3 Ways to Prepare Steamed Shrimp

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3 Ways to Prepare Steamed Shrimp
3 Ways to Prepare Steamed Shrimp

When preparing shrimp, the first thing to remember is that this seafood must be cooked quickly and with great care so as not to overdo it. Shrimp are usually prepared on the stove, but you can also cook them in the oven or microwave. Here are some ways.


Traditional steamed shrimp on the stove

Serves 2 to 4 servings:

  • 500 g shrimp, unpeeled;
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional);
  • 1 teaspoon of salt;
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper;
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional);
  • Cold water (optional).

Steamed shrimp in the oven

Serves 2 to 4 servings:

  • 500 g shrimp, unpeeled;
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter or 2 tablespoons of olive oil;
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt;
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper;
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional).

Microwave steamed shrimp

Serves 2 to 4 servings:

  • 500 g shrimp, unpeeled;
  • 1 tablespoon of water;
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil;
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice;
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt;
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper;
  • Cold water (optional).


Method 1 of 3: Traditional Steamed Shrimp on Stove

Steam Shrimp Step 1

Step 1. Peel and clean the shrimp

Shrimp shells are easily peeled off with your fingers. The darker veins, usually located on the back, can be extracted with the tip of a sharp knife.

  • If the head and legs are still attached to the shrimp's body, remove them with your hands.

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  • Use your fingers to remove the outer scales from the shrimp, starting at the head and working down to the tail. The tail can be removed or kept as a decoration.

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  • Make a cut in the center back of the shrimp with a small knife. The cut should be shallow and just enough to expose the animal's vein.

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  • Remove the vein with the tip of the knife.

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Step 2. Boil water in a saucepan

Fill the casserole with about three fingers of water and leave on high heat. Place the empty steaming container on the casserole.

  • If you prefer, you can add lemon juice and salt to the water instead of putting them directly on the shrimp. This will provide a more subtle seasoning, enhancing the shrimp's natural flavor.

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  • If you don't have a steaming utensil, you can alternatively use a colander or other hollow metal object.

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  • The water must always be below the level of the utensil where the shrimp will be. Do not let the water pass through the empty utensil where the shrimp will be; otherwise, you'll end up boiling them instead of steaming them.

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Step 3. Place the shrimp in the casserole

Distribute the prawns in a single layer in the hollow part of the casserole and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and any other spices you wish.

  • The ideal is always to keep the shrimp in a single layer. However, if a few need to be piled up, they will still cook. Cooking may not be so uniform, but it is not something that will harm the preparation.

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  • As there are holes in this part of the pan, avoid messing with the shrimp after seasoning them or most of the seasoning will fall into the water.

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  • If you have added salt to the water, there is no need to use it directly on the shrimp at this point.

Step 4. Steam them until they are opaque

The exact amount of time will depend on the size of the shrimp. Medium-sized shrimp usually cook within 3 minutes, with the pan covered, from the moment the steam starts to take over the region where they are distributed.

  • The pan must be covered during the cooking process. This is the only way to trap the steam and make it cook the shrimp.

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  • Only start counting the cooking time when steam starts to come out of the sides of the pan. It may take some time to get to that point.

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  • Check the prawns after about 2 minutes of cooking to prevent them from overcooking.

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  • When ready, the shrimp will take the form of a letter “C”.

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  • For very large shrimp, add another 2 or 3 minutes of cooking.
Steam Shrimp Step 5

Step 5. Take them to ice water if you plan to serve them cold

If your idea is to serve the shrimp cold, remove them with a slotted spoon and immediately immerse them in a container with ice water.

Remove the cold water from the shrimp with a colander before serving

Steam Shrimp Step 6

Step 6. If you prefer, serve them warm

If you plan to serve them hot, remove them from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and place them in a serving container.

Serve immediately if the idea is not to cool them down. Do not freeze and heat them again or the prawns will be overcooked, giving them a rubbery texture

Method 2 of 3: Oven Steamed Shrimp

Steam Shrimp Step 7

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius

Grease a small, shallow pan.

You can use aluminum foil or baking paper/butter (oven resistant). However, greasing the form is more advisable

Step 2. Remove the veins from the shrimp

For oven preparation, shrimp must not be peeled. However, the vein must be removed. To do this, make a small cut in the back of the shrimp so that the vein is exposed. Then remove it.

