Shrimp with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce

shrimp plated with cilantro dipping sauce.

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5 from 5 reviews

Easy sautéed shrimp with a cilantro pesto dipping sauce make a flavorful appetizer. Makes 4 appetizer servings of 3 shrimp each; can be scaled up for a bigger group.



For the cilantro dipping sauce:

  • 2/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 a lime, juiced (about 2 tbsp)
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • pinch salt

For the shrimp

  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 12 shrimp, raw (I buy them peeled and deveined)
  • cooking oil spray


  1. Make the cilantro sauce: Place the cilantro and garlic in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the remaining cilantro dipping sauce items–olive oil, lime juice, red pepper flakes and salt–and puree the ingredients together. Scrape the sides and puree again to incorporate all the ingredients. Set sauce aside while you make the shrimp.
  2. Shrimp marinade: Combine the soy sauce, honey and olive oil in a bowl large enough to hold the shrimp.
  3. Prepare the shrimp: Rinse and pat dry the shrimp. Add the shrimp to the bowl with the marinade, and toss gently to coat the shrimp. Let the shrimp sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes.
  4. Sauté shrimp: Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat with some oil spray. When the skillet is good and hot, and the shrimp along with the marinade. Sauté the shrimp by stirring occasionally. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on one side, then turn the shrimp over. Sauté another two minutes or so until the shrimp are cooked through. The tails turn reddish and sauce gets caramelized and coats the shrimp when they are done.
  5.  Serve: Plate the shrimp on a large plate or medium serving platter. Scoop out the cilantro sauce, and serve alongside the shrimp. You are ready to enjoy the shrimp!


  • I typically buy a large bag of frozen shrimp. You can move the portion you want to cook into a plastic bag in the morning, and let it defrost in the fridge. Or you can put that same bag in a bowl of warm water for about 30 minutes prior to cooking to quickly thaw.
  • You can also use pre-cooked shrimp in this recipe. Just take about 2 minutes off the cooking time, as all you want to do is heat the shrimp and brown the outside a bit.
  • Another option is to simply buy the prepared shrimp similar to what you’d get for shrimp cocktail, and use the cilantro dipping sauce instead of cocktail sauce — or as another option.
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