shrimp dish

How to Eat Shrimp: A Beginner’s Guide

Shrimp is a popular seafood delicacy enjoyed around the world. However, for some people, the idea of eating shrimp can be intimidating. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about how to eat shrimp.

From buying and preparing shrimp to cooking and serving it, we will cover it all. So, whether you’re a seasoned seafood lover or a beginner, this guide will help you enjoy shrimp like a pro.

Understanding Shrimp

What is Shrimp?

Shrimp are small, crustaceans that are found in saltwater and freshwater. They have a hard exoskeleton, which protects their bodies, and 10 legs, with the first pair being modified into claws. Shrimp are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and are low in calories.

Types of Shrimp

There are many different types of shrimp, and they come in various sizes and colors. Some of the most common types of shrimp include:

  • Tiger Shrimp
  • White Shrimp
  • Pink Shrimp
  • Brown Shrimp
  • Rock Shrimp

Health Benefits of Shrimp

Shrimp are an excellent source of protein and are low in fat and calories. They are also a good source of vitamin D, vitamin B12, and selenium, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Shrimp not only tastes great, but it also offers several health benefits. Here are some of the top health benefits of shrimp:

High in Nutrients

Shrimp are an excellent source of nutrients. They are high in protein, low in fat, and packed with vitamins and minerals like selenium, vitamin B12, and phosphorus.

Helps in Weight Loss

Shrimp is a low-calorie, high-protein food that can aid in weight loss. Protein-rich foods like shrimp can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time, making it easier to stick to a healthy diet.

Good for Heart Health

Shrimp contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the body, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Helps in Brain Functioning

Shrimp is also rich in vitamin B12, which is essential for brain functioning. Vitamin B12 helps with the production of red blood cells and can also improve memory and concentration.

Boosts Immune System

Shrimp contains selenium, which is an important mineral for the immune system. Selenium can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and improve overall immune function.

May Help Prevent Cancer

Shrimp contains antioxidants, which can help prevent damage to cells and may reduce the risk of cancer. The high levels of selenium in shrimp may also play a role in cancer prevention.

Overall, shrimp is a healthy and delicious seafood option that offers several health benefits. Just be sure to choose high-quality, sustainably sourced shrimp to get the most out of this nutritious food.

Buying Shrimp

When it comes to buying shrimp, you should consider some factors which are discussed below.

Fresh vs. Frozen Shrimp

When buying shrimp, you have the option of buying fresh or frozen. Fresh shrimp is available at most seafood markets and grocery stores, but it can be more expensive than frozen shrimp. Frozen shrimp is often more convenient, as it can be stored in the freezer for several months.

How to Choose the Best Shrimp

When choosing shrimp, look for shrimp that have a firm texture and a mild smell. Shrimp should not have a fishy smell or a slimy texture, as this can indicate that the shrimp is not fresh. Also, look for shrimp that have a shiny, translucent appearance.

Where to Buy Shrimp

Shrimp can be purchased at most grocery stores and seafood markets. When buying shrimp, it is important to buy from a reputable source that sells fresh, high-quality shrimp.

Preparing Shrimp

Thawing Shrimp

If you’re using frozen shrimp, you will need to thaw it before cooking. The best way to thaw shrimp is to place it in the refrigerator overnight. If you need to thaw shrimp quickly, you can place it in a bowl of cold water for 15-20 minutes.

Cleaning Shrimp

Before cooking shrimp, it’s important to clean it thoroughly. To clean shrimp, rinse it under cold water and remove any visible dirt or debris. You can also use a small knife or kitchen scissors to remove the vein that runs down the back of the shrimp.

Removing Shrimp Shells and Tails

To remove the shells and tails from cooked shrimp, simply hold the shrimp by the tail and gently pull the shell off. You can also use a small knife to cut the shell along the back of the shrimp and remove it that way.

Cooking Shrimp

Popular Shrimp Recipes

There are countless ways to cook shrimp, and some of the most popular recipes include shrimp scampi, shrimp cocktail, and shrimp stir-fry. When choosing a recipe, consider the flavor profile you want to achieve and the cooking method you prefer.

Grilling Shrimp

To grill shrimp, simply brush them with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, or until the shrimp are pink and opaque.

Sauteing Shrimp

To saute shrimp, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until pink and opaque.

Boiling Shrimp

To boil shrimp, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until pink and opaque.

Serving Shrimp

How to Plate Shrimp

To plate shrimp, arrange them on a platter or individual plates. You can also serve them in a bowl or on skewers for a more casual presentation.

What to Serve with Shrimp

Shrimp can be served with a variety of side dishes, including rice, vegetables, and salad. They also pair well with garlic bread or crusty French bread.

Pairing Wine with Shrimp

When choosing a wine to pair with shrimp, consider the flavor profile of the dish. For spicy shrimp dishes, try a crisp, refreshing white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. For buttery or creamy shrimp dishes, try a full-bodied Chardonnay.

Can you eat tail-on shrimp?

Yes, you can definitely eat tail-on shrimp. In fact, many people prefer to leave the tails on when cooking and serving shrimp. Here are some reasons why:

1. Adds Flavor

Leaving the tails on shrimp can add extra flavor to the dish. The tail contains a small amount of meat that can enhance the overall flavor of the shrimp.

2. Aesthetics

Shrimp with the tails on look more aesthetically pleasing and can make for a nicer presentation when serving. This is especially true for dishes like shrimp cocktail or when serving a platter of grilled or sautéed shrimp.

3. Easier to Eat

Leaving the tails on shrimp can actually make them easier to eat, especially if they are grilled or sautéed. The tail provides a small handle that you can use to pick up the shrimp and dip it in sauces or other condiments.

how to eat shrimp
Photo by Fernando Andrade on Unsplash

However, some people may prefer to remove the tails before eating for convenience, especially when the shrimp is breaded or used in dishes like stir-fry or pasta. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

If you choose to eat tail-on shrimp, just make sure to remove the tail before consuming the meat. You can do this by simply grabbing the tail and gently pulling it off the body of the shrimp.


Eating shrimp doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can enjoy this delicious seafood delicacy like a pro. Whether you prefer grilled, sauteed, or boiled shrimp, there’s a recipe and cooking method to suit your taste.


How can I tell if shrimp is fresh?

Fresh shrimp should have a firm texture, a mild smell, and a shiny, translucent appearance.

Can I cook shrimp with the shell on?

Yes, you can cook shrimp with the shell on. However, it’s easier to remove the shells and tails after cooking.

What are some popular seasoning options for shrimp?

Popular seasoning options for shrimp include garlic, lemon, paprika, and Old Bay seasoning.

Can I freeze cooked shrimp?

Yes, cooked shrimp can be frozen for up to three months.

How many calories are in a serving of shrimp?

A serving of shrimp (3 ounces) contains approximately 84 calories.

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