Spicy Cookout Shrimp With Mint Yogurt Recipe

No cookout is complete without a hearty menu of appetizers to snack on while the grill heats up. Your guests are sure to work up an appetite while the smell of charred burgers and smokey ribs fill the air, and the best way to keep them satisfied (other than with libations) is with food. Since the items on the grill are the main attraction, it's best to keep appetizers light, each one thoughtfully curated to be both bite-sized and flavorful. Dips, chips, and cheeses are all great easy options, but a good way to impress guests before the main course is with seafood, which cooks quickly and is loaded with impressive flavor. 

Shrimp is a versatile option that cooks in minutes, and in this recipe written with developer Michelle McGlinn, the shellfish carries an explosive, Mediterranean-inspired flavor that pairs perfectly with a refreshing, lemony mint-yogurt sauce. The cumin-marinated shrimp come together quickly for an easy snack to grab while mingling before dinner, making your hosting effortless and your cookout unforgettable.

Grabbing the ingredients for spicy cookout shrimp with mint yogurt

This recipe is fairly simple, using many spices and ingredients you may already have at home. Look in your spice cabinet for ground cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. With the spices collected, grab garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice, too. From there, you'll need fresh parsley and mint (though dried can be substituted in either case), as well as Greek yogurt and shrimp. For the most efficient appetizer, we recommend using tail-on, medium-sized shrimp, which are bite-sized and easy to grab and dip by the tail, leaving your fingers mess-free.

Step 1: Bring the marinade together

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, ¼ teaspoon salt, minced garlic, parsley, and ¼ cup olive oil.

Step 2: Marinate the shrimp

Marinate for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Heat up a skillet

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Step 4: Cook the shrimp

Add the shrimp and its marinade and cook, flipping once, until opaque, about 5 minutes total.

Step 5: Add the sauce ingredients to a blender

To make the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, mint, lemon juice, whole garlic cloves, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper in a blender.

Step 6: Blend

Blend until smooth.

Step 7: Serve

Drizzle the sauce with olive oil and serve with the shrimp.

Spicy Cookout Shrimp with Mint Yogurt Recipe
No Ratings
While your cookout guests wait for their entrees, use a cast iron skillet and a blender to whip up some spicy shrimp and mint yogurt for appetizer snacking.
Prep Time
35
minutes
Cook Time
5
minutes
Servings
4
servings
dipping shrimp into yogurt sauce
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 pound large shrimp, tails on and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided, or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced + 2 whole cloves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper‌
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, ¼ teaspoon salt, minced garlic, parsley, and ¼ cup olive oil.
  2. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the shrimp and its marinade and cook, flipping once, until opaque, about 5 minutes total.
  5. To make the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, mint, lemon juice, whole garlic cloves, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper in a blender.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Drizzle the sauce with olive oil and serve with the shrimp.
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How can I grill this marinated shrimp?

If you're making this recipe for a cookout like the title suggests, you may want to consider using the grill to cook the shrimp. While it's nice to move some of the cooking to the kitchen so that the grill can be filled with the feasts of the main course, it's equally efficient to pop the shrimp on the grill before anything else; the shrimp cooks in less than 5 minutes, and the grill offers a smoky char. 

One easy way you can do this is to put the shrimp in a cast iron skillet, grill basket, or foil sheet and cook the shrimp like you would in an oven, flipping about 3–5 minutes into cooking. For direct heat grilling, where the flames cook the shrimp, pierce the shrimp onto skewers (like we do in this recipe) and lay them across the grates with the burners on a low to medium heat. Using skewers makes flipping the large batch of shrimp easy and foolproof because the shrimp won't risk falling through the grates. If you don't have skewers and are using medium to large shrimps, simply place the shrimp directly on the grates and turn 2–3 minutes into cooking for an even char. 

What can I do if my yogurt sauce isn't blending up properly?

Because the yogurt sauce comprises full mint leaves and very little liquid, you may find that it gets caught in the blender before blending smoothly. This recipe works best in small, single-serving blenders. If you only have one large blender, your best option is to continuously scrape the sides of the blender, pushing the mixture towards the blades, until the mint is finely chopped. You can also add 1 ounce of olive oil, yogurt, or water to help the mixture move more efficiently. 

Another option is to very finely chop the mint before blending for smoother results. (You can forgo the blending altogether by mincing the garlic first, too.) No matter the method, your mint, in the end, will be finely chopped, while the yogurt, lemon, garlic, and pepper whip into a creamy, smooth sauce. If you don't have the time to work with the long leaves of fresh mint, you can also swap for dried mint, which will blend seamlessly into the sauce.