These Grilled Achiote Shrimp Skewers will quickly become one of your favorite seafood mains. Want a grilled shrimp skewer packed with flavor? Keep reading because this shrimp skewers recipe is for you. We marinated jumbo shrimp in a flavorful citrus-achiote mixture, then cooked them hot and fast on the grill. Absolutely delicious!
What is achiote?
Achiote is a spice native to the Americas and Caribbean regions of the world. Typically used in Latin cooking, achiote, much like paprika, is used as a coloring agent. Achiote adds either a yellow or reddish color to food and has a subtle smoky flavor that isn’t overpowering. It works beautifully with seafood and pretty much all types of meats and vegetables too.
What you need to make grilled achiote shrimp skewers:
Shrimp: You’ll need 2 pounds of raw jumbo shrimp. We recommend buying fresh, shell-on shrimp. If you must use frozen, look for those that still have their shells on. Avoid already peeled and deveined shrimp, as the texture and flavor can begin to erode as more time passes.
Achiote: This recipe does not call for much achiote, so we recommend using the powdered variety. This product is available in most grocery chains, online retail stores, or specialty stores.
Orange juice: Use fresh orange juice for the best flavor. Cara Cara oranges are great, but any navel orange will do. If squeezing your own, purchase 3-4 medium oranges to produce 1 cup of juice.
Skewers: We always recommend purchasing metal skewers, especially if you love kebabs. However, you can use wooden skewers as well. You will need to soak the skewers in tepid water for 30 minutes before threading the shrimp onto them. Average about 5-6 shrimp per skewer.
Shrimp doneness: Shrimp cook quickly. These kebabs will need about 3 minutes of cook time per side. Raw shrimp has a soft texture, glossy appearance, and is white and gray in color. As they cook, shrimp will turn pink and stiffen. Keep a close eye on them so that they do not overcook. Shrimp can go from perfectly done to tough and chewy in a matter of minutes.
Serve these grilled achiote shrimp skewers for lunch, dinner, or appetizers. Average one skewer per person if serving as part of a meal. Make smaller kebabs if serving as an appetizer.
Grilled Achiote Shrimp Skewers
- 2 pounds jumbo shrimp peel and deveined
- 8-10 skewers
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoons achiote powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Place peeled and deveined shrimp into a resealable plastic bag or a large enough glass dish with a lid.
- Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Divide mixture in half. Pour one half into the bag with shrimp. Gently coat all of the shrimp, seal bag or cover dish, and place into the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
- Place the other half of the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer on low for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.
- Preheat grill for medium-high heat.
- Remove shrimp from the fridge and thread 5-6 shrimp on each skewer. Place the skewers on the grill and baste with sauce simmered in the saucepan. Cook shrimp for 2-3 minutes, turn, baste with sauce, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Remove shrimp skewers from the grill and place onto a clean serving platter. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.