17 Shrimp Dinner Ideas for Delicious Weeknight Meals

This fast, healthy, and versatile protein is always a great option—and, best of all, cooks quickly.

shrimp with zucchini and spicy couscous
Photo: Johnny Miller

Shrimp is such a great weeknight dinner staple—it's quick to cook, reasonably priced, healthy, and versatile. The recipes in this collection of shrimp dinner ideas hit all of those notes and then some. You'll find salads, Mexican-inspired meals, pastas, curries, Southern classics, and more. All are satisfying and delicious.

Although the recipes here work well with fresh and frozen shrimp, frozen is actually preferred; it's more likely that the shrimp were frozen within a very short time of being out of the water, which helps preserve their fresh flavor. Fresh shrimp may have been frozen at some point, and then thawed before you bought them.

And while shrimp isn't difficult to cook, you'll want to keep an eye on it to make sure you don't overcook it. One tried-and-true trick: Watch the thickest part (which is at the opposite end from the tail), and when the flesh at that area turns from translucent to opaque, the shrimp is done. Generally speaking, one to three minutes is all it takes. How's that for a quick dinner?

01 of 17

Crispy Panko Shrimp Salad

Crispy Panko Shrimp Salad
Ren Fuller

In this quick five-ingredient dish, Dijonnaise (a flavorful mixture of mustard and mayo) does double duty, binding panko crumbs to the shrimp and also adding creaminess to the salad dressing.

02 of 17

Spicy Shrimp Fajitas with Grilled Pineapple Pico

Although this recipe calls for cooking the shrimp in a cast-iron skillet over a grill, you can just as easily use a grill pan over the stove (or any pan, for that matter). The finished dish is still a terrific combo of sweet and spice, thanks to lime, chipotle-in-adobo sauce, and pineapple.

03 of 17

Spaghetti with Shrimp, Kale, and Burst Tomatoes

Spaghetti with Shrimp, Kale, and Burst Tomatoes
Chris Simpson

Frozen shrimp is a great ingredient to have on hand for last-minute meals. Here, it adds heft to cherry tomatoes, kale, and spaghetti for a healthy and quick dinner.

04 of 17

Shrimp and Sausage with Cheesy Grits

Shrimp and Sausage with Cheesy Grits
Jenny Huang

Shake up your dinner rut with this dinner version of shrimp and grits. You sear smoky andouille sausage and shrimp in a skillet, then arrange them on top of a comforting bowl of cheesy grits. A saucy fried egg is the crowning achievement on this breakfast-for-dinner winner.

05 of 17

Coconut-Curry Shrimp and Couscous

Bryan Gardner

Whipping up this Thai-inspired curry is faster than waiting for takeout. The secret? Teaming quick-cooking ingredients including fresh shrimp, frozen peas, and couscous with the flavor bomb that is red curry paste.

06 of 17

Gingery Shrimp Salad with Crispies

gingery shrimp salad with crispies
Paola + Murray

This healthy dinner salad has fun additions like juicy seared shrimp and crunchy tortilla strips, which make it feel like a special occasion treat—even though it's quick and easy enough to make on a weeknight. Another reason to love it: It has a fantastic balance of textures and flavors.

07 of 17

Spaghetti and Shrimp Meatballs

shrimp meatballs

Here's a surprising twist on meatballs that omits beef or pork in favor of shrimp, amped up with panko, Pecorino Romano, fresh basil, and scallions. Pair them with our classic five-ingredient red sauce and serve with spaghetti for a lighter take on a favorite meal.

08 of 17

Cajun Shrimp and Rice

cajun shrimp and rice in pink bowl
Ren Fuller

It's hard to resist jambalaya, the Creole and Cajun rice dish that combines meat, vegetables, and rice. This version incorporates spicy pork sausage and shrimp, as well as the Louisiana trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery.

09 of 17

Shrimp Maque Choux

two bowls of shrimp maque choux
Lennart Weibull

Here's another Cajun-inspired meal with incredible flavor that you can have on the table in under an hour. Its star ingredients are sweet corn, spicy peppers, and shrimp. Bonus: The "milk" scraped from the corn cobs after the kernels are cut off gives the broth an irresistible creaminess.

10 of 17

Warm Farro-and-Winter-Greens Salad

warm farro-and-winter-greens salad
Lennart Weibull

In this easy and nourishing recipe, nutty farro enriches a warm winter salad that features earthy beets, crisp winter greens, and briny feta cheese. Although any protein would work here, shrimp is a particularly nice complement to the beets' sweetness and the salty feta.

11 of 17

Thai-Curry Shrimp Linguine

Thai-Curry Shrimp Linguine
Kate Sears

With pantry staples, such as Thai curry paste and coconut milk, and a few fresh ingredients, like green beans, shrimp, cilantro, and lime, you can have a lovely meal on the table in about 40 minutes.

12 of 17

Shrimp with Zucchini and Spicy Couscous

shrimp with zucchini and spicy couscous
Johnny Miller

This one-skillet meal consists of three quick-cooking stalwarts: shrimp, zucchini, and couscous. It also has a fantastic combination of flavors, with tang and heat from salsa and earthy notes from canned green chiles.

13 of 17

Scandinavian Shrimp Salad

scandinavian shrimp salad served on a pink plate
Lennart Weibull

This elegant entrée combines shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, cornichons, fennel, soft buttery lettuce, and boiled baby potatoes. And it's practical, too, since you can use the same pan to cook the shrimp and the potatoes.

14 of 17

Shrimp Scampi with Yellow-Squash Noodles

yellow squash shrimp scampi
Armando Rafael

This terrific recipe combines the familiar (shrimp sautéed with butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes) with the unexpected (yellow squash that you transform into sunny strands of "pasta").

15 of 17

Instant Pot Shrimp Boil

instant pot shrimp boil on table on plates
Julia Gartland

A mix of smoky sausage, briny shrimp, tender potatoes, and sweet corn come together for this casual southern dinner known as a low-country boil. Use a multicooker so everything cooks quickly; then serve it all up on one one big platter. It's a colorful mix that's terrific for a cookout or beachside gathering.

16 of 17

Shrimp with Spicy Green Rice

spicy green rice and shrimp
Con Poulos

Taking a cue from the Venetian risi e bisi, a soupy rice-and-peas, this version with shrimp highlights sweet and crunchy sugar snap peas with Southeast Asian ingredients. Of note, chiles and ginger, which bring a little heat, basil and cilantro, which add freshness, and fish sauce, which lends salty depth.

17 of 17

Shrimp-and-Basil Glass-Noodle Stir-Fry

shrimp basil glass noodle stir fry
Christopher Testani

Each ingredient gets its turn in the wok in this easy shrimp stir-fry: shiitake mushrooms, shrimp, snap peas, eggs, and glass noodles (which just so happen to be gluten-free). Added just before serving, fresh basil leaves become slightly wilted from the heat, adding wonderful aroma and bright flavor.

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