In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

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.

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Jamaican Inspired Pepper Shrimp Recipe.
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31star1star1stargraygray Based on 43 Review(s)


  1. May 15, 2020 / 3:43 pm

    Hey Chris I really love your recipes the spicy shrimp was awesome .How can I get one of your cookbooks.

  2. May 15, 2020 / 3:36 pm

    I made the spicy shrimp today and it was really got I love your recipes how can I get your cookbook

  3. Barb
    June 22, 2018 / 5:30 pm

    Going to try tomorrow. Look awesome.

  4. John
    September 24, 2017 / 1:15 pm

    I love these shrimp! I have a ritual of making them to snack on during Seattle Seahawk games.

  5. August 21, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing your video – I used to make them all the time – but moved & can’t find my Culinary cook book. And yes- the only thing different was the Paprika

  6. October 23, 2016 / 6:55 pm

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

  7. September 2, 2016 / 10:18 am

    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.

  8. KAREN
    May 21, 2016 / 9:17 pm

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

  9. Sue
    November 20, 2015 / 10:04 am

    Hi Chris

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

  10. donna
    August 4, 2015 / 2:40 am

    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!

    • John
      September 24, 2017 / 1:17 pm

      I happen to like the added touch of paprika. But, maybe you would be kind enough to share your recipe. 🙂

  11. pauline
    May 4, 2015 / 8:02 am

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

  12. Ms Roz
    November 13, 2014 / 11:28 pm

    Looks delicious!

  13. November 13, 2014 / 4:52 pm

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

  14. November 13, 2014 / 4:51 pm

    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!!!

  15. Anne
    August 23, 2014 / 12:18 am

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

  16. judy
    June 22, 2014 / 1:23 pm

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

  17. Da Unknown One
    May 12, 2013 / 10:30 am


  18. Tobey Garrison
    April 10, 2013 / 11:39 am

    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.

  19. Marcia
    December 26, 2012 / 7:09 pm

    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.

  20. karisha
    November 11, 2012 / 6:24 pm

    It looks A pity I am allergic to shell food. Maybe I will try it for my guess. Thanks again Chris.

  21. leslie
    October 19, 2012 / 10:04 pm

    good job

  22. Colette
    October 8, 2012 / 3:23 pm

    These are delicious!! I made them and had to go get more shrimp to make them the next day.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  23. Tamara
    October 4, 2012 / 5:15 pm

    Thanks Chris loving it……..

  24. danny
    June 5, 2012 / 4:30 am

    Mmmm, this is fantastic. I would have to say, and with all honesty (of course), two-thirds of my cooking is from you, Chris. No joke, no BS. I drive 100km. to Hamburg to an Asian/ African shop to get all my salt fish, ground provisions (great variety), and habaneros. All that just to enjoy the food I grew up on, and for which I am grateful for this site to go further in my gastronomic utopia. HA!!!

  25. madonna
    May 1, 2012 / 11:43 am

    hiya chris, lovely dish, i live in the uk i am trini, loving ur dishes,

  26. November 30, 2011 / 6:22 am

    Thanks for this recipe. I love your website. I live in the UK and it is great to see a site dedicated to Caribbean cooking. I love cooking and make peppered shrimp in this same method but I add a bit of chinese spices like soy sauce, oyster sauce and 5 spice for added flavour and when nearly cooked, I add onion rings which gives it an enhanced flavour and finish.. I also add chopped parsley as you have done but mixed with a bit of coriander. Keeep up the good work and I shall definitely recommend Caribbean Pot to my friends!

  27. myrna
    November 15, 2011 / 9:51 pm

    omg love it

  28. Michele Farrell
    November 13, 2011 / 1:59 am

    Thank You sooo very much for this site Chris, it is superior in every way, bigger things are coming your way!!! . The West Indian community is small where I am right now, but proud. Thanks for promoting the Carribean Culture in such a classy way. (I so miss the Toronto area/ Canada). Michele – Houston, Tx Keep up the great work.

  29. Pauette
    November 12, 2011 / 4:22 pm

    love the simplicity of this dish. I must give it a try. A bit squeamish about keeping shells and head on!

  30. Hilda Cannella
    November 12, 2011 / 3:56 pm

    Hi my Chris Gracias por tan buenas recetas, yo disfruto mucho cuando trato y las hago.. Dios lo bendiga y lo mantenga siempre haciendo un buen trabajo!!

  31. Richard Ramlogan
    November 12, 2011 / 11:05 am

    Thanks Chris for sharing this mouth watering dish, its one of my favourite , I am gonna try this one now…Thanks again

  32. annie sonny
    November 12, 2011 / 10:06 am

    love this site…

  33. Milly
    November 12, 2011 / 9:46 am

    It looks wonderfull, sound delicious, and I will surely try this maybe this week. As I really love shrimps. thank you for the lovely recepies . Milly (The Netherlands)

  34. Lauren
    November 12, 2011 / 9:46 am

    Thank for the recipe, I am going to try them this weekend. I been craving them forever.

    My first experience with pepper shrimp was from a great little West Indian restaurant take-out joint on St. Clair at Christie in Toronto called Gerry's. They had them on the weekend only. They were delicious, I even turned my Canadian husband on to them. We have since moved away form that neighbourhood, but I try to get back every once and a while to say hello and grab some shrimp and really great jerk pork. Check them out if you have the chance. Good people.

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