Recipe: Gambas al Ajillo (Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp)

Gambas al Ajillo from Paleo Planet | Freckled Italian

When Rob and I used to live in Charlotte, we would go to this little tapas place called Zen Fusion for happy hour almost every Friday night, especially in the summertime when we could sit outside on their awesome patio. They had great sangria and a little menu of cheap appetizers, and we'd always order the same things--starting with gambas al ajillo. These succulent shrimp would come out swimming in a small cast iron pan of hot, bubbly, garlicky oil. The best.

My friend Becky of A Calculated Whisk and I decided to trade cookbooks this year; and when my copy of Paleo Planet (affiliate link) came to my door, I flipped through it and immediately knew that I'd be making her Garlicky Shrimp, or gambas al ajillo before anything else.

Garlicky Shrimp from Paleo Planet | Freckled Italian

Garlicky Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo) from Paleo Planet by Becky Winkler


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed if desired
  • 3/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon bittersweet smoked paprika 
  • Pinch of cayenne powder


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the shrimp in a single layer, raise the heat to medium-high, and sprinkle on the salt, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Cook until the shrimp turn pink on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, another 2 or 3 minutes. Serve hot.
Garlicky Shrimp from Paleo Planet | Freckled Italian

My favorite thing about this recipe (other than the amazing flavor) is how quickly and easily it comes together. You probably have most of the ingredients already on hand, and the shrimp only take a few minutes! Easy and delicious--my favorite way to cook.

Gambas al Ajillo | Freckled Italian
Gambas al Ajillo from Paleo Planet | Freckled Italian

Check out the recipe Becky made from The Big 15 Paleo Cookbook right here (hint: just in time for Mardi Gras)!