Shrimps are a delightful meal choice whether you are cooking a sophisticated dinner for your loved one or throwing a party for your friends and family. The versatility of this shelled seafood makes it famous among professional chefs as well as home cooks. When it comes to shrimp, you can get it in so many dishes, like soups, dumplings, salads, cocktails, and rice. You will find shrimp soup as the most famous cuisine in several cultures, especially the Asian and African, from where most of the shrimp varieties originate. Knowing the right way to cook shrimp for the shrimp soup is crucial. There are many ways of cooking shrimp such as steaming, boiling, and grilling, but boiling is the most common of all. This is probably the reason so many people ask about how long do you boil shrimp.

If you’re looking for some information on how long do you boil shrimps or shrimp soup recipes, then continue reading as we have compiled some comprehensive details on cooking shrimps.

How Long Do You Boil Shrimp?

The only concern on people`s minds when preparing a shrimp dish is to not make the shrimp chewy, dry or overcooked. Since boiling the shrimp is the common method, they fear ruining the dish if they didn’t know exactly how long do you boil shrimp. Let us help you with a few important points on how long do you boil shrimp.

Boiling Time

Boiling Time

The boiling time for shrimps vary according to the type and size of the shrimp you have chosen, but an average time lies between 2-6 minutes for most of the shrimps. Large shrimps take 2 minutes to turn pink in the boiling water which gives us an indication that the shrimp is fully cooked. The colossal shrimps on the other hand can take up to 5 minutes to be completely soft and opaque, because of the huge size. The smallest shrimps take the least time, which is 30 seconds to 1 minute. To avoid overcooking the shrimps of any size, you must put them in an ice bath as soon as you take them out of the boiling pot.

Perfectly Cooked Shrimp

How long do you boil shrimp depends on a lot of factors. However, the visual indications of the perfectly cooked shrimps like changes in the color and curling up may not apply to all varieties of shrimp. Each kind of shrimp may behave differently when in the boiling pan, so keep an open mind about how long do you boil shrimp as well as the shrimp condition and type.

What Kind Of Shrimp To Boil?

Some people are under the impression that only a certain kind of shrimps like tiger shrimps or gulf shrimps can be boiled, and the rest are either steamed or grilled. But this is completely incorrect because the answer to how long do you boil shrimp remains true for any shrimp you buy, regardless of its type and origin. The size of the shrimps, on the other hand, does alter how long do you boil shrimp, as we have described above.

Boiling Shrimp Preparation

Boiling the shrimp for whichever purpose, there are some ground rules for its preparation that never change. Before boiling the shrimp, remove the head, legs, and shell of the shrimp and thoroughly wash it under running water. Make sure the tap water is not hot because the soft skin of the shrimp starts to cook really fast. Once peeled and washed, put the shrimp into the large pan with boiling water for the needed time and take out when you get the green signal in terms of time, color, and tenderness of the shrimp.

Cooking The Frozen Shrimp

When it comes to frozen shrimp, there is not much difference in how long do you boil shrimp, frozen shrimps can also be boiled, steamed, fried, baked, and grilled the same way fresh shrimps are. Frozen shrimps can be used for months and still taste the same, whereas the fresh shrimp can only be cooked within few days. The common notion that fresh seafood is the best is just a myth. As freezing stops the decomposing process of the food, thawing shrimps make it as good as fresh shrimps.

The frozen shrimp usually takes a minute or two more to be boiled than the fresh shrimp. For instance, frozen large shrimp can be boiled in 3 minutes after thawing. There are plenty of choices for cooking the shrimp in a frozen state. You can choose either one of the two main methods for cooking the frozen shrimp. The first method includes, thawing the shrimp for some time and then cooking the shrimps like you cook the fresh ones; by boiling, grilling, or steaming. The second method allows you to cook the shrimp while it’s in the frozen condition, meaning without defrosting it.

Thawing The Shrimp Before Cooking

For this, you can put the frozen shrimp in the refrigerator a day before you plan on cooking it. Being in the refrigerator overnight fully melts the shrimp. Before starting the cooking, put the melted shrimp in a bowl with cold water, the shrimp will become ready to be cooked within 12-15 minutes. Once done, you can carry on with your preferred method, be it steaming or boiling.

Cooking Shrimp In The Frozen State

If you have no time to thaw and defrost the shrimp that has been frozen, you can simply start cooking the shrimp but on low to medium heat. Putting on low heat allows slow cooking of the shrimp which melts it and cooks the shrimp evenly from all sides. If you are to boil the frozen shrimp and the question of how long do you boil shrimp pops into your head, we have the right answer for you. Take a pot with cold water and put the frozen shrimp in it and place it on the flame. When the water reaches a point just before it starts to form bubbles, remove the pan from the stove and cover it for 10 minutes. Once the pink shade is achieved, your frozen shrimp is perfectly cooked.

