Hawaiian Style Garlic Shrimp

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Hawaiian-style garlic shrimp is cooked up in a dreamy garlic butter sauce. Inspired by the food trucks in Hawaii, the punch of savory flavor in each bite will have you feeling like you’re on vacation!

There’s nothing better than the food in Hawaii. It’s so delicious, flavorful, and diverse! I love the Asian flavors you can find in the cuisine. Bring the flavor of the islands to your kitchen with a homemade poke bowl, Hawaiian meatballs, and Huli-huli chicken!

Top-down view of garlic shrimp in a white and blue skillet.

Amazing Hawaiian-Style Garlic Shrimp Recipe

Everyone knows that while you are in Hawaii, no vacation is complete without a trip to a shrimp shack! My hubby and friends absolutely loved the shrimp shacks in Hawaii and we stopped at them three different times. I asked the famous Giovanni shrimp shack what ingredients they use and was able to completely make this buttery shrimp taste exactly like it was from Hawaii!

The butter garlic sauce turned out perfectly. It has the same delicious blend of garlic and paprika, just as it was in Hawaii! And if you have been lucky enough to experience the shrimp in Hawaii, you know that it is loaded with tons of caramelized garlic. You will definitely need a breath mint after trying this, but the sauce is just too good to resist! And according to my hubby, I made it taste and smell just like it came from Giovanni’s shrimp truck in Hawaii. That’s a win in my book! This Hawaiian garlic shrimp recipe is a must-make. Pair it with fresh white rice and macaroni salad for a hearty meal your family won’t be able to get enough of.

Everything Needed to Make It

A handful of simple ingredients is all it takes! The delicious garlic butter sauce uses a lot of basic ingredients but has such incredible caramelized flavor. You’re going to absolutely love it! And if you’re looking for measurements, they can all be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

  • Shrimp: I used jumbo white shrimp here. I recommend buying it deveined for easy prep!
  • Flour: A dash of all-purpose flour helps the sauce to thicken up nicely.
  • Paprika: Adds delicious warm spice to this dish. It balances out the savory flavors perfectly. If you want more heat, you can sub this for cayenne pepper.
  • Sea Salt: I used coarse Hawaiian sea salt, but regular sea salt or even kosher salt work too! You just want something with a chunkier grain.
  • Black Pepper: A little pepper is a must to enhance the overall flavor of the garlic shrimp sauce.
  • Salted Butter: Butter is the base of the sauce and makes everything so rich and tasty! I use salted butter to help enhance the overall flavor of the shrimp.
  • Fresh Garlic: Time to break out all the garlic cloves you’ve got! Garlic is the main event here and tastes so incredibly delicious when it’s caramelized.
  • Olive Oil: I always opt for extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
Process photos of preparing shrimp and garlic butter sauce.

How to Make Hawaiian Style Garlic Shrimp

It’s a good thing Hawaiian garlic shrimp is so easy to make, your family is going to want it on repeat! It cooks up in 10 minutes and only needs a few simple steps to throw it together.

  1. Create Flour Mixture: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the jumbo shrimp, flour, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  2. Caramelize Garlic: In a large skillet on medium-high heat, add butter, and minced raw garlic
  3. Combine and Cook: Add the olive oil and shrimp to your pan and cook until the shrimp is pink, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Serve: Serve the shrimp with rice and fresh pineapple. And to get the full Hawaiian effect, use the leftover garlic sauce to serve on top of the rice.
Closeup of Hawaiian-style garlic shrimp.

Tips and Tricks

These are a few ways to get your garlic shrimp tasting as delicious as possible with that signature Giovanni’s food truck flavor!

  • Keep Shells On: For that traditional Hawaiian flavor, don’t worry about peeling your shrimp! The skin helps it get nice and crispy when cooked.
  • Fresh or Frozen: You can use either fresh or frozen shrimp here! Both taste great with this insanely good garlic butter sauce.
  • Serve With Lemon: I served my shrimp with pineapple, but I’ve also seen it served with a lemon wedge for a pop of zesty goodness. You can also squeeze fresh lemon juice on top for brighter flavor.
Top-down view of shrimp served with pineapple in a white plate.

Storing Leftovers

This shrimp is best served fresh, but can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Reheat over medium heat on the stove until warmed though. Make sure internal temperatures reach 145 degrees F before consuming. Enjoy!

A Reader’s Review

“Amazing! This was exactly how we remembered Giovanni’s shrimp (sans tourists & balmy Island weather). Now to track down a purple potato taco recipe, my Haleiwa fantasies will be realised.”
Nellie
A piece of shrimp being skewered with a fork.
Giovanni's shrimp truck.

