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Spanish Prawns in Garlic

Spanish Prawns in Garlic

Spanish Prawns with Garlic

This post will show you how to make Spanish Prawns with garlic, which is one of our favourite tapas dishes.

It is a personal favourite of ours as this was the first meal my wife and I ate together in a small bar in Belgium.

If you ever have the chance to visit the beautiful European country of Spain then one of the places you will undoubtedly visit are the tapas bars that serve the most wonderful food.

Tapas are appetizers or starters of Spanish cuisine. They are a fantastic way to eat lots of different types of food at once! 

spanish shrimp
Prawns in the pan

Prawn or shrimp?

When I mention ‘prawns’ in this recipe, as in all my other prawn recipes, you can of course also use ‘shrimp’. Although not exactly the same, they are pretty interchangeable. It may depend on where you are which of the two is more available, prawn or shrimp. Just try to get some nicely sized ones. The bigger the better.

I used some raw frozen jumbo king prawns for these photos. The cool thing is when you cook them you see them turning pink as they cook. Pre-cooked prawns are already pink when they come out of the packet.

garlic chili shrimp

Using frozen prawns is likely to be safer than using fresh prawns (unless you know exactly how the prawns were harvested and when), as there is always a small risk of food poisoning when eating shellfish. 

Spanish Shrimp Recipe

This particular recipe has a particularly important significance for my wife and I as it was the very first meal we ate together. It was in a lovely little bar in Brussels in Belgium where we had a fantastic meal with this as a starter. Sadly the bar there no longer has its restaurant, as we discovered when we went back to re-visit it a few years ago. 

chili garlic prawns

But really this is a very common and popular tapas dish, as the chili garlic becomes infused in the olive oil and the prawns, leaving a delicious taste which you will adore. It is a very easy recipe to make and can be ready in 10-15 minutes, especially if you use pre-cooked prawns or shrimp.

spanish garlic prawns

You will need some nice crusty bread to soak up the juices. You cannot let the delicious garlic flavoured oil to go to waste.

Gambas al Ajillo

We also used to order this chili garlic shrimp dish at our favourite tapas restaurant in Gouda, the Netherlands, called La Cubanita. In Spanish the meal is known as gambas al ajillo, or prawns in garlic oil.

garlic shrimp

The Spanish are renowned for their culinary expertise. Really this simple recipe is a super example. It is quick and easy to make, and you will want to make it again.

At home, this is our ‘go-to’ quick and easy lunch when we are both busy. It gives a quick, warm and tasty snack for our lunch. Wonderful! 

spanish garlic prawns
Spanish Prawns in Garlic

I hope you enjoy this fantastic garlic prawns starter. Let me know how you get on in the comments section below! 

How to make Garlic Chili Prawns

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spanish prawns

Spanish Prawns

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This recipe for Spanish Prawns is so simple and is perfect as a starter for your dinner party. Serve up with some buttered crusty bread to soak up the juices.


  • 180g Jumbo King Prawns (or shrimp) (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 80ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (preferably Spanish)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Juice of 1/2 lime


  1. First, prepare the prawns. If they are fresh you will need to remove the hard bits like the head and outer shell (maybe retaining the tail) and strip out any black lines on the underside. If they are frozen they are probably prepared and you will just need to defrost them.
  2. To defrost the prawns place them in lukewarm water for a few minutes before sieving them and patting them dry with kitchen paper. Make sure any excess water is removed.
  3. Chop the garlic, the red pepper and the parsley.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic, red pepper and paprika and cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. Then add the prawns and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side (for uncooked raw prawns. If they are cooked prawns then you only need to cook for 2 minutes on each side). After cooking the first side, add the parsley and the lime juice.


Serve the prawns up in a small terracotta bowl together with some buttered fresh crusty bread. Use the bread to mop up the juices. Delicious!

You may wish to garnish with a piece of lime or lemon.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 798Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 39gCholesterol: 240mgSodium: 1925mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 17gProtein: 39g

This nutrition information was automatically calculated by Nutritionix, but may not be 100% accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Some other tapas ideas for you to try:
Garlic Mushrooms Tapas
Prosciutto wrapped dates (with goats cheese)
Goats Cheese Wrap
Avocado and Prawn Stack
Smoked Salmon Crackers
Keto Shrimp Cocktail

And how about these regional favourites?

Spanish Chicken Casserole
Bacon Cheese Omelette
Creamy Asparagus Pasta with Prawns
Chilli Garlic Noodles - Using a Blue Dragon Stir Fry Sauce!
Smoked Mackerel Pate Recipe
Coconut Prawn Curry Recipe

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