Shrimp saganaki (Γαρίδες σαγανάκι)

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Shrimp saganaki

Shrimp cooked in a rich and spicy tomato sauce with ouzo and feta

In Greek cooking there are a whole slew of dishes which are categorized as saganaki.  One of the most popular is cheese saganaki, that meze of fried cheese set aflame with the help of a little ouzo or Metaxa, which causes restaurant patrons to exclaim Opa! in delighted unison.  The term saganaki actually refers to the small, two-handled frying pan in which the food is cooked called a sagani, a derivative of the Turkish word sahan, which means copper dish.  Remember long ago when we told you that Mia Kouppa would also make you smarter?  You’re welcome.

Shrimp saganaki is a truly wonderful dish and can certainly be served as a meal.  But at the same time, spicy, rich, and creamy, this is the type of recipe that conjures up images of friends sitting around a table, sipping on some ouzo, talking, laughing and enjoying a delicious array of mezedes together.  Offered with an assortment of dips and spreads like tzatziki, fava and melitzanosalata, bowls of marinated olives,  and platters of greens such as horta or vlita, shrimp saganaki would be an easy and wonderful addition to the party.

Shrimp saganaki

Helpful hints

Truth is, despite the origin of the name, you don’t actually need a special pan to prepare your saganaki dishes; any frying pan will usually do just fine with most recipes.  Shrimp saganaki for instance just needs a pan large enough to fit all of your ingredients.


Shrimp saganaki tends to be a spicy dish, hence the chili flakes.  Our version is mildly spicy, and just the way that we like it.  We find that overpowering heat takes away from the subtle flavour of the ouzo and other spices, and upsets the delicate nature of the shrimp.  Plus, some members of our family are a little sensitive to spicy 🙂


You will need 500 grams of shrimp for this recipe, and we like to use 16 – 20 count; the count refers to the actual size of each shrimp.  Specifically, when we say 16 – 20 count, it means that there are 16 – 20 shrimp per pound; this is an average sized shrimp.  If your count is larger, your shrimp will be smaller.  If your count is smaller, your shrimp will be larger.

Shrimp saganaki

We completely peel the shrimp prior to cooking it for our shrimp saganaki.  Although keeping the shell of the tail on can add flavour, it makes it more difficult to eat.  Besides, the shrimp saganaki has enough flavour with all of the other great ingredients, you really don’t need the tail.  Be sure to also remove the vein of the shrimp as you are preparing if for cooking.  If you would like to see a video of peeling and de-veining shrimp, here is a great one posted by Epicurious.

Shrimp saganaki
Shrimp saganaki

If you will be using frozen shrimp, be sure to defrost them under cold running water or allow them to sit in a bowl of cold water, if you will be using them the same day.  Otherwise, they can defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Never use warm or hot water to defrost your shrimp; this is unnecessary and can potentially lead to a situation where your delicate shrimp gets partially cooked on the surface by the hot water, leading to rubbery shrimp.  Also, the idea or defrosting anything, especially seafood in hot or warm water just seems to us like it’s a potentially risky and unsafe situation.  Better safe than sorry!

Looking for more seafood recipes? See these:

Fried calamari
Orzo with shrimp
Grilled octopus

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Shrimp saganaki

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Shrimp saganaki (Γαρίδες σαγανάκι)

Shrimp cooked in a rich tomato sauce with ouzo and feta
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course, meze
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Cooking with ouzo, Mia Kouppa meze, Mia Kouppa recipes, Mia Kouppa saganaki, Mia Kouppa seafood, Saganaki, Shrimp, Shrimp and feta, Shrimp Mia Kouppa, Shrimp saganaki, Shrimp with ouzo
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • Frying pan


  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 10 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes 283 grams
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup (250 mL) tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 500 grams shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) ouzo
  • 3/4 cup Greek feta, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onion for 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
    1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil, 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
  • Add the minced garlic, red pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, chili flakes, oregano and paprika and saute for an additional 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
    4 cloves garlic, minced, 1 red pepper, cut into strips, 10 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, 1/2 tsp chili flakes, 1/2 tbsp oregano, 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring regularly for 2 – 3 minutes and then add the shrimp to the pan with the ouzo. Stir, cover your skillet, and cook for 5 minutes, on medium-low.
    1 cup (250 mL) tomato sauce, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 500 grams shrimp, peeled and de-veined, 3 tbsp (45 mL) ouzo
  • Uncover your skillet and sprinkle the crumbled feta onto the shrimp and tomato mixture. Cover again for an additional 3 – 5 minutes, on medium-low. Your feta will not melt, but will be soft.
    3/4 cup Greek feta, crumbled
  • Uncover the skillet and remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
    2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Serve and enjoy!


