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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 (Garlic Shrimp)

With fresh briny shrimp cooked together with loads of garlic and olive oil, Gambas al Ajillo or "garlic shrimp" is a classic Spanish Tapa that's soul-satisfyingly good. Serve it with a crusty loaf of bread to sop up all those juices, and you can be sitting down to eat in less than five minutes!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Best, Spanish
Keyword easy, garlic, shrimp, tapa, tapas
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Shellfish
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Low-Carb, Pescatarian
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 people
Calories 329kcal


  • 320 grams large shrimp
  • cup olive oil
  • 21 grams garlic (5-6 cloves)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • flat leaf parsley (chopped, for garnish)


  • Peel and devein the shrimp (see the video for my technique), and then pat them dry with paper towels. This helps keep them from splattering as much when you add them to the hot oil.
    Deveining shrimp for gambas al ajillo with a toothpick
  • Heat a frying pan over medium heat until hot and then add the oil and garlic. Fry the garlic until it's fragrant and just starting to brown around the edges.
    Sautéing garlic in olive oil to make Spanish Garlic Shrimp
  • Add the shrimp in a single layer and fry them on one side until they're cooked about halfway through.
    Shrimp sautéing in garlic infused olive oil.
  • Season with salt and the pepper flakes and then flip them over.
    Making the best Gambas al Ajillo with shrimp, olive oil and garlic.
  • Finish by stir-frying until the shrimp is barely cooked through and then garnish with parsley.
    Gambas al Ajillo in a frying pan.
  • Serve Gambas al Ajillo with plenty of crusty bread and a crisp fruity wine such as a Verdejo or Cava.
    Spanish Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo) in a frying pan garnished with parsley.


Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 268mg | Sodium: 930mg | Potassium: 113mg | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 6.5mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 2.5mg