How to Cook Shrimp

Shrimp can be eaten hot or cold, raw or cooked. They can add flavor even to plain dishes.

Shrimp can be cooked in a variety of ways. You can boil, steam, grill, sauté, or deep-fry them. Shrimp is cooked very easily and quickly.

It is also possible to buy cooked shrimp. All you need to do is add them to your dish a few minutes before the end of your cooking time.


Preparing Shrimp for Cooking


Most of the shrimp that you buy in the supermarkets are frozen, so, you need to thaw them first. It is important to defrost shrimp properly for even cooking, and to ensure that any harmful bacteria will be killed during cooking.

There are many ways of defrosting shrimp. Select the method according to how much time you have.

Get the shrimp out of their packaging and put them in a bowl. Cover the bowl and leave overnight in the refrigerator. The shrimp will be ready to cook the next morning.

If you have less time, place the shrimp in a waterproof packaging such as plastic. Immerse it in a basin full of cold water. You can defrost one pound (lb) of shrimp in an hour using this method.

The fastest way of defrosting is to place the shrimp in a bowl with warm water. Replace the bowl of water when it becomes cold. Do so until the shrimp is thawed.

You can remove the shell and head before or after cooking. Many prefer to leave it on at first because it adds flavor. However, the head and shell are easier to remove while the shrimp is still partly frozen. You can also set aside the head and shell to make stock for later use.

To remove the shell and head, nip the head off and pull away the legs. Pull the shell upwards and away from the body while holding the tail. You can use kitchen scissors to cut through the middle portion of the shell.

You can de-vein the shrimp before or after cooking. It is safe to eat these black veins, but some people don’t like them because they have a gritty taste. You can use the point of a thin, sharp knife or a cocktail stick to trace the veins, then rinse them off under tap water. If the vein does not wash away, pull it out with the knife or cocktail stick.

The tail is usually left on the shrimp to make it look more presentable. You can easily jerk it off if you prefer to do so. If you do not want to go through these tedious tasks, you may buy shelled and peeled shrimp.


Ways of Cooking Shrimp




  1. First you thaw, shell, and de-vein the shrimp following the instructions given above.
  2. Put enough water into your pan to cover the shrimp. Add salt, as desired.
  3. Turn the heat on high and let it boil.
  4. Put the shrimp in the pan and cover.
  5. Turn the heat on low and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp. Small and medium sized shrimp will cook in 3-4 minutes. Large shrimp may take 5–8 minutes. Jumbo shrimp will take 7-8 minutes to cook.
  6. Observe the color of your shrimp to know if they are cooked. Cooked shrimp is light pink and opaque.
  7. Once cooked, remove the shrimp from the heat. Run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  8. You can now serve your shrimp.


Grilling Shrimp


  1. First you thaw, shell, and de-vein the shrimp following the instructions given above.
  2. Place your shrimp in skewers.
  3. Line the rack inside the grill with aluminum foil. Preheat the grill to high.
  4. When the grill is hot, put the skewered shrimp under it, leaving space between skewers.
  5. Brush your shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning. You may use barbeque seasoning.
  6. Grill the shrimp for four minutes, or until they turn pink, turning the skewers after two minutes.
  7. Remove the shrimp from the heat and serve. You can follow these steps to bake the shrimp in an oven at 350°F / 175°C. The cooking time will be a little longer.


Frying Shrimp


  1. First you thaw, shell, and de-vein the shrimp following the instructions given above.
  2. Put the shrimp into a bowl of milk to moisten them.
  3. Roll them on seafood breading until they are fully coated.
  4. Place olive oil or vegetable oil in your frying pan and preheat.
  5. Fry the breaded shrimp in the hot oil. Observe when they turn pink. This means that they are cooked.
  6. Remove the shrimp from the pan. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

You can also fry unshelled shrimp. When fried with seasoning, the shrimp will be very tasty.

It is best to eat shrimp immediately after cooking. However, if you cooked them in advance or you have extra servings left, refrigerate them in a sealed bag. They should be eaten within 2-3 days.