How Long to Boil Shrimp?


How Long to Boil Shrimp?


Shrimp cooks very quickly. The exact time depends on the size of the shrimp. See the table below for the exact time to boil shrimp.

Overcooked shrimp becomes chewy and sometimes even grainy in texture, not the intended experience. Perfectly boiled shrimp becomes soft and almost melts in your mouth, a true pleasure to eat.

How Long to Boil Shrimp

How Long to Boil Shrimp

Time Needed to Boil Shrimp

The time needed to boil shrimp depends mostly on the size of the shrimp being boiled. The following table is suggested times to boil shrimp, actual times can vary slightly depending on conditions. See below the table for visual indications to tell when shrimp are cooked. After that we’ve listed instructions on how to boil shrimp along with a few other shrimp suggestions.

Size Boiling Time Fresh Boiling Time Frozen
Small Shrimp (51-60 count/lb) 30 Seconds 1 Minute
Medium Shrimp (41-50 count/lb) 1 Minute 1 1/2 Minutes
Large Shrimp (31-35 count/lb) 2 Minutes 3 Minutes
Jumbo Shrimp (21-25 count/lb) 3 Minutes 4 Minutes
Extra Jumbo Shrimp (16-20 count/lb) 4 Minutes 5 Minutes

Boiling shrimp for times longer than the numbers noted in this table will produce tough shrunken shrimp that are difficult to chew. Cooking times for shrimp are very short no matter the cooking method, whether they are boiled, fried or baked.

Note: Shrimp can be sold cooked or raw, both refrigerated and frozen. Since shrimp have a very short shelf life when fresh, we suggest purchasing them frozen. Since shrimp boil or cook so quickly, we suggest purchasing them raw. Our personal choice is frozen raw extra jumbo shrimp. We further suggest cooking or boiling shrimp from their thawed state. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or in a bowl of cold water just prior to cooking.
So, how do you tell the difference between raw and cooked shrimp?
Raw shrimp are a grayish color and cooked shrimp are bright white with a beautiful pink hue.

How Long to Boil Shrimp

How to Boil Shrimp

  • Boil about 2 quarts of water per pound of shrimp to be boiled.
  • Seasonings can be added to the water, if desired.
  • Add the shrimp to the water once it has reached a full boil and begin the timer according to the above table.
  • Pour the pan contents into a strainer when the timer rings.
  • If you’re not going to eat the shrimp immediately, then run them under cold water or place them on ice to stop the cooking process.
  • If cooking less than a pound of shrimp, the times should be reduced.
  • Remember, never overcook shrimp. Once the translucent flesh turns white and the pink color emerges, the shrimp should be cooked.

    How Long to Boil Shrimp?

    Additional Information

    To find out how long shrimp lasts, visit our shrimp page.

    To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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