Categorized |Fish, Gluten Free

Jamaican Inspired Pepper Shrimp Recipe.

jamaican pepper shrimp

The call went out via the Facebook Fan Page a couple days back and within seconds I had a delicious sounding recipe, rearing to go for Jamaican style pepper shrimp. Last Spring after we came back from of Jamaican trek, one of the first questions I got asked was “did you try any pepper shrimp?” Must have been all the Guinness, but I still can’t remember coming across pepper shrimp while on the island. However, speaking with our friends who we traveled with, they assured me that several times we were approached by ladies selling them in little plastic bags on the side of the road. The home of pepper shrimp in Jamaica is “Middle Quarters” (Saint Elizabeth Parish) and though their method of preparing them is a bit different that what I’m about to share with you, Christine who sent me this recipe assures me that this recipe will rival any found on the island.

You’ll Need…

1 lb shrimp (I believe they were 30/40)
1 habanero pepper (or any hot pepper you like)
2 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoon parsley
4 cloves garlic

Note: Traditionally parsley and paprika are not used in this dish, however I love the brightness the parsley brings and the sort of smokey undertones from the paprika is a good addition. In true Jamaican fashion, I’m sure a dash of pimento (allspice) would be a good inclusion as well. In the video for this recipe I mentioned that I used 1/2 teaspoon salt, but I felt I had to adjust that to 3/4 teaspoon after tasting the finished dish. You’ll also notice that I used a habanero pepper, but in the Caribbean scotch bonnets are the peppers of choice.


You’ll notice that I used whole shrimp, with the head still attached and in it’s sort of shell. This is the way it’s traditionally done in Jamaica, plus I love the sweetness of the shrimp when it’s cooked this way. The shrimp steams in it’s own shell and this process seems to heighten the rich flavor of the overall dish. I hate seeing the legs and antennae sort of thing, so using my kitchen scissors I trimmed those out. I then gave the now trimmed shrimp a good rinse and allowed them to drain.

TIP: When handling the shrimp and/or the hot pepper you may want to wear gloves.

Next up I gave the garlic and pepper a very fine dice, as I didn’t want to get big pieces of pepper or garlic when eating. To control the heat, you can certainly remove the seeds from the pepper and discard. The seeds and white membrane surrounding the seeds is where most of the heat is.

Heat a pan on med/high heat (no oil necessary as we’ll be sort of scalding the shrimp), then add the shrimp and give it a good stir. Now add the garlic, pepper, salt and paprika and stir well to coat everything.

As the shrimp cooks (remember to keep stirring) you’ll notice the color will go to a bright sort of orange color. You can place a lid on the pot for about a minute or two if you’d like. After 3 minutes you can add the lemon juice. This bit of liquid will help release some of the garlic and pepper which by now is probably sticking to the bottom of the pan. The shrimp will also let out it’s own juices, so there’s no need for any other liquid. Try not to overcook the shrimp or you’ll risk them going rubbery. Within 7 minutes or so and my shrimp were done.

Top with the chopped parsley, give it a final stir and get ready to serve.

This a wonderful spicy snack that’s great when having some drinks with friends, or as in my case… reminiscing about a great Jamaican vacation. Remember to check out the ladies in Middle Quarters when you visit Jamaica next and tell them Chris @ said to look them up for the best pepper shrimp on the island.

Before you go I invite you to leave me your comments below.. even if it just to say hello. It’s always appreciated. And don’t forget to join us on facebook and do check out the cooking videos.

Recipe Name
Jamaican Inspired Pepper Shrimp Recipe.
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3 Based on 24 Review(s)
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29 Responses to “Jamaican Inspired Pepper Shrimp Recipe.”

  1. puljarie says:

    Hi Chris thanks for sharing yr peper prawns shrimp ricipe must try to prapare this dish looks so yummmmmm. live in Venezuela.

  2. Nadine says:

    I grew-up catching my own river Shrimp,AKA Jaunga. We would eat pepper shrimp at least 4 days a week. My mom was also sold them at local schools, however I love the note that the slice lemons add to your finish dish.

  3. KAREN says:

    I tried this recipe and it was GREAT!!!!! Would try this again.

  4. Sue says:

    Hi Chris

    Love all your recipes, you make it so easy. Keep up the good work, especially for us in the UK

  5. donna says:

    This recipe can not out do any pepper shrimp served in Jamaica! It doesn’t even come close and that’s just me reading the ingredients and the preparation. If you are going to say it will rival what was served in JA st least stick to the original procedure a little bit! Please, link up with a professional Jamaican chef and get the correct recipe and don’t try to post a recipe that doesn’t even comes close to the original pepper shrimp! Annoying, when chefs take something original and ruin it because the amount of paprika you are talking about will make this horrible!

  6. pauline says:

    Hi Chris thanku I made the pepper prawns it was so good I have try more of your recipe I live in the UK

  7. Ms Roz says:

    Looks delicious!

  8. Rookmin says:

    u need to show us how to cook soy products- please!!

  9. Rookmin says:

    Hi Chris love your recpies makes me wanna cook-lol can you make this wihtout the shell? love ur book I’m on of ur biggessstt fan!!!

  10. Anne says:

    Hi Chris love your recipes…I will be trying this Jamaican Shrimp dish…keep up the good work..

  11. judy says:

    hi chris i love your recipes you make easy to understand and prepare a great meal thanks

  12. Da Unknown One says:


  13. Tobey Garrison says:

    I love your recipes. The thing I like best, is the fact you make it so simple even though sometimes it isn't.
    Keep up the good work.

  14. Marcia says:

    Hi went to my friends party and had pepper prawns decided to chek ur site to see what recipe you had and i was not disappointed. Roll on the weekend when i'm gonna try it. I'm in the UK.


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