Spicy grilled shrimp at its finest with TWO kinds of hot sauce! Just 5 ingredients and 10 minutes are all you need for this spicy, buttery take on firecracker shrimp.
Hello and welcome to our favorite 15 minute appetizer! When we're having grilling parties I'm always into a little snack right at the beginning - something delicious that can be thrown on the grill or in the oven while we wait for the main event, you know?
Fake-out focaccia is an example of this.
Now, don't confuse this Firecracker Shrimp with the dish by the same name from Panda Express. This is not that, although I'm sure that's delicious too. I've called this spicy grilled shrimp Firecracker Shrimp for YEARS, mainly because it is a very fun summery nibble to add to a grilling party at one of the American summer holidays. Hence, Firecracker Shrimp.
This spicy shrimp in particular is REALLY good. It's super flavorful and healthy and SPICY - a fun alternative to "put some Italian dressing on shrimp and grill it next to steak for people who don't like beef." Not that there's anything wrong with that, but this shrimp is SPECIAL - not just an afterthought.
You need shrimp, lemon, hot sauces (go with two kinds - whatever two you like!), and melted butter. I use Louisiana-style hot sauce (Tobasco/Frank's/Texas Pete, for example) and Sriracha. The two combined givea great tang and garlicky-ness, so DEFINITELY go with these two if you can handle the heat.
If you have other hot sauces on hand that you love? Use them! Only one available? Sure. The point is melted butter + hot sauce, other than that the sky's the limit.
I've made these with some additional seasoning as well - salt, blackening seasoning, or Old Bay sprinkled on right before grilling, and honestly I do this about half the time. Usually, though, for me, the hot sauces and lemon juice are all the seasoning this shrimp needs.
For the shrimp, use any size you like! Smaller ones can be cooked inside or skewered for an outside grill, and they'll cook even faster. Whatever kind of shrimp you use, peel/devein them first, but leave the tails on for a handheld grilled shrimp option. If serving these over rice or with other foods on a plate, I take the tails off before grilling.
Spicy Grilled Shrimp Method
To marinate the shrimp, which you can do ahead of time, combine the shrimp, melted butter, and hot sauces in a bowl. This can be done a few hours in advance but even sitting for 5 minutes while you preheat the grill is plenty for this particular dish.
Stir everything together, and there you go! Spicy lovely coated shrimp.
The amount of hot sauce used here is pretty substantial - this is SPICY shrimp. If you aren't into spice, use about 2 tablespoons of each type of hot sauce for a milder version.
When you're ready to cook, preheat the grill, or honestly any other kind of heat source. They'll take 5 minutes or less, usually, and you can do them in a nonstick skillet, grill pan, or outdoor grill.
Over medium-high heat, grill the shrimp for 3 minutes or so on each side until they have nice marks and are opaque all the way through. You want the shrimp to sizzle when you place them on the grill - turn the heat up and wait a few minutes longer if they don't. Let them sit, only turning them once, so that you get nice grill marks on both sides of the shrimp.
And seriously, that's it! Cut the lemon into wedges and give a nice squeeze on top of the shrimp before you serve.
These are SPICY, but the tangy lemon and sweet shrimp work really well with the spicy butter coating. These are on our our regular "we're having folks over, what should we make?" rotation and have been for years now. The hot sauce coating gets kind of crunchy on the grill, and the shrimp stays nice and juicy.
Spicy shrimp in 15 minutes, aka a super nice use-up for that bag of shrimp languishing in the back of your freezer.
I serve these alone as an appetizer, or as a main dish with rice and a broiled green veg of some sort for a 30-minute dinner with tons of flavor. They're also nice as part of a mixed grill with steaks or chicken or anything else you're grilling at the same time.
Enjoy these! They're the best parts of summer all in one little bite.
- 1 pound shrimp peeled, deveined, tails left on
- ¼ cup butter melted
- ¼ cup sriracha or other garlic chili sauce
- ¼ cup cayenne pepper sauce such as Frank's buffalo sauce
- lemon wedges for serving
- Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to high heat.
- In a bowl, combine the shrimp, melted butter, and hot sauces. Stir to coat.
- Spray the grill with cooking spray or brush with oil. Arrange the shrimp in one layer on the hot grill. Grill for about 2 minutes on each side for good grill marks.
- When done (the shrimp will be just barely opaque; it’ll keep cooking after you take it off the grill), sprinkle with lemon juice and serve hot. Enjoy!
This recipe was originally published in July 2013 and has been re-written with new images and text. The recipe is the same but better!