How to Boil Shrimp

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How to Boil Shrimp. A shrimp boil is the easiest way to prepare fresh, delicious shell-on shrimp. They take only minutes to cook and can be infused with your choice of spices. Use them in a variety of dishes, or serve them cold as an appetizer and let guests peel their own.

How to Boil Shrimp
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Step 1

Create a spice bag with a 12-inch square of cheesecloth. Sprinkle the shrimp-boil spices into the center of the cheesecloth. Gather the cheesecloth into a loose pouch and secure tightly with butcher's twine.

How to Boil Shrimp
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Step 2

Rinse the fresh shrimp under cool tap water. Leave the shells, legs and tails on for added flavor.

How to Boil Shrimp
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Step 3

Add the spice bag to the bottom of a large pot. Add hot tap water to soak and submerge the spice bag.

How to Boil Shrimp
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Step 4

Add a few slices of lemon, lime or orange to the hot water. Set the water on the range and heat to a gentle simmer.

How to Boil Shrimp
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Step 5

Add the shell-on shrimp to the hot water. Take care not to splash the water. Let the water return to a gentle simmer.

How to Boil Shrimp
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Step 6

Cook the shrimp over medium-high heat, monitoring it closely. Remove the shrimp from the water as they rise to the surface.

How to Boil Shrimp
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Step 7

Chill the shrimp immediately to stop them from cooking further. Remove the shell, legs, tail and vein before serving. Leave the tail on when serving as a cold appetizer or shrimp cocktail.

How to Boil Shrimp
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Tips & Warnings

  • Shrimp are numbered by how many are contained in a pound. Approximately 20 to 25 shrimp would make up a pound.
  • The dark "vein" down the back of a shrimp is actually its intestinal tract and should be removed before serving.
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