How to Poach Shrimp

The BEST way to cook shrimp is to poach them gently. They end up delicate and so juicy. Learn how here.

The BEST way to cook shrimp is to poach them gently. They end up delicate and so juicy. Learn how here.

If you’re making shrimp cocktail, or need a very basic way to cook shrimp, poaching is for you. It’s actually the best way to cook shrimp, in my opinion. The flavor of the shrimp itself really shines and, more importantly, the shrimp end up with the most delicate texture: plump, juicy and not at all tough or rubbery. The reason that the texture is so fantastic with poached shrimp is because you cook them very very gently.

Here’s how to poach shrimp perfectly:

Step#1

Get a medium or large saucepan. This depends on the number of shrimp you’re cooking. 12-15 shrimp cook well in a 3 quart pot whereas a larger pot is needed if you’re doing more than that. Fill it about 3/4 full of water.

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Step#2

Add salt. I use about 1/2 teaspoon.

Step#3

Then you can add other aromatic ingredients if you’d like. Half of a lemon is a great addition. Squeeze the juice into the pot before adding the halved lemon.

Peppercorns and parsley are two other things you can add. These aren’t as important as the salt but are nice additions.

Step#4

Bring the pot to a rapid boil over high heat.

Step#5

Remove from the heat and let it stop boiling.

Step#6

Add the shrimp.

Step#7

Stir.

Step#8

Cover the pot. And let sit for 4-5 minutes, until shrimp are opaque and pink.

Step#9

Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath: In a large bowl put two cups of ice cubes and fill halfway with cold water.

Step#10

When shrimp are cooked, drain off the hot liquid and transfer shrimp (but not the aromatics) to the ice bath. Let them sit in there for a few minutes to fully cool off before draining.

Step#11

Serve as is or peel them first.

How to Poach Shrimp

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How to Poach Shrimp


  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings

Description

This is the best way to cook shrimp. They end up so tender and juicy.


Ingredients

  • 12 large shrimp (21-25 count per pound, deveined and peeled or deveined and easy peel, tail on)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • 8-10 peppercorns (optional)
  • a handful of fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Fill a 3 quart saucepan 3/4 full of water.
  2. Add salt. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into the pot and add the peel and flesh once squeezed. Add the peppercorns and parsley if using.
  3. Bring the pot to a rapid boil over high heat.
  4. Remove from the heat and let it stop boiling.
  5. Add the shrimp. Stir. Put the lid on the saucepan.Cover the pot. Let sit for 4-5 minutes, until shrimp are opaque and pink.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath: In a large bowl put two cups of ice cubes and fill halfway with cold water.
  7. When shrimp are cooked, drain off the hot liquid and transfer shrimp (but not the aromatics) to the ice bath. Let them sit in there for a few minutes to fully cool off before draining.
  8. Serve as is or peel them first.

 

The BEST way to cook shrimp is to poach them gently. They end up delicate and so juicy. Learn how here.

4 Responses to “How to Poach Shrimp”

  1. Cookie — June 4, 2018 @ 12:34 am (#)

    Just to make it clear, I’m using a 2 lb bag of frozen shrimp 21-25 count . How long should it take ? I’ve always cooked shrimp, I never used frozen fresh shrimp  
    For shrimp cocktail. I’m going to leave the shell on 
    And remove the shell after it’s pouched, and leave the tail on. Thank you

    • Christine Pittman — June 4, 2018 @ 10:52 am (#)

      Cookie, It really depends on how much hot water you use. The more shrimp you have, the more water you should use. For 2 lbs. I’d use a large pot (5-6 quarts) filled 3/4 full. Once it’s boiling, remove the pot from the heat and add the shrimp. Let them sit in the hot water for 4-5 minutes, until opaque. Drain and chill, if using for shrimp cocktail.

  2. Helen Curran — March 22, 2018 @ 10:44 am (#)

    Still trying to figure out if you cooked shrimp from frozen or let them defrost first.

    • Christine Pittman — March 22, 2018 @ 11:37 am (#)

      For the instructions in this post, the shrimp are not frozen. They’re defrosted. However, if you look here https://cookthestory.com/how-to-cook-shrimp-from-frozen/ you’ll see that the actual cooking time changes very little when the shrimp are still frozen. I actually prefer the texture of the cooked shrimp if they’re poached directly from frozen.

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