How To Cook Perfect Pan Seared Shrimp?

How To Cook Perfect Pan Seared Shrimp

It’s easy to cook pan seared shrimp perfectly when you follow these instructions. Step-by-step instructions will ensure that you cook succulent shrimp every time!

The following recipe for pan seared shrimp is simple, no-fuss, and easy to prepare. Under 20 minutes, you can prepare succulent and tender shrimp with just eight ingredients plus salt and pepper.

Pan Seared Shrimp Vs. Sauteed Shrimp

The shrimp is pan seared quickly without moving (only flipping once) on high heat so that the brown crust becomes flavorful. Over high heat, sauteed shrimp are cooked quickly in a saute pan while being moved around throughout cooking. Crispy brown crusts are not a characteristic of sauteed shrimp.

Pan Seared Shrimp Vs. Sauteed Shrimp

The shrimp is pan seared quickly without moving (only flipping once) on high heat so that the brown crust becomes flavorful. During the process of sauteing shrimp, they are moved around the pan while over high heat until fully cooked. Shrimp sauteed in butter does not have an appealing brown crust.

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  • Raw Shrimp – 22-25 per pound, whole with tails, peeled and deveined.
  • Olive oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Fresh parsley
  • Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
  • Lemon – zest + juice
  • Dried Herbs – Tarragon and thyme were my choices
  • Oil Spray – use olive oil, avocado oil, or butter if you want the dish to be richer.
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

How To Prepare

  • After rinsing shrimp under cold running water, put them in a bowl and let them air dry.
  • Remove the drain. It is important to drain as much water as possible from the bowl. To dry the shrimp, spread them out on a dry bowl and blot them with clean paper towels.
Dry the Shrimp
  • Drying the shrimp prevents the shrimp from steaming rather than searing. A crust won’t develop if the shrimp are still damp (or have been dipped in a liquid other than oil). Sear the shrimp before searing.
  • Season the shrimp and mix in the oil and seasonings. All the seasonings should be folded into the shrimp with a spoon until they are well coated.
  • Flavor is added to shrimp by seasoning them! There is good news here: shrimp can be flavored almost any way you like.
Sear the Shrimp
  • For best results, keep the shrimp at room temperature for 10 – 30 minutes so that the seasonings can soak in. This is optional. It tastes better when you marinate meat, poultry and seafood before you sear them – I think it adds a whole new dimension to your meals.
  • It is possible to cook the shrimp right away if you are starving and don’t want to wait 10-30 minutes before you eat. You won’t even notice a difference in taste at all!

Directions to Follow

  • Set the pan over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until it reaches the right temperature after being sprayed with cooking oil. The shrimp should be layered in an even layer in the pan. Make batches of shrimp as you cook them.
Keep the Shrimp
  • With this method, there is no overcrowding in the pan, so the shrimp can sear and develop a crust as they cook. Putting too many shrimp in your pan will cause them to steam rather than sear.
  • If you drip the drippings from the first batch into the second batch, it will create a nice char on the next batch. Towards the end of the dish, mix the two batches together to get more charred bits.
  • Afterward, flip each shrimp as they are ready one by one. Each shrimp piece should be squeezed with fresh lemon juice as it is flipped. When the sizzle starts, you should hear it. After 30 seconds to 1 minute, cook for a few more seconds or until just done.
Cook the Shrimp
  • The lemon juice can be skipped if you are concerned that it will ruin your sear. As far as I am concerned, there is not enough liquid in it to ruin the sear. This is my insurance policy against shrimp that taste bad if they are slightly overcooked.
  • It is important to add the lemon juice at this time so the shrimp will remain tender and juicy, even if they are slightly overcooked. It is unlikely that all the shrimp will be cooked at the same time. Keeping a close eye on the shrimp, remove each one as soon as it appears ready.
Flavor is Added to Shrimp
  • When the shrimp appear perfect, remove them from the pan immediately. Shrimp continue to cook even when they are no longer on the stove or in the pan. Carryover cooking is the process of cooking leftovers. The shrimp should be removed from the pan just before they are cooked through.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Choose The Right Pan?

It is highly recommended that you use a cast iron skillet. Definitely one of the best cooking tools on the market! You can purchase them for a relatively low price and they will last forever if you take care of them.

In meat, poultry, fish, and seafood dishes, cast iron pans produce a nice sear by evenly heating and holding the heat well.

Can I use a cast iron pan if I do not have one?

