How to Cook Shrimp 

If you are learning how to cook shrimp you will find they come in many sizes. You can purchase shrimp all year round in many forms. They might be in the shell, shelled and deveined and even cooked and ready to use. In the freezer department they are available uncooked, cooked and already breaded. Small shrimp are also available in cans. I like these to keep on the pantry shelf and have them ready to use in salads and dips.

Whether purchasing prepackaged or by bulk, shrimp are sold by the pound. One pound of unshelled shrimp will produce ½ pound of cooked shelled meat. When learning how to cook shrimp you will need to know how much to serve per person. Typically, it is recommended to plan for each serving ½ pound uncooked shrimp in the shell, 1/3 pound if shelled or ¼ pound if already shelled and cooked. However true this is, I have found this is not enough for the average person. People love shrimp! Perhaps this is because shrimp is so light and not very filling. It could also be that good shrimp is not easily available around me.

It is important to know what to look for when buying and learning how to cook shrimp. Different varieties of shrimp may appear to have different colors. Expect shrimp shells to be light gray, red or pinkish brown. When cooked the shrimp meat will be a whitish pink color. When purchasing fresh shrimp, it should have a very mild “fish” odor and the texture should be firm. Strong odor and mushy texture is a sign of old shrimp and bad.

Before learning how to cook shrimp you must learn how to clean and prepare it. That is unless you purchase it already done. To SHELL shrimp hold it with outside curve and tail away from you. With kitchen shears cut through the shell and top of shrimp about 1/16 inch to the tail to expose the vein. Hold the tail in one hand and gently pull the shrimp free of the shell keeping tail meat in tact. To DEVEIN hold shelled shrimp under cold water with fingertips pull the black or green vein from the shrimp.

Cutting the Shrimp to DeveinHow to Cook Shrimp: Cutting the Shrimp to Devein
Removing Shrimp VeinRemoving Shrimp Vein

Many cooks leave the vein in saying it is harmless and only is a matter of looks. When I was young, pretty inexperienced with seafood and learning how to cook shrimp, I worked with a nice Spanish lady. We were cleaning shrimp and removing the veins. She told me the vein was the sh*t of the shrimp. I have always made sure to remove all the veins!

Cooking shrimp is very fast and very easy. If you are not along the coast where shrimp is abundant, you will find the only “hard” thing is “paying for it”. If you love this shellfish like most people do, you will find it can be very expensive after you learn how to cook shrimp. If you want plain cooked shrimp it is very easy. Bring enough lightly salted water to cover shrimp in a pot to a boil. After washing drop in the shrimp and return the water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 to 3 minutes according to the size of shrimp. The meat will appear opaque in color. 

When you learn how to cook shrimp try adding other ingredients for flavor when boiling. Beer is sometimes substituted for the water in cooking. Ingredients like black pepper, onion, celery and different spices add great flavor. Overcooking the shrimp is easy to do because of the small size. Be careful because this makes the meat tough.

CAUTION NOTE: I like to serve shrimp with tails on for a prettier presentation however it is not always recommended. Never leave the tails on when serving to children also people who are not use to eating shrimp. For many shrimp is not a common food and I have seen them choke by not knowing. This is also why I do not serve shrimp with the tails on to children.


Lemon Garlic Shrimp RecipeLemon Garlic Shrimp Served over Black Bean Pasta

Learn how to cook shrimp with black bean pasta.

  • 2 Pounds large shrimp (Peel, devein and cook)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ Cup butter
  • 2 Lemons (Zest and juice)
  • 1 Teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Pound black bean pasta (Cook to package directions)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; sauté minced garlic.

Add butter stirring until melted; stir in lemon juice, zest and parsley.

Stir in cooked shrimp; season with salt and pepper.

Spoon over cooked black bean pasta; serves 8 to 10.


Shrimp Giahni RecipeShrimp Giahni Recipe
  • ½ Cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 Can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes (NOT drained)
  • ½ Cup white wine
  • 1 Teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 Stalk celery (Chopped)
  • Salt/ pepper
  • 1 Pound large shrimp (Cook and drain)
  • 1 Pound spaghetti (Cook al dente)
  • ¼ Pound feta cheese (Crumble)

Heat oil in large skillet; brown onion.

Stir tomatoes into onions; bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.

Add wine, parsley and celery; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add shrimp and stir to reheat; divide cooked pasta on dinner plates.

Spoon sauce and shrimp over cooked spaghetti; top with feta cheese.

Serves 6.


Learn how to cook shrimp like the people of Savannah.

  • Crab boil spice (*see below)
  • 12 Small red new potatoes
  • 6 Smoked sausages links (Each 4 inch pieces)
  • 6 Ears fresh sweet corn
  • 3 Pounds fresh shrimp (Unpeeled/ 26-30 per pound)

NOTE: *Crab boil” can be purchased in the spice section. Zatarain and Louisiana are two brands to look for.

TO BOIL estimate enough fresh water to cover all ingredients; bring to a boil.

Add enough of the “Crab boil” to season the water for desired taste.

Add the potatoes and sausage to the boiling liquid; REDUCE heat to medium.

Cook mixture for 20 minutes; add corn and cook 10 minutes.

Add shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes (NO LONGER).

Drain and serve with fresh hot bread; serves 6.


Learn how to cook shrimp in low country boil. This one serves more people and does not require the “Crab Boil spice”.

