This is a recipe for garlic lovers. 6 whole garlic cloves go in to making this really quick and simple prawn recipe that is a must at any tapas table, but equally delicious in pasta or a salad. Gambas Pil Pil is a traditional Spanish dish that will transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean.
If you have ever been to a tapas restaurant, then you will have definitely seen these garlic prawns on the menu and probably ordered them. Giant prawns cooked in excellent quality olive oil and enough garlic to scare a vampire off! This really is a super simple Spanish dish, with lots of different ways to use it.
If you are looking for some other ways to use prawns, then why not try our Prawn Jalfrezi, The Ultimate Prawn Cocktail, The BEST Prawn Sandwich or Garlic Prawn Spaghetti?
What is Gambas Pil Pil?
The term "pil pil" is Basque and refers to dishes cooked in a lot of oil with garlic and spice. This dish certainly covers those bases. We used the best quality giant prawns we could find and then cooked them in lots of excellent quality olive oil. The flavour comes from the garlic and then a kick of heat from the chilli.
Why you will love it
- High in protein
- Ready in under 5 minutes
- A great addition to a tapas dinner party
- Versatile with lots of uses
- Prawns - These are the star of the dish. We used raw king prawns, which helps to stop them being overcooked in the sauce.
- Oil - This is where all the sauce comes from. Use a really good quality olive oil for the best flavour.
- Garlic - Fresh is always best. Make sure it is finely crushed, almost like a paste, so there is even distribution.
- Chilli - We love ours with lots of chilli. This is totally optional though, and you could just stick to the garlic.
- Parsley - This adds a lovely freshness to the finished dish. You can leave it out though.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make Gambas pil pil - Step by step
One: Add the oil to a pan and heat until hot. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
Two: Add the prawns and cook until they have turned pink all over - about 3-4 minutes.
Three: Add the chopped parsley, stir and serve.
Health benefits of prawns
Prawns are a low-in-fat protein source and they are so versatile. You can use them in pasta, salads, sandwiches and so much more. They are a good source of selenium, which is one of the most effective antioxidants at maintaining healthy cells. They also contain high levels of zinc, which is important to develop a healthy immune system.
This is such a simple dish, so we don't want to over complicate it by serving it with anything too difficult. We like to put a stick of crunch french bread in the oven and then tear it in to chunks and dip it in the garlicky oil leftover in the bowl after we have eaten the prawns.
As well as a must-have at any tapas spread, we mix these through a simple buttery spaghetti dish or on top of a green salad for a quick and easy lunch. These go really well on our Tapas Platter.
Store: If you do have any leftovers, then they are best eaten cold on a salad or in a sandwich. Why not try them in our Prawn and Avocado Salad or Epic Prawn Sandwich?
Freeze: We wouldn't recommend freezing gambas pil pil.
Reheat: One the prawns are cooked, we wouldn't recommend reheating them as they can get really rubbery. These take less than 5 minutes to cook, so they are always best cooked from fresh.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, as long as you make sure that there is no cross contamination, then this can be gluten free.
You need to use a really good quality olive oil. You really do get what you pay for and you will be able to taste the difference, because a generous amount is used here.
If you are using frozen prawns, then you will need to defrost them first. Using frozen prawns can cause them to over cook.
• For a more traditional dish, add some fresh finely chopped red pepper to the oil before adding the prawns, or a sprinkle of red chilli flakes before serving.
• Keep this dish simple by serving with warm crusty bread to dip into the oil.
• These prawns are best cooked fresh and not reheated.
• We sprinkled parsley on ours before serving, however you could use coriander instead.
More Spanish recipes
If you’ve tried this Gambas Pil Pil recipe, please leave a comment below.
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Gambas Pil Pil
- 500 g (1 lb) Raw king prawns
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 6 Garlic clove - crushed
- 1 Red chilli - finely chopped
- 15 g (0.25 cups) Fresh parsley - chopped
- Add 2 tablespoon Olive oil to a pan and heat until hot. Add 6 Garlic clove and 1 Red chilli and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
- Add 500 g Raw king prawns and cook until they have turned pink all over - about 3-4 minutes.
- Add 15 g Fresh parsley, stir and serve.
- For a more traditional dish, add some fresh finely chopped red pepper to the oil before adding the prawns, or a sprinkle of red chilli flakes before serving.
- Keep this dish simple by serving with warm crusty bread to dip into the oil.
- These prawns are best cooked fresh and not reheated.
- We sprinkled parsley on ours before serving, however you could use coriander instead.
I love garlic, so this recipe is right up my alley. It sounds tasty and the garlic and prawn combination is sure to please, yum!! Can't wait to try the recipe. Cheers
I think I might be one of them - garlic and shrimp combo never disappoints! And super excited to explore the Mediterranean way of making this dish - sounds yum!
what a perfect simple recipe. This came out wonderfully and was so easy to make.
Shashi at SavorySpin
Thank you for introducing me to a new dish - this is my first time hearing of gambas pil - I love prawns and this would be such a quick and tasty way to enjoy them!
Can't beat this type of tapas. Your garlic gambas look so delicious! I love anything pil pil but this recipe is perfect, with so few ingredients and so much flavor!
Courtney | Love & Good Stuff
Simple, easy, and full of fresh flavour - my favourite kind of recipe!
When it comes to tapas, this is one of my favorite dishes! Thank you so much for delivering a shrimp recipe that tastes just like it's served at Spanish restaurants.
Yes yes! Love how simple and delicious this is. We're ALL in on garlic over here...and prawns are ALWAYS a winner. Great combo...thanks for sharing!
This looks fabulous! I was sold when you said it could be made in 5 minutes - that is my kind of appetizer!!
Oh this is one of my favorite tapas dishes of all time! Don't think I ever went to a tapas restaurant without ordering them. A bit shy about making them at home though... will try your recipe and be brave! And add all the chili as well beause I am not a toddler ;)