In case of a lack of cast iron pans, use a heavy-bottomed skillet (not a nonstick one).

Is there a good seasoning for shrimp?

Ultimately, that’s up to you! In what style are you preparing the shrimp, and what flavors are you looking forward to? There are more suggestions for seasoning in the section about seasoning ideas.

If you decide to marinate shrimp with acidic juices such as lemon or lime juice, be cautious. During the marination process, an acid slowly cooks the shrimp. Lemon zest prevents the shrimp from overcooking, which I prefer in the marinade.

When Does Pan Seared Shrimp Finish Cooking?

A pink and opaque creature with red tails. If the shrimp are cooked evenly, they will form a nice “C” shape. There should be some distance between the shrimp head and tail. It will take more time for them to become a tight “C” or “O” shape if they have been overcooked.

Is Shrimp Ready To Flip When It’s Time To Flip It?

Don’t forget to watch your shrimp. You can tell when the shrimp’s bottom has turned opaque by watching the side. A shrimp should be flipped about halfway up when the translucent layer becomes opaque. The process should take between one and two minutes.

Should I marinate shrimp for a long period of time?

For shrimp to be safe to marinate, you should keep them at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. You can marinate shrimp in the fridge for up to one hour if you want to prolong their marinating time. Ideally, they should marinate for no longer than an hour.

How To Cook Perfect Pan Seared Shrimp

How to Cook Perfect Pan Seared Shrimp

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes

Cook succulent, tender, flavorful, and juicy shrimp by following this simple step-by-step guide!


  • 1 Pound Raw Shrimp about 23 shrimp per pound
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • ¼ Teaspoon Dried Tarragon
  • 3 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt or pink salt
  • 1 Whole Lemon 1 teaspoon zest + juice as needed
  • ½ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes optional


Prepare the shrimp

  • To defrost frozen shrimp, place them in a bowl of cold water, changing the water every 10 minutes. It takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes for shrimp to defrost in your kitchen, depending on the temperature. (Skip this step if you are using fresh shrimp or defrosted shrimp).
  • Make a bowl of cold water and run it over the shrimp. (If using frozen shrimp, skip this step). Let the water drain well.
  • After blotting the shrimp dry with clean paper towels, put them in a bowl of dry water. Ensure that the shrimp do not have any traces of water on them. It is important to dry the shrimp to ensure that they will sear rather than steam. When frying shrimp, they won't form a crust if they are still damp (or otherwise liquid).
  • Prepare parsley by chopping it and setting it aside.
  • You can add fresh parsley, lemon zest, dried herbs, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper to shrimp as well as olive oil. Combine all of the seasonings with the shrimp and mix gently with a spoon.
  • Leaving shrimp at room temperature for 10 - 30 minutes will allow the seasonings to penetrate the shrimp.

Cook the shrimp

  • Cooking oil should be sprayed into the pan of your choice and heated over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Put half of the shrimp into the pan and cook in batches. Ensure the shrimp are cooked for the entire cooking time.
  • Don't overcrowd the shrimp. It is important to leave space between each piece of shrimp so they can sear. Searing shrimp without giving them space will result in steaming rather than searing.
  • Take good care of your shrimp. As the sides of the shrimp become opaque, pay attention to the bottom. It is time to flip the shrimp when their translucent color turns opaque about halfway up. A couple of minutes (approximately)
  • One shrimp at a time, flip them over as they are ready. Fresh lemon juice should be squeezed on each shrimp piece as you flip them. During the sizzle, you should hear some nice noises. Then cook for an additional 30 seconds to a minute, or until just tender.
  • You won't be able to finish all of the shrimp at once. Remove each shrimp as soon as it appears to be ready by standing over the pan.
  • Once the shrimp are perfectly cooked, remove them from the pan immediately. As long as the shrimp are still on the stove or in the pan, they will continue to cook. In this case, we are dealing with carryover cooking. Shrimp needs to be removed from the pan just before they are fully cooked.
  • You can now serve the fresh parsley with the rest of it!


Raw shrimp tips:

To prevent illness when handling raw seafood, follow these food safety tips. For more information, please refer to the recipe card below. Use caution when marinating shrimp with acids like lemon juice or lime juice. Shrimp are slowly cooked by the acids during the marinating process. Marinating shrimp for 30 minutes or less at room temperature is safe. The shrimp can be marinated in the fridge for up to an hour if you would like to.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 6 Shrimp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 939mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.1gProtein: 16g
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