70 Scrumptious Shrimp Recipes

by Camilla Cheung on 18 October 2013 9 comments

Shrimp is not known for being a frugal food. But unless you're going for fresh, gigantic prawns, shrimp can actually be surprisingly affordable. Look for sales and buy-one, get-one deals for packages of frozen shrimp. Often, the expensive shrimp you see in the seafood case has been previously frozen and defrosted anyway. You may also want to buy medium-sized shrimp rather than jumbo shrimp — you'll get much more by weight for your money. Buy raw, frozen, de-veined shrimp with the shells on — they are relatively convenient to shell, but taste much fresher than pre-cooked shrimp. (See also: 6 Simple Seafood Appetizers)

Often, you can find bargain prices for shrimp at ethnic supermarkets. (Although be aware of the origin. Recent reports say that many Thai shrimp producers use forced labor.)

When responsibly farmed, shrimp can be a great source of protein and antioxidants. To make the best purchases for your health and for the planet, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium's guide to buying sustainably-farmed and responsibly-caught shrimp. (See also: Affordable, Sustainable Seafood Choices)

Shrimp is easy to cook. You know it's done when it curls up and turns pink. Here are some great recipes to try it in.

1. Shrimp and Grits

Succulent shrimp brightened up with butter, parsley, cheese, and creamy grits? Sign me up! Although shrimp is the highlight in this one-dish meal, the rest of the ingredients are very affordable. Add a salad for extra vegetables.

2. Seafood and Chicken Paella

You can make your shrimp go further by adding chicken and rice in this scrumptious, spiced Spanish dish. In this easy version from Martha Stewart, shrimp, chicken sausage, and rice are simmered together with tomatoes, peas, broth and spices.

3. Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

A balanced meal in one pan, a shrimp and broccoli stir-fry is healthy and quick to throw together for a mid-week meal. I started making this dish in college because it was so fast and easy. Add steamed rice or quinoa to soak up the sweet and savory sauce. (See also: 15 Ways to Prepare Frozen Broccoli)

4. Shrimp Pasta

Shrimp adds a great shot of healthy protein to a pasta dish. I love to pan-fry some shrimp with a dollop of jarred pesto and toss it with cooked spaghetti and a side of roasted asparagus. Alternatively, add shrimp to a spicy pasta puttanesca instead of traditional anchovies.

5. Shrimp Kabobs

Thread shrimp on a skewer with cherry tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, and halved mushrooms. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill. Remember, shrimp cooks quickly, so slice the vegetables quite small (or blanch them in boiling water ahead of time).

6. Shrimp Tacos

I love this variation on Baja fish tacos. Pan-fry the shrimp with your favorite taco seasoning (or make your own). Serve in warm tortillas with chopped cabbage, salsa, queso fresco, and your choice of condiments (guacamole, salsa, yogurt or sour cream, lime juice).

7. Buttery Shrimp and Peppers

Sweet bell peppers go so well with buttery shrimp. Cut 2 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers into thin slices. Saute the shrimp in a pan with olive oil, chopped garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper. Set aside. Saute the sliced bell peppers in the same pan with some olive oil and chopped garlic. When they are crisp-tender, add the shrimp, a tablespoon of butter, and a handful of chopped parsley. Toss together until everything is hot and coated with butter.

8. Shrimp Pad Thai

A few shrimp go a long way in this sweet and sour Thai noodle dish. Inexpensive rice noodles can be found at Asian markets or large grocery stores and are easy to cook — just soak them in hot water until they're pliable. Cilantro and bean sprouts add freshness.

9. Shrimp, Tomato, and Watermelon Salad

Shrimp and watermelon might be a surprising combination, but this colorful salad looks healthy and delicious. This salad could be a complete main course meal in one dish.

10. Shrimp Burgers

You know what's NOT frugal? Lobster rolls. Shrimp burgers provide a delicious and more affordable alternative. Since the shrimp will be chopped into small pieces, feel free to use more affordable medium shrimp instead of large.

11. Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

In this Mexican shrimp cocktail, cooked shrimp are mixed with chopped avocado, red onion, and garlic, and smothered in a spicy tomato sauce. It's like a Bloody Mary with shrimp. (See also: 20 Two-Ingredient Cocktails)

12. Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp

Wrap pre-cooked shrimp with slices of bacon and broil for 5-7 minutes until the bacon is cooked for a fast and unfussy appetizer.

13. Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp take the place of traditional fish in this light, cool, shrimp salad. Lightly cooked shrimp are marinated in lime juice and mixed with cucumbers, avocado, and red onion. For a refreshing appetizer, serve the ceviche with tortilla chips or in lettuce cups.

14. Shrimp Dip

Here, you have permission to use those small, pre-cooked salad shrimp to make this spicy and cheesy buffalo shrimp dip.

15. Shrimp Gumbo

This recipe for spicy and savory shrimp gumbo feeds a crowd! Two pounds of shrimp provide dinner for 11, so halve the recipe if you're just cooking for a few. Creamy rice, savory shrimp, and tender vegetables make this a Cajun comfort dish.

16. Kung Pao Shrimp

Kung Pao shrimp is one of my favorite dishes on restaurant menus, but unfortunately it also tends to be the priciest. Make it at home to enjoy this Chinese classic without the expense!

17. Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables With Pearl Couscous

Grilled vegetables hold their own with grilled shrimp in this dish, and the toasted pearl couscous provides a twist on a traditional pasta salad.

18. Shrimp Bisque

I'm a sucker for a good seafood bisque. This creamy and silky shrimp bisque uses the shells of the shrimp to make a flavorful stock, making your shrimp go even further.

19. Shrimp Laksa

Shrimp laksa is a spicy seafood-based noodle soup popular in Southeast Asia. Laksa paste makes it fast and easy to prepare and can be found at Asian supermarkets. If you can't find the paste, make your own using Food and Wine's recipe.

20. Shrimp Fried Rice

Pretty much any protein goes well with fried rice. You can substitute any vegetables you like in this shrimp fried rice recipe, so use up whatever's in your fridge along with with leftover rice.

21. Mee Goreng (Shrimp Fried Noodles)

Mee goreng, a Southeast Asian take on shrimp fried noodles, quickly became one of my favorite dishes when I was traveling in Malaysia. This recipe uses fresh egg noodles, but you can substitute spaghetti in a pinch.

22. Shrimp Frittata

Much like fried rice, anything goes in a frittata! Saute seasoned shrimp and chopped vegetables until cooked. Beat 6-8 eggs and pour them into a hot, oiled, ovenproof skillet and add your shrimp and vegetables (try to disperse them evenly). When the egg starts to set, finish cooking the frittata under the broiler.

23. Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi is one of those dishes that is so elegant, it's almost unbelievable how easy it is to make. Cook this dish for a dinner date and serve it over linguine -- it's sure to impress.

24. Shrimp Risotto

Risotto has a reputation for being fussy and labor-intensive, but it's really not that bad, as long as you remember to stir it once in a while. This shrimp risotto adds spinach and basil to the mix for a healthy and filling meal.

25. Shrimp Summer Rolls

A healthier alternative to spring rolls, these shrimp summer rolls use fresh vegetables and instead of being fried, they are rolled in a moist rice paper wrapper.

26. Shrimp and Kimchi Quesadillas

You know what's delicious in a quesadilla? Smoky grilled shrimp; spicy, funky kimchi; and savory Cheddar cheese. Don't believe me? Try it.

27. Shrimp and Pork Potstickers

No need to go out for dim sum — you can make shrimp dumplings yourself! Minced shrimp and pork make a delectable filling, and if you're feeling adventurous, you can even make the dumpling skins yourself using this recipe. If not, pre-bought wonton or dumpling skins are easy to use.

28. Shrimp and Greens

Throw some cooked shrimp on top of any salad (I like field greens with chopped green apple and glazed walnuts) for an extra shot of protein (and a break from ubiquitous grilled chicken breasts).

