How to Cook Raw Shrimp

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic Updated
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Discover how to cook raw shrimp - we'll show you different ways to achieve tasty results!

Once you know how to cook raw shrimp, you'll soon have amazing meals ready in no time! Shrimp cook quickly, making them ideal for busy weeknights or when you need something in a hurry. Better still, they are so easy to cook, even obligingly changing color once they are done!

There's just one important thing to remember - shrimp might be easy to cook, but they are also easy to OVERcook. So be sure to keep a close eye on them, because overcooked shrimp are rubbery and unappetizing!

Sheet Pan Shrimp Stir-Fry Photo

Frozen or fresh shrimp?

You can use either kind in your recipes. In fact, 'fresh' shrimp have often been previously frozen, then thawed. Frozen shrimp are much more convenient and they thaw quickly, which is good to know if you've forgotten to pull them from the freezer in advance.

Shrimp picture

To thaw shrimp quickly...

Just place the frozen shrimp in a colander over the sink and run cold water over them for around 5 minutes, shaking the colander from time to time.

Once the shrimp have thawed, they should be nice and bendy.

Don't be tempted to use warm water - it's unsafe as it will thaw them unevenly and can even start cooking the outside of them.

Peeled or unpeeled?

This is a matter of preference and the cooking method you choose.

Boiled or poached shrimp are better in their shells (plus it's fun to remove them when they're ready to eat). But it's a good idea to remove the shells (or buy peeled shrimp) if you plan to saute or grill them.

Don't throw the shells away though - they are fantastic for making seafood broth!

Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice Image

Should the shrimp be deveined?

Although it's called a 'vein', the thin black line you see on some shrimp is actually the digestive tract. It's not harmful to eat, but some people simply don't like it. For the sake of convenience, you can buy shrimp already deveined - if not, it's simple to remove with a sharp paring knife.

What size shrimp to buy

As a general rule, small shrimp are ideal for shrimp pasta dishes, shrimp salads and soups. If you plan on grilling or sauteing them, then opt for jumbo shrimp instead!

Oven Fried Shrimp Pic

How to cook raw shrimp - 5 methods

With all methods, the key is to watch out for when the shrimp are done. They will turn from a translucent grey color to a fully opaque pinky-red, and feel nice and firm.

Sauteing or frying

  1. Heat oil or butter (or a combination of the two) in a pan until hot.
  2. Add the shrimp (which should sizzle immediately) and add your seasoning of choice.
  3. Saute for around 3 to 5 minutes (depending on the size of the shrimp), until cooked.
Sautéed Garlic Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce Image

Boiling

Boiling shrimp is super simple. Find out how to do it - and try an Old Bay Shrimp Boil to see just how tasty boiled shrimp can be!

Oven cooking

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place the rack in the middle of the oven. 
  2. Toss the shrimp with oil and the seasonings of your choice (anything from salt and pepper to a tasty homemade shrimp boil seasoning).
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet, making sure the shrimp don't overlap.
  4. Cook in the oven for around 6 to 8 minutes, until done.
Lemon Shrimp Cocktail Image

Broiling

  1. Heat the broiler and place the rack a few inches from the heat. 
  2. Toss the shrimp with oil and the seasonings of your choice and arrange on a baking sheet, making sure the shrimp don't overlap.
  3. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning halfway through if the shrimp are large.
Grilled Stuffed Zucchini with Shrimp Pic

Grilling

  1. Heat the grill to high. 
  2. Toss the shrimp with oil and the seasonings of your choice.
  3. If the shrimp are large, you can cook them directly on the grates of the grill. If not, put them on skewers (don't forget to soak them first, if they're wooden).
  4. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes each side.
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