Grilled shrimp is an excellent appetizer or added dish for special occasions and outdoor parties alike. It cooks quickly, takes a variety of flavor combinations well, and is easy to find in most grocery stores. Whether you’re new to grilling shrimp, looking for a quick refresher, or want some recipe inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.
You can and should marinate or season your shrimp before grilling it. Marinades generally take a little longer. You should marinate shrimp for no less than 30 minutes, but you can quickly toss shrimp in seasoning just before grilling.
If you opt for a marinade, you can generally let your shrimp sit, refrigerated, for up to eight hours. There’s an exception, however, if you use citrus in the marinade. Because its acidic properties break down proteins, shrimp can get soggy and mushy if it’s marinated in citrus juice for more than two hours.
At 350 degrees Fahrenheit, shrimp take 5 to 7 minutes total grilling time. That means about 2 to 3 minutes per side. You’ll be able to tell when your shrimp are done cooking because they will turn opaque and pink.
You can grill shrimp with or without the shells. Some folks prefer to leave the shell on during grilling because it keeps the shrimp tender when cooked over high heat. If you decide to remove the shell before grilling, keep a close eye on your shrimp so they don’t overcook.
If you’re worried about drying out your shrimp on the grill, we recommend marinating your shrimp and then grilling them with their shells. We also suggest grilling your shrimp at a more modest temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 3 minutes per side rather than flash-grilling over higher heat. When you flash-grill shrimp over high heat, more liquid evaporates which could cause dry shrimp.
You should thaw frozen shrimp before cooking it. If you don’t thaw frozen shrimp, the seasoning is unlikely to stick to the shrimp during the cooking process. Also, your shrimp won’t cook evenly and may be unsafe to serve. If you try to cook frozen shrimp, the outside can look done while the insides remain raw.
To thaw frozen shrimp, put them in a sealed plastic bag and submerge them until they’re fully thawed. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes to thaw frozen shrimp. After the shrimp have fully thawed, remove excess water by patting them with paper towels. Once your shrimp are thawed and the excess water is removed, you’re ready to season and grill.
Unlike a steak or fish fillet, shrimp is a team player that adds flavor to other dishes. We love shrimp served with cocktail sauce, on a skewer, or in fettuccine alfredo. These common dishes are also good ways to use shrimp.
For a tasty new take on the classic shrimp cocktail, try this recipe with homemade cocktail sauce.
Cooking time: 15 minutes
2 pounds shrimp with tails, deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
To taste kosher salt
To taste freshly ground black pepper
Italian parsley, chopped
Before you start cooking or seasoning, make sure your shrimp is prepared. If they haven’t been deveined, now is the time to do so. With a small knife, cut a line lengthwise down the shrimp’s belly. Remove the large vein going through the shrimp -- it’s actually an intestine and you don’t want to eat the contents.
Preheat your Traeger to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the lid closed.
While the grill is preheating, combining the shrimp with the oil and Old Bay Seasoning in a large bowl. Alternatively, you can simply season with salt and pepper in the oil. Toss shrimp until well covered.
Grill the shrimp on a baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes, turning halfway through. Cook until the shrimp are opaque and pink, then remove from the grill.
For the cocktail sauce, combine the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. If you’d like an extra kick, add your hot sauce of choice.
Serve your shrimp alongside the cocktail sauce in a small bowl and garnish with parsley.
After you’ve mastered the basics of a shrimp cocktail, you may want to experiment with other flavors and recipes. Here are a few of our top grilled shrimp recipes to get you started.
Get that Cajun flavor without trekking to New Orleans with this easy smoked shrimp recipe.
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Shrimp are a staple of Chinese cuisine, and it doesn’t get much easier than a simple marinade that captures those umami flavors.
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Shrimp and grits are a Southern Lowcountry delicacy, but you don’t have to be brunching in Savannah to enjoy this delightful flavor combination.
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Thai street food is famous for its flavor and portability. These spicy shrimp skewers will take you right back to the streets of Bangkok.
Cooking time: 6 minutes
Get a taste of tropical flavor with these zesty grilled shrimp tacos.
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Move over jerk chicken, this recipe for jerk shrimp comes together in minutes and is a zesty and bold appetizer that’s sure to impress.
Cooking time: 10 minutes
If you think everything tastes better with bacon, you’ll love this recipe that calls for as much bacon as shrimp.
Cooking time: 20 minutes
If you’re a fan of food with an extra kick, this recipe for Texas spicy shrimp will keep you and your friends and family happy and snacking.
Cooking time: 6 minutes
Stop swimming upstream and start smoking salmon with ease. Our smoked salmon recipe takes all the guesswork out of the equation, leaving you perfectly smoked salmon every time.
Alaskan grizzly bears snag salmon fresh out of the stream. We like to add some wood-fire smoke for a gourmet meal that's fit for anyone who loves the wild.
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