Gambas Al Ajillo (Spanish Garlic Shrimp)


Two years ago this month I had one of the most amazing experiences – I went to Spain for the first time. The school where I worked needed chaperones for the annual Upper School exchange program with a school in Spain. They already had two men going on the trip and really needed a woman, so even though I taught middle school Spanish, I was asked to chaperone. We went for ten days and had the most incredible experiences visiting cultural sites, exploring new cities, and enjoying some of the most delicious food!

One night, I even had the pleasure of going on a tapas crawl to all of the famous tapas restaurants in downtown Madrid. It was extraordinary. One of the stops we made along our crawl was to a restaurant that specialized in making just “gambas al ajillo,” or garlic shrimp. Even though it was little more than sizzling olive oil, shrimp, and garlic, it was fantastic! I couldn’t get over it! It ended up being my favorite dish we tried all night! 

After two years, I could wait no longer, so I decided it was time to share this delectable treat on the blog! This recipe is incredibly simple, yet unbelievably tasty, which is something I look for in a great dish! You could make this recipe as dinner for two, or you could serve it as tapas for six. After John had this dish for the first time, he insisted it become a regular that we could eat every week! We haven’t had it that much, but it is certainly a new staple in our house!

Gambas Al Ajillo (Spanish Garlic Shrimp)

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Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 lb. medium shrimp peeled & deveined
  • 1/4 cup evoo
  • 6-8 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 dried chili pepper guindilla?
  • 1 tbsp. parsley finely chopped


  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat until hot.
  • When oil is hot, add the garlic, paprika, and chili and cook until the garlic just begins to turn light golden in color.
  • At this point, add the shrimp and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the shrimp have all turned pink.
  • Remove pan from heat and top with parsley.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


In Spanish fashion, I’ve calculated the nutritional information for this recipe to serve six. • Try serving with a fresh baguette to soak up the extra oil!