How Long Does it Take to Cook Shrimp?

Curious? Want to know how long does it take to cook shrimp? Well, keep reading to find out!

how long does it take to cook shrimp

There is a famous scene in Forrest Gump when Bubba, played by Mykelti Williamson, describes all the different ways to cook shrimp. The funny part about the scene is that the length of the scene takes about the same time it would to cook the actual shrimp. That’s how short it is. 

Shrimp cook very quickly. No matter what method you use; bake, broil, deep fry, or pan fry, the shrimp will cook in just a few minutes. They will also be overdone in just a few more. With shrimp cooking time, sometimes less is more.

Let’s look at a brief overview of each method to cook shrimp and get a general idea of the cooking times.   

Cooking shrimp

There is always some prep work when cooking with shrimp. The first thing you need is deveined shrimp. The vein is a long, black line that must be removed before cooking. You can find deveined shrimp ready for purchase. If not, you will have to devein them yourself. 

The next thing you will need is consistency in your shrimp. They must all be thawed and similar in size. Do not mix different sizes and you will be set. No matter what method you use for cooking them, all the shrimp will need to be cooked evenly and on a single layer.     

Now let’s look at how long it takes to cook shrimp using each method:

  • Roast or broil in the oven

This method will take the longest and vary on the temperature used. 8 minutes at 400°F will have your shrimp cooked to perfection.

  • Sauteed or Pan fried shrimp

pan fried shrimp

When pan frying, melt some butter in the pan on medium heat. When the butter is fully melted, cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side. 

  • Boiled Shrimp

Boiling is very quick. Once the water comes to a rolling boil put the shrimp in for two minutes. After boiling put them in ice water to stop the cooking process

  • Air Fried shrimp

To air-fry shrimp cook them at 400°F for 3 minutes. Flip them over and cook for an additional 3 minutes for juicy shrimp 

  • Deep fried shrimp

Deep fried shrimp

The shrimp will need to be breaded before deep frying.  Deep fry the shrimp for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on the outside.  

  • How long does it take to cook shrimp on the grill

Preheat grill to 350-400°F and grill shrimp on direct for 5-6 minutes flipping halfway through the cooking process

  • Cooking without shell

Shrimp should be cooked in the shell to prevent overcooking, but can be cooked without the shell in every method with little change. The shells can be used for making stews or stocks if not used during the cooking process. Ensure to leave the tails on if making a shrimp cocktail.  

Tips or tricks to know to prevent overcooking shrimp

Shrimp is easily overcooked. They turn pink when fully done, but in most methods, they should be taken off when they are white and the cooking will finish after being removed from the heat. 

Another thing to look for is the curl when they are cooked. Shrimp will form a C shape when they are cooked properly but will form an O when overdone.

A different way to check if they are cooked properly is to gently hold them with the tail facing down and head up. When the tail is gently pulled down it should spring back into place.  

Final thoughts

Shrimp cook very quickly so care and attention need to be exercised during the cooking process. The most common mistake when cooking shrimp is overcooking. Remember shrimp will continue to cook after being removed from the heat and that should be added to the cooking time. Therefore, stick to the shrimp cooking times mentioned above closely to avoid overcooking! Happy Shrimping!

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