A great source of protein, shrimp stands out as a wonderful and versatile type of seafood that absorbs all the flavors of your dish and is simple to prepare in many ways. It’s so widely used throughout many different global cuisines that it’s worth learning about how to bring all of that flavor to your home kitchen. 

That’s why we’ve put together a guide to buying and preparing shrimp with delicious recipe ideas. 

How to Buy Shrimp

First, there are a few things to consider when buying shrimp. Should you opt for frozen or fresh? There are pros and cons to both, so choose what’s best for your lifestyle. 

Size 

While larger shrimp tends to be more expensive, there are benefits: easier preparation and less probability of overcooking. Stick to the 21 to 25 count — shrimp per pound — rather than unregulated packaging boasting “jumbo” or “large” shrimp.

When Fresh is Best 

Fresh shrimp is thought to have more flavor, but with recipes this tasty — and the simple tips below — your dish will have a delicious taste no matter which you choose. If you can find wild caught shrimp, splurge! They are said to be sweeter, firmer, and more flavorful. There’s also a few extra steps, such as removing the shell and deveining, to consider. 

Be sure to buy from a reputable fishmonger, rather than those grocery store counters. Many grocery stores take their frozen shrimp and put them on ice — so while it may look like fresh shrimp, you really don’t have any idea how long it’s been defrosting. Therefore, it may be better to go straight to the frozen food aisle! 

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Shrimp Soup with Jasmine Rice

Frozen Shrimp

Look for the packages with IQF, individually quick frozen shrimp: as they are individually frozen, they won’t stick together when you pour them out of the bag. Plus, you can choose from unshelled, talil-on, tail-off or completely cleaned shrimp. Convenient, right?

If you opt for the cleaned and shelled pieces, you can scroll past all those instructions! 

Defrosting

If possible, defrost shelled shrimp a night before you eat them. You don’t necessarily want your shrimp to soak in a liquid, so put them in a colander, with a tray or bowl underneath. To quickly defrost shrimp, run cold water over shrimp in a colander for 5 minutes or so. Also, make sure all the shrimp is thawed evenly.

How to Peel and Devein

Don’t toss those peels! For even more flavor when you’re making stews and soups, use the shells and tails to make a rich seafood stock. After bringing water to a boil, simmer at low heat for 30 to 35 minutes. 

Save some time by running cold water over your shrimp while you devein, then drag a small, sharp knife along the middle of the back to pull out that black vein. 

Brining 

For more flavor, soak shrimp in saltwater for about an hour before cooking. Brining requires a little planning, but it’ll be time well spent. The shrimp absorbs the solution and you’ll end up having a juicier, more delicious protein. For an extra flavor boost, add herbs and spices in your saltwater solution! Dry shrimp with a paper towel; this is particularly important if you want to pan-sear or grill: you want that browning!

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Coconut Jasmine Rice With Shrimp

How to Cook Shrimp 6 Ways

We bet you didn’t know this ingredient from the sea was so versatile! Whether or not you want a quick weeknight meal or want the perfect party dish, we’ve compiled our favorite ways of cooking shrimp, complete with delicious recipes.

The beauty of shrimp is that it can be prepared quickly; however, this also means it’s easy to overcook. You don’t want rubbery, tough, or dry meat; you want to keep your shrimp tender and enhance the flavor! When cooked, it turns to an opaque pink, rather than a translucent gray. You can still eat overcooked shrimp, but it will be chewy.  

1. Grilled

Don’t forget about your pescatarian guests when you are preparing the cookout menu! Marinate and grill shrimp on skewers, then serve them atop these fresh and flavorful Grilled Shrimp Rice Bowls. Serve alongside any of these Tasty BBQ Ideas Both On and Off The Grill

How to Grill Shrimp Skewers 

Whether you opt for metal or wood, skewers will make grilling a breeze! Get the biggest shrimp — with or without shells — you can find. For optimal flavor, peel shrimp before grilling and brush on a bit of marinade: even if it’s just a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and a touch of lemon. When your grill is at medium heat, place the skewers atop, for two and a half or three minutes per side. Don’t overcook —  remove the shrimp once it has a nice pink shade to avoid a tough texture. 

2. Sautéed

Sautéing is a great option for an expert home cook or a novice chef. Make sure you pat the shrimp dry: if you skip this step and there is moisture, it will steam rather than sear. Heat your pan for a couple minutes before adding the oil — you don’t want to burn the oil after all! 

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Rice Lettuce Wraps with Jerk Shrimp and Pineapple Salsa
  • If the oil shimmers toss in your crustaceans. 
  • Don’t overcrowd your pan and avoid the temptation of stirring or prematurely flipping your shrimp if you want a good browning. 
  • Once you whip it up, add them to your favorite salads, tacos, or rice bowls.

These mouthwatering Rice Lettuce Wraps with Jerk Shrimp and Pineapple Salsa mix tangy jerk with sweet pineapple for a match made in heaven. Take a big bowl and mix in jerk seasoning with tongs until shrimp is well coated — you want each morsel to burst with flavor. Cook your shellfish over medium-high heat for 5 minutes and keep your eye on the pan because it cooks quickly! 

3. Marinated (Ceviche)

Select a preparation option that doesn’t require any heat — particularly great when the temperatures are high and you don’t want to warm up the house! Using fresh citrus juices and complementary seasonings, ceviche is a different method of preparing raw shellfish and filets. While deveining is generally a matter of preference, when it comes to ceviche, it is a crucial step.  

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Crispy Rice with Shrimp Ceviche

Packed with veggies, herbs, and citrus juices, this tangy Shrimp Ceviche is piled on top of crispy rice cakes. Chopping those herbs and vegetables like cilantro and a variety of peppers finely will soften each bite and ensure that you taste all the ingredients with each forkful! 

4. Simmered

Our Shrimp Soup with Rice is bursting with flavor: from the spicy chili peppers to right down to the fragrant Thai jasmine rice. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list; you could substitute many of the fresh veggies with a frozen blend.

After the soup is infused with all that flavor, stir in the seafood — it only takes a couple minutes to simmer the shrimp. When they start to curl, take one out and check to see if the middle is still translucent — if it’s pink, you’re good to go!

5. Stewed

Completely immerse your shrimp in a rich sauce and slowly simmer. Don’t worry about a rubbery texture, the liquid will keep the shrimp moist and tender. This method may take longer, but it is packed with flavor. Enjoy the nutty, fall-inspired flavors in this creamy Brazilian Shrimp Stuffed Pumpkin. Look for that nice pink, opaque color and watch to make sure the shrimp doesn’t curl too tightly.

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Brazilian Shrimp Stuffed Pumpkin (Camaráo na Moranga)

6. Baked

This delicious Shrimp Pico Rice Skillet marries Tex-Mex flavors from pico de gallo and juicy shrimp, all on a bed of fluffy Mahatma® White Rice. This simply requires layering shrimp on the skillet for the last 5 to 7 minutes in the oven and baking until they are opaque.

If you only bought shrimp for preparing that Sunday Seafood Paella now you have a whole list of delicious recipes to try with this versatile and tasty ingredient. Which are you trying first?