5 Ways to Cook Shrimp in Under 15 Minutes
Learning how to cook shrimp will save you lots of time and fuss in the kitchen. Shrimp is one of the fastest cooking proteins to get from pan to plate — we’re talking less than 15 minutes! And it’s easy to master whether you enjoy making shrimp in the oven, over the grill, or on the stovetop.
Follow along with our easy, step-by-step instructions to get juicy, plump shrimp with a tender bite. In no time, you’ll be savoring shrimp that’s light in calories and carbs but rich in protein and a host of other valuable nutrients.
1. How to Cook Shrimp on the Stovetop
Get juicy shrimp cooked in a pan in just a few minutes — that’s the irresistible promise of stovetop shrimp. Dinner is as good as done!
- Put shrimp in a bowl along with 2-3 teaspoons of your favorite seasoning mix and toss to coat.
- Heat a pan and add cooking oil. Once it’s hot, add a shrimp to test. If it sizzles on contact, add the rest as an even layer on the pan.
- Cook your shrimp for 2-3 minutes on one side. Flip them around and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
2. How to Cook Shrimp on the Grill
Grilled shrimp kabobs are a fun and tasty way to enjoy seafood in the summer, but they can be a year-round treat. If grilling is more your game, buy larger shrimp to account for the shrinking that results from the grill’s high heat. Also, it’s way easier to skewer one big shrimp than many tiny ones.
- Toss shrimp in a quick marinade (2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice, salt, pepper, other spices). Then, thread them onto skewers.
- Set the grill to medium-high heat (350-450° F) and oil the grates.
- Grill your shrimp for 2-3 minutes on one side. Flip them around and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
For color, add quick-cooking veggies like cherry tomatoes and thin-sliced bell peppers to your shrimp skewers (totally optional).
3. How to Cook Shrimp in the Oven
Another fast way to get perfectly cooked shrimp is to pop them straight into the oven with your dial set to broil.
- Preheat the broiler to high and set the oven rack 4-5 inches away from the heat source.
- Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon cooking oil and 2-3 teaspoons of your favorite seasoning. Arrange them as an even layer on your oiled baking sheet (no overlaps!).
- Broil shrimp for 4-5 minutes.
4. How to Cook Shrimp in an Air Fryer
Air frying is a faster way to “bake” your shrimp through convection heating in a vessel that’s smaller than a traditional oven.
- Toss shrimp with some cooking oil and your favorite seasoning.
- Lightly oil your air fryer and add shrimp as an even layer on the air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 400° F for 8-10 minutes, flipping your shrimp halfway through.
5. How to Poach Shrimp for Shrimp Cocktails
Make the ever-popular shrimp cocktail to impress folks at your next get-together or to treat yourself and that special someone. Poaching is gently cooking shrimp in a liquid flavored with herbs, spices, onion, garlic, and/or citrus. Your liquid can be as plain or as fancy as you’d like. Use water, broth, or a mix of wine and vinegar.
For best results, leave the shells on while cooking and peel them off afterward to serve with your favorite cocktail sauce.
- Place shrimp in a small pot over medium-high heat along with a quartered onion, a handful of chopped parsley, a stick of chopped celery, the juice from a lemon, a tablespoon of peppercorn, and a bay leaf.
- Add just enough liquid to cover the ingredients in the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes or until shrimp looks cooked.
- Allow shrimp to cool, then peel and enjoy with cocktail sauce.
Shop & Prep Tips for Frozen Shrimp vs. Raw Shrimp
Frozen shrimp are usually frozen immediately after being caught to ensure the freshest-tasting seafood. Plus, you can stash them in the freezer for up to 6 months until they’re ready for their dinner debut. You can thaw frozen shrimp in the fridge overnight. Need it faster? Place frozen shrimp into a plastic bag, dunk them under cold water for 20 to 30 minutes, or use “defrost” on your microwave.
Thawed or raw shrimp are convenient if you plan to cook them that night. But, a word of advice: If you buy raw, check that the shrimp is still good. Look for a pearl-like color to the shrimp plus little to no odor. Cook the shrimp within two days, or pop them into the freezer if you don’t.
Pro tip: To make life even easier, look for peeled and deveined shrimp.
How Long to Cook Shrimp Without Drying It Out
The key to juicy, plump shrimp is not to overcook it. Shrimp cooks fast, so don’t set it on the stove and walk away. Even big shrimp can cook in just a few minutes. It takes about 4-5 minutes to cook shrimp in a pan, but the cooking time changes if you grill, broil, or poach shrimp for a cocktail.
Instead, rely on your senses. Uncooked shrimp start translucent, gray, and squishy. When they’re done, the shrimp become opaque and firm up into a C-shape with bright orange-red tails. The easiest, yummiest way to learn is to roll up those sleeves and start cooking!
For all methods except poaching, you’ll need 1 lb. of shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined, and patted dry (for better sear and flavor). If you enjoy leaving the shell on, you’ll likely need to cook the shrimp longer.
Portioning Tip: As with most seafood, a serving of shrimp is four ounces cooked.
Shrimp Recipes to Try
Now that you know how to cook shrimp, it’s time to find some recipes. Shrimp is tasty on its own but even better when paired with a leafy salad, pasta, quinoa, or veggie-heavy side dish. Because shrimp cooks so quickly, you have ample time to prepare everything else.
- Here’s a broiled lemon-garlic shrimp with quinoa, tomatoes & spinach you can make in less than 35 minutes!
- This 4-ingredient garlic shrimp with zucchini noodles is satisfying comfort food without a hefty dose of carbs.
Want more healthy, delicious recipes? Get started with our One Min Meal Plan.