There is almost no food I like more than grilled shrimp and whenever I get the opportunity to create a dish with shrimp I am extremely happy.
I call this recipe my Quick and Easy Grilled Shrimp Kabobs.
Why? You ask. Mainly because this recipe is quick, easy, and the shrimp are grilled and served on skewers – I know, I know, I REALLY need to come up with more creative recipe names!
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As soon as the weather gets warm or even just when the snow begins melting, I start getting excited about breaking out the grill and making my favorite shrimp kabobs!
It’s not that I don’t enjoy a nice plant-based bolognese dish, a staple winter recipe in my household, it’s just that seafood reminds me of the coming warmer months of Spring and Summer.
Making different and creative seasonal recipes is what inspired this blog in the first place and is also one of the main reasons I enjoy the changing of the seasons so much here in the Northeast.
And the colorful ingredients I used for my shrimp kabobs are also reminiscent of the colors of Spring!
I admit that a lot of times I don’t really wait for warmer weather to make this recipe – I just stand outside and freeze because I prefer making these kabobs on my grill as opposed to on a grill pan on the stove top, indoors.
Look, you can totally make these grilled shrimp kabobs on the stove, on a grill pan. One thing I make sure of when grilling any type of kabobs indoors, is to use a flat cast iron reversible grill/griddle like this one otherwise, the high sides of your typical grill pan will prevent you from laying your already-skewered kabobs flat!
So, while I will make these indoors, I just don’t think the shrimp (and vegetables) have the same flavor as when they are grilled on a real outdoor grill.
Also, try to use fresh shrimp (if you can). But…if you only have frozen shrimp, just follow my instructions below for what to do.
The vegetables I am using are one red and one orange bell pepper, for color and texture, and an onion for acidity and spice. For my fruit, I am using fresh pineapple chunks.
The pineapple is really the not-so-secret ingredient in this recipe. First off, grilled pineapple tastes amazing and the sweetness provides a nice counterpoint to the heat of the onion.
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The pineapple also gives these grilled shrimp kabobs a slightly Hawaiian flair. If you really want to go full-fledged Hawaiian shrimp kabob recipe, check out my Recipe Notes below for another secret ingredient that I, unfortunately, didn’t have on hand when I made these for the website!
How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp the Right Way
- Fill a small bowl with warm/hot water (I got this set of small bowls on Amazon)
- Add a pinch of sea salt to the warm water (prevents shrimp from sticking together)
- Submerge the frozen shrimp in this warm water bath UNTIL SOFT
- If your bowl is on the smaller side, it is quite likely that the water will BECOME COLD BEFORE YOUR SHRIMP ARE THAWED
- If that happens, simply drain the water from the bowl and re-fill with warm to hot water
- Continuously feel shrimp for softness (indicates they are thawed). I prefer my shrimp are lukewarm and soft before continuing.
Servings: 6 kabobs
Prep Time: 25 minutes (it’s mainly thawing the frozen shrimp and chopping/preparing the vegetables)
Grill Time: 5 – 10 minutes (depending on heat setting)
What You Need:
- 18 raw fresh jumbo shrimp or 18 frozen and peeled jumbo shrimp (3 shrimp per skewer x 6 skewers)
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 large orange bell pepper
- 1 large red onion
- 1 Pineapple
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Cilantro
- Garlic salt
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What You Do:
- Thaw your shrimp as described above (if using frozen shrimp) or
- Peel skin off of shrimp (if using fresh shrimp), leaving tails.
- Peel outer layer of skin from red onion and then cut onion into quarters. From here separate the onion into pieces consisting of 2-3 slices each
- Slice red and orange bell peppers starting from the outside of each pepper – this leaves the inside where the seeds are, untouched, and can prevent you from having to de-seed your pepper slices later
- Slice pineapple (start by using a SHARP KNIFE and cutting off the stalks on top and the rounded bottom – this will provide two flat surfaces to use as a base when cutting the rest of the pineapple). Next cut the outside skin off each side.
- Skewer shrimp and vegetables on kabob skewers.
- Lightly brush kabobs with extra-virgin olive oil
- Sprinkle kabobs with garlic salt and cook directly over medium heat on your outdoor grill for 5 – 8 minutes, turning shrimp over midway.
I am debating on whether to include this recipe in my 8 Minute Healthy Meals With Under 8 Ingredients category.
This is a new category I thought of when I decided to make my Black Bean and Couscous Salad because I needed to make something that was quick (and pretty!) for the site AND for dinner.
The reason I am not 100% sure whether to include these quick and easy shrimp kabobs in that category is because many of you may be using frozen shrimp and thawing them will increase the Prep Time.
Also, some of you may also prefer shrimp that are well-done on the grill. I find that overcooked shrimp can become rubbery so I am very light-handed with my grilling touch!
We’ll talk about how to tell when your grilled shrimp are done down below in the recipe details.
The vegetables also take some time to cut correctly in preparation for grilling. Peeling and slicing the onion, bell peppers, and especially the pineapple, requires extra time and care – and a really, really sharp knife.
On the other hand, with fresh shrimp that do not require thawing AND for someone who likes their shrimp grilled just moderately, and has prepared the vegetables ahead of time, this recipe could fall into the eight-minutes or less category.
But since my recipes do include Prep Time, as well as Cooking Time, I will NOT include this recipe in the eight-minutes-or-less category.
Should I Skewer my Shrimp and Vegetables First or Grill Them First?
One final consideration when preparing these kabobs is whether to skewer the shrimp and vegetables before placing them on the grill or grilling everything first and then preparing the kabobs.
I feel this question is going to incur even more debate, BUT here are some pros and cons.
Skewering your shrimp kabobs PRIOR to grilling can save time. HOWEVER, the variation in size between your shrimp, peppers, pineapple, onions and other vegetables you may choose to add could mean that by skewering first, you could create uneven grilling – especially if making these on a grill pan.
I have prepared this recipe both ways. Sometimes – when I am hungry or pressed for time, I will just skewer the shrimp and vegetables first and then grill everything together.
If you are very particular about how well-done your shrimp will get, then maybe grill the shrimp on their own skewers and then organize your kabobs after the shrimp and veggies are grilled to your liking.
Finally, if you are using a grill pan like this one with four sides, it will be impossible to lay your kabobs flat if you skewer them first BECAUSE of the high sides.
Please add your comments down in the comments section below and let me know how you prepared these grilled shrimp kabobs. Outdoors on a real propane grill, inside on your grill pan? Did you skewer everything prior to grilling or after?
Looking For Other Fresh Seafood Summer Recipes?
Then please check out my Oven Backed Rockfish With Lemon Butter – it’s light and refreshing!
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