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Gambas Al Pil Pil – Authentic Spanish Appetizer

Gambas al pil pil

How To Make Easy Gambas Al Pil Pil?

Hi guys! Today I’ll share a traditional Spanish recipe with you, that is called Gambas(prawns) Al Pil Pil. I think pil pil and paella are two of the most popular dishes that tourists are looking forward to try here in Spain. In fact prawn pil pil is my favourite dish from Spanish kitchen! It is best of course to enjoy a perfect combination of hot weather, nice beach chiringuito, spicy pil pil and a glass of ice cold sparkling cava or sangria 🙂

So what is pil pil? Pil pil is a sauce made of olive oil, garlic and red hot chilli peppers. Traditional Spanish pil pil is made of cod fish that is fried in olive oil with garlic and guindillas (hot peppers) but today we’ll use prawns in our pil pil. And to add a little twist to our recipe, we will add some cherry tomatoes because I think it gives this hot and salty dish a nice sour touch.

Gambas al pil pil

Which Prawns Can I Use In Pil Pil?

If you want an authentic pil pil experience, it is recommended to use raw king prawns. You should clean them first by twisting the head off, pull on the tail and then gently remove the shell and legs. After that use a sharp knife to cut a small line that runs down the length of the prawn’s back and remove the black line from within. These are prawns intestines. If you do not remove them, your prawns will not taste very good as you will feel strong “sea taste” and it can even contain sand. You can find a short video tutorial how to clean prawns here.

Gambas Al Pil Pil Recipe


  • 400 g (peeled and cleaned) king prawns
  • 5 gloves of garlic
  • 1 big red hot chilli
  • 150 g cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • some extra cayenne pepper if need
  • salt
Garlic and chilli


  1. Firstly peel and clean the king prawns, wash with cold water and dry with kitchen paper or clean towel. We do not want any excess water in our dish.
  2. Then peel and slice (not chop) garlic gloves.
  3. Cut red hot chilli into slices.
  4. Pre heat the frying pan and add olive oil.
  5. Now cook garlic and chilli for a few minutes in medium heat.
  6. Wash and cut cherry tomatoes into half.
  7. Add tomatoes and fry them 3-4 minutes until soft.
  8. Now raise the temperature and add prawns and cook them until they are pink. About 1-2 minutes on each side.
  9. Serve when hot and sizzling with fresh baguette.
  10. Enjoy!
Pil pil

What is so amazing about this recipe is that it is very easy to make once the prawns are peeled and cleaned. It is the most perfect apetizer to offer your guests for dinner or for lunch. Although sometimes I serve it as a main course as well because it is just so delicious! Anyway, try it and let me know how it turned out for you! You can also check out my meatballs and pate recipes. Take care and stay healthy!

La Pura Vida


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