Creamy Coconut Shrimp

Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe

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This recipe for Creamy Coconut Shrimp is one of my absolute favorites, and it always reminds me of a vacation I took to a small coastal town in Thailand. The local cuisine was full of fresh seafood and vibrant, aromatic spices. One evening, I stumbled upon a small family-run restaurant where the owner prepared a dish similar to this. The combination of coconut milk, fresh herbs, and shrimp was unforgettable, and I knew I had to recreate it at home.

What I love about this recipe is its simplicity and how quickly it comes together, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner. The shrimp are seasoned with smoked paprika, giving them a subtle smoky flavor that complements the rich, creamy coconut sauce. Adding fresh basil and cilantro brings a burst of freshness that brightens up the dish.

One of the best parts about cooking is experimenting with variations, and this recipe is no exception. Sometimes, I like to add a bit of heat by incorporating some red pepper flakes or a finely chopped chili pepper. For a touch of sweetness, you could stir in a tablespoon of honey or brown sugar. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, fresh parsley works just as well for a garnish.

This dish pairs beautifully with steamed jasmine rice or a side of sautéed vegetables. It’s versatile enough to be served at a casual family dinner or an elegant dinner party. So, the next time you’re craving something exotic yet comforting, give this Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe a try. I’m sure it will become a favorite in your household, just as it has in mine.

How to Make Creamy Coconut Shrimp


  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2 pounds shrimp (deveined, peeled, tails on or off)
  • 1 small onion (diced finely)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked)
  • 8 basil leaves (chopped finely)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (split)
  • 14 ounces can tomatoes (diced, drained)
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened, canned, well shaken)
  • Juice of a lime (for serving)
  • Fresh cilantro (chopped, for garnish)
  • Optional: chopped fresh basil (for garnish)


  1. In a large skillet, warm up 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Season the shrimp with paprika, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet, cooking each side for 1-2 minutes until they turn pink and are fully cooked.
  4. Move the shrimp to a plate and set aside.
  5. Clean the skillet and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  6. Sauté the diced onion in the oil for about 3 minutes until it becomes soft.
  7. Stir in the minced garlic, chopped basil, and ginger powder; cook for about 20 seconds until fragrant.
  8. Add the diced tomatoes, cooking for another 3 minutes until they soften slightly.
  9. Pour in the coconut milk, bringing it to a simmer; continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
  10. Return the shrimp to the skillet, cooking for an additional minute until they are heated through.
  11. Take the skillet off the heat and drizzle lime juice over the shrimp.
  12. Garnish with chopped cilantro and optional fresh basil before serving.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp Skillet


Can I use frozen shrimp for this recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen shrimp, but make sure to thaw them completely before cooking. Thawing can be done by placing the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight or using the quick thaw method under cold running water.

What can I substitute for coconut milk?

If you do not have coconut milk, you can substitute it with heavy cream or a non-dairy alternative like almond milk. However, keep in mind that these substitutions will alter the flavor and creaminess of the dish.

How can I make the dish spicier?

To make the dish spicier, you can add red pepper flakes or a chopped fresh chili pepper when sautéing the garlic and basil. Additionally, you can increase the amount of smoked paprika used to season the shrimp.

Is it necessary to use both cilantro and basil for garnish?

No, it is not necessary to use both cilantro and basil for garnish. You can choose one based on your preference or availability. Either herb will add a fresh flavor to the dish.

Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?

While it is best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare the dish ahead of time. Store the cooked shrimp and sauce separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently in a skillet over medium heat before serving.

What side dishes pair well with Creamy Coconut Shrimp?

Creamy Coconut Shrimp pairs well with steamed rice, quinoa, or a side of sautéed vegetables. Additionally, a fresh green salad or crusty bread can complement the dish nicely.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe

Creamy Coconut Shrimp

This easy-to-make Creamy Coconut Shrimp combines smoky paprika, creamy coconut milk, and fresh basil for a delightful meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thailand
Servings 4


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 pounds raw shrimp peeled, deveined, tails on or off
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 small yellow onion finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 fresh basil leaves finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 14 ounces can diced tomatoes well drained
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk shake well before opening
  • Lime juice for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Chopped fresh basil optional, for garnish


  • Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Season the shrimp with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Place shrimp in the hot skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until pink and fully cooked.
  • Transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside.
  • Wipe the skillet clean, then add the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the diced onion to the oil and cook for about 3 minutes until softened.
  • Mix in the garlic, chopped basil, and ground ginger; cook for 20 seconds until aromatic.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes until slightly softened.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer; continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Return the shrimp to the skillet and cook for an additional minute until heated through.
  • Remove from heat and drizzle lime juice over the shrimp.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and basil before serving.
Keyword coconut, shrimp

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