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How to Devein Shrimp

Macheesmo By

Do you want to know a good trick to make delicious shrimp and also save a few bucks?


Learn how to devein the shrimp yourself! When shrimp are sold in the shell they stay fresher longer, but the processor doesn’t have to do much to them—so they can sell them for less.

This is good news for you, assuming you know how to clean the suckers! Luckily, it’s not so hard and once you do a few you’ll get really fast at it. I’m far from a shrimp-cleaning expert and I can still clean twenty shrimp in about five minutes.

Once you have your shrimp cleaned, you can make this perfect Tex Mex Shrimp Cocktail recipe, but more on that later.

Step one to cleaning and deveining shrimp is to have a space set up for cleaning. You need a bowl for your shrimp, a bowl of cold water, a paring knife, and some kitchen shears.

Cleaning setup

Working with one shrimp at a time, take the kitchen shears and cut up the back of the shrimp shell so it can be easily removed.

Cutting shell

Some people may not use shears to peel their shrimp, but I think it’s easier—especially for beginners.

Once the shell is cut all the way up to the tail, you can easily peel it off.

Peeling shrimp

Next, working with the same shrimp, take your paring knife and slice down the back of the shrimp. Don’t cut all the way through the shrimp!

Slicing shrimp

Not every shrimp will have a really dirty vein near the back, but some will. When you see one, use your paring knife to lift it out and rinse the shrimp in the bowl of cold water.

Cleaning out vein

The first few might take you a few minutes to get the hang of it, but I promise that you’ll get fast at it quickly.

Here’s my plate of cleaned shrimp!

Shrimp cleaned

Traditionally, you would boil these guys in water with some Old Bay seasoning, but for this version I used Old El Paso taco seasoning which gave the shrimp a slight spicy flavor.

Just bring a medium pot of water to a simmer and add a few tablespoons of taco seasoning. Then toss in your shrimp.

Cover the shrimp and simmer them for 60 seconds. Then remove the pot from the heat and allow them to continue to poach for another two minutes.

Shrimp cooking

That should be enough time to cook the shrimp, but test one before you drain all of them.

For the cocktail sauce, I just stirred together some ketchup with some horseradish and a good amount of taco seasoning.

Taco sauce

Serve about five shrimp with a good amount of cocktail sauce and you are in for a treat.

Shrimp cocktail up close

Order this in a restaurant and it’ll set you back a pretty penny, but you can now make it at home with ease!

More Shrimp Cocktail Recipes




Nick would be okay with starting every meal ever with a shrimp cocktail. Yes. Even breakfast. Be sure to check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.

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