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With plump juicy shrimp cooked with loads of garlic browned in olive oil, Gambas al Ajillo (garlic shrimp) is an easy Spanish tapa that comes together in about five minute. Be sure to have some bread handy to sop up the delicious briny oil.

Gambas Al Ajillo

A simple, delicious tapa, Gambas al Ajillo can be made in a few minutes with garlic, shrimp, olive oil and chile peppers. This version adds garlic scapes to the mix for color and flavor.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Spanish
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Shellfish
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Low-Carb, Pescatarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 servings


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 dried cascabel chiles (seeded and crushed into flakes)
  • 450 grams large shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon cognac
  • handful garlic scapes (cut into 2-inch lengths)
  • salt (to taste)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)


  1. Add the oil, garlic and chile pepper to a saute pan and heat over medium high heat until the garlic is fragrant and the oil has turned slightly red.
  2. Turn up the heat to high, then add the shrimp in a single layer. Fry until cooked on one side, then flip and fry on the other. Add the cognac and garlic scapes and stir fry until the garlic scapes are bright green and tender. Salt and pepper to taste, then transfer to a bowl and serve immediately with bread.