Soaked in a quick marinade of tangy lime juice and garlic and served with fresh cilantro and coconut rice, this simple recipe for cilantro lime shrimp is perfect for a quick, flavorful weeknight meal.

cilantro lime shrimp on a plate with coconut rice

Why I love this cilantro lime shrimp recipe

The marinade for this shrimp recipe, which ends up becoming a beautifully simple sauce, only requires a few ingredients and can be made the night before if you want to make this the quickest week night meal ever.

The coconut rice is so fluffy and with a hint of sweetness to balance the acidity of the lime. It’s perfect for the weather because it’s light and requires very little time in front of the stove.

cilantro lime shrimp in a bowl

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Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

About the shrimp:

You want raw, peeled shrimp here. I usually try to buy peeled, deveined shrimp without the tails for recipes like this, but you can use ones with tails. If you buy unpeeled shrimp, make sure to peel them before marinating.

As far as size goes, I normally buy 31-40 shrimp per pound, but you can use different size shrimp as long as you adjust the cooking time to compensate.

cilantro lime marinade in a bowl

How to make cilantro lime shrimp

Marinade the shrimp. Whisk the cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and peppers in a mixing bowl. Add the raw shrimp and cover.

Feel free to leave out the red pepper flakes if you don’t want your shrimp to be spicy.

Then, put the shrimp in fridge to let them marinate for about an hour.

Make the coconut rice. Combine the coconut milk, water, salt and sugar. Bring the liquid to a boil and then add your rice. Cover and simmer for over low for about 20 minutes.

Remove the rice from the heat and let it sit to allow the rice to absorb the remaining liquid.

a bowl of cooked shrimp with cilantro sauce

Sauté the shrimp. Heat a large skillet to medium high. Add the shrimp with the marinade and cook until your shrimp turn pink. Turn the shrimp once while they’re cooking.

Garnish and serve. Serve the shrimp with coconut rice and garnish with extra fresh cilantro and a slice of lime.

shrimp on a fork over a plate of shrimp

FAQs and tips for making cilantro lime shrimp

Why does my shrimp taste rubbery?

If your shrimp are rubbery, it’s because they were overcooked. You really want to only cook them until they turn pink. After that, remove them from the heat or turn the heat completely down to the lowest settings.

Can I saute frozen shrimp?

Yes. If your shrimp are frozen, rinse them under cold water to remove any ice crystals and then add them to the marinade. If they’re still slightly frozen after their marinating, you will need to add a few extra minutes of cooking time. For reference, shrimp need to be cooked to 145˚F.

How do you make shrimp tender?

Marinating the shrimp makes the shrimp more tender and flavorful. Make sure you are super careful not to overcook the shrimp, too.

cilantro lime shrimp on a plate with coconut rice

More shrimp recipes:

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Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Soaked in a marinade of tangy lime juice and garlic and served with fresh cilantro and coconut rice, this simple recipe for cilantro lime shrimp is perfect for a quick, flavorful weeknight meal.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 pound large, peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 12 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges (for garnish)


  1. In a bowl, whisk together cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to make a marinade.
  2. In a large zip-top bag, combine shrimp with marinade and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, water, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir in rice.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover pot. Simmer for 20 – 25 minutes – until rice is fluffy and liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and allow rice to sit while preparing the shrimp.
  5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the shrimp and its marinade. Sauté the shrimp, turning once, until completely shrimp is pink on both sides and sauce has slightly thickened – about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve shrimp with the sauce over rice and garnish with a lime wedge.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 431
  • Sugar: 1.6 g
  • Sodium: 613.6 mg
  • Fat: 27.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 13.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 42.3 g
  • Fiber: 0.8 g
  • Protein: 6.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 46.5 mg

Keywords: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, seafood, shrimp, cilantro, rice, coconut

Last Updated on August 6, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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  1. Mm, this dish sounds amazing!! I don’t think I’ve ever cooked shrimpy (probably cause I only started liking it about a year ago) but I totally want to give this a go! It sounds amazing, especially with the coconut rice. Pinned!

    1. I’m so happy that you finally like shrimp! You will be able to make so many new things now 🙂 I wish I could say the same about mushrooms… But, I still can’t come around. Anyway, you have to try these if you like cilantro! Plus, they’re the quickest thing in the whole world to cook, so you really can’t go wrong.

    1. I actually bought peeled shrimp, but if you need to peel yours you’ll want to do that first. I would suggest just getting it out of the way so you’re all set when you start cooking!

  2. I absolutely love this recipe but feel like it’s an incomplete meal without a veggie side and can’t find the right one to complement these flavors. Any suggestions?

    1. Maybe try some roasted broccoli or some sautéd kale. You also can’t go wrong with a big salad.

  3. This was amazing! My family couldn’t get enough. We haven’t been so into rice lately, but this definitely changed our minds. We will be making coconut rice a lot more often now, and my husband couldn’t stop talking about the shrimp!