Shrimp cocktail. Bang Bang shrimp. Shrimp scampi. So many easy shrimp recipes to love that take so little time to make. Why choose just one?
Table of Contents
For the Love of Shrimp
For those of you who love shrimp, may not always think of it when planning a menu. That is about to change. Thanks to these easy shrimp recipes that cover a range of different flavors and can be served at everything from game day to a dinner party.
Shrimp cooks in a matter of minutes, making it is the perfect protein for a busy weeknight. It can be roasted, grilled, boiled, or sauteed with ease, and it tastes great in pastas, soups, rice, or simply on its own with a cocktail sauce. What’s not to love?
How to Buy Shrimp
Buying shrimp can be a little confusing, but have no fear. There are some simple things to keep in mind when shopping.
- Fresh: Most would typically think fresh is better than frozen, but that’s not always the case. Most fresh shrimp that you see in the seafood counter have more than likely been frozen (exactly like those in the freezer section) and then thawed to sell. A good rule of thumb is to always ask to see and smell the shrimp before buying. If they smell of ammonia or the shells look slimy, skip them and go with frozen.
- Frozen: Most frozen shrimp has been on ice since it was caught, and therefore is as close to fresh as you can get without buying directly from the fisherman.
- Size: Shrimp come in different sizes (small, medium, large, and so on) and you have probably seen an accompany number along with the size. Since size isn’t a standard, pay attention to the number. This is how many shrimp are in a pound, so the higher the number, the smaller the shrimp; the smaller the number, the larger the shrimp. For example, here are a few sizes and numbers you will see:
- Extra jumbo: 16/20
- Jumbo: 21/25
- Large: 31/35
- Medium: 41/50
- Small: 51/60
- Farm vs. wild: Wild caught shrimp typically have a more robust flavor and taste better overall, but you can find farmed shrimp that will work great. Just look for sustainably and ethically raised shrimp for a better quality protein.
- Peeled and/or deveined: This really depends on your recipe and time. Cooking shrimp with the shells on can impart a great flavor, but may not be necessary for what you are cooking. Peeled shrimp will come without the legs and shell, but may still have the tail. Deveined shrimp means that the digestive tract running along its back will be removed. If you are in a hurry, it can save time to buy shrimp that are already peeled and deveined.
Cleaning Shrimp 101
Something that is sometimes overlooked but is absolutely crucial to successful shrimp dishes is cleaning (removing the shell, legs, and the dark vein) the shrimp before cooking.
- Remove the shell. This requires removing all of the legs first with your fingers and then pulling the shell off like you would remove a jacket. You can leave the tail on or remove it with a quick twist.
- Remove the vein. The dark vein running along a shrimp’s back is actually its digestive tract, and while it isn’t harmful to eat it isn’t the most appetizing. You may not have to remove it from small shrimp, but definitely do remove it if you can see it. Using a paring knife, make a shallow slice along the back to expose the vein. Take the tip of the knife and gently lift the vein up and out. Rinse the shrimp.
Cooking shrimp at a high heat gives it the best texture that is juicy and tender and not stringy or chewy.
You can cook them either way with the tails on or tails off! I usually remove the tails before adding them to a dish like pasta or stir-fry.
Citrus flavors, garlic and herbs compliment any shrimp recipe really well. You could also use simple seasonings like salt, pepper and paprika.
While I have never tried this some swear by it and say that it will make your shrimp more plump and resistant to overcooking. You don’t need much if you decide to try it, though. For every 1 pound of shrimp add 1/4 teaspoon to the bowl and then refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Easy Shrimp Appetizers
Shrimp was made for appetizers. From the classic shrimp cocktail to the ever-addictive shrimp dip, these shrimp recipes are the perfect way to start a meal or kick off a party.
- Grilled Shrimp Skewers. Coated in an herbed lemon garlic marinade, this recipe is the perfect spring and summer barbecue dish.
- Ceviche. Shrimp is the star of this dish and is paired with crunchy veggies and a bright citrus marinade.
- Baked Coconut Shrimp. Coated in a flaky, coconut crust, these addictive shrimp come together quickly.
- Shrimp Dip. Just 4 ingredients make this classic dip a must-have at holidays or family gatherings.
