Drunken Shrimp

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Drunken shrimp just got a makeover. Not sure if you can call this drunken since I significantly cut down the wine, but the shrimp aren’t 100% sober either.

Drunken Shrimp with bread
Drunken Shrimp

This Drunken Shrimp is a little less drunk than most recipes – I only use a one-quarter cup of white wine combined with clam juice and fresh lemon. The sauce is so flavorful – definitely serve some crusty bread on the side to soak it up! For some more Italian shrimp recipes, try my Shrimp Fra Diavolo and Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli Orzo.

Shrimp with wine and lemon juice in a skillet

This drunken shrimp recipe combines so many classic Italian ingredients in one dish. DO NOT omit the anchovy paste, it adds a complex, salty flavor that is not fishy. It’s the secret ingredient in many Italian sauces, and this one is no different. This dish also has capers, garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes. If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, omit the crushed red pepper.

Can you use drinking wine for cooking?

Yes! As always, the rule when cooking with wine is to use the wine you are drinking. I always have pinot grigio on hand, so that’s what I used in this recipe. Don’t use cooking wine when a recipe calls for wine – it’s not the same.

If you are not a wine drinker, buy a small bottle just for cooking, and keep it in your refrigerator. If you have leftover wine, you can freeze it in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, store the cubes in a plastic container for the next time a recipe calls for wine.

Can you omit the wine if you don’t drink?

Sure! Just swap it with some vegetable broth.

What to Serve with Drunken Shrimp

My favorite way to eat drunken shrimp is in a bowl with a crusty piece of bread to dip in the sauce. This shrimp would also be excellent over your favorite pasta, like orzo or spaghetti.

For sides, serve the shrimp with broccolini or wilted spinach with garlic and oil or a salad like a Caprese Salad.

oil and red chili flakes in a skilletDrunken Shrimp with lemonDrunken shrimp just got a makeover. Not sure if you can call this drunken since I significantly cut down the wine, but the shrimp aren’t 100% sober either. #shrimp #shellfish #pescatarian

Shrimp with wine and lemon juice in a skillet
Print WW Personal Points
4.88 from 32 votes
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Drunken Shrimp

175 Cals 22.5 Protein 2 Carbs 10 Fats
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Yield: 4 servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Italian
Drunken shrimp just got a makeover. Not sure if you can call this drunken since I significantly cut down the wine, but the shrimp aren’t 100% sober either.


  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined large or jumbo shrimp
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 2 tablespoons of capers, rinsed
  • juice from one lemon
  • generous handful of chopped parsley


  • Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, pepper flakes, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, until golden.
  • Add wine, clam juice, lemon juice, capers, anchovy paste, parsley, salt and pepper, and stir. Bring to a boil and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes, until opaque. Do not overcook the shrimp or it will become tough and chewy.
    Shrimp with wine and lemon juice in a skillet
  • Serve shrimp with liquid in a bowl and some crusty bread on the side to soak up the juice.



Serving: 1/4 lb shrimp with juice, Calories: 175kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 22.5g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 185mg, Sodium: 861mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 0.1g
WW Points Plus: 5
Keywords: drunken shrimp, Shrimp Recipes, Spicy shrimp recipes

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  1. Great recipe!

    Also works well if served over pasta or rice.

    Don’t cook chopped parsley for 2-3 minutes or it turns dark; just add to hot liquid immediately before pouring into bowl or plating.

    If you don’t have clam juice you can sub shrimp or fish or chicken broth/stock; use low-sodium because anchovy paste and capers have a lot of salt.

  2. This will be an absolute favorite of mine. And the sauce is fabulous. Loved every bite served over protein spaghetti. Delicious and ez to make

  3. Made this tonight for my mom and I. It was delicious. Definitely adding this to my go-to dishes. So easy but will make my guests think I put a lot of effort into it.

  4. Fantastically delicious….recipe was perfect….I added tomato paste along with anchovies paste and wild rice….

  5. So good! After I read that this is an Italian dish, I added Fennel seed. Have it a lot of depth.  I also served it with rice 😋

    I couldn’t get the orange color but still loved it.

    I have a picture but cannot see where to post 🤷🏻‍♀️

  6. Made this for a friend and I since we both like shrimp and it sounded good. We SNORTED this stuff!!!! Ok, so we didn’t literally, but, we really sounded like we were!!! Fantastic! Get yourself a French baguette (a good one) to go along with it if you don’t have good Italian bread in your area and you will be in heaven!

  7. I thought sautéing garlic till golden would make it bitter. 

  8. I can’t find anchovy paste. Any pointers, on how to make it?

  9. Wow, so much flavor. Save some points for crusty bread. You’ll definitely want to sop up that sauce.

  10. Could I use fish sauce instead of the anchovy?

  11. I am in the UK and can’t find Clam juice – can you recommend an alternative please?

  12. Terrible!   What happened to the delicate flavor of shrimp?  Lost in a mouthful of garlic and hot pepper flakes!  So disappointed…Did these people really test this dish?

