These bacon shrimp have crispy bacon but the shrimp aren’t over-cooked because of a secret trick. You won’t believe how well it works!
Bacon-wrapped shrimp are one of my all-time favorite appetizers, perfect for game day, New Years, or any day you’re craving them! The shrimp makes them special. The bacon makes them insanely delicious. And, the ease with which they can be made makes them a total winner.
These bacon wrapped shrimp are the best because the bacon gets really crispy in the time it takes the shrimp to cook, without overcooking the shrimp. The trick to making this happen is to use frozen raw shrimp, and you don’t even have to defrost them first.
Why should you use frozen shrimp here? The reason is that the bacon tends to need more time to get crisp than the shrimp need to cook. By using frozen shrimp, the shrimp take that little bit longer to get cooked fully through, giving the bacon more time to crisp up. Pretty smart, right?
What Kind Of Shrimp Works Best?
For this recipe, you’re going to use uncooked frozen shrimp, as mentioned above. Don’t defrost them before you broil them.
I go with a large shrimp. That’s the ones that are 31-35 shrimp per pound. You’ll want to choose the ones that are already peeled and deveined but still have the tail on. The reason for buying the peeled and deveined ones is because we’re wrapping the bacon around them while they’re still frozen. If there’s a peel on there, it will still be there when you go to bite in and that isn’t good.
Why get shrimp with the tail on? For finger-food style appetizers like these, the tail makes a perfect handle. They’re easier to eat, pretty, and fun!
What Kind of Bacon To Wrap Shrimp?
I like to use a bacon that is on the medium-thin side in terms of thickness for this dish. Medium thickness is alright too. You just don’t want it thick. The issue is that if it’s too thick, it won’t crisp quickly enough and will be a bit rubbery near the shrimp. That’s not ideal. So choose a bacon that doesn’t say “extra thick” or “thick cut” on the package, and have a look to make sure that the slices don’t seem too thick.
While I do often get center-cut bacon for breakfast, I just get the regular length bacon strips for this recipe. The reason is that I cut the strips of bacon in half and use one half per shrimp. The full length strips are exactly the right length for cutting in half and then winding around shrimp.
Do I Need To Use Toothpicks?
In my experience, it’s not necessary. Another bonus to using the frozen shrimp is that they’re firm when you’re wrapping them, making it easier to wind the bacon around, and easier to set them down, bacon-seam-side down. Plus, the cold seems to help hold the piece of bacon onto the shrimp.
How to Wrap the Bacon
It turns out that frozen shrimp are way easier to wrap in bacon than thawed shrimp are. They’re firm and not floppy so it’s easy to get the bacon wrapped around. And, the cold seems to transfer a bit to the bacon, holding it in place.
Have a look at the below images to see how to wind the bacon around the shrimp.
I found the technique of using frozen shrimp here pretty revolutionary and so easy. I can’t wait for you to try it!
Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp In The Air Fryer
You can absolutely make these tasty shrimp in the air fryer as well. You can’t fit as many shrimp in, but they cook even faster. I find I can fit about 8 large shrimp in my air fryer basket at a time.
Heat the air fryer to 400°F while you are wrapping the frozen shrimp with bacon. Then cook until the bacon is crisp and the shrimp are cooked through, 11-14 minutes. Enjoy!
More Amazing Shrimp Recipes
You can browse all my delicious shrimp recipes, but here’s a few that also work great as appetizers.
- Deep Fried Shrimp
- Air Fryer Shrimp Toast
- Air Fryer Breaded Shrimp
- Tropical Shrimp Cocktail
- Shrimp Ceviche
Podcast Episode About Making Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this shrimp, along with some other great tips, by clicking the play button below:
These bacon-wrapped shrimp start with frozen shrimp. The frozen shrimp take a little bit longer to cook, allowing the bacon time to crisp up. You get crispy bacon and juicy shrimp!
- Cooking spray or oil
- 12 slices of bacon
- 24 large raw frozen shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tail
- Sweet chili sauce (optional)
- Preheat the broiler and arrange the rack in the oven to be about 6 inches away from the heat elements.
- Put an oven-safe baking rack over a large heavy-duty rimmed pan.*
- Spray the baking rack with cooking spray.
- Cut a slice of bacon in half such that it is half as long as it was when it started. Repeat with remaining bacon slices. I use kitchen shears and cut the entire package of bacon in half at once.
- Take the shrimp out of the freezer.
- Grab a hold of a still-frozen shrimp. Wind a halved bacon slice around it, leaving the tail uncovered.
- Place the shrimp on the prepared baking rack, with the bacon edge down to help keep it in place.
- Repeat by wrapping each shrimp in a bacon half, arranging them in a single layer on the prepared pan.
- Put the pan of bacon-wrapped shrimp on the oven rack under the broiler. Cook for 4-8 minutes, or until the tops look like they’re crisping up. Use tongs to flip over all of hte bacon-wrapped shrimp, being careful to not unwind any loose bacon.
- Continue to cook until the bacon all around the shrimp is cooked and looking a bit crisp in places, about 4-8 more minutes. If any bits of bacon start to seem burnt in spots, flip those ones over.
- Remove shrimp from oven and serve immediately with sweet chili as a dipping sauce, if using.
Love this recipe? I’d appreciate it if you could scroll down and add a *5 star rating* to help others know they’ll love it as well!
*You need to use a baking rack so that the shrimp aren’t sitting in bacon grease as they cook. It also helps to get the bacon crispy if the air is circulating around them. Using a rimmed baking sheet is also really necessary so that the bacon grease doesn’t run off the pan and into your oven. Using a heavy duty pan helps also because the broiler is high heat and you want something that can withstand that. You can use a broiling pan. I find it best to use the bottom deep broiling pan with a baking rack set on top of it.
This post originally appeared in February 2022 and was revised and republished in September 2023.