29. Shrimp Orzo

Orzo is one of my favorite pastas — it's so small that it absorbs lots of flavor. This shrimp orzo is cooked all in one pan with tomatoes and garlic, perfect for a weeknight meal.

30. Shrimp-Stuffed Mushrooms

Once in a while, I like to dabble in gluten-free or Paleo cooking. This dim sum inspired appetizer, shrimp-stuffed mushrooms, uses mushroom caps instead of dumpling skins to hold the succulent shrimp filling. (See also: Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas)

31. Shrimp and Broccoli Tempura

Tempura shrimp is one of my favorites at Japanese restaurants, so I always get excited when I can make a version at home. Lightly battered shrimp and broccoli are deep-fried and served over soba noodles. Shallow-fry the tempura in batches instead of deep-frying to save some oil.

32. Coconut Shrimp

Coconut shrimp is a classic appetizer. Make your own and impress your guests at your next party! This version is baked instead of fried, making it healthier and easier for the home cook.

33. Shrimp Salad

In this shrimp salad, the shrimp form the basis of the salad along with mayo, onion, celery, and mustard. Serve the salad as-is, in a lettuce cup, or in a sandwich.

34. Shrimp Po'Boys

Battered fried shrimp in a sandwich with luscious remoulade sauce. Does a sandwich get any better than this?

35. Popcorn Shrimp

Another version of battered shrimp, crispy popcorn shrimp is perfect for an appetizer or party. Try to restrain yourself from eating the whole dish in one sitting.

36. Cajun Shrimp Casserole

Cajun flavorings jazz up this hearty, cheesy, shrimp and rice casserole. If you can't find cream of shrimp soup, substitute a can of cream of mushroom.

37. Fisherman's Stew

Use budget-friendly tilapia along with shrimp in this hearty fish stew. The spicy tomato base has lots of healthy veggies. Just add some crusty bread to sop up the broth.

38. Shrimp Curry With Coconut Rice

Aromatic curry is a great way to spice up succulent shrimp, especially when paired with fragrant coconut rice.

39. Shrimp and Avocado Rice Bowl

This quick-cooking rice bowl can be done in 15 minutes for a weeknight meal with healthy avocado, edamame, shrimp, and egg seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil.

40. Honey Walnut Shrimp

Another Chinese takeout classic, honey walnut shrimp is usually pricey in restaurants but much more affordable to make yourself. This recipe provides a method to make your own candied walnuts, but you can buy them premade to save time.

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41. Golden Seafood Chowder

Unlike less frugal seafood chowders (which commonly include expensive ingredients such as lobster) this golden seafood chowder is simply made with shrimp and canned crab meat, making it much more affordable.

42. Shrimp Burritos

I love a good shrimp burrito stuffed with Mexican rice, black beans, guacamole, cilantro, and succulent shrimp. It's the perfect meal to take on the go too.

43. Shrimp Fajitas

If you're not a fan of rice and beans, stuff your tortillas with spicy shrimp and sauteed peppers and onions for a quick and easy meal of shrimp fajitas.

44. Shrimp Egg Rolls

I love this recipe for shrimp egg rolls — the egg rolls are golden and crisp, but they are baked, not fried, making it easy for those who don't like deep-frying. The secret is to spray the rolls with cooking spray before putting them in the oven.

45. Seafood Lasagna

Seafood lasagna is an interesting twist on lasagna that you don't see too often. This recipe calls for a pound of seafood, so you can tweak it to be more frugal, using smaller shrimp and canned crab instead of scallops if you like.

46. Shrimp and Ricotta Phyllo Turnovers

Phyllo dough forms the shell for these delicious little shrimp appetizers. If you don't want to use phyllo, frugal-friendly wonton wrappers can work in a pinch.

