Shrimp is an incredibly versatile and approachable ingredient with a chameleon-like ability to take on many different flavors and cooking techniques.

Because of their voracious appetite and diet of algae, plankton, and tiny bottom swimmers, shrimp have a sweet flesh and, when cooked properly, delicate texture.

Shrimp are often associated with celebrations, special events, and fancy nights out, but their availability and easiness to cook make them a go-to protein for quick dinner ideas. They can be grilled, steamed, roasted, fried, served shell on or shell off…aaand now I’m starting to sound like Bubba from “Forrest Gump.”

As for what size shrimp to use, that’s totally up to you. Keep in mind shrimp are sized by the amount per pound: “16/20” means there are 16 to 20 shrimp per pound. The larger the shrimp, the tougher the meat will be if not cooked perfectly.

Fortunately for you, the home cook, any size shrimp will work in these five flavor-filled shrimp recipes. Using five different techniques, they provide a great starting point for you to express your creativity in the kitchen.

By the way, don’t be afraid of frozen shrimp. They are usually fresher because, most of the time, they are frozen on the boat right when they’re caught.

5 shrimp recipes


Shrimp ceviche can feature marinated raw shrimp, but I like to poach the shrimp briefly before marinating. To do this, make a broth of water, salt, citrus, and fresh herbs, pour the hot water over your cleaned shrimp for one to two minutes, and then drain the liquid off and cool them.

Make a marinade of citrus juice, thinly sliced red onion, cilantro, and your favorite chili pepper. Marinate for 15 to 20 minutes, to let the citrus finish “cooking” the shrimp, and garnish with diced avocado, tortilla chips, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Shrimp recipes with a plate of shrimp ceviche.

Curry Shrimp

This is a straightforward curry sauce prepared in a Jamaican style that pairs perfectly with medium-sized shrimp.

Prepare diced onion, garlic, and grated ginger to cook over medium heat in coconut oil until tender and fragrant. Then, add Jamaican curry powder, turmeric, and a little more oil, if necessary. Cook while stirring to “burn” the curry until it turns a golden color and the aroma is present throughout your home. Add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan, and then add some stock and a whole Scotch bonnet pepper. (Do not slice it!) When the stock is reduced by half, add some coconut milk and cook until the desired thickness, and then add the seasoning and set aside until ready to cook the shrimp..

When ready to serve, gently stir in the raw, seasoned shrimp and cook over low heat until just cooked. Serve with white rice and some fresh mint. Beware the whole Scotch bonnet pepper!

Shrimp recipes with a cast-iron skillet full of shrimp curry.

Shrimp & Grits

Start by cooking stone ground grits in salted water and finish with butter, grated cheddar, and a spoonful of mascarpone. Hold the grits warm until ready to serve.

For the shrimp, clean them and remove the shells, season them with salt, and allow them to rest on a plate for 45 minutes before cooking. Heat a sauté pan and add cooking oil over high heat. Sear the shrimp for 45 seconds per side to get a good sear on them. Remove the shrimp and turn the heat to low, and then add andouille sausage until it renders, onions, garlic, bell peppers, and diced tomatoes. When the mixture is cooked, add a shot of Worcestershire sauce and 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter, and then remove from the heat. Add the shrimp back to the pan to finish cooking and garnish with some chopped parsley and scallions. Serve over the grits.

Cajun Style Shrimp and Grits

Thai Shrimp Cakes

Start with a pound of cleaned shrimp and cut each one into large pieces, and then put them in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove the shrimp pieces from the freezer and mix them in a bowl with curry paste, ginger, an egg, Thai fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Mix in 2 teaspoons of baking soda and seasoning. Pulse the mixture in a food processor until homogenous but not over-mixed. Form into 2- to 3-ounce balls and press into patties. Fry a few at a time, about two minutes per side, and serve with chili sauce and fresh cilantro sprigs.

Shrimp cakes serve on green leaf in white plate on wooden table,

Tempura Shrimp

This recipe works best with small shrimp (41 to 50 count).

Mix rice flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and crushed nori or furikake seasoning with one beaten egg and soda water, and keep cold. Marinate the shrimp with chili paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey, and then coat with the batter and deep fry at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until golden and crispy. Serve with sesame aioli and lime wedges.

Shrimp recipes with a plate of shrimp tempura.

shop button Shellfish x

Chef Bradford Thompson's culinary palate was formed by his summers spent lobster trapping and picking fresh blueberries with his grandmother on the coast of Maine. The classically trained chef has worked in the kitchens of such culinary luminaries as Vincent Guerithault, Alessandro Stratta, and Daniel Boulud. After being named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine in 2004, he won a James Beard Award as the Executive Chef at Mary Elaine's in 2006. Since leaving the back of the house, Thompson, a Level 1 Certified Sommelier, founded Bellyfull Hospitality, a full service culinary/hospitality consulting company. He's also an instructor at the ICC Food Business Program and the ICE Restaurant Management program, where he teaches and inspires the next generation of restaurateurs. A diehard sports fan, Thompson can often be found in the MetLife Stadium parking lot, tailgating and cheering on his beloved New York Giants, whom he has cooked for several times.

Write A Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.