Learn How to Clean Shrimp (Peel and Devein Shrimp) properly just in time for New Year’s Eve shrimp cocktails!
I have to be honest with you… Cleaning shrimp is my least favorite kitchen chore in the whole wide world. Usually, I bat my eyelashes and try to get Lt. Dan to do it for me.
However, sometimes I need to peel and devein shrimp when he’s not around. In these moments it’s important to know how to do it quickly and efficiently in order to get this nasty task over with.
You might be wondering, why I wouldn’t just buy pre-cleaned and cooked shrimp at the grocery store.
Well, sometimes the size of shrimp I want doesn’t come pre-cleaned. Sometimes I want to start with raw shrimp so I can season and cook it in a specific way. Not to mention, simple fresh roasted shrimp just tastes better than pre-cook grocery store shrimp.
Needless to say, this task is sometimes a necessary evil that leads to good things.
Ready to get started?
How to Clean Shrimp
Start with fresh or thawed frozen shrimp in their shells.
Hold each shrimp by the tail and pull off the legs. Then unwrap and remove the thin shell leaving the tail intact. (I like to keep the tails on for appearance, but you can take them off if you want!)
Using a small pairing knife, cut a shallow incision along the top of the shrimp all the way down to the tail.
Use the tip of the knife to lift out the vein in the shrimp. Discard the shells and veins.
Rinse the shrimp with clean water, if needed, and rest them on a paper towel to dry.
Make sure the shrimp are thoroughly dry before cooking.
P.S. Try not to think about what the “vein” really is. Shrimp is completely edible without removing the vein, once cooked. Deveining them just makes them look nicer, and eliminates poop-shoot worries.
Curious about roasted shrimp?
This is my favorites way to make shrimp for shrimp cocktail because they are so bright and flavorful.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Lay the shrimp in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the tops with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for about 5 minutes.
Remove the shrimp from the oven when they are bright pink and in the shape of a C. Once shrimp closes into an O they are O-vercooked.
C’s are good, O’s are bad.
Serve them with our awesome homemade cocktail sauce and enjoy!