47. Peruvian Shrimp and Potato Chowder

This delicious Peruvian shrimp chowder, chupe de camarones, uses shrimp, potatoes, and an assortment of savory spices to create a masterpiece that is a favorite in Peru. Look for the chili pastes in Latin markets.

48. Pickled Shrimp With Toast

You've had dill pickles, you've had sweet pickles, but have you had shrimp pickles? Marinate cooked shrimp in vinegar and spices for a tangy little appetizer. Serve with toast and mayonnaise to make it feed a crowd.

49. Shrimp Cocktail

Sure, you can buy rings of frozen cocktail shrimp for cheap and serve them with bottled cocktail sauce, but why not take it a step further by cooking the shrimp yourself and serving them with a horseradish-spiked Marie Rose sauce?

50. Grilled Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

Protein-rich chickpeas and quinoa join smoky barbecued shrimp in this filling shrimp and quinoa salad, which is perfect for a main course. If quinoa's not your thing, try cooked orzo or couscous instead.

51. Shrimp and Sweet Potato Cakes

These crisp golden cakes made of chopped shrimp and mashed sweet potatoes look positively to die for. (See also: 71 Sweet Potato Recipes)

52. Scandinavian Shrimp Sandwiches

Make a party platter of open-faced Scandinavian style sandwiches, including shrimp sandwiches made of cooked shrimp, mayo, and lemon on bread.

53. Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers

A Hawaiian favorite, shrimp and pineapple are skewered and grilled together with a sweet and sour glaze.

54. Cuban Shrimp in Tomato Sauce

In this favorite Cuban shrimp dish, succulent shrimp are cooked in a spicy, tangy, tomato-based sauce. Serve it over white rice with a side of avocado salad to make the shrimp go further.

55. Spanish Garlic Shrimp Tapa

Garlic shrimp are a classic tapa (small dish) in Spain, and this little appetizer is easy to prepare by sauteing shrimp with smoked paprika, red pepper, sherry, and, of course, plenty of garlic.

56. Cantonese Fried Salt and Pepper Shrimp

This simple but unique dish is one of my favorites — shrimp are deep-fried with the shells on to form a crisp, crunchy exterior and a succulent interior, spiced up with a salt and pepper mix.

57. Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp

These shrimp are smothered in a sweet and sour sauce made of orange juice and spices — serve them as appetizers or keep them all to yourself as a main course.

58. New Orleans Shrimp Boil

A classic shrimp boil easily serves a crowd. Shrimp, corn, and potatoes are cooked in a spicy, flavorful broth and served with plenty of butter.

59. Firecracker Shrimp With Sweet Chili Sauce

Firecracker shrimp get their name from the fact that the shrimp are wrapped up in tubes of egg roll wrappers, much like firecrackers are wrapped in paper. The marinated wrapped shrimp are then deep fried and dipped in a spicy sweet sauce.

60. Shrimp Sushi Rolls

Roll up cooked shrimp with avocado in healthy Japanese maki rolls (also known as sushi rolls). Serve with wasabi and soy sauce for dipping.

61. Tequila Shrimp

Tequila gives shrimp a special kick in this Mexican favorite. If you're feeling adventurous, try igniting the booze (it'll impress your friends). Otherwise, just simmer the shrimp in the tequila.

62. Hawaiian Shrimp Poke

Poke is a popular fish salad in Hawaii. In the shrimp version, the shrimp are often cooked, mixed with seasonings and left to marinate before serving cold. In this version, fresh cucumbers give the salad extra freshness.

63. Shrimp and Pork Meatballs

This Vietnamese-inspired recipe makes just ½ pound of minced shrimp go a long way by mixing it with ground pork to make these flavorful meatballs. Serve them wrapped in lettuce and dipped in a Vietnamese sauce.

64. Korean Shrimp and Scallion Pancakes

These savory pancakes are addictive, with the crisp pancake batter, succulent shrimp, fragrant green onions and salty dipping sauce. They're also very affordable.

65. Shrimp Gazpacho

Cooked shrimp add a little extra luxury and protein to this refreshing cool soup.