  • 6 Pounds raw shrimp (In shells/ headed/ washed)
  • 1 Pound butter (Divided)
  • ½ Cup salt
  • Tabasco sauce (To taste)
  • 16 years fresh corn (Break ears in half)
  • 5 Pounds sweet Italian link sausage (Cut in 2 inch pieces)
  • Sauce (Recipe below)

Fill 10 quart pot about half full of water; add ½ CUP of the butter and salt.

Bring mixture to a boil; add desired Tabasco sauce.

Put corn in liquid and boil 5 minutes; add sausage and boil 3 minutes.

Add shrimp and boil 3 minutes until shells begin to separate from shrimp.

Drain liquid off mixture and place mixture in large serving bowl or platter.

Serve remaining butter for the corn and the following sauce for the shrimp.

This is often cooked outdoors in the “Low country”. It is served by dumping on a table covered with newspapers. Then it is eaten with hands; no plates and no utensils. 

Shrimp Sauce Recipe

  • 3 Cups catsup
  • 1 Teaspoon horseradish (Or more to taste)
  • ½ Teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

COMBINE AND BLEND all ingredients.


Learn how to cook shrimp like they do in Mexico.

  • 1 Clove minced garlic
  • 1 Large sliced onion
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Large red bell pepper (Cut in strips)
  • 1 Large green bell pepper (Cut in strips)
  • 2 Large ripe tomatoes (Peel, seed and chop)
  • 1 Cup canned tomato paste
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Jalapeno peppers (Chop fine)
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons dry sherry
  • ½ Teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ Teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ Cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt/ pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  • 1 ½ Pounds raw shrimp (wash/ peel/ devein)
  • 10 Black olives
  • 10 Pitted green olives
  • 3 to 5 Cups hot cooked rice
  • Fresh chopped parsley (For garnish)

In large skillet sauté garlic and onion in olive oil until tender.

Add pepper strips and sauté for 3 minutes; set aside.

In a saucepan combine tomatoes and next 11 ingredients; simmer 20 minutes.

Add shrimp and olives to the tomato mixture; cook 3 minutes.

Add the garlic onion mixture and cook 2 minutes.

Spoon shrimp mixture over plates of hot rice; garnish with parsley.

Serves 6.


  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • Butter
  • ½ Teaspoon curry powder (Or to taste)
  • 1 Can (10 ¾ ounces) cream shrimp soup (If shrimp is not available use cream chicken)
  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • 1 Cup cooked shrimp
  • ¼ Cup lemon juice

Melt a little butter over medium heat in 2 quart saucepan.

Add onion to the saucepan; sauté until transparent.

Add curry powder to the onion; stir in sour cream and soup.

Cook and stir gently until hot; add the shrimp and thoroughly heat.

NOTE: DO NOT boil.

Stir in lemon juice to taste (This makes the recipe).

Serve with noodles, rice or over toast; serves 4.


Learn how to cook shrimp with the wonderful flavor of mustard and coriander.

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Stalks chopped celery
  • 2 Cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 Pound shrimp (Peeled and deveined)
  • 3 Tablespoons chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons cold water
  • ½ Cup PLUS 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 3 to 4 Cups cooked hot rice

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet; add celery, garlic and shrimp and stir fry 1 minute.

Add chicken stock, mustard and sherry to skillet.

Blend cornstarch with cold water; stir into shrimp mixture.

Heat to a low simmer; stir in pepper and cream.

Serve over rice and garnish with coriander; serves 4.


  • 2 Large carrots (Peel/ cut into thin sticks)
  • 4 Stalks celery (Cut into thin sticks)
  • 1 Large leek (Thinly slice)
  • ¼ Cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ Cups white wine
  • 1 Can (16 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 Pound shrimp (Shell/ devein)
  • Salt/ pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Cold water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • Fresh chopped basil

In a large skillet sauté carrots, celery and leek in olive oil until tender. 

To the skillet add tomatoes and juice, wine, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat to a simmer and thoroughly hot; add shrimp and cook 3 minutes.

Mix cornstarch with a little cold water until blended.

Stir butter and cornstarch mixture into skillet mixture until thickened.

Stir in basil and adjust salt and pepper if needed; serve with hot rice.


  • 6 Green bell peppers
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (PLUS for top)
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped celery
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped onion
  • 2 Cups cooked shrimp (Chop slightly)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 Beaten eggs
  • ½ Cup milk
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Cut off tops and seed green peppers; set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil; drop pepper shells in the water and cook 5 minutes.

Remove shells from boiling water and plunge them into ice water.

When peppers are cold drain; turn peppers upside down on towel to drain.

Melt butter in skillet; add celery and onion and sauté about 3 minutes; set aside.

Combine shrimp, eggs, crumbs and milk in bowl; mix well.

Add the celery and onion mixture; season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire.

Stuff mixture into bell peppers; top with dots of butter.

Bake for 30 minutes; serves 6.


  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 Large lemon sliced
  • 5 Pounds unpeeled large fresh shrimp
  • 2 Cups vegetable oil
  • ¼ hot sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons seafood seasoning
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons dried whole basil
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons dried whole thyme
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon dried whole oregano
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • Leaf lettuce

Bring water and lemon to a boil; add shrimp and cook 3 to 5 minutes.

Drain well and rinse with cold water; peel and devein shrimp and place in bowl.

Combine remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce; pour over shrimp.

Toss shrimp in mixture to coat well; cover and refrigerate 8 hours.

Drain any liquid from shrimp; place on lettuce lined platter or bowl.

25 Servings.