Just remember two letters when cooking shrimp.
"C" stands for "cooked"
When boiled or steamed, shrimp are cooked when they curl to form the letter C.
"O" stands for "overcooked"
Shrimp are overcooked when they curl to form the letter O. Don't overcook shrimp.
Shrimp will be firm, turn pink, and slightly opaque when cooked correctly.
Try the spring test
Hold the shrimp upside down by the head and pull the tail down. If cooked properly, the
tail will spring back.
Boil or steam
For boiling or steaming, refer to the package's scale label for times that vary according
to the size of shrimp.
Deep fry shrimp by preheating (canola, vegetable, or peanut) oil to 375 degrees F.
Carefully place a small amount of breaded or battered shrimp in cooker. Fry shrimp 2 to 3
minutes, depending on size of shrimp, until golden brown outside and opaque in the center.
Stir-fry or sauté
Stir-fry or sauté shrimp by preheating a pan over medium-high heat. Add butter, margarine,
olive oil, or flavored cooking oil. Carefully place shrimp in pan. Stir-fry large shrimp for 3
to 4 minutes; medium 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes, and small/bay 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
Grill or broil
Marinate, if desired. Grill or broil shrimp by skewering peeled shrimp in a "horseshoe"
fashion. That is, thread the shrimp onto the skewer at its head and at its tail so it curves
around in a U-shape. Place 4 inches above a preheated gas grill or charcoal grill at 375
degrees. To broil, place shrimp 4 inches under a heat source. (Leave oven slightly open when
using an electric range.)
Grill or broil extra jumbo shrimp for 6 minutes, jumbo for 5 minutes, extra large for 4
minutes, and large for 3 minutes. Baste with oil or marinade. Turn once halfway during cooking
Versatile flavor of shrimp
Not sure which shrimp to buy? Here are a few flavor profiles to guide you:
- Tiger shrimp: Mild flavor with a sweet taste and a crunchy texture.
- White shrimp: Mild flavor with a slightly salty, shrimpy taste and firm texture. Great for
salads and stir-fry.
- Pink shrimp: Mild to medium flavor with a medium texture. Perfect for shrimp cocktail.
- Brown shrimp: Full, robust flavor with medium texture. Best when used for full-flavor
dishes like gumbo or for frying.