How to cook shrimp perfectly every time

What’s not to love about shrimp? They’re a high-protein, low-calorie option that cooks up in a flash. Making shrimp for dinner is the perfect way to create easy, healthy weeknight dinners! The tricky thing is learning how to cook shrimp so they hit that perfect medium between over-and undercooked.

Our secret: using a pan that’s large enough to cook the shrimp without crowding them. If each shrimp has space to breathe, it’ll have more contact with the hot cooking surface. That creates a rich sear and even cooking throughout the shrimp. But before you start cooking, let’s answer some of your most common shrimp questions.

27 PHOTOS
Good Eats: 25+ ways to eat shrimp
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Good Eats: 25+ ways to eat shrimp

Lemon Shrimp Pepper Scampi by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Sauteed Shrimp With Creamy Red Chile Salsa by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Sizzling Shrimp Scampi by Food & Wine

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Shrimp and Chorizo Tortas by food & Wine

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Peel-and-Eat Grilled Shrimp with Harissa by Food & Wine

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Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp with Yuca by Food & Wine

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Creamy Garlic Tuscan Shrimp by Salt & Lavender

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One Pan Garlic Lover's Shrimp and Veggies by Kit's Coastal

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Barbecue Shrimp with Avocado Salad by Food & Wine

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15 Minute Garlic Shrimp Zoodles by Salt & Lavender

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Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp With Cocktail Sauce by Food & Wine 

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Baked Shrimp Risotto by Food & Wine

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Orange-Glazed Shrimp by Food & Wine

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Sesame Rice Noodles With Shrimp by SELF

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Shrimp Tacos by Carlsband Cravings 

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Masala Fried Shrimp by Food & Wine

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Pasta with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Lemon Vinaigrette by Donuts, Dresses And Dirt | Sheri Silver

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Creamy Avocado Pasta with Shrimp by Girl Versus Dough | Stephanie Wise

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Shrimp-and-Feta-Stuffed Zucchini by Food & Wine

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Shrimp and Smoked Oyster Chowder by Food & Wine

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Shrimp and Sweet Corn Curry by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Garlic Shrimp and Avocado Crostini by Salt & Lavender

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Ultimate Dairy-Free Chunky Seafood Chowder by The Wooden Skillet

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Do you cook shrimp with the shell on?

Shrimp can be cooked peeled or unpeeled, although they are significantly easier to eat when the shells are removed before cooking. If you’re cooking for company, you should always peel the shrimp so your guests don’t have to do it at the table. When you’re cooking for the family, feel free to skip it! Either way, remove the dark-colored veins inside the shrimp and rinse them in cold water. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about cleaning, deveining, and prepping shrimp.

Are undercooked shrimp bad for you?

Yes. Raw shrimp contains bacteria that can cause unpleasant reactions, so we recommend fully cooking shrimp. That being said, you don’t want to overcook your shrimp. Overcooked shrimp are tough and chewy.

How can you tell when shrimp are cooked?

To know when shrimp are cooked (and safe to eat), watch the color. A perfectly cooked shrimp is firm enough to curl without being constricted, and it has an opaque pinky color with a sheen. When they are overcooked, shrimp turn matte white or gray.

Another easy way to tell if your shrimp are cooked is if they are curled into a nice C shape. Overcooked shrimp are curled tightly into an O shape. So simply, C = cooked, O = overcooked. Easy! If you’ve been making these shrimp mistakes, find out if you’re guilty of these ways you’re cooking fish wrong, too.

How to cook shrimp

Here’s one of our favorite shrimp recipes, from South Carolina reader Athena Russell, which you’ll want to add to your repertoire. It’s quick enough for a weeknight, but the flavors are 100% company-worthy. It serves four, but if you need to double the recipe for a bigger group, it’s easy to multiply. Before you start, make sure you know how to pick the right type of shrimp for your recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Hot cooked pasta or rice (we like it with zoodles, too)

cooking shrimp

Step 1: Heat the oil

Start by selecting a skillet large enough to cook all the shrimp without crowding them. If you don’t have a large enough pan, consider cooking the shrimp in two batches. Once you’ve selected your skillet, heat it over medium-high heat and add the oil (or combination of oil and butter).

cooking shrimp

Step 2: Add the shrimp

When the oil is slightly shimmering, it’s hot enough to add the shrimp! Add the shrimp and cook for about two minutes, stirring often, until the shrimp just start to turn pink. Keep in mind that smaller shrimp cook more quickly than large ones, so pay more attention to the color and texture of the shrimp than to the time they’ve cooked.

