Red Chili Shrimp Skewers Recipe

I first saw a version of this Red Chili Shrimp Skewers recipe in a Cuisine at Home magazine years ago. Somehow it has stuck in our family dinner rotation because it is always loved by parents and kids alike. The recipe is uber simple but really shines because of the balance of zesty, savory spices from the red chili and garlic powders, and the caramelized sweetness from the brown sugar. Although I’ve always grilled these, you could do the exact same thing under the broiler in your oven if you prefer.

Obviously, just shrimp skewers don’t make a whole meal, but this can be paired with any number of different sides or accompaniments. This grilled shrimp recipe is great with a tangy side salad, rice, rice & beans, potatoes or whatever. Whatever you do, make sure you make enough. These are pretty addicting and you may go through more of them than you predicted. You can easily double or triple the recipe as suits your needs.



  • 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on or off to your preference
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp good chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • Several long wooden or metal skewers: if using wooden, soak them in water for about 10-20 minutes while preparing the grill and shrimp.

How to cook this Grilled Red Chili Shrimp Skewers

1. You can get your grill lit and ready first because the preparation of the shrimp skewers doesn’t take long. You will use direct heat over moderately high heat. Brush your grill grate with a bit of olive oil.

2. While the grill is heating up, thoroughly mix the brown sugar, oil, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp to the mixture and toss well to evenly coat all surfaces of the shrimp.

3. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers. How many shrimp you put on each skewer just depends on your preference and how you are serving them. If this is just one of many foods being offered, smaller skewers or only 2 – 4 shrimp per skewer may suffice. However, if this is the main dish you may want to load up those skewers as pictured above, with 6 – 8 each.

4. Once your grill is nice and hot, grill the shrimp, covered just until they firm up slightly and become opaque. Ideally, your timing and grill heat will be such that this also allows for some nice crusty caramelization to form around the edges of the shrimp. Although the time varies depending on your grill and such, this should only take about 2 minutes per side, give or take a bit. If it is taking much longer, either you are overcooking them or your grill wasn’t hot enough in the first place.

That’s it! Easy as can be!


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