Easy Shrimp Scampi Recipe With Wine Pairings

4 servings
30 min

Are you on the hunt for a tasty shrimp scampi recipe? Wondering how to choose the right wine pairing? Well, you’ve landed in the right place.

This classic pasta dish boasts plump shrimp, fragrant garlic, and a rich buttery sauce that can tantalize anyone’s taste buds.

But choosing the perfect pairing to elevate those flavors can be a daunting task. White, red, rosé, oh my!

Not all wines are created equal when it comes to matching shrimp scampi’s flavors. So, let’s dive in and explore the different types of wine that best complement this dish.

Plus, grab my easy recipe for delicious shrimp scampi.

BTW, if you haven’t yet, make sure to grab my free Wine Tasting Planner. It has 20+ wine night theme ideas, including the exact ones I’ve used for my wine tastings. Plus, a timeline, food pairings, games, free printables, worksheets, and more. Get your copy here.

Shrimp scampi with pasta in a bowl and glass of dry white wine, the best shrimp scampi wine pairing

What is Shrimp Scampi?

Shrimp scampi with pasta is believed to be an Italian-American evolution of the scampi dish from Italy.

Based on the name, you might think scampi is the preparation of the dish. But it’s actually another type of crustacean.

Also known as Norway Lobster or Dublin Bay Prawn, scampi are like little lobsters. So, the name shrimp scampi is actually like saying “shrimp lobster.”

The theory goes that actual scampi were scarce in the U.S. And that’s why shrimp were substituted to create a dish in the style of Italian scampi.

Italy’s version also doesn’t include pasta. It’s more commonly served with bread. But somewhere along the way, pasta became the classic accompaniment to this seafood dish in the U.S.

Today’s version of shrimp scampi usually includes fresh shrimp, sizzled in a zesty sauce made from olive oil, butter, garlic, and lemon juice. And, of course, lots of white wine. Then they’re tossed with pasta like linguine, spaghetti, or fettuccine.

Shrimp scampi in a pan on a wooden board

The Best Shrimp Scampi Wine Pairing

The perfect wine pairing for shrimp scampi is a dry, high-acid white wine that has notes of citrus. These wines will balance the buttery richness of the sauce. And they can hold up to the strong garlic flavors.

Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Verdicchio are great options.

A light rosé would also be a good choice with shrimp scampi.

Oaky white wines like oaked Chardonnay should be avoided. The vanilla flavors will clash with the garlic. And tannins in red wine create an unpleasant metallic taste when combined with this seafood dish.

The Best White Wine with Shrimp Scampi

When it comes to pairing shrimp scampi with white wine, there are lots of great options to choose from.

The best white wines will have high acidity levels that give them a nice crispness. Look for a medium-bodied wine to balance the weight of the dish. Ones with citrus and herbaceous notes will be a good match.

Pinot Grigio

When having an Italian (or Italian-American) dish, why not go for an Italian wine? And Pinot Grigio is one of the best-known white wines from this old-world country.

This grape originated in France, where it’s known as Pinot Gris. Styles from Alsace can be rich and spicy, with notes of honey and ginger. And they can have some sweetness.

But the Italians made the lighter, zesty Pinot Grigio style famous throughout the world. These dry wines have bright citrus and green fruit flavors like lemon, lime, apple, and pear.

Acidity levels can vary and aren’t as high as something like Sauvignon Blanc. So, this wine pairs well when having shrimp scampi with veggies that aren’t too bitter (like zucchini noodles). It’s also a great match for the creamy mozzarella in a Caprese salad.

You’ll find better quality versions of Italian Pinot Grigio with crisp acidity from the Alto Adige, Trentino, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions. Or the Italian style of this wine is made in many other parts of the world labeled as Pinot Grigio.

Sauvignon Blanc

This high acid wine is one of the most planted grape varieties in the world. It’s almost always made as a dry wine. And it’s a perfect match for this buttery, garlicky shrimp dish.

Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic white wine, meaning it’s got powerful aromas. And it packs a flavorful punch.

In cooler climates, the palate is dominated by lime and green apple. Riper versions lean more toward passionfruit and peach.

And it often has herbaceous notes. These may smell like green bell pepper. Or gooseberry, which is a classic New Zealand descriptor.

That’s why Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice if you’re having a leafy salad or green vegetables with your shrimp scampi.

France’s Loire Valley and Bordeaux regions are the home of this crisp white wine. But it can also be found in the Northeastern Italian regions of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige.

In the new world, it’s best known from Marlborough, New Zealand. Or you can find it in many other places like the United States, Chile, South Africa, and Australia.


One of my favorite wines, Verdicchio is an Italian grape variety that’s best known from the Marche region in Central Italy. Although, it’s grown throughout the country. And it’s become known as one of Italy’s best white grape varieties.