The Most Famous And Easy Shrimp Soup Recipes

How Long Do You Boil Shrimp In Shrimp Soups?

How Long Do You Boil Shrimp In Shrimp Soups

Boiling is undoubtedly considered the best way to cook shrimps if you are making shrimp soup. Here the question regarding how long do you boil shrimp can be changed into how long do you boil shrimp in soups? Normally, when we boil shrimps, they are placed into an ice bath to stop the cooking process from the internal heat. But in shrimp soups, you can not take the shrimps out of the soup and put them into the ice, hence, the cooking process continues. So the boiling time for shrimps in shrimp soups is slightly shorter so that you don’t overcook them.

Thai Shrimp Soup


  • 1 pound peeled medium shrimps
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red curry
  • 12-ounce coconut milk
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper


Take a large pan with water and bring it to a boil, once you see the bubbles, pour in the basmati rice and let them simmer for a few minutes. Drain or dry the remaining water from the rice and put them aside. In a pot or using the oven, melt the butter on medium heat. The butter should be unsalted so that it doesn’t dominate the taste of the soup. In the melted butter, add pinches of salt and grounded black pepper and mix them. Then add the shrimp and put the pot on the stove for a couple of minutes until the shrimp turns reddish-pink. 2-3 minutes are enough to make the shrimp tender.

In a stockpot, add garlic, bell pepper, and onions and cook for 4 minutes. Keep stirring all three ingredients until they become tender, simultaneously put in the grated ginger and cook for another minute. Add the red curry and mix well with the help of a whisk for one minute. Then slowly add vegetable stock and coconut milk into the mixture. Stir everything well enough to make a paste for two minutes or so.

Bring the mixture with all the components to a boil and simmer on low flame for as long as it takes to become thickened. Typically you will see a thick consistency within 10 minutes on the low heat. Put the cooked rice, shrimp, cilantro leaves, and lime juice into the pot, mix, and your hot Thai shrimp soup is ready to be served.

Spicy Shrimp Soup


  • 1 large chopped onion (shallot preferred)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 3 bay leaves small
  • ΒΌ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ΒΌ teaspoon white pepper
  • ΒΎ pound large shrimps
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Β½ teaspoon salt
  • Β½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sliced raw jalapenos
  • 2 cups seafood stock


Melt the butter in a big pot used for soup on low to medium heat, and add the thinly sliced onions and 5 big minced garlic cloves. Then make the flame really low and saute the onion and garlic in the butter for around five to seven minutes. The aim here is to make the onion and garlic light brown to golden but tender. Once the onion and the garlic are soft enough, add one tablespoon of the all-purpose flour to the pot and saute for another minute or so.

Take a jalapeno and slice it thinly, for an average spicy taste, leave the seeds and the ribs of the chilly out of the soup but if you love extra spice, cut the ribs and seeds of the jalapeno as well. To the soup pot on the flame, add 2 cups of the seafood stock, 3 cups of fresh chicken stock, and a cup of tomato sauce. You can use the canned tomato sauce or the freshly made. Blend the stocks into onions and garlic and add 3 small bay leaves, dried thyme dried grounded white pepper, Β½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and some dried oregano. All these spices add their own unique taste to the spicy shrimp soup so miss none of these.

Boil the rice in a pan using the instructions mentioned on the basmati rice pack and put them aside. Put the soup pot on high flame for a few minutes to boil with the lid on top of the pot. Once the bubbles start to appear in the soup, turn down the flame and let it simmer for nearly 30 minutes. Once a slightly thick soup is formed, pick out the bay leaves from the soup and add zest to it by sprinkling some lime juice.

You can also pick the jalapenos from the soup for less spicy shrimp soup, at this stage. After adding the lime juice bring the pot to boil again and put the shrimp in and after this you definitely know how long do you boil shrimp in soup. Usually, it will take a minute for the shrimp to be cooked, then add the rice, chopped cilantro, and some more jalapenos, if you like. Simmer the soup for a minute and your spicy shrimp soup is ready to be enjoyed.

Common Types Of Soups

Soup is something everyone enjoys before a big meal, but do you know how many types of soups are available in modern cuisines. Whether you cook soups with seafood like shrimps and crabs, vegetables, or chicken, they are sorted into two major categories.

Thick soups

Thick soups

As the name suggests, thick soups are soups that are made thick by adding vegetables, cream, and cornstarch to them. The famous cream and bisque soups are included in this category.

Clear soups

Clear soups are not made thick using any agents like cornstarch or creams. Vegetables, chicken, and shrimp broths are examples of clear soups.

Shrimp is used in both kinds of soups, whether clear or thick, so you always need the right answer for how long to boil shrimp in shrimp soup.

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