America's Favorite Recipe from 'America's Test Kitchen'

Daniel Hautzinger
Shrimp Scampi from America's Test Kitchen. Photo: Carl Tremblay
Shrimp Scampi from 'America's Test Kitchen.' Photo: Carl Tremblay

America's Test Kitchen has been on TV scrupulously perfecting recipes for you to try at home for twenty years now, so they're celebrating with an anniversary special the week before Thanksgiving counting down the top twenty recipes from the show, as voted on by viewers. This Shrimp Scampi recipe from season 17 came out on top. In the special, several of the cast members tried out the recipe in their own kitchens, and now America's Test Kitchen and WTTW are inviting you to do the same and share the results! Cook the recipe at home, then post about it on social media and tag it #ScampiChallenge and WTTW on Facebook or Twitter to join the fun and be reposted by the America's Test Kitchen account!

Shrimp Scampi

Extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound) can be substituted for jumbo shrimp. If you use them, reduce the cooking time in step 3 by 1 to 2 minutes. We prefer untreated shrimp, but if your shrimp are treated with sodium or preservatives like sodium tripolyphosphate, skip the brining in step 1 and add ¼ teaspoon of salt to the sauce in step 4. Serve with crusty bread.

Serves: 4


3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds shell-on jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed, shells reserved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1 teaspoon cornstarch
8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


1. Dissolve salt and sugar in 1 quart cold water in large container. Submerge shrimp in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove shrimp from brine and pat dry with paper towels.

2.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to turn spotty brown and skillet starts to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and carefully add wine and thyme sprigs. When bubbling subsides, return skillet to medium heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Strain mixture through colander set over large bowl. Discard shells and reserve liquid (you should have about 2/3 cup). Wipe out skillet with paper towels.

3. Combine lemon juice and cornstarch in small bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and pepper in now-empty skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is fragrant and just beginning to brown at edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Add reserved wine mixture, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium, add shrimp, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are just opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to bowl.

4. Return skillet to medium heat, add lemon juice-cornstarch mixture, and cook until slightly thickened, 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and parsley until combined. Return shrimp and any accumulated juices to skillet and toss to combine. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.