HOW TO COOK SHRIMP – Scrumptious and incredibly versatile shrimp make a delightful addition to so many dishes. We’ll key you in on everything you need to know about how to cook shrimp, from cooking on the stove to grilling, and share our tips for how long to cook shrimp. Plus, we’ll share a few of our favorite shrimp recipes, including shrimp scampi and shrimp tacos.
How to Cook Shrimp
Shrimp make their way into all kinds of cuisine, including enticing appetizers and hearty pasta dishes, and cooking them is so much easier than you think. How to Cook Shrimp – Pick your favorite shrimp recipe and get cooking with the tips that follow. You can also use the instructions below to cook frozen shrimp—just make sure you also follow our instructions for thawing frozen shrimp before you start cooking.
How to Choose Good Shrimp
Use these pointers when purchasing shrimp:
- Purchase 1-1/2 pounds of raw shrimp for each pound of shelled shrimp you need.
- The price of shrimp usually depends on the size of the shrimp you are purchasing. The bigger the shrimp, the higher the price and the fewer per pound.
- Look for firm, juicy shrimp with translucent, moist shells and without black spots (unless you are purchasing black tiger shrimp).
- Be sure the shrimp have a fresh, sealike scent. An ammonia odor indicates spoilage.
- Avoid shrimp with yellowish shells or dry spots, which could indicate freezer burn.
- The number of shrimp per pound increases as their size decreases. For instance, 16/20 shrimp are considered extra-large, meaning there are 16 to 20 shrimp per pound. With medium shrimp, you’ll get 41 to 50 shrimp per pound.
Fresh or Frozen?
Because shrimp are bought and sold in large quantities, most of the shrimp available in U.S. supermarkets have been previously frozen. Shrimp freeze remarkably well. If the shrimp you purchase are frozen, place them in a sealed container in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
To speed up the thawing process, place the shrimp in a colander under cold running water for about 2 minutes. To retain their succulent texture, avoid thawing shrimp in warm water or at room temperature. When you’re learning how to cook frozen shrimp, you can follow the same instructions below for grilling, boiling, and skillet-cooking as long as you thaw them before cooking.
How to Store Fresh Shrimp
Fill a large bowl about half full with ice. How to Cook Shrimp – Nestle the shrimp into the ice, making sure the shrimp are not too close to the bottom of the bowl where melted water will accumulate. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use, draining the water and adding more ice as needed.
How to Peel & Devein Shrimp
below how to peel and parse the correct shrimp
Step 1: How to Peel Shrimp
Most shrimp recipes call for peeled shrimp. Here’s how to do it:
- Open the shell lengthwise down the body on its belly side (the inside curve).
- Starting at the head end, peel back the shell. Gently pull on the tail to remove it or, if you prefer, leave the tail intact.
Step 2: Cut a Slit Down the Backside of the Shrimp
Use a sharp knife to make a shallow slit along the back of the shrimp from the head to the tail end.
Step 3: How to Devein Shrimp
- Using the tip of your knife, locate the vein.
- Place the tip of your knife under the vein and lift it out.
- Rinse the shrimp under cold water.
Tip: The vein is actually the intestinal tract and can impart an unpleasant taste if left in the shrimp.
How to Cook Shrimp
There are a few different methods for cooking shrimp, and each of them will get your seafood on the table in a flash. Follow these instructions for boiling shrimp:
- For 1 pound of shrimp, in a 3-quart saucepan bring 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt to boiling.
- Add shrimp to the boiling water.
- Cook, uncovered, 1 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink and opaque, stirring occasionally.
- Drain and rinse shrimp in a colander under cold running water. If desired, chill shrimp.
How to Grill Shrimp
A skewer of grilled shrimp is one of our favorite summertime cookout treats. Season as desired, and follow these instructions for grilling shrimp:
- To direct-grill shrimp, thread them onto skewers to make kabobs.
- Over medium coals, grill extra-large shrimp (20 per pound) for 6 to 8 minutes or jumbo shrimp (12 to 15 per pound) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until opaque.
- Check for a pink color on the outside. Cut into a skewered shrimp to make sure the flesh is opaque throughout.
How to Cook Shrimp on the Stove
Cooking shrimp in a skillet is a quick way to add it to any recipe—you can even make simple sauteed shrimp its own entree! If you’re wondering how long to cook shrimp on the stove, 3 to 4 minutes is a good guideline, but keep a close eye on your shrimp to keep them from overcooking. Just follow these instructions for how to cook raw shrimp on the stove:
- In a nonstick skillet heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil or butter over medium-high heat.
