My Favorite Way to Cook Shrimp

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: cappi thompson)

I love eating shrimp for a lighter meal or as an appetizer, so I always have a bag in the freezer as a quick backup meal.

Shrimp can be cooked in just about every way possible: seared, broiled, and grilled! But the one tricky thing about shrimp is that they can quickly overcook. No one likes rubbery shrimp — so my favorite cooking method makes sure that fate never befalls them.

How to Poach Shrimp

The method? Quick poaching.

This method borrows some of the technique we use when boiling eggs. For perfectly poached shrimp, follow these three easy steps:

  1. Bring a pot of seasoned water to a boil. Make sure the pot is big enough to hold all your shrimp and a lot of water. Generously salt the water, and if you like, add aromatics like white wine, lemon slices, peppercorns, or fresh parsley.
  2. Add the shrimp. Throw uncooked, thawed shrimp into the pot and give it a stir.
  3. Remove from the heat and cover. Take the pot off the heat, cover it, and walk away!

The residual heat from the boiling water gently poaches the shrimp. The shrimp get cooked through but have much less of a chance of overcooking since no additional heat is being applied. Plus, you don’t have to monitor the cooking process.

Large shrimp (21/25 count) take about 10 minutes to poach, but I’ve done this successfully with many different sizes of shrimp and even still-frozen shrimp — just check on them every few minutes until they’re opaque and firm all the way through.

Once the shrimp are cooked, drain them, pat them dry with paper towels if you like, and enjoy with some dipping sauces or use in shrimp salad!