It’s an excellent food wine, especially with seafood dishes. Verdicchio’s naturally high acidity and slight bitterness allow it to pair with many light dishes but also slice through any fattiness. That’s why it’s a great wine pairing for shrimp scampi.

You’ll find flavors of apple, lemon, and grapefruit. And it sometimes has herbal notes of fennel or nutty almond-like flavors.

For the best quality, look for ones from Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. But you can also find it labeled Verdicchio di Matelica.

Other Options for Wine Pairing with Shrimp Scampi


Rosato is the Italian name for rosé. This pink fruity wine is an excellent choice for shrimp scampi. It typically has nice minerality, refreshing acidity, and red berry and citrus notes.

The lightest styles of Rosato work best with this dish. You’ll find these in Northern Italy’s Veneto region, where they’re called “Chiaretto.”

This area is one of the oldest rosé-producing regions in Italy. Look for Chiaretto di Bardolino for some of the best versions.

The main grape variety is Corvina, which you might know better from the region’s most famous red wine: Valpolicella.

Traditionally, these wines were made with some skin contact. However, producers have moved toward lighter-colored, fresher styles. Grapes are harvested earlier to maintain acidity. And the juice sees minimal skin contact.

Chiaretto wines have beautiful floral aromas, as well as strawberry, raspberry, and other red berry flavors. You’ll also find some citrus and spice notes.

If you can’t find a Rosato from this region, you could also go with one from Provence, France.

Does Red Wine go with Shrimp Scampi?

Red wines tend to go better with tomato sauce pasta. It’s a tricky pairing with shrimp scampi. The tannins in the red wine can taste metallic when they interact with the fish oils.

If you must go with a red, then avoid higher tannin ones like Cabernet Sauvignon. Stick with low-tannin wines like Gamay or Pinot Noir.

Shrimp scampi ingredients

Best White Wine for Cooking Shrimp Scampi

It’s no coincidence that the best wine pairings with shrimp scampi are also the best to use in this white wine sauce.

Go for a dry white wine with high acidity. This helps break up the richness of the butter in the sauce.

Sauvignon Blanc is known for its mouth-puckering acidity. And the citrus and herbaceous flavors are a great complement to the other flavors in the dish.

Pinot Grigio is a light, crisp wine that works well with the delicate shrimp. So, this is also a good choice.

Do yourself a favor and skip the cooking wines found in grocery stores. They often have a vinegar-like taste that isn’t too pleasant. You’ll get much better flavor from a bottle of regular drinking wine.

And make sure it’s a wine that you’d sip on its own. If you don’t like the wine, then you’re probably not going to like the flavors it adds to your shrimp scampi dish.

What to Serve with Shrimp Scampi

While technically shrimp scampi is a main course on its own, the classic accompaniment is pasta. But why not get creative?

There are so many other great ways to put a twist on this dish. And you know what they say. Variety is the spice of life!

Outside of linguine and fettuccine, carb-lovers can mop up the garlicky sauce with a big hunk of crusty Italian bread. And for the garlic obsessed, top it with some garlic butter.

Other grains go great too. Try lemon rice, orzo pasta, creamy risotto, or rich polenta.

For a healthier option, zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) will do the trick. And you can always add some greens on the side.

How about an arugula salad with a zesty vinaigrette dressing? Or asparagus with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese? If you still haven’t gotten your fill of garlic, you could go for a sautéed garlic broccolini.

My favorite side dish with shrimp scampi is the classic tomato and mozzarella Caprese salad.

Shrimp Scampi Recipe Equipment

For this recipe, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Large pot with lid for pasta
  • Large skillet
  • Chef’s knife
  • Garlic press
Easy Shrimp Scampi Recipe With Wine Pairings
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 30 min
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  • 1 3/4 pounds large shrimp with shells
  • 1 cup dry white wine, divided
  • 3 tbsps butter
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 8 ounces linguine, fettuccine, or spaghetti
  • salt
  • black pepper

Cook pasta in a pot of salted water. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Strain and set aside.
Peel the shrimp and place the shells in a large skillet with 1/2 cup of white wine. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes until wine is slightly reduced.
Remove the shells and set the remaining wine aside in a bowl for later.
In the same pan, add the olive oil and melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and stir frequently until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Add the simmered white wine back to the pan, along with another 1/2 cup of white wine, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let simmer until reduced by half.
Add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until they turn lightly pink, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they'll become chewy.
Remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water and the lemon juice, and stir together. Add pasta and parsley and mix to coat. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Simmering the shells in the wine will add more flavor. But if you prefer to skip the work of peeling the shrimp, then you can use pre-peeled shrimp.
  • For extra sauce, add more of the reserved pasta water.
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