Yes! You Can Steam Shrimp in the Microwave

Shrimp can be steamed in a microwave oven.
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Your microwave oven is a versatile kitchen appliance that allows you to cook many foods in a jiffy. You can even steam shrimp in the microwave, but you must take care to cook it properly, as a microwave doesn't cook foods, including shrimp, as evenly as a conventional oven does.


If you don't take care, microwave-cooked foods can retain "cold spots" where bacteria thrive. However, you can follow a few simple steps and have your fully-cooked, steamed shrimp ready to eat in a few minutes.

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Things You'll Need

  • Shrimp

  • Paring knife

  • Seasonings

  • Plastic bag

  • Spoon

  • Oven mitts

  • Platter



Select your shrimp carefully: Look for fresh shrimp with firm flesh and a mild odor; you can also use fresh, frozen shrimp. The shell shouldn't feel slippery or gooey or have black spots, unless it's black tiger shrimp. The flesh should be grayish-pink or pinkish-tan.

  1. Defrost the shrimp if it's frozen.
  2. Remove the shells and de-vein the shrimp with the tip of a paring knife. The "vein," located along the shrimp's back, is actually the intestine of the shrimp. According to The Joy of Cooking, you don't have to remove the vein, but leaving it in can give the shrimp a bitter flavor.
  3. Place the shrimp in a plastic microwavable steaming bag and add a prepared seasoning or one of your own preference to the bag. You can also incorporate diced peppers, butter, dill, garlic, onion, ground black pepper or cocktail sauce.
  4. Close the bag and shake it to coat the shrimp with the seasoning.
  5. Place the plastic bag with the shrimp into the microwave.
  6. Use a spoon to arrange the shrimp so that they lay in a single, flat layer for even cooking.
  7. Cook the shrimp on "High" or full power for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave.
  8. Stop cooking halfway through to rotate the bag a quarter turn.
  9. Resume cooking. The shrimp will be opaque pink when done.
  10. Let the shrimp stand for 1 minute inside the microwave before removing.
  11. Remove the bag from the microwave with oven mitts.
  12. Open the bag carefully to avoid being burned by steam.
  13. Pour the shrimp and other ingredients onto a platter and serve.


You can also steam shrimp in a microwave-safe casserole dish.

  1. Add butter, water, seasonings and other ingredients to the casserole dish.
  2. Heat on "High" for 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cover the dish with plastic wrap, venting it on one side.
  4. Cook the shrimp on "High" for 3 minutes, rotating the dish one-quarter turn at the halfway point.

Store your shrimp properly. If you aren't going to steam them right away, you can store fresh shrimp in the refrigerator at 32 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit for one to two days or in the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Clemson University Extension.