Thanks to where it comes from, shrimp is naturally salty. But in some instances, its mild saltiness is not enough — it’s a must to season it, too. Adding a little salt and pepper is usually done in many instances. There are times, too, when garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and others can give shrimp a more interesting flavor profile.
About to cook some shrimp and wondering which seasoning is best? Keep reading!
How to Salt Shrimp for Various Cooking Methods
There are many different ways to cook shrimp. But there is a secret to making shrimp taste even better no matter the preferred cooking method. And it’s none other than by tossing it in a mixture of salt and baking soda. Salted shrimp, afterward, should be allowed to rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
Shrimp has the flavor of the ocean, and the reason behind it is obvious.
Adding a little salt to shrimp, however, can make the scrumptious seafood taste even more unforgettable. But seasoning it with salt is not enough. For best results, the secret is to season shrimp with a little baking soda, too.
The combination of salt and baking soda improves the taste and texture of shrimp. It doesn’t matter if you are intending to stir fry or grill shrimp or use it as the star ingredient in your seafood taco or alfredo pasta. Salt helps keep shrimp juicy while being cooked. On the other hand, baking soda firms up the texture.
Here are the ingredients for salting 1 pound shrimp before cooking in your preferred method:
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and give the shrimp a quick toss. Place salted shrimp in the fridge for a while to give the homemade seasoning mix enough time to carry out its job.
How to Season Shrimp for Tacos
Like any other meat or seafood, shrimp for tacos is best warm, spicy and smoky. Coating shrimp with a mixture of cumin powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper gets the job done. Before shrimp is cooked, it should be tossed in a bowl containing the mixture of spices to coat it evenly.
Mexican food is known for being spicy. And that is why you can make shrimp tacos smell and taste like the real deal by adding the right spices, including especially chili powder.
Use the recipe below for cooking 1 pound of shrimp for some spicy seafood tacos:
- 2 teaspoons of chili powder
- 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
Just remember to pat dry shrimp with some paper towels beforehand to ensure an even coating of the spice mix.
How to Season Shrimp for Stir-Fry
Stir-frying shrimp is one of the quickest ways to have shrimp. As a matter of fact, this cooking method allows you to have a delectable seafood meal in less than 15 minutes. And it’s the easiest, too — you simply have to add a little salt and pepper as shrimp is cooking in the skillet. Certain spices also have to be added to the sauce mix.
Cooking at high heat and in a short amount of time really brings out the unmistakable flavor of shrimp.
So much so that seasoning shrimp with salt and pepper is more than enough to make mouth-watering stir-fried shrimp. But because there are usually other ingredients, it’s also important to make the sauce delish.
Here’s an easy stir-fry sauce mix recipe for 1 pound of shrimp:
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
All you need to do is mix all these ingredients in a small bowl. Add the sauce mix to shrimp and other ingredients (vegetables such as broccoli, red bell peppers and sugar snap peas) cooked in the skillet for about 10 to 12 minutes and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
How to Season Shrimp to Fry
It’s not uncommon for shrimp to be coated in breadcrumbs before deep frying. This helps improve the texture of shrimp and at the same time locks in juice and moisture. Some people prefer tossing shrimp in salt and pepper before deep frying them in canola oil, which is considered the best oil for frying seafood.
Refrain from assuming that frying and stir-frying shrimp are one and the same.
Stir-frying shrimp is usually done with other vegetables. It involves lesser oil, higher heat and a shorter cooking time, which is vital for cooking the vegetables while keeping them crisp.
Frying, on the other hand, uses lower heat. And it’s due to this why it’s also longer than stir-frying. Because shrimp cooks easily, it doesn’t take a long time to fry it. Deep frying in oil preheated to 375°F (191°C) allows shrimp to be cooked in about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size.
In some instances, it’s enough to season shrimp with salt and pepper before frying. But you may also consider coating each piece in breadcrumbs beforehand for shrimp that’s crunchy outside and tender inside.
Here are the ingredients for a breadcrumb coating perfect for deep frying 1 pound of shrimp:
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
How to Season Shrimp for Fried Rice
One of the best-selling Chinese takeouts is shrimp fried rice. Cooking it at home is surprisingly simple and easy, too! It doesn’t take a lot of seasoning to make this delicious Oriental dish. In most instances, tossing shrimp in a pinch of salt and black pepper is all it takes before cooking to make it pop amid a number of fried rice ingredients.
