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 Elle Draper

Gambas Pil Pil (Garlic Prawns)

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You’ve just found the easiest Gambas Pil Pil recipe ever! These tasty prawns are extremely popular in Spain, and rarely will you find a menu that doesn’t have them. Gambas Pil Pil is a really simple dish to make… but do be careful of the hot oil.

Easy gambas pil pil recipeYou will need either a heavy base frying pan, or one of those terracotta dishes you find in restaurants all over Spain (see image to the right for an example)


  • Olive oil
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic – finely sliced
  • A good teaspoon of paprika (smoked or sweet is fine)
  • A handful of raw prawns per person, shelled (and deveined if you prefer)
  • One fresh chilli, very finely sliced. Up to you if you include the seeds or not

Gambas Pil Pil Method

Here is where Gambas Pil Pil gets really easy! Pour about 1/4 inch of olive oil into your pan or dish, and heat over a medium / high heat.

Sprinkle in the paprika and stir well.

Throw in the garlic, chillies and prawns.

They will cook very quickly. So turn your prawns as soon as they start to turn pink. It will only take a minute or so. We have also successfully cooked this with cooked prawns – so if that’s easier for you… dig in!

Carry the pan / dish very carefully to the table and serve with plenty of fresh bread for mopping up that awesome chilli/garlic oil.

You may wish to have a heat resistant coaster or similar to place your pan on so it doesn’t burn your table.

This recipe especially reminds me of sitting on a sunbaked terrace in Lanzarote, watching the world go by. It’s an extremely tasty dish – but I make the same mistake every time… and try to eat it too quickly, which burns my tongue. You’d think I’d have learned by now!

Image source

Spain Buddy Spain recipes 468x60

8 Responses to Gambas Pil Pil (Garlic Prawns)

  1. Alf July 28, 2013 at 3:58 am


  2. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper July 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Ha ha ha. This was back in February… I’m much better organised these days.
    Elle xx

  3. Alf July 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Gracias bondad por eso! I thought you’d gone teetotal for a minute, didn’t spot the date, too busy wondering if I had any prawns in the fridge. xx

  4. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper July 29, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Ha ha ha – yeah, crisis averted. I’ll be sure to include some in this week’s recipe to keep the standard up (or is it down?)
    Anyway – did you find any prawns?
    Elle xx

  5. Alf July 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Yep, just behind all the vino seco & tins of Eurospar cervesas. xx

  6. alan shaw May 1, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Oh dear I had the pan on medium to high but must’ve been a tad to high as the paprika turned to a soot looking spice and the garlic was bitter and chilli disappeared.tasted ok but will try again on a lower heat.

  7. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper May 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Oh no! Keep the heat on high… and throw the garlic and chilli in – but remove after a few seconds. Then do the prawns and the paprika last.

    If you prefer to do it on a lower heat – do turn it up for the prawns so they’re sizzled instead of sauteed.

    Good luck!

  8. Jackie June 21, 2016 at 12:42 am

    This is one of my faves. You just have to be very careful not to burn the garlic, and make sure it goes nice and soft and then you can eat the garlic as well. LOVE LOVE LOVE this dish.

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