The Best Shrimp Marinade (With Basil and Beer!)

Beer and shrimp are best buddies. Add in some basil and you pretty much have the best shrimp marinade ever.

This is the best shrimp marinade ever, with beer and basil. Those flavors with the shrimp are just plain amazing.

Shrimp are very tender and juicy on their own so if you marinate them it isn’t to tenderize them. It’s too give them some extra flavor. Go ahead and choose bold flavorings for your shrimp marinade. Lemon and lime juice are both great choices for the acid. Garlic is always good good good. Some minced jalapeno and some coconut milk, amazing. There are so many directions to go.

For this shrimp marinade, I was looking for something new and exciting to try. I turned to my trusty Flavor Bible (do you know this book? It’s incredible for coming up with new recipe ideas. It lists every food ever and then tells you what foods and flavors go with it. I always have it within arm’s reach and use it daily) and looked up Shrimp. A lot of the usual suspects were there. But then I spotted beer. Of course! Like Beer Battered Shrimp! Those flavors do work well together. Right near beer in the list of foods that go with shrimp was basil. I could already taste this. Those shrimpies’ fates were sealed.

I had planned to start really basic with this recipe, test it out and then maybe add in some other ingredients in the second round. But it was so darned good the first time that I did it exactly the same way the second, third and fourth time.

Here’s what you do to make this delicious (delicious!) marinade. Pour beer (a lager, something light but flavorful) into a bowl and add some olive oil, torn up basil leaves and salt. That’s it. Then in go the shrimp.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Don’t do it longer than that. You don’t want the beer to start cooking your shrimp (I know it’s not technically “cooking” without heat. It’s actually called denaturing. Eh hmm. But if I’d said “You don’t want the beer to start denaturing your shrimp,” most people wouldn’t have known what I was talking about. Wait. You would have known? Yeah, I know. You’re pretty smart. But most people wouldn’t have known. Oh, hey, if you want to know more about denaturing, which is what happens when you make ceviche, and get a fabulous ceviche recipe to boot, check this out).

OK, enough babbling. Here it is. The best shrimp marinade. You’re seriously going to love this one.



Beer and Basil Shrimp

Beer and shrimp are best buddies. Add in some basil and you pretty much have the best shrimp marinade ever.

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 cup lager
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 810 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. peeled, deveined, tail on, large shrimp


  1. In a large bowl mix together lager, olive oil, basil and salt. Add shrimp and stir gently. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drain in a colander such that only the shrimp and basil remain.
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add shrimp and basil and arrange in a single layer. Let cook 1 minute, then stir. Cook, stirring occasionally until opaque, pink and cooked through, another 1-2 minutes. Remove from skillet and serve.

Christine Pittman

Christine is the Senior Editor and Owner of The Cookful, COOKtheSTORY and IsThisThatFood. Her sites reach over 1.5 million readers per month, which means that things can get a bit crazy. She's constantly writing, taking pictures, editing, managing contributors, and, oh yeah, cooking. To say that she wears many hats is an understatement - there are many hats, and also many shirts, shoes, pants, and even the odd cape!