Hawaiian-Style Garlic Shrimp

4.67 from 3 votes
Hawaiian-style garlic shrimp is cooked up in a dreamy garlic butter sauce. Inspired by the food trucks in Hawaii, the punch of savory flavor in each bite will have you feeling like you're on vacation!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 6 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Jumbo White Shrimp
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon course Hawaiian sea salt regular sea salt is ok
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 10 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • In a medium sized bowl combine the shrimp, flour, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • In a medium skillet on medium heat, add butter, and minced raw garlic
  • Add in the olive oil and shrimp and cook until the shrimp is pink about 3-5 minutes.
  • Serve the shrimp with rice and to get the full Hawaii effect, use the leftover garlic sauce to serve on top of the rice. 🙂

Notes

Although I thought the sauce was perfect, my hubby thought it should be a little thicker. If you want it thicker, before adding shrimp, whisk in a tablespoon of flour.
– 
Originally posted September 9, 2013
Updated April 21, 2022

Nutrition

Serves: 6

Calories254kcal (13%)Carbohydrates2g (1%)Protein16g (32%)Fat20g (31%)Saturated Fat7g (35%)Cholesterol211mg (70%)Sodium849mg (35%)Potassium91mg (3%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar1g (1%)Vitamin A274IU (5%)Vitamin C13mg (16%)Calcium119mg (12%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine hawaiian
Keyword hawaiian style garlic shrimp, shrimp, shrimp recipes
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. Just came back from Oahu and had to find a recipe. I do remember however that the sign at Giovanni’s mentioned that the shrimps are marinated first and the steamed. I assume there is a garlic marinade and then after cooking, caramelized garlic is added. That might be the “missing step” mentioned in the comments.

  2. This recipe is spot on! So delicious and tastes just like Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck! I love it! No modifications needed. We had some leftovers and I can’t wait to have it for dinner!

  3. This recipe is very close if not a replica of Giovanni’s. The garlic is what makes this dish so tasty and wonderful. Mahalo for taking the sharing this recipe.

  4. I tried cooking the Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp since I’m longing fo those..it turned out very sour due to lemon juice. I dont remember it being sour..so I told my daughter to omit lemon juice then. I’ll without lemons next time..but turned out tasty..thanks.

  5. I just made this tonight and it’s quite similar! I did add the flour and the consistency was great. I might cut down on the salt next time, but otherwise spot on. Thanks!

  6. I love this recipe! It’s so good and easy to make! Although It’s been a while since I’ve been back home to eat Kahuku shrimp, I will say this is really close to what I remember! I do use lemon juice from a bottle rather than a lemon and just kinda squirt maybe a tablespoon of it in the sauce. I do recommend to use larger shrimp and keep the shell on because it helps trap the sauce in.

  7. My daughter uses rice flour and adds coconut milk. No wine. More butter. Pretty yummy.

    In my opinion cooking them with the shell on really adds flavor. Messy? Yes, but worth it. Last night we inadvertently thawed shelled shrimp so that’s what we made but I would always use the shell on, devained, easy peel shrimp. Get down and dirty!

    She also makes the spicy version and pretty much just grabs spicy stuff, cayenne, some paprika and Old Bay. Yes, I’m sure Old Bay is sacrilegious but they are still yummy!

    1

    1. OOOOH I LOVE your ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing them! It sounds like I need to remake this meal soon:)!

  8. I just got back from Oahu a month ago. We stayed at Turtle Bay too 🙂 I made your recipe tonight, and it was spot on! Thank you so much for putting it together. DELICIOUS. At Giovanni’s shrimp truck, they did have the shells on the shrimp, but I prepped mine like you did and it was much easier to eat which is good if you have kiddos to chase after. THANK YOU!

  9. Love this recipe! Although the recipe wasn’t 100% like Giovanni’s, I still thought it was simple and easy to make at home. Super fast to make to get dinner on the table. I’ll save the 100% to the experts 😉

  10. I will give you an A for effort, but this looks nothing like Giovannis and you missed a critical step in the prep, not to mention you did not use the right shrimp. I am sure it tastes great, but this is not Giovanni style.

      1. Maybe it has to do with the mysterious 2T remaining butter that was never used. Recipe requires 4 and instructions use 2….? No one else noticed and not sure if I’m missing something so I’m just gonna use 3 and hope it works out lol

  11. Thanks! I live in Hawaii (born and raised) and was too lazy/broke to go to the North Shore for some of my favortie shrimp (Giovannis isint really that good or big in my opinion). This recepie was pretty good!Thanks for the recepie for when I dont want to go outside haha
    *sorry for all the typos

  12. A few weeks ago I had Giovanni’s Shrimp. I am fortunate enough to live on Oahu but don’t get to North Shore shrimp trucks often. When I got home I started looking for a recipy and found yours. I finally made it last night and it came out great. Thank you so much for posting this!

  13. i made this tonite and i was so impressed by how exactly the flavors were like the shrimp shack! my whole family was heaven eating this. we don’t have to go back to hawaii now since i can make this. just kidding on that but thanks for sharing a recipe that was spot on!!!

  14. I just made this! It turned out really great!
    I actually live in Hawaii but have never been to Giovanni’s. Sad right?

    On a side note, I used a lemon that my aunty grew at her house. Her lemons are kind of large so I used half and I guess because of the type of lemon, the dish had a really strong lemon flavor.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Very nice, tasted really good.

    I’ve also made this recipe page into a drinking game. I took a shot every time you said “in Hawaii” in your description.

  16. I just came back from Oahu and while on the island we decided to take a drive around the island. We ended up in the north shore, we stumbled across the food truck Macky’s and fell in love with the Garlic Butter Shrimp. I have been dying for those shrimp since I came back. I looked all over Pinterest for a similar recipe and stumbled upon yours. I will be making this for dinner tonight!!! Can’t wait to taste it 🙂 Thanks for uploading this!

    Wendy (OC, California)

  17. I stumbled across your recipie on Pinterest and I just have to say that this shrimp recipie looks amazing. I have printed it out and although I don’t really like to cook I will attempt to make it this weekend.

    Thanks a bunch

    Mary (Thunder Bay, Ontario – Canada)

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