Simple Old Bay Steamed Shrimp Recipe

There is nothing quite like the taste of perfectly steamed shrimp. Whether you like to eat them for appetizers or as a main dish, they are hard to beat!

Here’s a fun way to cook shrimp without all the mess of a dry fryer or a shrimp boil – try Old Bay Steamed Shrimp! To be honest, this method is a combination of boiling and steaming. Not only does it create beautifully succulent, seasoned shrimp, but the cooking time is also only 2 to 3 minutes! For all the Old Bay shrimp lovers out there, this recipe is easy to prepare and results in a deliciously easy dinner recipe. Pair it with southern skillet cornbread and collard greens and you’ve got the perfect meal!

This steamed shrimp recipe is very simple to make. You will be amazed by how easy it is to steam shrimp perfectly AND how delicious they are!

What I love about this classic recipe is its simplicity and the great results it produces. So if you love peel-and-eat shrimp as much as I do, let’s get started!

If I don’t have fresh shrimp, can I steam frozen shrimp?

Absolutely! Frozen shrimp are perfectly fine to use for your steamed shrimp recipe. However, you will need to defrost them before steaming. Simply add frozen shrimp into a colander or bowl and place them under cold running water for 10-15 minutes.

old bay shrimp recipe, steamed

Old Bay Steamed Shrimp Recipe

Serving Size:
4 oz.
15 minutes


  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay Classic Seafood Seasoning
  • 1 pound large shrimp

[Note – The amount of liquid may vary depending on the size of the pot used, but these are the ratios I use.]


  1. In a medium steam pot, mix vinegar, beer, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Layer shrimp in the steamer basket, and liberally apply Old Bay seasoning.
  2. Steam for 4 to 6 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Left steamer basket from pot and pour shrimp onto a serving dish.
  3. Serve with jalapeno hushpuppies!

Do you need to devein the shrimp before steaming?

No. Many people, myself included, prefer to steam shrimp first and then peel and devein prior to eating. I also like shell-on shrimp for cooking and removing them while eating.

If you prefer to use deveined shrimp prior to cooking, that is perfectly fine.

Do I need a steam pot?

Yes. The steam pot consists of two main elements, a large pot and a steamer basket that rests inside of it, plus the lid.

When placed inside the large pot, the basket sits about an inch or two above the bottom of the pot. This prevents the contents inside from touching the liquid.

What is a beer-steamed shrimp recipe?

All steamed shrimp recipes are basically the same. The main differences are the liquid you place in the pot to produce the steam and any vegetables or seasonings you may add to the liquid or shrimp for added flavor.

A beer-steamed shrimp recipe uses beer as the liquid that gets boiled to produce steam. This creates a subtle hoppy flavor that produces a deliciously unique taste.

Each beer produces a slightly different flavor, so have fun and experiment with different styles of beer.

Why do you add apple cider vinegar to steam shrimp?

Adding vinegar to the water used to cook shrimp improves flavor without adding the distinctive sour taste of vinegar. You can usually add a small amount of vinegar to any recipe that calls for boiling shrimp in water.

Are steamed shrimp the same as a shrimp boil?

No. As the name implies, steamed shrimp are cooked using steam. With a shrimp boil, the shrimp are actually boiled along with other ingredients.

What is a shrimp boil?

A traditional shrimp boil ( or seafood boil) is prepared using a large pot filled about half of the way full with water, it is brought to a boil. Then ingredients, such as shrimp, corn, potatoes, garlic, sausage, lemons, and spices, are added and cooked until tender.

When this country shrimp boil is cooked, the ingredients are stained out of the pot and placed on a plate or large table covered with brown craft paper. Very delicious!

What to do with leftover steamed shrimp

Shrimp is a food that my family absolutely loves. And when it comes to steaming shrimp at home, I always err on the side of having too much. The last thing I want is to run out of something I know everyone looks forward to eating.

This simple shrimp salad recipe is one I use most often with leftover shrimp. Simply add shrimp (cleaned) with celery, lemon, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, mustard, and fresh dill. Serve shrimp salad on lettuce, crackers, or bread. Serve with lemon wedges.

Leftover shrimp how long are they good for?

3- 5 days. Cooked shrimp last three to 5 days. To reheat previously cooked shrimp, use a low temperature and avoid overcooking. Store raw shrimp in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf.

Have plenty of cocktail sauce on hand

Having an ample supply of cocktail sauce on hand is a must! Popular brands include McCormick, Heinz, and St. Elmo, just to name a few.

However, homemade cocktail sauce is super easy to prepare, and chances are you already have the ingredients in your refrigerator.

Here is a link to my classic shrimp cocktail recipe.

Can you freeze steamed shrimp?

You can freeze shrimp cooked or raw, in or out of their shell. When freezing shrimp, remove the heads, but keep the shells on, for maximum shelf life and quality. If frozen raw, make sure the shrimp are washed and drained. Cooked shrimp should be quickly chilled before freezing.

Steamed shrimp recipe without Old Bay

In the event, you have run out or don’t have the prized seafood seasoning, here is an easy-to-make copycat Old Bay Seasoning recipe to get you by…

Old Bay seasoning ingredients contain celery salt and paprika as the main spices. These spices are a good substitute if you have them in your cupboard. Mix 1/4 teaspoon celery salt with 1/4 teaspoon paprika when substituting. For every teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning, use this.

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