If you are new to cooking seafood, shrimp is the easiest to start with, in my opinion. This easy baked shrimp recipe is so simple a 4 year old child can make it. It is tasty and versatile.
Shrimp is one of the staples you should keep in your freezer at all times. It takes just minutes to defrost and even fewer minutes to cook. It’s delicious. And it’s nutritious. High in protein, low in calories and fat, rich in vitamin B12, iodine, selenium, not to mention Omega 3 fatty acids, and an antioxidant linked to brain and heart health.
If you are worried about its cholesterol content, know that for most people, dietary cholesterol may only have a small impact on blood cholesterol levels. Unless you doctor advised you not to eat shrimp, you shouldn’t worry about it.
What shrimp to buy
If you live by the coast, fresh-off-the-boat shrimp are of course the best. But frozen shrimp are actually fresher than most “fresh”. Let me clarify this. Frozen shrimp found in the freezer section of your grocery store undergo an almost instant freezing process right off the shrimp boat. This preserves their freshness right up until you decide to thaw them. Most “fresh” shrimp you see stacked on ice at your supermarket have most likely been frozen with the same process, then thawed by the supermarket folks. Which means they’re actually getting less fresh with every passing hour. So, unless you’re absolutely sure that the “fresh” shrimp at the store are actually fresh-off-the-boat, frozen shrimp are a better choice.
Wild caught shrimp is always preferable. If all you can find is farm-raised, make sure the package says they are raised sustainably and responsibly. Look for shrimp certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Best Aquaculture Practices, or Naturland. And in doubt, use the Monterrey Aquarium Seafood Watch guide to determine if your shrimp source is sustainable.
For this recipe, I strongly recommend buying the larger kind of shrimp labeled as “26 to 30 per pound” (or extra-large). If you use smaller shrimp, you will need to slightly reduce the cooking time, and if you use larger shrimp, increase it.
How do I know if my shrimp is cooked?
The key is to keep an eye on your shrimp while they’re in the oven. You want them to be completely pink and opaque with a slight sheen. If your shrimp still have a tinge of gray or translucency to them, chances are they are not done cooking. If they start curling into a tight “O” shape and look dry on the surface, you’ve gone too far. But I can’t help you there… you’ll just have to eat your rubbery shrimp. You should have listened to me.
How to make this recipe
You will need my favorite cooking tool: a baking sheet. Line it with parchment paper to make clean-up easier. Preheat your oven to 400F.
Thaw your shrimp if using frozen shrimp, then pat it dry with paper towels. Place them in a bowl.
Add a tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle your spices of choice and toss well. The spices given in this recipe are just an example. You can experiment with lots of other combinations of spices and herbs. Keep it mild or kick it up with some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Add an exotic curry spice mix, or a Cajun blackening mix. Sprinkle your favorite dried herbs. Go wild! Just one recommendation: do not add salt. Shrimp are naturally high in sodium and do not require any added salt for cooking.
Lay the shrimp out in a single layer on your baking sheet. Place it in the oven and bake 7 minutes. No need to flip the shrimp during baking, just leave them alone to do their thing in the oven…
Take the sheet out and you are ready to eat! You can sprinkle some lemon juice or serve as is!
What to eat with it
Make this a complete meal by adding a serving of whole grain (brown rice, quinoa for example) and some colorful vegetables – roasted, steamed or sauteed – or a salad. Eat them warm or cold. They will keep in your refrigerator 3 to 4 days. Top them with a sauce, or dip them in your favorite dip: tomato sauce, pesto, chimichurri, roasted red pepper sauce, a homemade tartar sauce or cocktail sauce. They make a great protein topping for your lunch salads or in a wrap.
Other recipes you might like:
Easy baked shrimp
- Thaw your shrimp if using frozen shrimp.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Once shrimp are thawed, pat them dry with paper towels. Place them in a bowl.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder and paprika (or other spices or dried herbs of your choice). Toss well.
- Lay the shrimp out in a single layer on your baking sheet. Place it in the oven and bake 7 minutes.
- Take it out and serve.