How to Steam Shrimp in a Steamer

Shrimp make ideal hors d'oeuvres and also is integrated easily into meals. Preparing and steaming shrimp takes only a few minutes. If you buy ready-to-eat shrimp at the grocer, it is still a good idea to steam them at home to ensure they are cooked all the way through. Buy fresh shrimp when possible for best taste, and avoid shrimp that already have been steamed because their freshness can deteriorate quickly.

Shrimp and vegetables in a steamer. (Image: Lcc54613/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Thaw out your shrimp if cooking with frozen shrimp. Soak them in water for about seven minutes.

Step 2

Remove the shells from the shrimp by pinching the tail with one hand and peeling off the translucent shells with the other hand. Do not remove the tails.

Step 3

Toss the peeled shrimp with your favorite seasoning if you wish, or leave them as they are. Common seasonings for shrimp include salt and pepper, Cajun and barbecue.

Step 4

Place one pound of shrimp in a pressure cooker or steam basket. If you use a pressure cooker, fill the cooker with about a one-half cup of water for a dozen shrimp. Insert the raised platform that comes with most pressure cookers and place the shrimp on the platform. This keeps the shrimp from touching the water. Close the pressure cooker accordingly and steam for about seven minutes. If you use a steam basket, fill a cooking pot with about three-quarters-cup of water for about a dozen shrimp. Then place the steam basket with the shrimp into the pot. Ensure the water is not touching the shrimp. Place a lid on the pot and steam for about two to four minutes. Start timing once the water is boiling.

Step 5

Remove the shrimp from the pressure cooker or pot. The shrimp should be a light pink color. To ensure the shrimp are cooked through, cut one shrimp in half. The shrimp are finished if the meat is white.

Step 6

Serve the shrimp immediately as part of a meal or chill them on ice and serve them cold as hors d'oeuvres.

Things You'll Need

  • Pressure cooker or steam basket

  • 1 lb. of fresh shrimp


Don't worry about removing the dark vein in small or medium-sized shrimp. The vein should only be removed in large jumbo shrimp if it is especially dark and large. The vein is the digestive tract and can affect the overall taste and texture of the shrimp.

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