Red Lobster Shrimp scampi is one of those absolutely classic Italian-American recipes. The simplicity of the dish perfectly showcases the delights that are shrimp, garlic and butter.
Fun fact: I recently learned that “scampi” is just the Italian word for “shrimp.” So this American dish is actually called “shrimp shrimp.” (Just like “chai” is actually the word for “tea” in Hindi, so “chai tea” is actually “tea tea.” You learn something new every day!)
For many of us, Red Lobster makes us think of indulgence, comfort food and family time. I’m the oldest of my siblings, and the first to move away from home (and when I did, it was actually more than an hour away). When I was first living on my own, I survived on greasy takeout, peanut butter sandwiches, leftovers from work and cold cereal).
So when my parents and younger siblings came to visit, it was always a treat to let them take me out to dinner somewhere nice. And I almost always requested Red Lobster. There wasn’t a Red Lobster in my home town, so my younger siblings were usually just as excited as I was, especially if the word “endless” was on the menu somewhere. And then I could wave them goodbye mostly thinking about my fridge full of everybody’s leftovers and not how much I missed my family.
And I realized much later that their claim that the leftovers wouldn’t keep for the hour drive home was probably just an excuse to leave me with more food. Nostalgia at its butteriest.
And then I moved again, even farther away, and sadly I have never really lived near a Red Lobster since. So I’m starting to develop a collection of copycat dishes for when I’m feeling particularly sentimental about the chain. This copycat recipe for Red Lobster shrimp scampi is as close to a perfect duplicate as I have found.
Red Lobster serves this dish on its own, accompanied by their famous (and seriously addictive) Cheddar Bay biscuits. Many recipes call for shrimp scampi to be served with bread and angel hair spaghetti or linguine, which is comfort food at its finest. It’s easy to add this scampi to pasta; just combine everything right before serving.
If you need a dish that is sure to impress, then this copycat for the popular and indulgent Red Lobster shrimp scampi is a fantastic choice. It’s very budget-friendly (especially using medium-sized shrimp, rather than jumbo) and just unbelievably easy to make. Full of butter and garlic, this recipe perfectly straddles the line between fancy and comfort food, just as great for a cozy family night as it is for a dinner party.
4 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories440
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 29.9g 46%
- Saturated Fat 16.5g 83%
- Trans Fat 1.3g
- Cholesterol 280mg 94%
- Sodium 361.9mg 16%
- Total Carbohydrate 2.8g 1%
- Dietary Fiber .3g 2%
- Sugars 1.2g
- Protein 26g 52%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Tips & Tricks
This recipe calls for 1.5 cups of unsweet white wine. You don’t have to buy anything ultra-fancy, but it’s always a good rule of thumb not to cook with something you wouldn’t want to drink. I almost always cook with a relatively inexpensive unoaked Chardonnay, but any dry white wine will do.
It also calls for olive oil—make sure this is regular olive oil, not extra virgin olive oil; extra virgin’s delicate flavor doesn’t stand up well to high heat. You’ll find this labeled as “light,” “pure,” or “classic” olive oil, and it will have a lighter color than extra virgin olive oil. If you have a hard time finding non-virgin olive oil, another neutral-tasting vegetable oil will be fine.
Using frozen shrimp is absolutely fine for this recipe. Just thaw them completely in the fridge overnight or under running water according to the directions on the package.
Feel free to remove the tails from the shrimp before cooking, or leave them on for the visual appeal.
It’s easy to double this recipe if you’re cooking for a crowd, but be sure to use a large enough skillet, because shrimp don’t like being crowded in the pan. You can also cook the shrimp in batches.