Our Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi recipe was so popular, I thought I should share a stove-top version, too! This Creamy Shrimp Scampi with lemon, garlic and Parmesan cheese is a restaurant-quality meal you can make in less than 20 minutes!
Creamy Shrimp Scampi Recipe
The first time I had shrimp scampi was at the Cheesecake Factory in Chicago.
My friend ordered it for me and I had no idea what to expect. What came out of the kitchen was a creamy, rich pasta meal with juicy shrimp and plenty of garlic. It was delicious, but at 1350 calories, 77g of fat and 2280mg of sodium – it wasn’t exactly a healthy lunch!
This homemade version comes in at 420 calories, 15g of fat and 827mg of sodium per serving and still packs all of the flavor of the original, with succulent, perfectly cooked shrimp smothered in a creamy garlic and parmesan sauce over a generous helping of el dente pasta. Plus you’re getting a meal for 4 people for less than the cost of one serving of this shrimp scampi at a restaurant!
The acidity of the garlic and lemon in this recipe cuts through the heaviness of the milk and cheese to create a sauce that is creamy and flavorful, without feeling heavy or too rich.
Cooking shrimp with the shell on adds more flavor to the dish and I personally like eating my shrimp with the tails on. It has great texture and health benefits, but it’s definitely not for everyone. You can cook your shrimp without the shells/tails for ease, or just remove as you’re eating them. It all comes down to personal preference.
While my original Authentic Shrimp Scampi recipe calls for white wine, in this recipe I swapped that out for lemon juice. It gives it that same brightness and acidity at a lower cost. If you have some Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio on hand, you can definitely add it for some extra flavor.
There are two ways to make your shrimp scampi creamy:
- with heavy cream (35%)
- or, with milk and cornstarch
If using heavy cream, it just needs to be brought to a boil and then will thicken on it’s own when reduced.
If using milk, you also need to bring it to a boil, but you may need to whisk in some cornstarch to help with the thickening process.
It may seem easier and more straight-forward to go with heavy cream, but 1 cup of heavy cream is 414calories and 27g of fat compared to 1 1/2 cups whole milk and 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch at 250calories and 11g of fat (that is the nutritional information for the whole recipe – not per serving). I also don’t always have heavy cream on hand, but I always have whole milk in the fridge so I like being able to make this recipe with what I already have on hand.
What to Serve With Shrimp Scampi
- Red Lobster Biscuits
- Italian Soup Buns
- Garlic Bread
- Go Surf and Turk with our Guide to Perfect Medium-Rare Steak
- Brussel Sprout Salad
- Crunchy Green Beans
- Swap out the pasta for rice or zoodles
Shrimp Scampi Ingredients
- Shrimp, uncooked
- Olive oil
- Garlic, minced
- Whole milk <– you can use heavy cream but whole milk reduces the fat and calories for this recipe
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cornstarch, as needed
- Parsley, for garnish
- Pasta of choice, cooked
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: swap out the milk and cornstarch for 1 cup of heavy cream, if desired.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Cast Iron Skillet <– I love the versatility of a good cast-iron pan – you can make everything from eggs to dessert in them and they transition easily from the stove to the oven. This one is pre-seasoned and great for even heating
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Sharp kitchen knife
- Cutting board
- Wooden spoon or spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
- Cheese grater
How to Make Shrimp Scampi without Cream
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet.
Add the garlic and sautee for 1 minute before adding in the shrimp.
Cook until the shrimp has turned pink and is cooked throughout, approximately 4 minutes.
Remove the shrimp to a small bowl.
Add the whole milk to the skillet and whisk occasionally, bringing to a boil.
If the milk doesn’t thicken on it’s own, whisk in some cornstarch.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add in the pasta and shrimp, stirring to coat.
Right before serving, drizzle the lemon juice over the whole skillet.
Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.
Grab your free printable for our easy shrimp scampi recipe:
- 20 large shrimp, uncooked
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, as needed
- Juice of one lemon, approx. 3 Tablespoons
- Parsley, for garnish
- 1 lb pasta of choice, cooked
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet.
- Add the garlic and sautee for 1 minute before adding in the shrimp.
- Cook until the shrimp has turned pink and is cooked throughout, approximately 4 minutes.
- Remove the shrimp to a small bowl.
- Add the whole milk to the skillet and whisk occasionally, bringing to a boil.
- If the milk doesn't thicken on it's own, whisk in some cornstarch.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add in the pasta and shrimp, stirring to coat.
- Right before serving, drizzle the lemon juice over the whole skillet.
- Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.
Double or triple this recipe, as needed.
You can replace the milk and cornstarch with heavy cream, if desired.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 827mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 23g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
I hope your family loves this creamy shrimp scampi recipe as much as mine does! It’s on heavy rotation over here!