Budget-conscious individuals will be happy to learn that homemade shrimp fried rice is economical, too.
That’s because the best type of rice for shrimp fried rice is leftover rice — it’s drier than freshly cooked rice, which makes it superb for frying. Fried rice allows the delightful flavor of shrimp to shine.
The following is a basic recipe for shrimp fried rice that calls for 4 cups of cooked rice:
- 15 pieces of small shrimp
- 3 large eggs (beaten)
- 2 green onions (minced)
- 3 tablespoons of canola oil
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 3/4 cup of peas and carrots
When making shrimp fried rice, it’s a good idea to cook the shrimp and the fried rice (together with the rest of the ingredients) separately in order to avoid having a mushy outcome.
How to Season Shrimp for Shrimp Alfredo
Authentic shrimp alfredo recipes may look simple but the resulting dish is always extraordinary. The secret is using the right ingredients, which usually do not exceed 10 items. It also matters that shrimp is seasoned properly with salt and pepper. Because shrimp is innately delicious, it doesn’t take a lot to make unforgettable shrimp alfredo.
Shrimp alfredo is a popular Italian-American dish that’s trouble-free to make in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, having very little cooking experience should not keep you from making the delectable dish with your own hands.
You also do not need to get your hands on all kinds of ingredients!
Salt and pepper — these are the only things you need to season shrimp for shrimp alfredo. The best time to do this is while waiting for the fettuccine pasta to cook. Remember to pat shrimp with some paper towels before seasoning. You will need about 3/4 pounds of large shrimp for 12 ounces of fettuccine pasta.
Here are the ingredients for making thick and creamy shrimp alfredo sauce:
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 2 pinches of grated nutmeg
- Olive oil
Besides grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, you may also use grated Gruyere cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese. And if you want a spicy serving of shrimp alfredo, simply add 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning to the sauce.
How to Season Shrimp for Air Fryer
Shrimp is naturally low in calories — an 8-ounce serving of the seafood contains only 84 calories. Those who are trying to drop excess pounds can cook shrimp in the air fryer, which helps cut the caloric content of dishes by up to 80%. Garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper are the best seasonings for air-fried shrimp.
One of the reasons why some people steer clear of an air fryer is that they fear that their dish might end up bland and lackluster for the lack of fat or oil.
It doesn’t have to be a concern, however, if proper seasoning is done.
When cooking shrimp in the air fryer, there are certain seasonings that can maximize the flavor. Combining equal amounts of garlic powder, paprika and Italian seasoning plus a pinch of salt and pepper makes for an awesome seasoning mix for shrimp for air-frying — it gives shrimp an earthy, garlicky and subtly sweet and peppery taste.
For some people, sprinkling a little salt and pepper on shrimp before cooking them in the air fryer is more than enough. Pairing air-fried shrimp with the right dipping sauce, of course, is a fantastic idea. And to give it a more interesting texture, shrimp may be coated in breadcrumbs beforehand.
The following are the ingredients for making a breadcrumb coating for 1 pound of shrimp for air-frying:
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
How to Season Shrimp for Grilling
It’s not uncommon for a grilled recipe to call for marinating the meat beforehand. Grilling shrimp, on the other hand, does not usually require any marinating, which is great for those in a time crunch. It’s very important, however, to properly season shrimp to keep it juicy and tasting fabulous.
The best seasoning for grilled shrimp is a combination of some popular seasonings.
Garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper — these are the things that, when combined, make for a splendid seasoning mix for grilled shrimp.
What’s so nice about this combo seasoning is that you can adjust the ingredients as you desire to achieve the flavor profile of your liking. For instance, you may add less or more cayenne pepper to decrease or increase the heat. Meanwhile, you may adjust the amount of Italian seasoning to reduce or increase the earthy flavor of grilled shrimp.
You can make plenty of the homemade seasoning mix and store it in an airtight container.
Just a quick piece of advice: after you have seasoned shrimp with the said combo seasoning, drizzle shrimp with a little lemon juice and olive oil before grilling.
