ingredients
  • Celery salt 1 tbsp
  • ground bay leaves 1 tbsp
  • Ground black pepper 2 tsp fresh
  • Paprika 1 tsp
  • Dry mustard ½ tsp
  • Ground nutmeg ¼ tsp
  • Ground cinnamon ¼ tsp
  • Ground cloves ¼ tsp
  • Bay leaves 3 to 4
  • old bay seasoning 3 tablespoons
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • black peppercorns 2 teaspoons
  • head garlic ½, halved crosswise
  • Fresh parsley 5 sprigs
  • Apple cider vinegar 1 cup
  • Lemon 1, halved

Boiling shrimp is one of the healthiest ways to cook them, and they become tender, juicy, and full of flavor – especially when you add herbs and spices to the cooking water.

Shrimp cook very quickly, so you can have a lot of them ready in a very short time as an easy party appetizer or turned into a weeknight dinner with some good crusty bread, a dipping sauce, and a salad to accompany them.

Here’s how to make perfect, succulent boiled shrimp:

Step One: Buy the best shrimp you can get

Try to buy fresh shrimp if you can, and choose wild-caught over farmed ones if you get the choice.

Choose large-sized shrimp, which tend to average around 30 or so per pound. If you’re having the shrimp for a meal, buy around two pounds, depending on how many people are eating. If you’re having a party and want appetizers, buy at least four pounds.

Shell-on shrimp have the best flavor and texture when boiled, but if you really don’t like peeling the shells off them, you can buy them already shelled, although they can be less succulent and tender when cooked.

Step Two: Prepare the spices and herbs to boil the shrimp

The herbs and spices you add to the shrimp boiling water will make your shrimp tasty without being overpowering.

There’s no right or wrong combo of ingredients, but if you want a good starting point, try homemade old bay seasoning:

Simmer the water for around twenty minutes, to infuse it with as much flavor as possible before adding the prawns.

Once the prawns are in the boiling water, cook them for around 1 ½ to 2 minutes, before removing from the pot.

Step Three: Serve with dipping sauce

To serve, place the shrimp on a large platter (include a bowl for guests to discard shrimp shells) with a delicious dipping sauce. Choose a condiment that’s bold, bright, and tangy to elevate the flavor of your shrimp, such as tartare sauce or marie rose sauce.