We like to use grape tomatoes in this recipe.  Grape tomatoes are smaller than cherry tomatoes, but either can be used depending upon availability. 
If you are using frozen shrimp for this recipe either defrost them the night before in the refrigerator, or place them in a bowl of cold water for a few hours.  You can also defrost them by running cold water over them for several minutes.
Although keeping the tail on the shrimp can add to the flavour, we prefer to completely peel the shrimp as this makes your saganaki easier to eat.
Be sure to serve shrimp saganaki with plenty of fresh bread, to sop up the sauce.

26 responses to “Shrimp saganaki (Γαρίδες σαγανάκι)”

  1. popsiclesociety Avatar

    Oh my, it’s looking so so good 🙂

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thanks so much! This is a meal we dream about 🙂

  2. Diane Avatar

    I stumbled upon your site the other day while googling how to prepare fava beans and boy O boy am I ever glad.
    I subscribed immediately !!!
    This recipe looks heavenly and I cannot wait to try it !
    Thank you ! 🙂

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Oh thank you so much Diana! We are certainly glad that you found us 🙂 Please let us know how you like the recipe if you do try it!

  3. Fergy. Avatar

    This looks absolutely gorgeous and I really want to give it a go but I shall need to scale it down as I live alone. You show it as a main course and a meze (it would be great as the latter) but how many servings would these quantities yield as a main? I am thinking four. I can then work it out accordingly.
    I am really loving your site as I adore Greek (and all Eastern Med.) food. Keep up the good work.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Fergy. We absolutely LOVE this dish. As a main, it would serve 2 quite generously, or 4 small portions per person…but this would be fine with a nice salad as a side and some bread to dip into the sauce. We hope you do give it a try. Let us know if you do!

      1. Fergy. Avatar

        I certainly will. First, I have to get off the road and back into my kitchen!

      2. miakouppa Avatar

        Happy travels!

  4. Vicky Avatar

    Thank you for an amazing recipe. I made it tonight and it was perfect! We had a loaf of warm bread along to scoop up the delicious flavors.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you so much Vicky, for letting us know you 🙂 We are so glad that you and your family enjoyed the recipe, and yes..bread is an absolute must here! 🙂

  5. Tina Kosmas Plette Avatar
    Tina Kosmas Plette

    I have made other shrimp saganaki recipes before, but this one tops them all. We had this for dinner tonight and loved it. Thank you for sharing your recipes and your humor–much appreciated by this Greek girl with a French last name!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Tina! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. We are just thrilled to hear that you and your family loved our shrimp saganaki. 🙂 This literally made our day!! And thank you for the lovely comment about our blog – we hope you find more to love here 🙂

  6. Susana Avatar

    This recipe looks delicious. Quick question – I am hosting about 7 people, wondering if this recipe can be doubled?
    Thank you!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Oh sure!! As a meal, the original recipe will feed about 3 people – you can easily double, or even triple the recipe. Enjoy! It is one of our favourites 🙂 We hope everyone loves it. Let us know! xoxo Helen & Billie

      1. Susana Avatar

        Thank you! I will most definitely tell you how it turns out, but I am sure it will be delicious. Thanks again!

      2. miakouppa Avatar

        Thank you!

  7. Joanna Avatar

    I made this recipe last night- after trying countless other recipes – and it was absolutely amazing!! My husband commented that it was the best thing he has eaten in recent memory and I completely agree with him! The ease of this recipe will make it a staple in my house, and the flavors will result in being one of those special dishes I bring out to impress guests. Thank you sooooo much!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you so much Joanna for taking the time to comment. We are SO thrilled that you loved our shrimp saganaki recipe. YAY! We hope you find much more to love here 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

  8. Joy A Bannett Avatar
    Joy A Bannett

    As a main course, would you serve with rice or pasta? Doing Greek salad first, of course.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Joy! For a main course you can serve the shrimp saganaki with either some plain noodles or rice -whichever you prefer. You can also just serve as is, with a few other sides (salads) and some delicious fresh bread! Enjoy! xox Helen & Billie

  9. Anna Cipolletti Avatar
    Anna Cipolletti

    Sorry, could you tell me what is uozo?

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Anna, happy to help! Ouzo is an anise flavoured Greek liqueur. It tastes like black licorice and is very popular in Greece and Cyprus. It is often sipped with water, and we love to cook with it as well. Thanks for your question! xoxo Helen & Billie

  10. Riki Avatar

    What if I don’t have ouzo?

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Riki! You can switch it up for some white wine, vegetable broth or even water. Enjoy! xoxo Helen & Billie

  11. Kerstin Avatar

    This is delicious! And it’s quite easy to make, especially if everything is measured out in advance and ready to throw into the pot. A lot of interesting flavors going on. This is definitely going to be a go-to recipe for dinner parties. We used it as the main course, with lots of dipping bread. Grilled octopus (using the marinade found on this site), dolmades, and dates stuffed with goat cheese for apps, with ouzo to sip, and a Greek salad for starter.
    Galaktoboureko for dessert. Fantastic meal!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thanks Kerstin! So happy that you loved our shrimp saganaki – it is one of our absolute favourite recipes! As for your menu….yum! We want to be invited to your dinner party! 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

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