Appetizers Main Course Recipes Seafood Thai

Grilled Thai Basil Shrimp

Jumbo shrimps are marinated in Thai basil, lime, chili, and garlic then grilled to mouth-watering perfection. | Share

Updated 12/14/2023

This spicy grilled shrimp (prawn) dish really captures the vibrant tastes of Thai cuisine. Grilled Thai Basil Shrimp makes a tasty appetizer or can be served as part of a main meal. The combination of grilled shrimp, aromatic Thai basil, and the bold marinade makes it a delicious and memorable dish.

In Thai, grilled shrimps are called kung phao (กุ้งเผา). Those familiar with Thai restaurant menus know that kung means shrimp and phao means grilled. The Thai basil that’s part of the marinade is known as horapha thiy (โหระพาไทย).

Thailand Beach
Phra Nang Beach, Krabi, Thailand. Photo: Sumit Chinchane
The Thai basil marinade

Before hitting the grill, the shrimp are marinated in a blend of chili paste, garlic, lime, peanut oil and Thai basil. Compared to common sweet basil, Thai basil has a sweeter, more anise-like aroma. Thai basil also has purple stems, pink flowers and withstands high cooking temperatures, unlike sweet basil.  

Just in case you don’t have all the marinade ingredients, substitutions are possible. For the oil, sesame is a great alternative to peanut oil. If you don’t have sambal oelek, the Thai chili paste, use a fresh chopped Thai chili pepper (bird’s eye chili) or some Sriracha sauce.

If you would like to adjust the spicing to your liking, then modify the amount of chili paste. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish. Make sure to shell and devein the raw shrimp first, then coat them in the marinade.

Give yourself a little extra prep time before diner. It’s best to marinate the shrimp in the fridge for about an hour to allow the flavours to really pop later. Next, soak some bamboo skewers. Use this time to prep the other sides. These might include Jasmine rice, and grilled or stir fried vegetables. If you’re entertaining, now’s your chance to share an appetizer and a beverage with your guests.

Grilling the shrimp skewers.

After marinating for about an hour, thread the shrimps onto the skewers, transfer to a tray and to the grill. Brush with marinade while grilling. The shrimp cook very quickly, about two to three minutes per side. They’re done when they are opaque (white throughout) and their internal temperature reaches 145 °F. Once cooked, serve immediately and garnish with lime and or chopped Thai basil.

garlic shrimp

Grilled Thai Basil Shrimp

Kevin Lamoureux
Marinated in Thai basil, lime, chili, garlic, this spicy grilled shrimp dish captures the mouth-watering flavours of Thai cuisine.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4
Calories 277 kcal


  • 1 lb 450 g raw jumbo shrimp deveined, peeled, tails removed
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic 1 clove minced
  • ½ cup Thai basil fresh chopped
  • ¼ cup peanut oil
  • 1 tsp sambal chile paste or to taste
  • 2 tbsp lime juice 1 lime
  • 4-6 wooden skewers


  • Add the salt and garlic to a large shallow bowl and crush the garlic with a pestle.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (except the shrimp) and stir until well blended.
  • Toss in the shrimp and coat with the marinade.
  • Allow shrimp to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Meanwhile, soak the wooden skewers in water.
  • Preheat a barbecue to medium-high heat (about 450° F)
  • Put the shrimp on the skewers. Set the skewers on a large platter and brush with the remaining marinade.
  • Grease the barbecue grill or use a non-stick spray.
  • Grill the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side. Serve immediately.


Garnish with fresh lime wedges and chopped Thai basil.
Per serving
Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Iron: 0.4mg
Keyword marinated, shrimp

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