This succulent Old Bay steamed shrimp is fast and easy to make! Here’s how to steam shrimp until it’s tender and full-flavored.
Here’s a fun way to cook shrimp without all the hassle of a shrimp boil: try Steamed Shrimp! This method is a combination of boiling and steaming that results in succulent, seasoned shrimp. Amazingly, the cook time is only 3 minutes! It’s fun to do and results in a seriously easy dinner recipe. Pair it with cornbread and sauteed peppers and you’ve got a meal.
Best type of shrimp for steamed shrimp
There a few things to look for when when buying shrimp for this recipe. There are loads of options when you go to the store, so here’s what to look for:
- Shell-on is best for steaming. The shell locks in moisture and flavor for steamed shrimp. The con? You have to remove it when you’re eating, which can be difficult and messy. But it’s absolutely worth it for the flavor!
- Look for deveined shrimp. Try to find shrimp that’s already been deveined but still has the shell on. (If your shrimp are not deveined, here’s How to Devein Shrimp.)
- Tail on also works. See the notes below on how to steam shrimp with the shell off.
- Wild caught is a sustainable choice. Fish that is wild caught in your country is usually a sustainable choice. There are also quality options in well-regulated farms. Go to this Seafood Watch Consumer Guide.
How to steam shrimp
This method for Old Bay steamed shrimp is a combination between boiling and steaming. You don’t even need a steamer basket! It uses less liquid than a traditional shrimp boil, but the flavored water imparts zesty, savory flavor into the shrimp. Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe below):
- Boil 2 cups water with seasonings: In a large pot, add water, butter, apple cider vinegar, Old Bay and lemon wedges. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Add shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes: Add the shell-on shrimp, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until shrimp is cooked and opaque, stirring occasionally. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon. Serve immediately!
Making steamed shrimp with shells off
Cooking shrimp with the shell on makes for perfectly moist shrimp. It makes this recipe like a shrimp boil where you peel off the shells before eating. However, if you prefer to cook with shelled shrimp, it works too. Here’s what to know:
- Making steamed shrimp with shelled shrimp is easier to eat, especially for kids. It’s also easier to find shelled deveined shrimp at the store.
- Cook shelled shrimp for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the size. Keep in mind that if you overcook them, you run the risk of a rubbery texture. They won’t turn out quite as moist, but this method works too!
Tips on using Old Bay
Old Bay is an American seasoning blend invented in Maryland that’s used to season shrimp, crab, clam chowder, and other seafood dishes. You can make steamed shrimp without Old Bay, but this classic seasoning blend really makes the dish. The ingredients in Old Bay are a proprietary secret, but the strongest flavors are paprika, celery salt, and black pepper.
- Where to find Old Bay? In the US, you can find Old Bay most grocery stores in the spices aisle. Or, you can buy Old Bay online.
- Is there a substitute for Old Bay? You can make it at home! Try our Homemade Old Bay Seasoning. You’ll need paprika, celery salt, celery seed, dry mustard, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and cayenne.
Got leftover shrimp?
Leftover steamed shrimp lasts in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or you can make leftover shrimp into a new recipe.
- Try Shrimp Salad, like a tuna salad mixing shrimp with a creamy dressing, celery and onion.
- Go for Classic Shrimp Rolls, like a lobster roll and served on a toasted bun.
Sides to serve with Old Bay steamed shrimp
What to serve with Old Bay steamed shrimp to make it into a meal? There are lots of choices that complete this meal. Here are a few sides to go with shrimp:
- Try Easy Skillet Cornbread or Classic Cornbread Muffins
- Go for Sauteed Peppers or Sauteed Peppers and Onions
- Make Corn on the Cob or Easy Succotash
- Opt for Ultimate Sauteed Vegetables or Perfect Sauteed Cabbage
- Try Sauteed Spinach or Sauteed Kale
- Go for Best Coleslaw Recipe or Easy Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe
This steamed shrimp recipe is…
Pescatarian, gluten-free and dairy-free.
Steamed Shrimp Recipe
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp shell on and deveined (or tail on and deveined)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 lemon sliced into wedges
- 3 pounds shrimp shell on and deveined (or tail on and deveined)
- 4 cup water
- 2 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 6 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 lemon sliced into wedges
- 4 1/2 pounds shrimp shell on and deveined (or tail on and deveined)
- 6 cup water
- 3 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 9 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 1/2 lemon sliced into wedges
- In a large pot, add the water, butter, apple cider vinegar, Old Bay and lemon wedges. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook 2 to 3 minutes* until shrimp is cooked and opaque, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon. Serve immediately, with a bowl for the shells*. Leftovers last up to 2 days refrigerated.