Spanish Garlic Shrimp with Manchego Cheese and Rosemary

(Easy-to-make, one-pot, Tapas Recipe)  

A bowl of Spanish garlic Shrimp sits beside a wedge of Manchego cheese

Spanish Garlic Shrimp with Manchego Cheese and Rosemary is a fantastic Spanish tapas recipe that’s quick and easy to make. This recipe is a variation of the classic Gambas al Ajillo recipe and adds a couple more typical Spanish ingredients: Manchego cheese and rosemary. 

Combined with large fresh shrimp, loads of garlic, and olive oil, this tapas recipe can be whipped up in one pot in around 15 minutes! Makes tapas of 2-3 servings. Serve with plenty of fresh bread to soak up the delicious paprika, rosemary, and garlic-infused oil.

Shrimp Recipe | One-Pot Recipe | Easy to Make | Made in 15 Minutes | Cheese Recipe | Healthy | Seafood Recipe | Gluten-Free | Gambas | Mediterranean Recipe

Serving:

Tapas for 2-3

Ready in:

15 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread

ingredients for Spanish garlic shrimp are laid out beside a large weedge of Manchego cheese

Ingredients you’ll need 

  • 1 lb (16 oz. / 450g) large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced fine 
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of Spanish sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary (half finely chopped, keep the other half sprig whole)
  • Sea salt & cracked black pepper (for seasoning, to taste)

    Equipment needed

    • 1 large skillet or frying pan (approx 12 inches (30cm)
    • Optional: 1-2 small earthenware dishes, approx 4-6 inches / 10-15 cm (for serving)

     Watch step-by-step recipe video

    If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

    How to make Spanish garlic shrimp

    Step 1 – Prepare shrimp

    • First, peel and devein the shrimp (here’s a short video showing how). As an option, leave the last section of the tail shell on to help with serving as finger food. 
    • Once ready, clean in some fresh water. Pat dry shrimp with a paper towel and season lightly with some crushed sea salt. 

    Step 2 – Fry shrimp

    • On high heat, add the olive oil to a pan, and when hot, add the shrimp. 
    • Cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side. You should see the shrimp start to change to an orange color.

    Step 3 – Add garlic and other ingredients

    • Next add the sliced garlic and stir through. Immediately after adding the garlic, reduce heat to medium. 
    • After 1-2 minutes, add the sweet paprika, lemon juice, sherry, and rosemary (chopped and the whole sprig). Stir through and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp look fully cooked. 

    Step 4 – Serve

    • Transfer into an earthenware dish (or serve straight out of the pan) and season to taste with some salt and cracked black pepper. 
    • Garnish with a few manchego shavings.
    • Serve with plenty of fresh bread to soak up the delicious oil.
    a bowl of large raw shrimp

    Spanish Garlic Shrimp

    Known as Gambas al Ajillo throughout Spain, this dish is perhaps the most iconic and widely eaten tapas recipe on the Iberian Peninsula (alongside the humble Tortilla of course!). 

    Traditional Gambas recipes are nearly always served as tapas in an earthenware dish and combine a few simple ingredients, including shrimp, garlic, olive oil, and parsley. Other recipes include the addition of sweet or smoked paprika, chili (fresh or powder), and lemon. 

    Garlic Shrimp and Manchego with rosemary 

    Another fantastic flavor combination is to add two Spanish staples, Manchego cheese from Spain’s Castile-La Mancha region, and the humble herb, rosemary.

    Rosemary instead of parsley

    In Spain, we are lucky to have rosemary grow wild, and with a short walk into most national reserves or mountainous regions, you’ll find huge wild rosemary bushes that are perfect for use in cooking. 

    When using fresh rosemary for this recipe instead of parsley. Be sure to chop it super fine so that when it cooks, it releases plenty of flavor. You can also add whole sprigs of rosemary to dishes. Whole sprigs not only look great, but they will also release a subtle flavor to oil, baked, or stewed.

    Manchego cheese

    Manchego cheese is a hard cheese variety from Spain with a distinctive brown dimpled skin. It’s made with milk from the Manchega breed of sheep and is typically aged from 60 days to 2 years. 

    Sadly it doesn’t grow as abundantly as rosemary, although it’s still pretty easy to find in supermarkets or cheese stores in Spain and most internationally. Manchego is prized for its distinctive rich, buttery flavor and is undoubtedly Spain’s most popular cheese export.

    A wedge of Manchego cheese with its distinctive brown wax rind

    Best shrimp to use

    Use fresh uncooked shrimp from your local fishmonger. When buying supermarket shrimp, check they are as fresh as possible. 

    Uncooked shrimp will be a blue or slightly opaque color as opposed to cooked shrimp which are always red or orange in color. 

    Shrimp Sizing

    Shrimp sizing can seem a little confusing at first, but don’t worry, we got you, and with the info below, you’ll be buying shrimp with confidence in no time.

    Shrimp numbering scale

    When you purchase shrimp at any supermarket or fishmonger, shrimp sizing is denoted in numbers such as 31/35 or U/10. The slash between the numbers notes the amount of shrimp per pound (lb). 

    For example, 31/35 means there will be between 31 to 35 shrimp per lb (16 oz.).

    Sizing term

    Shrimp count per lb

    Description 

    Colossal

    U/15

    Less than 15 shrimp per lb

    Jumbo

    21/25

    Between 15 and 21 per lb

    Large

    31/35

    Between 31 and 35 per lb

    Medium

    41/50

    Between 41 and 50 per lb

    The U stands for ‘under’ and notes that the shrimp will be a certain size ‘or under’. This U value will usually be associated with Colossal shrimp sizes or larger. 

