How to Cook Shrimp on the Stovetop – Jessica Gavin

Cooking shrimp on stove recipe

Video Cooking shrimp on stove recipe

Learn how to cook shrimp on the stove like a pro! Don’t walk away, these bite-sized crustaceans require your full attention because they cook fast. Check out more of my tips for succulent seafood every time.

How to cook shrimp on the stove

In addition to the sweet and salty taste of shrimp, it is a quick cooking time and several types make it an attractive ingredient for the rotation of dinner on the night of the week. There are only a few nuances to keep in mind when they start sizzling in the pan. Paying attention to these delicate crustaceans will ensure that each dish is perfectly cooked.

One of the easiest ways to prepare shrimp is in a pan. You only need a little hot oil and they will cook completely in less than five minutes, or less depending on the size. If you are ready to learn, I will show you how to quickly thaw frozen pieces, prepare them for cooking and an infallible recipe for delicious shrimp.

Side-by-side photo showing shrimp washed in a strainer and then dried on a paper towel

Frozen shrimp is better

Most local grocery stores sell thawed shrimp. Although this may seem convenient, once it is no longer frozen, the quality and texture begin to decrease. After sitting for a few days it becomes soft and that is why it tends to go on sale.

My personal preference is to buy Quick Frozen Pieces (IQF) individually that are sold in 1 to 2 pound bags. They are frozen shortly after being harvested and will taste fresher. To thaw, simply add the necessary amount in a strainer and let run under cold water until they are no longer solid, about 3 minutes.

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Season raw shrimp with salt and pepper in a bowl

Clean and devein For the recipe below, you need to peel

and devein

the shrimp if they are not already. The process of cleansing and eliminating the digestive tract is quite easy. If you prefer, you can still leave the shells on, but be sure to remove the vein.


draining as much water as possible from the strainer, place raw shrimp on a tray lined with paper towels. Dry each shrimp with more paper until the surfaces are no longer wet.

Whether you rinse store-bought shrimp or simply thawed, be sure to dry the surface thoroughly before cooking. This is important as a dry surface ensures proper sealing in the hot oil that will create more golden flavor. If it is still partially wet, you will get unwanted steam instead.

shrimp cooking in a pan

Condiments to enhance flavor At a

minimum, season shrimp with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. This allows the salty and slightly sweet taste to shine. However, if you want to increase the flavor, I recommend adding chopped fresh garlic, hot red pepper flakes, or smoked paprika. You can also sprinkle fresh herbs like chopped parsley and serve with lemon slices to squeeze on top.

Cooking shrimp on the stove

Heat a

large cast iron skillet or skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and once it starts to glow, add the shrimp making sure they are in a single layer for even cooking.

Once they start to change color and turn pink at the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes, turn them over quickly. Finish cooking until the pieces are pink, dull and slightly curled, another 1 to 2 minutes.

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metal tongs flipping partially cooked shrimp in a pan

Don’t leave them

in the pan!

Shrimp can cook too quickly if left unattended in the pan, even with the fire off. This is due to residual retained heat in the pan, which causes additional dragging cooking. Instead, transfer them immediately to a serving bowl or plate.

How to tell when shrimp finish cooking

  • The meat will change from translucent
  • to opaque.

  • Look for the thickest part of the shrimp (closest to the head) to become opaque
  • .

  • The fully cooked pieces will be pink, typically gray to pink depending on the type of shrimp
  • .

  • The muscle will curve into a loose “C” shape. If it becomes a tight “O”, it is overcooked.
  • When the internal temperature of the thickest piece reaches 140ºF (60ºC), it is ready.

Close-up photo of cooked shrimp served with lemon slices

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