Shrimp Pesto Pasta

6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Shrimp Pesto Pasta is an easy skillet dinner ready in 30 minutes. Shrimp and pasta tossed in fresh homemade basil pesto, topped with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Tossed with spaghetti, our Pesto Shrimp becomes a quick and delicious Pasta Dinner, better than your favorite Italian restaurant!

Shrimp Pesto Pasta in mixing bowl

This Shrimp Pesto Pasta with our homemade Basil Pesto is a quick and easy one pan meal. Marinate the shrimp while you cook the pasta to al dente for a meal that’s ready in less than 30 minutes. Pesto Shrimp Pasta is a go-to weeknight dinner recipe that is simple to make but fancy enough for special occasions.

You can use a store-bought pesto sauce for your Pesto Pasta with Shrimp if you prefer not to make your own. The homemade Basil Pesto is so easy to make, it’s worth going to the store for the ingredients. You make it in just 2 minutes in the blender and its freezer-friendly sauce you keep for months. Make it in bulk so you always have pesto on hand and never have to use the jarred sauce again!

Shrimp Pesto Pasta collage

One of the best reasons to use homemade pesto, besides tasting better than store-bought, is that you can control the ingredients. You can adjust the pesto recipe to be dairy-free, nut-free, or even substitute other herbs or greens for fresh basil. Below the variations section, we’ve got ways to customize pesto sauce for this Pesto Shrimp Pasta!

Pesto Shrimp Pasta is a great recipe for busy weeknights with a side of Roasted Broccoli or Sautéed Green Beans and Garlic Bread. You can also serve Pesto Pasta with shrimp or without as a side for Italian favorites like Chicken Parmesan. Prepare as usual and chill overnight to serve this dish as a Pesto Shrimp Pasta Salad!

Shrimp Pesto Pasta in mixing bowl



  • Creamy Pesto Pasta: Cook and remove shrimp, set aside. Add 1 cup broth, ½ cup heavy cream, and ½ block (4 ounces) softened cream cheese to the skillet. Stir and cook until thickened, then add pasta, shrimp, and pesto to pan.
  • Chicken: Use leftover Grilled Chicken to make an easy Chicken Pesto Pasta dinner. For raw chicken, butterfly and marinate chicken breast in pesto. Cook for about 3-4 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Remove from pan and slice before returning with pasta and pesto.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes taste great in pesto pasta! Add sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or diced tomatoes (drained) when you add the pasta and pesto to the pan.
  • Veggies: Toss cooked veggies like peas, red peppers, or asparagus with pasta mixture before serving for a complete one pan meal.
  • Pasta: Swap out spaghetti with other thin noodle pasta like fettuccine, bucatini, and linguine. You could also use penne pasta, fusilli, or farfalle in this pasta dish.

Homemade Pesto Variations

  • Cheese: For dairy-free pesto sauce use 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese, and add a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness.
  • Nuts: Try toasted walnuts or almonds for the pine nuts. For a nut-free pesto sauce, use toasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
  • Basil: Instead of fresh basil, you can use carrot tops, spinach, kale, or parsley. Try a mixed greens pesto using a little of each!
  • Olive Oil: For a lighter pesto sauce, substitute ½ a large avocado plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water for the olive oil. Use extra-virgin olive oil for the best oil flavor.
Shrimp Pesto Pasta in serving dish



  • Serve: Pesto Shrimp Pasta can be at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should be stored. You can enjoy this shrimp pasta dish cold or hot.
  • Store: Store Shrimp Pesto Pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat over medium heat or serve leftovers cold.
  • Freeze: Cooked shrimp does not reheat well once frozen. You can freeze Pesto Pasta without the shrimp for up to 3 months in a sealed container. Thaw pasta overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove. Cook the shrimp fresh per the recipe and toss with pesto pasta.

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Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Shrimp Pesto Pasta is an easy skillet dinner ready in 30 minutes. Shrimp and pasta tossed in fresh homemade basil pesto, topped with shaved Parmesan cheese.
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


Pesto Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups fresh basil , packed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Shrimp Pasta:

  • 1 pound shrimp , peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese , shaved


  • Add the pine nuts to a small pan on medium heat and let toast until you can just smell the pine nuts.
  • Add toasted pine nuts, basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese to food processor and blend while slowly pouring in the olive oil through the food chute.
  • In a large bowl, toss the shrimp in ½ cup pesto and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • While the shrimp marinates, cook the pasta one minute shy of the package instructions.
  • Drain and set aside, reserving ¼ cup pasta water. Do not rinse.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Scrape the pesto off the shrimp and add to the hot pan, cooking on each side for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add pasta and the remaining pesto to the pan and toss with shrimp until heated through.
  • Optional: Thin sauce with pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese before serving.


Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 199mg | Sodium: 1112mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 898IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 291mg | Iron: 3mg
Shrimp Pesto Pasta collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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