How Do I Cook Shrimp?

Christina Edwards

Before cooking with shrimp, the shells and veins can be removed. Shrimp should also be rinsed in cold water. There are several ways to cook shrimp. They can be boiled, broiled, baked, or deep fried. You can also pan fry or grill them.

Shrimp canapés.
Shrimp canapés.

If your shrimp are frozen, they must first be thawed. This is usually done by removing them from the freezer, and placing them in the refrigerator. To thaw shrimp a little more quickly, you can also place them in a bowl of cold water.


For some shrimp dishes, like peel and eat shrimp, you may want to leave the shrimp's shells on. The shell will usually add a little more flavor, but it can also be easily removed prior to cooking. To remove the shell, grasp the shrimp firmly by the tail, and pull the legs up. This will usually remove the legs and most of the shell. A small portion of the shell should remain near the tail.

Although it is not necessary, you may also want to remove the dark vein running down the back of the shrimp. Leaving this vein in smaller shrimp usually won't matter much, but leaving the vein in large shrimp can affect the taste and texture of the shrimp. To remove a shrimp vein, use a sharp knife to make a shallow cut lengthwise along the back of the shrimp. You can then use the tip of the knife to scrape out the vein. Before you cook shrimp, it should be rinsed in cold water and patted dry.

Boiling is one common method people use to cook shrimp. To cook shrimp using this method, the shrimp are simply added to the boiling water. They should be left in for just a few minutes. An oven or broiler can also be used to cook shrimp. When using these methods, however, be sure to watch them closely to ensure that they don't burn.

Another popular way to cook shrimp is pan frying. Shrimp scampi, for example, is fried in butter, spices, and seasonings. Breaded or battered shrimp can also be deep fried in hot oil. If the shrimp are slid onto skewers, they can also be cooked on a grill.

When you cook shrimp, try to avoid overcooking them. This can cause them to become tough or rubbery. Shrimp is done cooking when it becomes completely opaque. Pink or orange markings will also appear.

Shrimp tacos.
Shrimp tacos.

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