Buffalo Shrimp is a quick, uncomplicated appetizer that can be made in 30 minutes. Big, juicy shrimp are seared and tossed into a buttery, spicy sauce. When paired with your favorite dipping sauce, these shrimp are sure to impress!
The Best Buffalo Shrimp Recipe
Looking for a simple appetizer that will appeal to all of your guests? Everyone is sure to find something to love about this buffalo shrimp recipe! Buttery and tender with a delicious sweet heat, each bite is better than the last.
These seared and buffalo-coated shrimp can easily be mixed and matched with a variety of other dishes, in addition to dipping sauces, such as barbeque, ranch, or blue cheese. Upgrade the same old buffalo chicken dish with juicy, succulent shrimp — they cook in just 5 minutes! For a full appetizer spread, pair this simple shrimp recipe with stuffed mini peppers and layered Greek dip. And for guests who aren’t a fan of spicy food, have a separate platter of bacon wrapped shrimp ready to go!
Why you'll love this recipe
✔︎ Quick recipe. This buffalo shrimp recipe can be made in under 30 minutes — perfect for last-minute party planning.
✔︎ Variety of ways to serve. This dish is great as a stand-alone appetizer and can be mixed with all of your favorite dipping sauces! As a main course, try serving it over a bed of rice or with a side salad and fries.
✔︎ High in protein. Shrimp is low calorie and high protein, as well as a great source of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium.
✔︎ Finger food. With that tails on, guests can grab as many as they would like and enjoy them without utensils or balancing plates on laps.
✔︎ Works for any event. Depending on how you dress up your buffalo shrimp, this simple appetizer can be served at any event, from football games to dinner parties.
Shrimp: Make sure to use jumbo shrimp that are peeled and deveined. Bigger shrimp lead to a more tender, flavorful appetizer, plus the size makes them easier to dip in sauces. Frozen shrimp is fine, as long as you let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.
Butter: Butter is the glue that holds this recipe together. It brings out the natural buttery flavor in the shrimp, adding a juicy, even more tender texture. Be sure to soften your butter beforehand, and use margarine or dairy-free butter as needed.
Paprika: Paprika really makes this buffalo shrimp recipe pop, adding a sweet and fruity yet toasty warmth to the shellfish. You can substitute cayenne pepper, chili powder, or chipotle chili pepper, though these spices have a slightly less sweet flavor.
Olive oil: This adds some flavor but mainly prevents your shrimp from sticking to the pan. Feel free to use any neutral flavor oil you have on hand — canola, vegetable, and avocado oil are great choices.
Frank’s Hot Sauce: This is a classic hot sauce brand, but any version will do! Our favorite substitutions are Tabasco sauce, buffalo sauce, sriracha, or Cholula.
Ranch or blue cheese: These are our favorite dipping sauces for this buffalo shrimp recipe, but there is a whole world of sauces out there!
Prepare your shrimp: Coat jumbo shrimp (thawed, de-veined, and peeled) with olive oil, paprika, and pepper.
Make your sauce: Place butter and hot sauce in pan, heat until butter is melted and whisk to combine.
Cook your shrimp: Cook for 3 minutes on each side over medium heat. Be careful of overcooking, which will ruin the texture. As soon as the shrimp turns pink and curls into a C shape, it’s done. Add sauce to the pan and stir to coat.
Yes, you can reheat shrimp, but it must be done carefully! Sauté your leftover shrimp in a pan with oil for just a few minutes, until warmed through. Any longer, and the texture will turn rubbery.
Cooked shrimp keeps for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Store in an airtight container in the coldest part of your fridge for best results.
Yes, buffalo shrimp is spicy, but you can easily adjust it to your liking. Paprika adds sweet heat, while buffalo sauce adds a buttery kick. Use less paprika to adjust the intensity of the heat, and reduce the amount of buffalo sauce to turn down the overall fire.
When your shrimp is fully cooked, it will form a shape that looks like a “C.” It will also change from gray and translucent to an opaque pink and white color. If you have a kitchen thermometer, you can check the temperature of the shrimp — it should be around 145°F.
Expert Tips for Making the BEST Buffalo Shrimp
➤ Monitor carefully. Keep a close on the clock and the stove when cooking your jumbo shrimp. They can go from perfectly cooked to rubbery in a flash! Watch for a change in color and shape — they should be pink and white and curled loosely inward. If they’re tightly curled, they’re overdone.
➤ Cook over medium heat. Using too high of a temperature will cause the shellfish to burn on the surface before it has a chance to cook all the way through in the center.
➤ Need to thaw frozen shrimp? Place frozen shrimp in an unsealed plastic bag, put the bag in a bowl of ice, and lay a wet paper towel over the top. This allows the shrimp to breathe and prevents a fishy smell from taking over your fridge.
➤ Tails on vs off: If you’ll be serving buffalo shrimp as an appetizer, leave the tails on — they’re much easier to eat this way. However, it’s easier to remove the tails ahead of time if you know you’ll be adding the shellfish to pasta or salad. That way you can dig right in!
▶︎ Make the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. Reheat before adding to the cooked shrimp.
▶︎ Don't like spicy food? Leave the sauce on the side and let people dip before eating allowing them to control the amount of heat in the shrimp.
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- 1 pound Shrimp (peeled and deveined with tails on) 16 per pound
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
- Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing optional
- Place shrimp in a large bowl and add olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to coat and set aside.1 pound Shrimp (peeled and deveined with tails on), 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Place butter and Frank's Hot Sauce in a sauce pan. Heat until butter is melted and whisk to combine until smooth.3 tablespoons butter, 1 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
- Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes, turn over and cook for additional 3 minutes.
- Add hot sauce to pan and toss to coat. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.