Seafood might sound like it would be complicated to cook, but it’s actually really simple and can be perfected with just a little bit of practice.
There are a number of different ways to cook shrimp, including on the stovetop, but if you’re not an experienced chef, you might not know where to start.
That’s where this article comes in.
If you’re wondering what is the best way to cook shrimp on the stove, you’re in the right place.
This article will walk you through some of the basic things you need to know when preparing and cooking shrimp so you can wow your dinner guests with your culinary skills the next time you have them over for dinner.
Without further ado, it’s time to throw some shrimp on the stove.
Shopping for Shrimp
You might assume that the freshest shrimp can be found at the fresh fish counter at your local supermarket, but there’s actually no way of knowing how long it’s been out for when it’s out of its packaging and on display like this.
Considering that shrimp are typically caught and then frozen immediately to retain the maximum amount of freshness and flavor, this is your best bet for finding the best quality shrimp.
Unless, of course, you happen to live nearby to a seafront where fishermen sell shrimp straight out of the sea!
You should steer well clear of shrimp that have gone past their sell-by date or if there’s any sign that they’re starting to go off. You’ll know by the smell straight away if they’re not good to eat, but you can also look out for shrimp that are a dull color or if they’ve started to become slimy in texture.
Trust us, it’s not worth it.
Step by Step Shrimp on the Stove
When it comes to cooking shrimp on the stove, there are plenty of pans to choose from, and you can choose from sauteing, frying, or boiling all with great results.
To sauté or pan-fry your shrimp you can use the following method.
- Thaw your shrimp (or don’t)
If you’re defrosting your shrimp, always make sure you allow it to thaw in the refrigerator and consume within twenty-four hours. If you forget to take it out of the freezer in time to defrost, don’t panic, as you can also cook shrimp from frozen.
Just add a few more minutes on each side to ensure they’re fully cooked through.
- De-vein and de-tail the shrimp
Most prawns can be bought peeled and de-veined, but on some occasions, you may be required to do this yourself. Don’t worry if you don’t already know how to do this as we’ve included more detailed instructions on how to prepare shrimp later in this article.
Some dishes, like a prawn cocktail, will look more aesthetically pleasing when they’re trimmed, whereas keeping the tails on can be handy for when you’re going to be dipping your shrimp in a sauce.
- Season your shrimp
One of the great things about shrimp is that they take on a lot of flavor from the ingredients they’re cooked with, so seasoning is super important, and you can add a number of different herbs or spices to suit your preference.
Our personal favorites include paprika and red pepper flakes with liberal lashings of sea salt.
- Preheat the pan
For the best results, your shrimp should sizzle when it hits the pan, so allow a generous amount of oil or butter to heat up before adding them to the pan on your stovetop.
Once it’s warmed up and the pan’s bottom is fully coated, you can add the shrimp and let it simmer.
- Wait for it…
After the shrimp have been added to the pan, all you need to do is wait for them to cook through.
After around 2 to 3 minutes, flip the shrimp once and then leave them to cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes. Remember to give them an extra few minutes if cooking from frozen!
These timings will also vary slightly depending on the size and thickness of the shrimp, but you’ll be able to tell that they’re done when they turn from translucent to a pinky color on the outside and when it’s completely opaque on the inside.
- Shrimp is served!
That’s it! Once the shrimp is cooked all the way through you can remove it from the heat and transfer it to a dish, serving it alongside either rice or pasta.
There really is no end to the sides you can cook up to have with shrimp as they pair beautifully with so many dishes.
How To Boil Shrimp
Boiling shrimp on the stove is just as easy as pan-frying it, but we’ve put together the basic instructions for you to follow.
- For maximum flavor results, once you’ve peeled and deveined the shrimp you can use the shells in the water you boil the shrimp in. Add them to the water with a few other ingredients such as some garlic salt, about half a teaspoon of black pepper, and a bay leaf if you have them to hand.
- Bring the water to a boil and then add the prepared shrimp to the pot. Allow this to simmer for two to three minutes although this could vary depending on the size of the shrimp.
- Once the shrimp is cooked, drain it through a colander. Top Tip: The trick is to make sure you don’t overcook your shrimp as this can cause them to have a rubbery texture, so while it’s important to make sure they’re fully cooked, try not to leave them in for too long either. You can add them to a bowl of cool water to stop the cooking process.
How to De-Vein Shrimp
- Remove the head of the shrimp.
- Peel off the exterior shell from the head all the way down to the tail. You can choose to leave on a small section at the end as well as the tail tip, but this is usually done for decorative reasons and shouldn’t be eaten.
- You can also leave the shell on, but you’ll need to slice along the shrimp’s back to reach the veins. This is a good way to draw the maximum flavor out of the shrimp during cooking.
- Run along the outer part of the shrimp’s back with a paring knife cutting no more than ¼ deep.
- Cut out the vein running along the back and dispose of it, but don’t worry about this if the vein isn’t visible.
Now you’ve got the basic cooking and preparation techniques firmly under your belt, you can start to experiment with different flavor combinations and try out new variations of your tried and tested recipes.
And if you want to try something different altogether, why not try barbecuing your shrimp! They don’t have the phrase “put another shrimp on the barbie” over in Australia for nothing, and it’s a great way to enjoy this seafood.
Italian Sautéed Shrimp
- A Large Pan
- A small paring knife or garlic crusher
- A chopping board
- 2 or 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 clove Chopped Garlic
- 1 pound Medium to large raw shrimp (with or without shell and deveined)
- 1/3 pinches Salt to suit your taste
- Using the knife or garlic presser if you have one, finely chop or mince the garlic.
- Roughly chop the parsley and set it to one side.
- Heat the oil in the large pan and when it’s hot, add the shrimp along with the garlic, chopped parsley, and salt.
- Let this cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning a few times and checking to see if the shrimp is pink on the outside and opaque on the inside before removing it from the heat. Once you’re confident that it’s fully cooked it’s ready to serve. Bon appetite!