66. Whisky Shrimp

Whisky adds a boozy and smoky kick to this shrimp appetizer. Because the whisky is stirred in at the end, no flambe is necessary.

67. Cheaper Cioppino

Cioppino, the classic Italian-American seafood stew, often uses luxurious ingredients like scallops, crab, several kinds of fish, etc… This cheaper version of cioppino substitutes shredded crab meat, frozen fish fillets, shrimp, and mushrooms, for a more affordable, but still luscious, stew.

68. Spicy Broiled Shrimp

This easy shrimp dish is quickly thrown together by seasoning shrimp with creole seasoning, lemon, and Worcestershire sauce and cooking it under the broiler.

69. Shrimp Roll

Try this more frugal take on a lobster roll by tossing cooked shrimp with tarragon, mayo, and lemon juice, and serving it in a hot dog bun.

70. Shrimp With Lemon Cream Sauce

This creamy shrimp dish sounds heavenly, especially when all that silky cream is soaked up with angel-hair pasta.

What's your favorite shrimp dish?

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Guest

Be sure to buy only wild shrimp. Studies have shown that farm raised have pesticides and can be dangerous.

Guest's picture
Cathie

And that's about it.

Guest's picture
Crystal

Wow this came at just the right time for me. I'm trying to find ways to incorporate more seafood into my diet and shrimp is a cheaper alternative so this is definitely a keepe post. Thanks!

Guest's picture

I love shrimps! Thank you for these ideas. :)

Guest's picture

This is a top list and one I will be re visiting

Guest's picture

This is one really delicious list. The name itself sounds mouth-watering.
Any detailed, step by step guides to prepare the dishes?

Camilla Cheung's picture

Thanks everyone! The detailed instructions for most of the recipes are linked.

Guest's picture
Daniel B

Recipes look good, but, hey, about the "forced labor" raising Thai shrimp, that is highly unlikely. Nobody needs to force labor there, people know how and work hard all by themselves, unlike here in the USA.

In some industries, people from other neighboring countries, specifically Laos and Myanmar, come in to do work for which they get paid more than they can get in their own. This is enterprising on their part and consistent with Buddhist principles. In fact, it's one of the endearing qualities of the country to me, to see EVERYONE sweating their asses off and working hard, regardless of age and I know many to be already quite rich, but the working hard part is a lifestyle, one that I admire and try to emulate. And when they go to bed, they sleep (unlike many americans) and when they socialize, the smiles are huge and genuine. Unlike our own country in which much of the population is on the dole and seem to go around in a deadened state, ready and waiting to sue someone who looks at them a second too long or win a lottery to get rich quickly.

I'm just saying that if you don't know for personally sure, you should not cast aspersions on the prawns from any ethnic or country source. Raising prawns for market is a HIGHLY risky business and the operation must be carefully controlled to raise them and also carefully controlled to pass the inspections necessary for a wal mart or other foreign markets to purchase them. Regardless of the source, there are many inspections for pesticides AND other contaminants.

Camilla Cheung's picture

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for your perspective. I agree that in many countries, people willingly work hard for a low wage (I used to live in Asia as well, and I know that many who work for a low wage choose to do so to get ahead, so I don't entirely buy into the notion that people in developing countries all work in sweatshops). I think the Environmental Justice Foundation is concerned more with human trafficking and bona-fide "forced" labor (where workers are not allowed to leave and their documents are taken away illegally). Sadly, it's true that legitimate Thai producers will be hurt by being tarred with the same brush -- nevertheless, I think that readers here would want to be given access to the report, and let everyone shop according to their own conscience.

It's true that I don't "personally" know what is going on, but that is true of almost any injustice being perpetrated around the world. We only know about possible abuses based on the information that the media and human rights organizations give us. Of course, it is possible that information is biased or inaccurate. Whether you believe that information or not is up to you, as is whether it changes your buying habits.

In any case, Daniel, thank you for your point of view. Readers -- take note, and make up your own minds.

Camilla