Easy Boiled Shrimp

Preparing a pot of Easy Boiled Shrimp is a cinch with just a few ingredients from your pantry. No need for those bottled liquids or boxed seasoning bags. All you need is this recipe, seasonings, raw shrimp, plus a large pot of boiling water. It'll be ready in minutes!

A pan of boiled shrimp with lemons, bay leaves, and seasonings.

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Recently we had friends over for a weekend where we "passed a good time". We ate way too much, and by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, we began to think about what to eat for supper. Nothing sounded satisfying, yet we knew we'd be hungry again before the sunset.

It was a brief "Poo-Yie" moment. (That's Cajun for something like "Oh, my!")

Then I remembered I had gulf shrimp in the freezer and said, "I know, let's boil some shrimp, and then everyone can eat it any way they like!"

We did, and some of us ate the shrimp in a Shrimp Salad, and others had them alongside leftovers out of the refrigerator. It was so easy, tasty, light, and satisfying.

Another way I highly recommend eating boiled shrimp is to toss them in this delicious homemade Remoulade Sauce. A classic Louisiana dressing that's an easy and delicious recipe. I like this recipe so much better than any bottled remoulade sauce!


Ingredients For Easy Boiled Shrimp

You may have used bottled or bagged pre-packaged seasoning blends for boiling shrimp or other seafood. That's perfectly fine, but I prefer combining my own ingredients. This way, I know exactly what's going into my food, and I can adjust the amounts of flavor.

I like to taste the shrimp more than the seasonings. Some seasoning blends tend to overpower the food it's flavoring. Not here!

Seasonings of salt, peppercorns, Cajun seasoning, celery seeds, and bay leaves in a white bowl.

The amounts of ingredients are in the recipe card below.

  • raw shrimp - fresh or defrosted if frozen and unpeeled, locally harvested from the wild is best
  • water - from the tap, filtered, or bottled
  • salt - your favorite kind, I use sea salt
  • bay leaves - dried and whole
  • celery seeds - whole
  • peppercorns - dried and whole
  • Cajun seasonings - your favorite brand or homemade, like Pink Cajun Seasoning Blend (you may use regular salt instead of pink)
  • lemons - halved and juiced, always a favorite to accent the flavor of any seafood

Instructions For Easy Boiled Shrimp

If fresh shrimp are whole, pinch the heads off and rinse them. You can also slit their backs and retrieve the vein but don't take the peelings or tails off. This makes eating boiled shrimp much more convenient and less messy. My guests always appreciate that gesture.

The first step to Easy Boiled Shrimp is to pour water into a large pot and bring it to a boil, then add the seasonings and the lemons.

A pot of boiling water with lemon halves and bay leaves.

The aroma is alluring!

Add the shrimp.

Adding raw shrimp to boiling water with seasonings for Easy Boiled shrimp.

Cover the pot with a lid after adding the shrimp to the boiling brew. It only takes 5 minutes to cook. When the shrimp turn pink, they are done. You want to be sure not to overcook them, or they will become tough and grainy.

In a matter of minutes, the Easy Boiled Shrimp are ready!

Top Tip

Remove the heads of the shrimp, but do not peel them before boiling. The shells hold moisture and flavor. You can slit the backs of the shrimp before cooking and retrieve the vein but don't take the peelings or tails off. This makes eating boiled shrimp much more convenient. My guests always appreciate that gesture.


How long does it take to boil shrimp?

About 2-3 minutes after the water comes to a boil.

Is it best to peel shrimp before boiling?

The peelings kept on the shrimp during cooking make the shrimp more flavorful and juicier than peeled before boiling.

Do you rinse shrimp after boiling?

No, rinsing will wash the taste away, plus this recipe is meant for serving hot-boiled shrimp. They can be cooled or put on ice to serve cold if preferred.

Can you overcook shrimp in a boil?

Yes, you can easily overcook shrimp. A good rule to go by is when the shrimp turn pink after a few minutes of cooking. Also, when the shrimp look like the letter "c," they are cooked. If they look like the letter "o," they are overcooked.

If you want to learn the difference between the brown, white, and pink Louisiana Gulf shrimp, check out this article in Shrimp, Gulf | SeafoodSource.

What To Serve With Easy Boiled Shrimp?

You may want to dip your shrimp into a sauce. This Louisiana Comeback Sauce is so good you will want to find other tasties to dip into it.

Another quick and easy homemade sauce is one part mayonnaise and one part ketchup. It's also perfect for dipping boiled crawfish into. Other ingredients like sweet pickles and horseradish sauce add flavor to this simple dip. Or be creative and add your favorites and make your own special dipping sauce.

Related Recipes

A pan of boiled shrimp with lemons and seasons.

Easy Boiled Shrimp

Here is a quick and easy way to boil shrimp. They are delicious when eaten all by themselves or added to different dishes such as salads, casseroles, tacos, or sandwiches.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen raw shrimp, defrosted and rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • .25 cup salt
  • 6 dried bay leaves
  • 1.5 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 3 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 2-3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 large lemons, halved


  1. Bring water to a boil in a large stockpot.
  2. Add salt, bay leaves, celery seeds, peppercorns, and Cajun seasoning.
  3. Squeeze the juice of the lemon halves into the boiling water and seasonings, then add the lemon halves.
  4. Pour shrimp into the pot, stir, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, giving them an occasional stir now and then.
  5. Drain the shrimp in a large strainer in the sink and serve hot or cold.
  6. Peel and eat.


  • Devein shrimp by cutting into the shell along its back, pulling out the black vein but leaving the peelings intact; do not peel shrimp before boiling.
  • Add other ingredients to this shrimp boil, such as your favorite vegetables and extra seasoning.
  • The boiled shrimp stores well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Add boiled shrimp to your everyday meals, or enjoy them alone as a snack.
  • Use boiled shrimp in salads, pasta dishes,  or marinate overnight for pickled shrimp.
  • Author: Louisiana Woman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Cajun


  • Serving Size: 4 ounces

Keywords: easy boiled shrimp, boiled shrimp, shrimp boil

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“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

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