How to Pan-Cook Shrimp


Shrimp contains essential nutrients such as protein and omega-3 fatty acids. The shellfish needs to be cooked properly to prevent serious food-borne illnesses. If you overcook the shrimp, the shellfish will have an unpleasant rubber-like texture. Pan-frying the shrimp requires using a minimal amount of butter or oil, and it does not take long for the shrimp to fully cook. Preparing the shrimp on the stove top gives the shellfish a crispy crust, while the interior remains juicy and succulent.

How to Pan-Cook Shrimp
(Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • Paper towels
  • Skillet
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Scissors
Step 1

Thaw the shrimp in a covered bowl inside the refrigerator if they are frozen. Allow the shrimp to thaw overnight.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 2

Leave the heads and shells intact when preparing to cook the shrimp. This ensures that the shrimp keep their flavor and aids in maintaining their moisture, so they do not become dry during the cooking process.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 3

Rinse the fresh shrimp under cool running water. Pat the shellfish dry with paper towels.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 4

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the skillet with 1/4 inch of olive oil or butter.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 5

Place the shrimp into the frying pan. Stir the shrimp frequently for 3 to 5 minutes until the shells turn pink. The shrimp will turn opaque as well.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 6

Remove the shrimp from the stove top. Serve the shellfish immediately.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media
Step 7

Twist the shrimp head to remove it. Pull the legs off the shrimp with a sharp tug. Grab the tail and lift the shrimp shell up and away from the body. You may also cut through the shell with scissors

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • Remove the black vein before or after you cook the shrimp. The black veins are eatable, but they gritty in texture. Follow the line of the vein with the edge of a sharp knife. Rinse the shrimp under cool running water to wash the vein off of the shrimp. If the vein remains, use the sharp end of the knife to lift the vein.
  • Never thaw shrimp at room temperature because it will allow bacteria to grow.
  • Avoid crowding the pan with too many shrimp because they will release water which will steam the shellfish.


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