- Add shrimp; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until opaque, or turn each shrimp halfway through the cook time.
- Remove shrimp from the skillet.
Making Baked Shrimp
How long do you cook shrimp in the oven? It often depends on the recipe. How to Cook Shrimp – Baking times for shrimp can also vary if the shrimp are fresh or frozen, or if you’re baking them in a sauce or with rice.
Our Favorite Shrimp Recipes for You to Try
Whether you’re in the mood to grill or cook on the stove, we have shrimp recipes for you to test your new skills on! One glance at these recipes, and you’ll be adding shrimp to your shopping list.
How to Cook Shrimp from Frozen
No need to defrost shrimp before cooking. Learn how to cook shrimp from frozen, taking them straight from the freezer to the pot. It makes dinners a breeze and they taste so good! Remember back when I told you that you don’t have to defrost fish or chicken breasts before you cook them? Well, you don’t have to defrost shrimp before cooking them either!
To be honest, I don’t love cooking chicken from frozen. I do that more in a pinch when I forget to take it out. It doesn’t turn out quite as good as when defrosted first. How to Cook Shrimp – The fish turns out really good, especially thicker pieces. But, the shrimp!?!? They’re amazing! They turn out even better when not defrosted first. Seriously.
So, don’t buy the “previously frozen” shrimp at the grocery store. They often cost more and you need to use them up right away. Instead, get a bag of frozen shrimp. Then put them into your freezer and you’ve got the makings of a quick meal on hand and ready to go.
My Latest Recipes
What kind of shrimp work best? Medium to large shrimp. And make sure they’re already deveined. It will say deveined on the bag. The reason you want them deveined is that you won’t be able to take the veins out yourself while they’re frozen and it will be hard, if not impossible to do after they’re cooked as well.
How to Cook Shrimp – So deveined shrimp are required. Other than that, I prefer them to be peeled but with the tail on, or easy peel. Either way, you can cook them from frozen and then serve. People can easily take the peels off after they’re cooked.
Note that the shrimp also need to be frozen separately, not in a big clump. If you shake the bag, you should hear a bunch of frozen shrimp all moving around separately in there. If 2-3 are frozen together here and there, that’s fine. But no bigger clumps than that. If the shrimp are bought frozen from the store, they are usually frozen separately. If they’ve clumped up in the bag a bit, try banging the bag lightly on the counter. This could dislodge them.
SO, HOW DO YOU COOK THOSE FROZEN SHRIMP?
Today I’ll show you my favorite way to cook shrimp from frozen…poaching. Tomorrow I’ll be roasting them on a pan with some asparagus for a one-pan dinner that’s ready in 10 minutes.
Ahhhh poached shrimp. Poaching is truly my favorite way to cook shrimp, especially for shrimp cocktail, but for almost any preparation. It’s such a gentle cooking method and it leaves the shrimp plump, juicy and tender – never tough.
The crazy thing is that to poach the shrimp from frozen, you do everything EXACTLY the same as for poaching thawed shrimp. You just leave them in the water for an extra minute. One minute. That’s all. So here’s what you do.
STEP – 1
Get a medium or large saucepan. This depends on the number of shrimp you’re cooking. 12-15 large shrimp cook well in a 3 quart pot. You’ll need a bigger pot if you’re doing more than that. Fill the pot about 3/4 full of water.
STEP – 2
Add salt. I use about 1/2 teaspoon for the 3 quart pot.
STEP – 3
Then you can add other aromatic ingredients if you’d like. Half of a lemon is a great addition. Squeeze the juice into the pot before adding the halved lemon.
Peppercorns and parsley are two other things you can add. These aren’t as important as the salt but are nice additions.
STEP – 4
Bring the pot to a rapid boil over high heat. (Cover the pot to make it boil sooner).
STEP – 5
Remove from the heat and let it stop boiling.
STEP – 6
Add the frozen shrimp.
STEP – 7
STEP – 8
Cover the pot. And let sit for 5-6 minutes, until shrimp are opaque and pink.
STEP – 9
If you’re planning to serve the shrimp cold (like for shrimp cocktail) or use them later, prepare an ice bath: In a large bowl put two cups of ice cubes and fill halfway with cold water.
STEP – 10
If you want cold shrimp, once they’re cooked, drain off the hot liquid and transfer shrimp (but not the aromatics) to the ice bath. Let them sit in there for a few minutes to fully cool off before draining. If you want the shrimp to be served warm instead, drain off the hot liquid and serve immediately. You can add them to a pasta sauce or squeeze some lemon over them and serve them as is.
STEP – 11
Note that if they had the peels on, you can serve them with the peel or take the peels off before serving.