Camarones al ajillo, shrimp in a tasty garlic sauce known, is one of Susana’s favorite dishes, and it also happens to be one of her specialties in the kitchen. It is also fairly easy to prepare. Read on to learn how to prepare shrimp al ajillo, in this case with calamari added in to make it even better!

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Photo of a plate with the homemade shrimp al ajillo sauce and sides.
Read on to learn how to prepare this delicious homemade shrimp al ajillo with calamari (pictured here with mashed potatoes and a salad).

Shrimp al Ajillo Recipe

In this post, I’m going to translate Susana’s recipe for shrimp and calamari al ajillo (you can see the original Spanish here). This is one of Susana’s very favorite dishes, and is also on my list of the must try meals in Cartagena.

It also happens to be fairly easy to prepare at home. While it’s most common to see this with just shrimp or prawns, the calamari add a nice touch. If you want to go all out, you could also try this with lobster meat, or add in other seafood like octopus or mussels.

Read on to learn how to prepare it yourself in this recipe for shrimp and calamari al ajillo.


  • 1/2 kg (or 1 pound) of shrimp (preferably fresh and raw)
  • 1/2 kg (1 lb) of calamri
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic finely minced or mashed into a paste
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1 white onion sliced into thin Julienne strips
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons crema de leche (optional for a creamier sauce; this is a thick dairy cream, closest substitute would probably be whipping cream)
  • Cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)

These amounts prepare 4 good sized portions, but can be easily adjusted up or down.

Step by Step Instructions for How to Make Shrimp and Calamari al Ajillo

First, be sure to clean your shrimp and calamari (if you can get pre-peeled shrimp, you’ll save some time here).

Keep in mind it is much better if you can get fresh shrimp rather than precooked as precooked tends to have lots of water content and will shrink considerably during cooking. However, precooked will still turn out fine do if you can’t get fresh, they just might be a bit tiny.

Next, mix half of your minced garlic or garlic paste along with some salt and pepper to the shrimp and calamari.

Then, heat up the olive oil in a large skillet. Throw in the other half of the garlic and your onion sliced thinly. Stir fry it for about half a minute before tossing in the shrimp and calamari.

Be sure to stir and turn frequently and make sure the shrimp and calamari are being cooked on both sides.

Photo of this recipe for shrimp in ajillo sauce cooking on the stove top.
Be sure to stir and turn frequently. Your shrimp in ajillo sauce will be done once it has turned bright pink and is no longer transparent.

After about 5 minutes, as the seafood gets close to done (the shrimp will start to turn pink), add in the white wine. You’ll want to bring it back to a boil and reduce the wine by about half.

If you are going to add the cream, do so now and stir it in to thicken up the sauce. Once the sauce (with or without the cream) has reduced down, add in the cilantro or parsley.

*Note: Be careful not to overcook the shrimp as they will get tough and lose their tender texture. It’s easy to overcook while reducing the sauce, but you’ll want to cook them for no longer than about 15 minutes total.

If you sauce is still on the watery side, don’t worry, it’ll still taste great!

This dish goes well with lots of things, but we like to have it with mashed potatoes, French fries, or white rice, with a fresh salad or sautéed or roasted vegetables.

Print this recipe for shrimp al ajillo out to prepare later below.

Yield: 4 porciones

Shrimp and Calamari al Ajillo Recipe

Shrimp and Calamari al Ajillo Recipe

Shrimp al ajillo is a tasty and fairly easy dish to make at home. Here there's the added bonus of calamari to make it even better but it can be made with either shrimp or calamari alone, together, or even with the addition of other seafood.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1/2 kg (1 lb) shrimp
  • 1/2 kg (2 lb) calamari
  • 1/2 kilo de camarones
  • 1/2 kilo de calamares
  • 4 – 5 dientes de ajo finamente picados o machacados
  • 1/2 taza de vino blanco
  • 1 Cebolla blanca (cortada en julianas)
  • Cilantro o perejil (al gusto)
  • 3 cucharadas de aceite de oliva
  • Sal y pimienta al gusto
  • Crema de leche (opcional)


  1. Wash, and if necessary peel, the shrimp and wash the calamari.
  2. Finely mince the garlic or mash it in a mortal and pedastal to a paste and slice the onion into think Julienne strips.
  3. Mix half the garlic along with the shrimp and calamari along with some salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the olive oil in large skillet.
  5. Add in the other half of the garlic and the sliced onion and sautee for about half a minute.
  6. Add in the shrimp and calamari.
  7. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring and turning frequently
  8. As the shrimp starts to turn pink, add in the white wine.
  9. Continue cooking and stirring frequently to reduce the wine. If you want to add the cream, do so now, stirring it in for a creamier, thickier sauce.
  10. Cook for approximatley 5-10 more minutes as the sauce boils down by about half. Be sure not to overcook!
  11. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro or parsely (optional)
  12. Enjoy!


This dish goes great with mashed potatoes, French fries, or rice and a fresh salad or sauteed or roasted veggies.

There you have it, a recipe for shrimp al ajillo made at home. If you do prepare it I hope you enjoy it!

Cheers and Happy Eating!

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