  • Try using kitchen scissors or other sharp utensil to make this shallow cut into the back of the shrimp without removing the shell.

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  • Remove the vein with the tip of a small knife.

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Steam Shrimp Step 9

Step 3. Rinse and dry the shrimp

Place the shrimp in a colander and lightly rinse it under cold running water. Allow excess water to drain.

  • Place the colander over a few layers of paper towels just after you have discarded the excess water. Wait a while for the shrimp to finish drying.

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Steam Shrimp Step 10

Step 4. Distribute the shrimp in the tin

Place the prawns in the pan in a single layer.

A single layer is always preferable to ensure a homogeneous preparation of the shrimp. However, it is not strictly necessary, and it is possible to pile some of them up if there is no space. In this case, try to make them as evenly distributed as possible and do not make more than two layers

Steam Shrimp Step 11

Step 5. Drizzle with a little melted butter or olive oil

If desired, also add salt, black pepper, garlic powder and other spices of your choice.

  • Stir carefully with a spoon or spatula to spread the seasonings well over the shrimp.

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Step 6. Cover and cook them until they turn pink

Cover with aluminum foil and leave in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, turning after about 5 minutes. Remember that larger shrimp may take longer to make.

  • If you are preparing very large shrimp, add 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Turn or stir shrimp with a spatula or tongs after 5 minutes.
  • Don't forget to cover the pan with aluminum foil to generate and retain steam.

Step 7. Serve hot

Discard the excess liquid that remains in the pan and take the shrimp to a container to serve.

Method 3 of 3: Microwave Steamed Shrimp

Step 1. Arrange shrimp in a microwave resistant dish

Arrange the shrimp in a single layer, with the tail facing the inside of the dish.

  • A shallow glass dish will do the trick, as long as it's microwave resistant. Any container with enough space to place shrimp in a single layer should do.
  • Although it is difficult to find, there are some silicone containers on the market that are suitable for steaming in the microwave. If you have one of these, it might be an ideal choice.
  • Avoid very small containers that prevent you from distributing shrimp in a single layer.
Steam Shrimp Step 15

Step 2. Add water, lemon juice, oil and spices

Spread the spices, measuring the amounts according to your personal taste.

  • After seasoning, there should be only a small amount of liquid in the dish. So be careful when seasoning the shrimp with the liquids mentioned here and additional ones, otherwise the shrimp will boil instead of being steamed.

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  • Stir the shrimp to incorporate all the seasonings. Remember, however, to rearrange them in a single layer and with the tails facing the middle, after moving them.

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Steam Shrimp Step 16

Step 3. Cover and microwave until pink and opaque

Cover the dish with some microwave-resistant plastic wrap and cook until ready. When ready, the shrimp should have a shape that resembles the letter “C”. The preparation time will vary according to the size of the shrimp:

  • Miniature and small shrimp will take up to 3 minutes.

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  • Medium or 'standard' prawns will take 3-5 minutes.

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  • Large shrimp will take 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Giant shrimp will take 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Check the point after the minimum cooking time noted above.
  • Make a small perforation in the plastic wrap with the tip of a fork so it can ventilate.
  • If you have a suitable lid for the container where the shrimp are, use it. However, remember to leave it slightly open or use an appropriate opening so that it can ventilate.
  • The dish needs to be closed to generate the steam needed for cooking, however, it cannot be completely sealed so as not to generate too much pressure.
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Step 4. Remove and serve immediately

Let the shrimp sit for 1 or 2 minutes before discarding any remaining liquid on the plate. Serve still hot.

  • Small prawns should rest for only one minute, while large or giant prawns will need two minutes.
  • Eliminate excess liquid by pouring them or removing the prawns from the plate with a slotted spoon, take them to another container to serve.
  • As the shrimp's vein has not been removed, you can use a small knife (and make one available to your guests) so they can remove them before eating. In fact, there are no problems in consuming shrimp with this vein, being more a matter of aesthetics.
  • Alternatively, cool them, remove the veins and serve. If you want to serve the shrimp cold, put them in a container with ice water after removing them from the microwave. After that, leave them in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes. When they are cold, remove the vein and serve them.

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