Perfect Sauteed Shrimp

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This sauteed shrimp recipe comes out juicy and seasoned to perfection in less than 10 minutes! Here are the secrets to how to saute shrimp.

Here’s a recipe that knocks us off our feet every time. This really is the perfect sauteed shrimp! This basic kitchen skill is something that many home cooks have yet to master. It’s easy once you know a few tricks on how long to cook shrimp and how to season it.

What we love about this recipe: Turns out, it tastes even better than good: it’s truly great! The tender, juicy savory flavor is so remarkable, you won’t be able to stop taking bites. We can’t, and it’s always a hit with our kids. Here’s our secret seasoning blend and exactly how to make what we think is the best sauteed shrimp.

What type of shrimp to buy for sauteed shrimp?

There are lots of options for shrimp at the store, which can be overwhelming (frozen, fresh, tail on, shell on, size, and more). Here’s what to look at for this sauteed shrimp recipe:

  • Find medium or large shrimp. Medium shrimp may be labeled 41 to 50 count, and large is labeled as 31 to 40 count, indicating how many shrimp per pound.
  • Use tail on or peeled. The best shrimp for this recipe is tail on or peeled. Tail on looks nice, but you do have to pull them off when eating. If you accidentally buy shell on shrimp, don’t worry: you can remove the shell with your fingers before cooking, leaving the tail on.
  • Fresh or frozen. Both are essentially the same freshness since most shrimp are immediately flash frozen after they are caught. Just make sure to thaw the shrimp in advance.
  • Wild caught. Fish that is wild caught in your country is usually a sustainable choice. There are also quality options in well-regulated farms; see Seafood Watch Consumer Guide.

How to sauté shrimp: step by step

Shrimp is so easy to cook on the stove, you’ll find yourself whipping up sauteed shrimp on the regular! Here are the basic steps for how to sauté shrimp:

Shrimp in bowl

Step 1: Toss the shrimp with seasonings in a bowl. Use our secret seasoning blend (below), or you can simply use salt and pepper. Do this first so the shrimp are evenly coated in spices.

Sauteed Shrimp Step 2

Step 2: Heat butter or olive oil in an aluminum or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp.

Sauteed Shrimp Step 3

Step 3: Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side until the shrimp are just opaque and cooked through: not longer. The biggest mistake people make with shrimp is overcooking it, which makes it tough. Cook it just enough so it’s tender and juicy.

💡Pro tip: The best skillet for sauteing is aluminum, copper, or cast iron, which gets the best sear and caramelization on the outside of the shrimp. Non-stick works too: there will be less browning, but it will still taste delicious.

Best seasoning for shrimp

The shrimp seasoning in this recipe is simple but ultra effective. We based the recipe on our Magic Seafood Seasoning, which we’ve been using for years and always gets great reviews. People take one bite and say, “What’s in this?” For this sauteed shrimp, we used a pared down version of that blend so you only need 4 spices. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cumin
Sauteed shrimp recipe

Other seasoning variations

Of course, the sky’s the limit when it comes to sauteed shrimp! You don’t have to make our perfect seasoning blend: though of course we hope you do! This shrimp comes out fantastically with just a little S&P. Or, you can mix it up with other sauces and seasonings. Here are a few other shrimp seasoning ideas:

How to saute shrimp

How to thaw shrimp

Frozen shrimp is so convenient: you can pull it out of the freezer at moment’s notice for a quick meal! The only problem is…it’s easiest if you remember the day before. But if not: we’ve got a quick fix for you! Here’s the best way to thaw shrimp for this sauteed shrimp recipe:

  • Day before: Place the frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Day of: Place the frozen shrimp in a large bowl with very cold water. Stir the bowl every 5 minutes to break up clumps of shrimp that freeze together. The shrimp should defrost in about 15 minutes. Make sure to pat it dry before using!

Make it a meal!

Sauteed shrimp is ready in 10 minutes, and you only need a side to make it a meal! Here are a few quick healthy side dish recipes to make it into a tasty, filling easy dinner:

Dietary notes

This sauteed shrimp recipe is pescatarian, gluten-free and dairy free (with olive oil).

Fresh or frozen shrimp?

Both work! Buy fresh if you can, but frozen is just as delicious. If using frozen, thaw the shrimp completely and pat dry before cooking for even browning.

What kind of pan should I use?

A large skillet or sauté pan with a heavy bottom is ideal for even heat distribution. Aluminum, copper, or cast iron are excellent choices.

What’s the secret to perfectly seared shrimp?

Medium high heat is key! Get your pan nice and hot with a drizzle of oil before adding the shrimp. Don’t overcrowd the pan – cook the shrimp in batches to avoid them steaming instead of searing.

How long does it take to cook shrimp?

Shrimp cook very quickly! Depending on the size, they typically only need 1 to 2 minutes per side, until they turn opaque and pink. Overcooked shrimp become rubbery, so watch them closely.


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This sauteed shrimp recipe comes out juicy and seasoned to perfection in less than 10 minutes! Here are the secrets to how to saute shrimp.

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined (tail on or peeled)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika (or substitute standard paprika)
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 3 lemon wedges
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish

  1. Thaw the shrimp, if frozen. Pat the shrimp dry. In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with the salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side until just opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs.
  3. Spritz with juice of the lemon wedges and serve immediately.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Sauteed
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Sauteed shrimp, sauteed shrimp recipe, how to saute shrimp

More great shrimp recipes

Shrimp is one of our favorite ways to a fast and healthy meal! Here are a few more great shrimp recipes we make on the regular:


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