- Shrimp Cocktail. It’s a classic for a reason, and this version comes with a homemade cocktail sauce.
Shrimp Recipes with Pasta or Rice
There is something so refreshing about pairing shrimp with pasta or rice. These shrimp recipes are proof that it may be time to give chicken a break and check out the seafood section.
- Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta. This simple copycat recipe is made with al dente fettuccine and pan-seared shrimp coated in a creamy sriracha and chili sauce!
- Shrimp Scampi. Shrimp is cooked in a garlicky, lemony butter sauce that can be served over pasta, rice, or veggies.
- Easy Shrimp Alfredo. Shrimp and fettuccine are tossed in a creamy, garlic sauce that is perfect for a weeknight dinner.
- Creamy Shrimp Pasta with Corn and Tomatoes. Garlicky shrimp are paired with corn and tomatoes and served over noodles. Summer in a dish.
- Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta. This flavorful dish is ready in under 30 minutes.
Shrimp Dishes Cooked on the Stovetop
I love a recipe that can be made in one pan and in a matter of minutes. These easy shrimp recipes are ideal for those nights when you don’t have a lot of time to cook or clean.
- Kung Pao Shrimp. This 20-minute meal is made with juicy shrimp and crisp veggies cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce.
- Bang Bang Shrimp. Shrimp are marinated in a flavorful buttermilk coating, fried, then drizzled with a sweet and spicy bang bang sauce.
- Shrimp Fajitas. Move over beef or chicken, shrimp is the star of this quick and delicious dinner.
- Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos. These sweet and spicy shrimp take Taco Tuesday to a new level.
- Shrimp Lettuce Wraps. This refreshing low-carb dish is served with a spicy peanut sauce and comes together in less than 20 minutes.
- 20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp. Quick and simple, this recipe is on rotation in my house.
- Shrimp Fajitas. A quick 10 minute marinade makes this shrimp recipe so flavorful! Made in one pan it’s ready in only 22 minutes.
Shrimp Dinner Ideas in a Crockpot or Air Fryer
As I mentioned above, shrimp can be cooked in a variety of ways. These shrimp recipes can either be cooked low and slow in a crockpot or get super crispy quickly in an air fryer.
- Easy Crockpot Jambalaya. With just 15 minutes of prep, this recipe feeds a crowd and is always a hit.
- Slow Cooker Seafood Stew Recipe. Shrimp and scallops are simmered in a hearty tomato-based broth.
- Slow Cooker Creole Garlic Shrimp. A homemade Creole seasoning gives these slow cooked shrimp a flavorful kick.
- Honey Lime Air Fryer Shrimp. Made with a simple honey lime marinade, these shrimp come together quickly.
- Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp. Talk about crispy! These sweet shrimp are served with a honey sriracha sauce.
- Air Fryer Shrimp. Move over “fried” popcorn shrimp, this recipe is the new favorite.
HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for all the newest recipes!
Easy Shrimp Recipes + Skewers
- 4 wooden skewers (soaked in water for 15 minutes)
- 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1-2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice , can sub for lime juice
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound uncooked large shrimp , peeled and deveined
For Topping (optional)
- Chopped parsley
- Lemon slices
- Mango Salsa
- In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, Italian seasoning salt and pepper. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the marinade for serving, if desired. Add the shrimp and toss together. Marinate for 30-90 minutes.
- Thread uncooked shrimp onto soaked skewers and place in a 9×13" pan.
- Preheat grill to high heat. Grill marinated shrimp for about 3 minutes on each side, or until pink and firm.
- Remove from grill and brush on the 1 Tablespoon reserved marinade, if desired. Serve while warm. Add chopped parsley and lemon slices on top.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
The Full List of Easy Shrimp Recipes
Click on the links below to find the recipes for all of the delicious shrimp recipes mentioned above.
So many delicious recipes to try!! I have tried a couple & I’m never disappointed. Adding some to this months menu for sure!!
So many incredible recipes here! I’ve tried a few. I also love your helpful information on selecting and prepping shrimp. Thanks so much!
So many good recipes here! I’m a fan of the grilled shrimp skewers for sure!