Beer Boiled Peel & Eat Shrimp bring the fun factor to dinner, and if you keep a bag of shrimp in your freezer, you can have this festive meal anytime — in about five minutes!
Peel and eat shrimp and cold beer are a popular pairing, but cooking the shrimp in the beer produces an exceptionally delicious result.
For added convenience, you can keep a bag of shrimp in your freezer. That way, you’ll always be ready for spur-of-the-moment entertaining or a fun family dinner. And with just three main ingredients and a super short cook time, this meal feels almost effortless.
For a fun casual dinner in the summertime, I like to pair the shrimp with corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes or a Caprese salad. The meal is equally festive on New Year’s Eve and celebrations big and small throughout the year.
Leftover shrimp can be peeled and used for shrimp salad or a crowd-pleasing salsa. I serve the latter with Scoops or tortilla chips, and its novelty adds to its appeal. (That recipe is coming very soon.)
A helpful tip: Look for bags of shrimp labeled “Easy Peel” or “EZ Peel.” This means a line following the head of the shrimp down to the tail has been slightly separated from the shell. The shrimp may be prepared as usual, but the peeling experience is markedly easier.
Note: When using easy peel shrimp, I find the shrimp cook even quicker, likely because the hot water gets to the flesh of the shrimp faster.
If you don’t have easy peel shrimp, peeling will require a bit more effort. That said, peeling is part of the fun–and the taste makes it a worthwhile job!
How do I tell if the shrimp are done?
The shrimp will turn pink, but I focus on looking for residual gray areas, which are the undercooked spots. As soon as I see practically no gray, I remove the shrimp from the heat and drain them. The residual heat will continue to cook them, so catching them at this point is the best way to ensure tender shrimp.
If you’re not sure, you can remove the pot from the burner and let the shrimp sit in the hot liquid another minute or two. This will slow the cooking process–but not stop it–and reduce the chance of overcooking.
Three easy ingredients are all you need to produce flavor-packed shrimp that are fun to eat.
After a quick simmer in the cooking liquid, the shrimp are drained and can be eaten hot or chilled and enjoyed later.
Yield:4 entrée or 8-10 appetizer servings (recipe can easily be halved)
Flavor-packed peel & eat shrimp add fun to backyard barbecues, New Year’s Eve celebrations, and lots of festive occasions in between. Plus, they're quick and easy enough to enjoy at the end of a long workday!
2 pounds raw jumbo (21-25 per pound) shrimp in shell*
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer** (like a lager or wheat beer—not an IPA or hoppy beer, which can become bitter when cooked. I use Corona.)
12 ounces (1½ cups) water (you can fill the beer bottle to measure)
3 tablespoons (24g) Old Bay seasoning
For serving: extra Old Bay, lemon or lime wedges, melted butter, and/or cocktail sauce (Speedy Cocktail Sauce is a great homemade option)
To a large pot or Dutch oven, add the beer, water, and Old Bay seasoning and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the shrimp, cover, and cook for 2-5 minutes or until the shrimp have just barely turned pink. (Helpful hint: Although the liquid may not return to a boil after the cold shrimp are added, cooking time starts as soon as they are added to the pot.) Stir 2 or 3 times for even cooking. To produce the most tender shrimp, remove the pot from the heat when the shrimp are just short of done (they’ve just turned pink and you see no patches of gray), as the carryover heat will continue to cook them. Drain the shrimp.
Sprinkle the drained shrimp with more Old Bay seasoning to taste and serve with lemon or lime wedges, cocktail sauce, and/or melted butter. The shrimp may also be refrigerated and served cold.
*You can cook frozen or thawed shrimp. Thawed shrimp cook very quickly, while frozen shrimp will likely take the longer end of the recommended cooking time. It’s also helpful to stir frozen shrimp an extra time or two, as they tend to stick together in clumps when frozen.
Using a different size shrimp? Any size will work, simply adjust the cooking time. Small, thawed shrimp will take barely a minute, and frozen colossal will require the upper end of the recommended cooking time. Thankfully, it’s easy to judge by looking at the shrimp.
**Need a gluten-free recipe? I use Corona, which is considered gluten-free, although it is not certified as such because barley is used in the production. To explain, Corona and Corona Light have been tested to under 20ppm (parts per million), and the FDA considers a level of gluten under 20ppm to be gluten-free. If there’s any doubt based on a diner who has Celiac or an allergy, you may wish to err on the side of caution or consult them. Alternatively, a certified GF beer could be used.
Serving tip: When entertaining, I often place some Fresh Naps (the individual hand wipes) on the table for a fun yet practical touch.