Beer Buttered Shrimp is a quick dish featuring smoky fresh shrimp in a butter, beer, and tomato sauce. Serve it as an appetizer or over rice for dinner in just 15 minutes, a favorite at the dinner table.
Buttered shrimp is essentially butter poached shrimp with a sauce amplified with tomato, honey, paprika and beer. It is safe for the kiddos (all the alcohol burns off) and ends up being a mild smoky heat.
What You’ll Need
Simple ingredients that are easily modified and customized.
- Unsalted Butter- Since the base of the dish is butter, try for a high quality butter. This means it has less water content and more flavor. Butters are graded, look for the highest A grade you can find. If using salted butter, omit additional salt in the recipe.
- Smoked Paprika- Not all paprika is spicy! This version uses a smoked paprika which brings a different level of heat. Feel free to swap it out for spicy or sweet paprika too.
- Fresh Garlic Cloves– Fresh is always best when it comes to garlic ! We like a lot in our family, so I used 6 monster sized cloves to make the most garlicky shrimp, adjust according to your taste buds. Bottled minced garlic can be used, but will be taste sweet. I grated these using a micrograter to get a fine and even flavor throughout, but minced or pressed also works.
- Sweet Onion– The original version didn’t include onion but since so many of my steamed recipes too and I am a self-proclaimed onion lover, it made sense on the second go-round. Omit if you don’t care for it.
- Tomato Paste– The acidity and concentrated flavor of tomatoes just can’t be beat. A little goes a long way!
- Beer- The sauce will be heavily seasoned with the type of beer you pick and therefore I choose something fairly mild and not too hoppy. A light lager is perfect whereas a dark stout might be too bitter. If you aren’t into beer, use white wine or omit.
- Honey- Sugars always help to balance flavor and also bind the sauce. Honey or light agave nectar are the best picks.
- Fine sea salt- Yes, we generally use a coarse Kosher salt, but in this recipe the salt wasn’t dissolving fast enough so a fine version was used. Highly recommend sea salt so it doesn’t have a metallic aftertaste.
- Raw Shrimp- The star of the show doesn’t get thrown in until last and that is because it cooks fast. See the chart below on shrimp sizes. The recipe calls for large shrimp, but feel free to use a different size based on what is available. Use raw or cooked shrimp, see instructions below. Just make sure to cook according to size for juicy shrimp- they are easy to overcook!
- Lemon & Parsley– Lemon wedges and parsley are optional, but I like a little spritz of fresh lemon juice and the element of green.
This is a great recipe, but make it super spicy by adding crushed red pepper flakes or fresh herbs for a brightened sauce. Black pepper is also an option.
How to Make
Whipping up this easy recipe couldn’t be easier. It literally takes 15 minutes from start to finish. One of the benefits of shrimp is the quick cook time.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, do not go over medium heat since the smoke point of butter is 350°F.
- When melted, grate the garlic directly into the butter (or grate ahead of time and just add it and add the onion. Stir in the paprika and allow it to sit until small bubbles form and the onion softens slightly. You want it to keep its shape and still have a little texture, so not fully limp.
- Whisk in the tomato paste until smooth and then add the onion, beer, honey and salt. Bring back to a low simmer, this should happen fast, it is just adjusting for the dropping temperature. Continue to simmer until mixture reduces by half and thickens, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the shrimp, tossing with sauce and cooking until you see the tails curl. Ensure you have succulent shrimp by not overcooking.
- Serve alone as an appetizer or over rice or cauliflower rice for an entree. If as an entree, I have slices of crusty bread to sop up the sauce.
Alternately, you can make the sauce and add cooked shrimp until just warmed through and coated. I’ve done this before when bags of cooked and peeled frozen shrimp were on sale.
There are more than 300 types of shrimp in the world that we consume. Most commonly you are eating brown, pink, or white shrimp. This name refers to the color of the shrimp before you cook it.
Shrimp come in different sizes as you may have seen in the store. You may have also seen numbers next to them. This is known as their U-count.
If you see “16/20” next to the shrimp you are looking at, they are likely considered “extra-large.” The numbers designate that there will most likely be 16-20 shrimp per pound. If you see “U/10” they are probably considered “colossal” and there will be “under 10” in every pound you order. Here is a handy chart to help you remember.
Leftovers & Storage
Since the dish is so zippy to prepare, making it ahead of time isn’t really necessary. However, you might have leftovers. Shrimp tend to overcook quickly and become rubbery or mushy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can microwave on 50% power at 30 second intervals until warm. The total cook time will vary based on the wattage of your microwave. The buttery sauce can also easily separate, so low heat is perfect for it too.
But the better bet is to reheat in a skillet on the stovetop over low heat until the sauce it fully heated and simmers, it should only take 2-3 minutes.
I do not suggest freezing this dish. The sauce will separate and since most shrimp (even “fresh” at the seafood counter) have been previously frozen, it isn’t advisable to refreeze.
More easy shrimp recipes:
And recipes the use beer:
Beer Buttered Shrimp Recipe
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Using a micro grater, grate the garlic directly into the butter. Stir in the paprika and stir until fragrant.
- Whisk in the tomato paste until smooth. Add the onion, beer, honey and sea salt. Bring to a low simmer. Continue to simmer until mixture thickens slightly.
- Add the shrimp, cooking until the tails curl. This will vary based on the size of your shrimp.
- Serve shrimp alone, with slices of crusty bread or over rice. Garnish with fresh lemons or parsley, if desired.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.