  13. I loved this – so spicy and yummy!! I think one of the comments said they wanted to drink the sauce – I DID drink the sauce. My son said “Mommy, you are not allowed to drink out of the bowl”. Ha! Anyway, I didnt have enough clam juice so I did 1/2 clam juice and 1/2 chicken stock but still amazing! I would love to try this with cod (my dad is allergic to shellfish but he would love this) and want to know how long to cook the cod. Thank you!

  14. Thinking of swapping shrimp for scallops. Any thoughts as to why this would not be a good idea?

  15. So so good! A teeny bit too spicy for me, maybe 1/2- 3/4 tsp of the pepper flakes would do. 
    This recipe is so flavorful and it was eaten up right away! Even my picky 5 year old asked for more! 

    We made the dish with spaghetti since we didn’t have a baguette but I’m excited to try it with bread next time! 

  16. Incredible dish! Going to be a staple in this house! 

  17. If I could give this more stars I would. It was excellent. The flavor is amazing!!! Don’t forget a nice piece of sourdough bread to soak up the delicious sauce!!!

  18. Gina, what could I use instead of wine? We’re in an alcohol-free home. Thank you!

    • More broth?

    • I’m curious as to why you would even click on a link to a recipe that obviously has alcohol in it if you don’t consume alcohol? I’m always puzzled by people who do things like this. 

      • I’m guessing the person didn’t know there was alcohol in this recipe. Every person has a right to try delicious recipes. Be nice.

  19. We could juice drink the broth like water! This was such a good starter to a meal or you could bump it up to meal and put it over pasta or zoodles. I would make this for company in a heartbeat. It is full of flavor and you get a good amount for the points/calories.

  20. Yum!! We loved it!

  21. If we decide to put the shrimp over pasta or rice is there enough sauce as is or do we need to increase the sauce?

  22. This recipe is yummy. We made it one night as directed, and put it over spaghetti squash. Another evening I left out the shrimp, and just poured the sauce over spaghetti squash. Easy and so good.

  23. Hi! This looks delicious and is on my to make list! I live in the Netherlands and can’t find clam juice anywhere. Could I replace it with something else….?

  24. The only item I needed to purchase for this dish was the anchovy paste.  The dish makes up quickly and tastes wonderful.  I would readily serve this to guests.  My husband loved this and wanted to know when we could have it again.

  25. Made this tonight over Jasmin Rice – very good!!!  The only thing I would do differently next time would be to cook down the white wine a bit before adding the other ingredients. 

  26. My family loves this recipe. I made it for a second time last night, subbing chicken breast for the protein. I also made it in the pressure cooker. I made the broth in IP on saute function, added chicken breasts, and cooked on Poultry for 15, natural pressure release. Served saffron rice on the side for the family along with steamed broccoli and Gena’s Wilted Spinach. Yum!! A definite keeper. I even bought extra bottles of clam juice for the pantry.

  27. Hi! Huge fan. My husband can eat shellfish but, sadly, is allergic to scaled fish. Is there something I can substitute the anchovy paste with?

    Thanks 🙂

  28. Are there substitutions for the anchovy paste and clam juice? I have never used those items and don’t want to purchase them as I’m sure the rest would just go to waste.

    • Clam juice can be purchased in 8 oz containers. So it would not go to waste for this recipe. Though I’ve never actually purchased anchovies I know you can buy them in 3oz jars. So it worth buying it if you’d like to try the recipe as is. 

    • I just saw that Worcestershire is a good substitute for anchovies! 😊

  29. Made this to tonight, everyone finished their bowls and between the three of us ate 1.5 lbs of shrimp LOL I added more because we love shrimp that much 

  30. Delicious! I did make the whole recipe for the 2 of us and there were no leftovers. We didn’t have any sides, just crusty french bread. I added a little more red pepper flakes since we like spicy, but perfect as written.

  31. since they’re not totally sober shrimp, maybe you can call them tipsy shrimp? 😛 regardless of what they’re called, they look delicious and i can’t wait to try!

  32. Absolutely fabulous and easy to make. I made this exactly as written with 1.5 pounds of shrimp. We both loved it. Next time I may try it with chicken. We ate your wilted spinach as a side. Yummmm

  33. This recipe is absolutely delicious! So easy and my picky kids loved it! Will definitely be in the rotation! Thank you!

  34. This was so easy and SO delicious, I served it over cauliflower rice.

  35. This was a quick flavorful dinner.  I served it with corn on the cob, so yummy!  Will definitely make it again & again:)

  36. Could one substitute a couple of chopped/minced olive-oil-packed anchovy filets for the anchovy paste?

    I always have a large jar of them in the fridge.

  37. Yum, Yum, Yummy, Yum! So good. I followed recipe exactly and this turned out so good. I made this with a big garden salad and some crusty sourdough bread. It was the perfect, light New Year’s dinner to get myself back on track after the holidays. Will definitely make this again!

