How to boil shrimp? Easy! Simply drop them into boiling water, turn the heat off, cover, and set your timer for 10 minutes. Most shrimp recipes are quick, but this one is especially easy. Dipped in cocktail sauce or drawn butter, this is one of my favorite ways to enjoy shrimp.
I think I like this recipe better than any of my other shrimp recipes. Although these keto-fried shrimp are also wonderful. As is this easy shrimp scampi recipe. OK, so I have several recipes that I love! 🙂 Still, this is certainly a favorite of mine. I love its simplicity.
One of my favorite appetizers to order at restaurants is a shrimp cocktail. I love dipping the fat shrimp 🦐 in the sweet/spicy cocktail sauce. Sometimes, instead of cocktail sauce, I ask for melted butter. Yum. I was so happy to find out I can easily recreate this tasty appetizer at home!
You'll only need two ingredients to make this easy and tasty recipe: raw shrimp (large, peeled and deveined, sustainable if you can) and Kosher salt. Don't you just love recipes with an ultra-short ingredients list? I know I do!
How to boil shrimp? It's super easy! The detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
Your first step is to bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Then you add the shrimp and gently stir.
Now, cover the stockpot and remove it from the heat. This is important: you don't want to actually boil them. You let them gently cook in the water's residual heat after you've turned the heat off. Leave them in the water until pink and opaque, about 10 minutes for large shrimp.
Now, lift the cooked shrimp from the water with a large slotted spoon and place them on a platter. Be sure to refrigerate them for 2 hours before serving.
Frequently asked questions
Not long! It doesn't matter how you cook them, shrimps are always ready fast because they are so small. In this recipe, you simply add them to boiling water, turn the heat off, and then allow them to cook in the hot water for 10 minutes.
However, in contrast to other recipes, you do need to chill them before serving. So take that into account when timing your meal.
It's best to use either large or extra-large shrimp when boiling or poaching them. The smaller ones are more suitable for shrimp stir-fry or as a salad topping.
It depends on whether you serve them as an appetizer or as a main dish. As an appetizer, I usually serve 3 oz cooked shrimp per person. As a main dish, 6 oz per person is a good amount to aim for.
You don't. I use peeled and deveined shrimp because I find it convenient. But it's fine to boil them either way - with or without the shells.
Variations and substitutions
As you can see, this is a very simple recipe. You can spruce it up by adding aromatics to the boiling water. Interesting options include lemon wedges, garlic cloves, and bay leaves. These additions will subtly enhance the flavor of the shrimp. Truthfully, though, I rarely bother.
I add a simple side dish such as steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus. You can also pair them with a simple salad, and you've got yourself a delicious, easy meal that does not require heating up the oven.
These shrimp should last for up to 3 days when properly and promptly refrigerated in a shallow airtight container. But personally, I don't like to keep them beyond the next day.
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How to Boil Shrimp
- 2 lb. large shrimp peeled and deveined, tail on
- 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt for the cooking water
- If you need to defrost the shrimp, place them for 10 minutes in a large bowl filled with cool water. After 10 minutes, replace the water with fresh cool water and allow to soak for 10 more minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a colander and rinse with cool water.
- While the shrimp are thawing, fill a large stockpot with water. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the thawed shrimp to the boiling water. Gently stir. Cover, remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow the shrimp to cook in the residual heat until pink and opaque. If using large or extra-large shrimp, this should take about 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spatula, transfer the cooked shrimp to a platter. Cover and refrigerate them for 2 hours.
- Serve with cocktail sauce or drawn butter.