Check out this list of ingredients for a rich garlic butter sauce perfect for grilled shrimp:
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 large clove of garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon of hot pepper sauce
How to Season Shrimp for Poaching
Looking to make shrimp cocktails or serve shrimp cooked in a simple way? Then poaching shrimp is the way to go. In order to keep things from being boring, serve poached shrimp with the right dipping sauce. It’s also a must to properly season shrimp with salt and/or peppercorns, parsley and lemon juice while poaching it.
If the goal is to highlight the unmistakable flavor of shrimp, consider soaking shrimp for 4 to 5 minutes covered in a pot of water that has just boiled rapidly and removed from the heat.
For the tastiest poached shrimp possible, season the seafood well.
To poach 1 pound of shrimp, fill a medium-sized pot with about 3/4 full of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You may also add the juice of half a lemon or your favorite aromatic herbs to impart their flavors to poached shrimp. Bring water to a rapid boil using high heat. Remove from heat, add shrimp, stir and cover.
While it’s possible to enjoy poached shrimp alone, serving it with dipping sauce is a wonderful option. There are many different dipping sauces that go well with poached shrimp.
Here are the ingredients for making ginger scallion dipping sauce perfect for poached shrimp:
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of ginger (minced)
- 1 tablespoon of scallions (minced)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of vinegar
How to Spice Up Shrimp
Shrimp is commonly spiced up for grilling purposes. While there’s an assortment of hot spices to choose from, only a handful of them can help bring out the best in shrimp. Some of the top choices include chili powder and cayenne pepper. And to add depth to the flavor, seasoning shrimp with garlic powder and paprika is suggested, too.
Eating spicy seafood is a delightful experience for many. After all, adding some hot spices to the diet releases endorphins, which are chemicals that bring a feeling of pleasure, to the brain.
And that is why spicy shrimp recipes are some of the most popular on the internet and the fave of many.
Grilling shrimp seasoned with hot spices is a wonderful idea because the smoky flavor the cooking method imparts makes for a more complex flavor profile. And for achieving balance, chili powder and cayenne pepper are commonly combined with garlic powder and paprika when spicing up shrimp.
These are the ingredients for making a seasoning mix for 1 pound of spicy grilled shrimp:
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Feel free to adjust the recipe in order to achieve the level of spiciness of your liking!
My Top 5 Shrimp Seasonings Online
If you have no time to gather a bunch of herbs and spices and other ingredients necessary for coming up with homemade shrimp seasoning, turn to the internet. It’s in the vastness of cyberspace where you will find a dizzying assortment of seasonings for shrimp, which you can also use for seasoning various seafood.
Below, you will come across some of the top-selling shrimp seasonings online.
- Red Lobster Signature Seafood Seasoning. Signature means that the flavor is identified with the brand. And in order to achieve the distinctive flavor it can bring, Red Lobster Signature Seafood Seasoning combines various ingredients like salt, onion, garlic, paprika and a handful of secret spices.
- Magic Shrimp Seasoning. One of the nicest things about Magic Shrimp Seasoning is that it’s all-natural. So, in other words, it doesn’t contain any synthetic preservatives. The product is also MSG- and gluten-free. The contents of the 5-ounce container can be used for a variety of seafood, not just shrimp.
- Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil. If the goal is to give shrimp an authentic New Orleans vibe, reach for a box of Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil — it’s a New Orleans traditional seasoning since 1889. The product consists of 7 seasonings, including mustard seed, coriander seed and allspice.
- Old Bay Seasoning. Perhaps no other seasoning for shrimp is as versatile as Old Bay Seasoning. After all, it’s something that you can use not only for shrimp and various seafood but also for meats and poultry. As a matter of fact, you can also use it for making sauces and salad dressings.
- Happy Belly Seafood Grill Rub. If there’s shrimp or any other seafood to grill, consider rubbing some of the lemony contents of Happy Belly Seafood Grill Rub on top of it. According to the manufacturer itself, the best time to use the product as a rub is after oiling shrimp and a few minutes before grilling.
You can improve the taste of shrimp with the help of seasonings. Sometimes a little salt is enough, while other times pepper is a welcome addition, too. Various herbs and spices may also be used for seasoning shrimp — it will all depend on the recipe and the cooking method of your choice and how you would like to wow your family and friends.