  38. Should I sub chicken stock for the wine? 

  39. I made this last night for NYE dinner – FANTASTIC!
     I did serve it over fettuccine so it wasn’t skinny .  Everyone loved it.

  40. Ever make this with scallops? I’m allergic to shrimp but it looks delicious!!! 

  41. I’m going to add this recipe to the next go-around for meal planning. I will have some left over fish stock. Do you think that would work in place of the clam juice? TY

  42. This should be a good treat for kids having a good job at school. My eldest love shrimp and we’re going to request this to the wifey.

  43. One of our favorites!  We stir I in a pound of  cooked spinach just before serving. Delicious. Makes it a complete meal. 

  44. So delicious and a joy to make!

  45. So delicious!!!! Spicy, but so good!!! I want to drink the sauce!

  46. This looks really good! Thanks for the tip on wine, I had no clue cooking wine was different from regular.

  47. This is a fabulous dish!!! Just a note…Instead of clam juice, use shrimp broth. There is so much flavor in the shrimp shells. I always make a quick broth with a clove of garlic, all of the shells and a pinch of sea salt, boiled in about 2 cups of water for about 30 minutes, then strain. I usually freeze the extra for shrimp risotto. Thank you so much for this site!

    • Wonderful flavors. My husband also loved it. We served it over jasmine rice with a greek salad without feta. I couldn’t find my capers, so I chopped up some olives. I imagine it is even tastier with capers. Next time!!

  48. When do you add the capers? I added them with the shrimp so they wouldn't become mushy – is that right? VERY tasty – thank you! You're recipes ROCK – even my husband who can sniff out a low-fat low-calorie recipe from a mile away loves them! Keep 'em coming…

  49. Hi Patrick, thanks for pointing that out. I keep the breakdown written in a notebook so I think my mistake is the amount of shrimp in lbs vs ounces. It should be 4 cups shrimp which is 8 pts total according to my Weight Watcher Food Companion. And yes, The anchovy paste is a must!

  50. WOW. Another slam dunk. DO NOT omit the anchovy paste: it is the secret ingredient in many an Italian sauce, and this one is no different. As it cooks, it takes on a slightly salty, slightly I-don't-know-what-that-is-but-I-love-it flavor that makes everything taste better (it's my secret ingredient in WW Tuna Casserole). This recipe, like all the others I have tried on Gina's blog, is a definite keeper. YUM YUM YUM!

  51. I was just looking for something for dinner tonight, and this jumped out at me. But when I enter the ingredients into the WW Recipe Builder online, it came out as 31 total points, or 7.75 pts per serving. If you reduce the shrimp to 1 pound, it came out to 5.25 pts per serving. Is the recipe supposed to be for 1 lb of shrimp?

  52. I'm sure this is amazing over pasta!

  53. i made this recipe tonite for dinner!! it was soo good! We put it over wheat pasta bc i was really hungry!! it was amazing! thank you for sharing it!

  54. Great idea about freezing the wine in ice cube trays!

  55. All of your recipes are so fantastic and this one sounds amazing as well.

    When we have a bottle of wine we usually don't finish it and I freeze the remaining wine in ice cube trays. I think each cube comes out to about a tablespoon (or at least I treat them that way!) and it works perfectly when you have a recipe that is asking for just a taste. But if a recipe asks for half a cup or more, then its time to open a bottle!

  56. I read somewhere that the name ‘drunken shrimp’ comes from the original recipe, where the live shrimp are submerged in the alcohol used afterwards in the cooking process. They are literally drunk and killed by the booze before cooking them. I think it’s in one of my Asian cookbooks, but I have so many books I’m not so sure what’s in which 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe, it’s much more healthy and low fat than mine!

  57. This sounds like a really nice way to enjoy shrimp!

  58. We agree that all things cooked in booze are good to go!

  59. Love everything cooked in wine 🙂 Looks delicious!

  60. nice! Its like a scampi, but totally not. lol

  61. I just nominated you for the Attitude of Gratitude Award! I hope you will accept.

  62. Booze, shrimp, butter…I’m all over this…I’ll bring the bread.

  63. If you can’t find clam juice, I’m sure it would be just as good without it!

  64. Once again Gina you come up with wonderful, simple yet delicious recipes. I can’t live without your Zucchini soup. I think I told you I eat it cold and I added curry powder to make it a bit more exotic. Barbara (None of the categories fit what I have so I have to put Anonymous.

  65. This looks great! But I have no idea where to find clam juice! 🙂

  66. Oh, these sound amazing. I have just about all the ingredients but the anchovy.

  67. I joined WW two weeks ago, and your recipes are a life saver. They totally make me feel like I can follow the plan. Am going to make the 1 point black bean soup for dinner tonight, and am planning on making the black bean brownies for dessert on Easter.

    Blessings, Beth Ann

  68. This sounds AMAZING! I’m making this, this week!

  69. This looks and sounds delicious, Gina.