Test Kitchen tip: Worried you might have taken the shrimp too far? Immediately remove them from the pan to halt the cooking process. They will continue cooking even when they’re off the heat, but the residual heat from the pan can dry them out. Learn about more simple techniques to fix common cooking mistakes.

cooking shrimp

Step 3: Add seasoning

Now that the shrimp are nearly cooked, it’s time to add the garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Adding them at the last minute allows their fresh, bold flavors to infuse into the shrimp while preventing any tiny pieces from burning. Cook and stir until the shrimp curl inwards and turn pink with a white sheen. Stir in the parsley and serve over pasta or rice.

Test Kitchen tip: If you’re ready to experiment, add in fresh herbs and citrus zest after cooking. Other ingredients may be hiding in your pantry—try these tips that will amp up your recipe. Keeping these ingredients away from the heat maximizes their fresh flavor, adding a delicate accent to the shrimp. Don’t be afraid to experiment with any type of herbs you like! Now that you’re a shrimp master, learn how to grill shrimp!

The post How to Cook Shrimp Perfectly Every Time appeared first on Reader's Digest.

35 PHOTOS
Good Eats: 35 seafood recipes
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Good Eats: 35 seafood recipes

Crispy Fish Sandwiches with Herb Remoulade by Food & Wine

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Lobster Tacos with Toasted Ancho Chile Sauce by Hola Jalapeño | Kate Ramos

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Baked Shrimp Risotto by Food & Wine

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Pan Fried Fish with Creamy Lemon Sauce for Two by Philadelphia Cream Cheese 

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Deviled Salmon by Food & Wine

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Grilled Shrimp with Black-Eyed Peas and Chimichurri by Food & Wine

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Pan-Seared Tilapia with Cherry Tomatoes & Basil by Food & Wine

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Grilled Swordfish with Miso Sauce by Food & Wine

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Mussels, Clams and Shrimp Over Linguine by Haylie Duff

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Pan-Seared Halibut with Citrus-Jalapeño Salsa by Domesticate ME! | Serena Wolf

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Clams Broiled with Lemon, Thyme and Parmesan by food & Wine

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Homemade Hot Buttery Lobster Roll by Chez Us | Denise Woodward and Lenny Ferreira

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Crab, Avocado and Citrus Crêpes by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Crisp Mashed Potato Fish Cakes by Kitchen Belleicious | Jessica Maher

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Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp with Yuca by Food & Wine

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Scallops with Grapefruit-Onion Salad by Food & Wine

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Fusilli with Shrimp and Lemon Butter by Food & Wine

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Whole Wild Salmon Filet with Mustard Sauce by Food & Wine

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Grilled Shrimp with Citrus-Sambal-Oelek Dressing by Food & Wine

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Fisherman's Chowder by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Crab Cakes and Curry Mayonnaise with Apple Salad by Food & Wine

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The Classic Maine Lobster Roll by Kitchen Daily Editors

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20-Minute Skillet Salmon by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Salmon and Quinoa Bowls with Kale and Tahini-Yogurt Sauce by Feed Me Phoebe | Phoebe Lapine

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Sea Scallops Florentine Fettuccini with Mushrooms and Tomatoes by Chef Billy Parisi

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Lobster Shortcake with Rum Vanilla Sauce by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Mussels with Caramelized Fennel and Leeks by Food & Wine

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Roasted Halibut with Fennel and Potatoes by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Fish Tacos with Jalapeño-Tomatillo Salsa by Food & Wine

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Masala Fried Shrimp by Food & Wine

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Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic by Food & Wine

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Scallops with Potato Pancakes and Caviar Sauce by Food & Wine

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Lemon Fish with Herb Rice by Campbell's Kitchen

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Creamy Seafood Risotto by Food & Wine

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Valencian Seafood Paella by Kitchen Daily Editors

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