Kirbie's Cravings

Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp

Make this popular Hawaiian dish at home. This dish is easy to make so you don’t need to wait until your next Hawaii trip to eat it. The shrimp come out crispy and full of garlic butter flavor.
garlic shrimp on a plate with rice and a lemon wedge.

Since we aren’t traveling anywhere anytime soon, I’ve been trying to recreate some dishes from destinations we planned on visiting this year. One of the dishes Hawaii is known for is their garlic shrimp. Shrimp are lightly breaded, pan-fried and then tossed in a savory garlic butter sauce.

Type of Shrimp to Use

I recommend using extra large or jumbo shrimp. I used 16/20, but you can also use 21/25 .

To keep things as close to the original as possible, I used shell-on shrimp. Most of the places in Hawaii make this dish with the shell on. The flavors of the garlic butter sauce and breading coat over the shell nicely and you can suck on the shell before peeling and eating. If you don’t like peeling shells, you can make this with already peeled shrimp.

This dish can be made with fresh or frozen shrimp. But if you are using frozen shrimp, try to avoid using ones that are high in sodium.

What to Serve Garlic Shrimp With

This dish is often served with scoops of sticky rice, macaroni salad and a lemon wedge. But to keep it simple, I just served it with steamed short-grain rice. If you’re on a low carb diet, you can also serve it with salad or cauliflower rice.
a fork lifting a shrimp from the plate.

How to Keep the Dish Authentic

If you want to keep this dish as close to the island experience as possible, here are some tips:

  • Use mochiko flour for the coating
  • Serve the shrimp with sticky rice and a lemon wedge.
  • Use shell-on shrimp.
  • Leave out the parsley.


When I make this dish, I will sometimes change it up a little. Some of the things I do include:

  • Cooking the garlic until it is dark golden brown and crunchy. This adds crunchy garlic bits to each bite.
  • Cooking the shrimp until the shells are crispy so that you can eat the shells too. To do this, just use some extra oil when cooking the shrimp and cook long enough for the shells to get crispy.
  • Adding a little honey to the sauce to give it some sweetness.

a shrimp coated in garlic sauce.

More Shrimp Recipes

Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Learn how to make this popular Hawaiian dish at home. The shrimp come out crispy and full of garlic butter flavor.


  • 1 1/2 heads fresh garlic minced
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup mochiko or all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more as needed
  • 3-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb extra large or jumbo shrimp (shell on, deveined) 21/25 or 16/20
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1 lemon sliced


  • Add garlic and butter to a large skillet. Cook on medium heat until butter is melted and garlic turns golden brown. Pour garlic butter sauce out into a bowl and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, add flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt. Whisk to evenly combine. Pour flour mixture into a large ziploc bag.
  • Pat dry the shrimp with paper towel. Place shrimp into bag, seal, and shake until shrimp are evenly coated in flour mixture.
  • Add 3 tbsp of olive oil to your skillet. Bring to medium heat. Place shrimp into skillet, keeping them to a single layer without overlap. Cook a few minutes on each side until shrimp are completely cooked. Add more olive oil if your skillet begins to get dry.
  • Pour garlic butter sauce over shrimp. Toss and stir few times until shrimp are evenly coated in sauce. Garnish with parsley. Remove from heat and serve immediately with lemon slices and rice (or rice substitute)


  • Please review my "Type of Shrimp to Use" section of the post which discusses in more detail what type of shrimp to use. Try to avoid using frozen shrimp that contains a lot of sodium.
  • This dish is usually made with mochiko flour but I found all-purpose works just as well.
  • I used regular sized garlic. If you are using large heads you may need to reduce the amount to use. You can use more or less garlic, depending on your taste preference.
  • You may need to adjust the salt amount depending on how salty your shrimp are.
  • You can leave out the cayenne pepper if you don't like spicy or increase it if you do like spicy.
  • The parsley is completely optional. I added it more for color but I don't usually see it in the dish.
  • Nutrition estimate assumes that the shrimp absorbs all of the breading, olive oil and butter. So the estimate is a little higher than what you actually consume because you will have some breading, oil and garlic butter leftover.


Serving: 0.25of recipe, Calories: 399kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Sodium: 432mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, NET CARBS: 11g

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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4 comments on “Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp”

  1. Am a huge shrimp lover. Definitely trying this, thanks for sharing