    For example, U/15 will be ‘less than’ 15 shrimp per pound. 

    Best shrimp sizes to use

    Most recipes call for a reasonably large-sized shrimp, and we prefer to stay in the medium-large (36-40) to Colossal range (U/15). These shrimp work well in most recipes, they are easy to peel and prepare and have the best flavor.

    A bowl of Spanish garlic Shrimp sits beside a wedge of Manchego cheese

    How to peel and devein shrimp (the easy way!)

    When using raw shrimp, there’s always a little prep work you can’t avoid. You’ll need to peel and devein the shrimp before cooking with them. This should take around 5 minutes for 1lb (450g) of shrimp used in this recipe

    Never peeled or deveined a shrimp before? Don’t worry, it’s not too difficult. 

    Here’s a short step-by-step video guide on how to peel and devein shrimp before cooking with them.

    Nutrition facts

     

    Serving size: 150g
    Servings: 3
    Amount per serving 
    Calories414
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 26.1g33%
    Saturated Fat 4.2g21%
    Cholesterol 316mg105%
    Sodium 368mg16%
    Total Carbohydrate 7g3%
    Dietary Fiber 0.6g2%
    Total Sugars 1.1g 
    Protein 35g 
    Vitamin D 0mcg0%
    Calcium 159mg12%
    Iron 1mg5%
    Potassium 327mg7%
    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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    Sizzling Spanish garlic shrimp

    A small earthenware dish full of Spanish garlic shrimp is topped with Manchego cheese and a sprig of rosemary

    Spanish Garlic Shrimp with Manchego Cheese & Rosemary (Tapas Recipe)

    Spanish Garlic Shrimp with Manchego Cheese and Rosemary is a fantastic Spanish tapas recipe that’s quick and easy to make. This recipe is a variation of the classic Gambas al Ajillo recipe and adds a couple more typical Spanish ingredients: Manchego cheese and rosemary.
    Combined with large fresh shrimp, loads of garlic, and olive oil, this tapas recipe can be whipped up in one pot in around 15 minutes! Makes tapas of 2-3 servings. Serve with plenty of fresh bread to soak up the delicious paprika, rosemary, and garlic-infused oil.
    5 from 2 votes
    Prep Time 5 mins
    Cook Time 10 mins
    Total Time 15 mins
    Course Appetizer, seafood, starter, tapas
    Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Seafood, Spain
    Servings 3 serves
    Calories 414 kcal

    Equipment

    • 1 large frying pan or skillet (12-inch / 30cm)
    • 1-2 small earthenware dishes, approx 4-6 inches / 10-15 cm (optional for serving)

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb 16 oz. / 450g large shrimp peeled and deveined
    • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    • 10 garlic cloves sliced fine
    • 1 heaped teaspoon of Spanish sweet paprika
    • 2 tablespoons of sherry
    • Juice of ½ a lemon
    • 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary half finely chopped, keep the other half sprig whole
    • Sea salt & cracked black pepper for seasoning, to taste

    Instructions
     

    Step 1 - Prepare shrimp

    • First, peel and devein the shrimp. As an option, leave the last section of the tail shell on to help with serving as finger food.
      1 lb 16 oz. / 450g large shrimp peeled and deveined
      a shrimp is peeled
    • Once ready, clean in some fresh water. Pat dry shrimp with a paper towel and season lightly with some crushed sea salt.
      Sea salt & cracked black pepper
      a small stack of peeled raw shrimp

    Step 2 - Fry shrimp

    • On high heat, add the olive oil to a pan, and when hot, add the shrimp. Cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side. You should see the shrimp start to change to an orange color.
      5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
      fried shrimp in a pan

    Step 3 - Add garlic and other ingredients

    • Next, add the sliced garlic and stir through. Immediately after adding the garlic, reduce heat to medium.
      10 garlic cloves
    • After 1-2 minutes, add the sweet paprika, lemon juice, sherry, and rosemary (chopped and the whole sprig). Stir through and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp look fully cooked.
      1 heaped teaspoon of Spanish sweet paprika, 2 tablespoons of sherry, Juice of ½ a lemon, 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary

    Step 4 - Serve

    • Transfer into an earthenware dish (or serve straight out of the pan) and season to taste with some salt and cracked black pepper.
      A bowl of Spanish garlic Shrimp sits beside a wedge of Manchego cheese
    • Garnish with a few manchego shavings. Serve with plenty of fresh bread to soak up the delicious oil.
      A bowl of Spanish garlic Shrimp sits beside a wedge of Manchego cheese

    Video

    Nutrition

    Serving: 150gCalories: 414kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 35gFat: 26.1gSaturated Fat: 4.2gCholesterol: 316mgSodium: 368mgPotassium: 327mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 1.1gCalcium: 159mgIron: 1mg
    Keyword 15-minute-meal, easy recipe, gambas al ajillo, garlic shrimp, manchego, shrimp, Spanish tapas, tapas

    Cooking Tips and FAQs

    How long does Spanish garlic shrimp take to make?

    • Prep time: 5 minutes
    • Cook time: 10 minutes
    • Total time: 15 minutes

    Can I use frozen shrimp?

    Yep, you sure can. You’ll just need to thaw the shrimp first and follow the steps on how to peel and devein the shrimp as mentioned above. 

    What is the best shrimp size to use?

    Use a large shrimp size, somewhere between medium-large (36-40) and Colossal (U/15). 

    Can I use a different cheese instead of Manchego?

    Use parmesan or any hard cheese for a similar flavor and texture, although you can’t beat manchego cheese for flavor!

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