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creamy pesto shrimp

Creamy Pesto Shrimp

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


Bursting with flavor, this creamy and saucy shrimp dish is excellent on its own but tastes wonderful over your favorite pasta, rice, or even cooked zucchini noodles. Garlic, lemon, and tomatoes add bright flavor, while half-and-half keeps it extra creamy. I recommend using homemade pesto!


  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter
  • 23 cloves garlic, minced*
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) half-and-half, divided*
  • 1 lb medium or large uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined*
  • 1 cup (about 200g) halved cherry tomatoes*
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (about 40g) parmesan cheese, freshly shredded*
  • 1 cup (240ml) store-bought or homemade pesto
  • optional: fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and 1/3 cup (80ml) half-and-half. Stir to combine, then bring the half-and-half to a simmer. Once simmering, add the shrimp. Cook for 1 minute, then add the halved cherry tomatoes. Stir and cook until shrimp is nearly cooked through, just about pink on both sides. Stir in the remaining half-and-half, the lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Cook for 1 minute. (Shrimp should be fully cooked by this point. If not, keep cooking until it’s pink.)
  2. Remove from heat, then immediately stir in the pesto while everything is still hot. Serve plain, over cooked pasta, rice, or even zucchini noodles. Sprinkle with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese, if desired.
  3. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Garlic: If you don’t have fresh garlic cloves, use 3 teaspoons minced garlic from the jar or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. (If desired, add more garlic powder for a stronger flavor.)
  2. Half-and-half: Half-and-half is strongly recommended for best texture. If you don’t have half-and-half but you have heavy cream and whole milk, whisk 1/3 cup (80ml) of each together to use in this recipe instead. Using all heavy cream or even canned coconut milk will make a very heavy and rich sauce, while whole milk, lower fat milks, and nondairy milks will create a much thinner sauce. Keep this in mind when making substitutions.
  3. Shrimp: You can use frozen and thawed uncooked shrimp if needed. If using pre-cooked shrimp, make sure it’s thawed first. Stir it in with the lemon juice and parmesan cheese towards the end of step 2 and cook in the sauce until heated through. See post above if you’d like to substitute chicken.
  4. Tomatoes: If needed, you can use 1 cup diced tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes.
  5. Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan adds an extra layer of flavor, so I don’t recommend substituting or skipping it! In a pinch, though, you can substitute another cheese or leave it out.

Keywords: pesto shrimp