Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce

Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce has the perfect blend of sweet black licorice taste with a smooth garlic bite! It is an appetizer or main dish that will dazzle you! If you want a restaurant style classic . . . this is the one! It is simply delicious. You will ask for a spoon to finish the remaining sauce on your plate. If you are not doing low carb, a piece of crusty bread will do the trick. For a low carb delight, how about only 4g of carbs!

Sambuca cream sauce recipes have been around for years. You can use them as a sauce for steamed mussels, scallops, and certainly shrimp. At the restaurant, Sambuca shrimp is often a table-side delight, since using a flambé technique to burn off the alcohol is a show stopper. By now you may wondering if your palate is up for a licorice cream sauce – but you do not have to be a huge fan of licorice to enjoy this recipe. The end result is mild and slightly sweet. It is outstanding!


Obviously, Sambuca takes center stage for this appetizer. Joanie and I both enjoy Sambuca. She requests it often at restaurants as an after dinner drink. Two ingredient tips, though. First, use Italian Sambuca (not Ouzo) – the taste is different. And, secondly, make sure you do not use black Sambuca. This is a creamy pale sauce that requires a clear Sambuca base. Any clear Italian Sambuca will work well.

Garlic, shallot, tomato, and basil . . . remember this is an Italian appetizer. We have seen similar recipes that call for tarragon, chives, and even oregano. Stick with the four Joanie uses in her version. The garlic and shallot enhance the earthy tomato flavor and the basil adds to the natural sweetness of the reduced Sambuca. Remember, the sauce is not overpowering. It is mild and tasty.

We also need to emphasize the shrimp. We have a number of shrimp appetizer recipes on our site. If you haven’t already done so, try these for an alternative:

  • Keto Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

    Cooks in 15 minutesDifficulty: Easy

    Keto Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce is a touch of Italy in a Tasty Low Carb recipe. Loaded with garlic and basil throughout makes this a delicious recipe.

We suggest using jumbo tiger shrimp (12-15) if making the recipe as an appetizer. You can see Joanie’s presentation. The larger shrimp are easier to butterfly and they will WOW your guests. Smaller shrimp can be used if you make a larger batch and serve over zoodles. That would be a perfect main course.

Click any “Pin Recipe” Button to Save to Pinterest!

Preparation Tips

Joanie recommends using a non-stick skillet to prepare the sauce. This is always a good idea for cream sauces. We love our Calphalon non-stick Skillet; although, any non-stick will work well. However, if you decide to employ the flambé technique you would be better off using a stainless skillet.

The recipe comes together quickly so we advise having all of your ingredients measured and at hand. Even if you are using larger shrimp, they will be done quickly. No one likes an overcooked shrimp dish, and that is a problem we see often. Reserving the shrimp in foil while you make the sauce will also add to the cook time, so pull your shrimp early. Three minutes is perfect.

Even the cream sauce should be done quickly. You can even remove the pan from the heat before adding the cream. Joanie likes to add a little butter at the end for more creaminess and sheen. Stir continuously after adding the cream, and especially after adding the butter, until you plate. It will thicken as it cools and you do not want the butter to separate.

Follow us on Social Media – See the Latest Low Carb Products

Sherpa Pink Himalayan Salt – 2 lb. Bag Coarse Grain – for Grinders and Salt Mills
  • Our Sherpa Pink Himalayan Salt is Kosher Certified, Non-GMO, and does not contain any MSG, Soy, Gluten, Dairy, or anti-caking agents. We import ONLY the highest quality food grade Himalayan salts and package in our U.S.A., SQF Food Safety and Quality Code certified, Organic compliant facility.
  • Our Coarse Grain Sherpa Pink Himalayan Salt must be ground before consumption.

Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce – The Perfect Italian Appetizer with Just a Taste of Sweet Sambuca

Keto Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce is simply the perfect Italian appetizer. It is earthy, yet sweet. It works well with any seafood. Joanie even uses it as a topping for grilled chicken or fish. The creamy sauce has just a hint of sweet licorice in cream . . . definitely Tasty Low Carb!

Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce

Recipe by Joanie and Chris
4.8 from 26 votes
Course: Small Plates, Fish and SeafoodCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




Net Carbs


Total time



Keto in Sambuca Cream Sauce is the perfect Italian appetizer. The creamy sauce has just a hint of sweet licorice in the tomato-basil cream. The sauce will also pair well with chicken dishes!

Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on


  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp Butter

  • 1 medium 1 medium Shallot (finely chopped)

  • 1 pound 450 g Shrimp (12-15 count, butterfly)

  • 1/3 cup 50 g Tomatoes (diced)

  • 3 cloves 3 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)

  • 2 tbsp 30 ml White wine

  • 2 tbsp 30 ml Sambuca

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 tsp Sea salt

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 tsp Pepper

  • 1/2 cup 120 ml Heavy cream

  • 2 tbsp 30 g Butter

  • 4 leaves 4 leaves Basil (fresh, julienned)


  • Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high. Add two tablespoons butter, when melted add shallots and sauté for 1 minute, add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the chopped garlic and diced tomatoes, flip the shrimp and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp, wrap in foil, and reserve.
  • Pour in the white wine, de-glaze the pan with a wooden spoon, add the Sambuca, and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low, or remove from the heat. Add the heavy cream, stir continuously for 2 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add the remaining butter and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Plate the sauce and arrange the shrimp on top of the sauce. Garnish with basil strips.


Chef’s Notes

  • You can leave the shrimp in the pan when preparing the Sambuca sauce and after adding the cream. You can also double the sauce and serve over zucchini Zoodles. Just make sure your Zoodles are cooked in advance in a separate pan.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 293.0kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 4.6g
  • Protein: 1.6g
  • Fat: 28.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 18.7g
  • Cholesterol: 94.5mg
  • Sodium: 345.0mg
  • Potassium: 124.7mg
  • Fiber: 0.6g
  • Calcium: 42.8mg
Frontier Co-op Organic Black Pepper (Medium Grind) 6.63oz
  • BLACK PEPPER – Frontier Co-op Organic Black Pepper is one of the most popular and beloved spices around the world. In the world of spices, black pepper is considered “black gold.” It lends satisfying heat and a good bite to most dishes. Frontier Co-op Black Pepper is organic and kosher certified. No artificial chemicals are added.
  • PACKED WITH HEAT AND FLAVOR – Frontier Co-op Black Pepper is chunkier and more intense than other peppers and provides a woody, floral, pungent flavor alongside a penetrating aroma. It is slightly coarser than finely-ground pepper. This spice is ideal for cooking or placing on the table in a shaker. It can be used with almost any savory dish.

Amazon Affiliate Program -> Tasty Low Carb is a participant in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program. Clicking on a product or Amazon ad will re-direct you to For your purchases, we may receive a small consideration that will help us build and maintain our website.

Recipe Index

Load More

Free Recipes via Email

Enter your email address and receive new recipe posts via email.

Comments Are Appreciated