 1/2 C pasta water reserved
  • 3/4 C parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2-3 tablespoon parsley chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook angel hair pasta according package directions.
Heat 2 tablespoon of butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes, if using. Cook for about 30 seconds, until garlic is fragrant.
Add the shrimp. Cook for about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with white wine. Reduce by about a half, add remaining butter. Add pasta water and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine until the cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper, taste, and adjust according to your taste.
Add the pasta directly to the pan. Re-add the shrimp. Add the lemon zest and parsely. Toss to combine. Garnish with more parmesan cheese.
  • Even dry angel hair pasta doesn't take long to cook - about three minutes or so. You may want to wait until you need the reserve pasta water to cook it!
  • If you're not into spice, just don't add the hot pepper flakes.
  • If you don't want to use wine, you can omit it completely, or swap it for chicken broth.
Cara Campbell
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  • Lovely recipe and all your instructions/tips are spot on. I serve over a bed of arugula, baby spring mix or romaine. For those that want to cut a few calories. And serve with the wine used in the recipe. Thanks for sharing!