There are so many ways to eat shrimp, it’s almost hard to count without the help of the classic scene from the movie “Forrest Gump”, where Bubba so eloquently described the ways:

Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. They’s uh, shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That – that’s about it.

That right there is 21 different ways to eat shrimp! But before we get into our list of 21 easy shrimp recipes to go along with them, let’s start with the basics.

How to Prepare Shrimp for Cooking

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The first thing you need to do is learn how to devein shrimp. The easiest way to do this is with a tool called a shrimp deveiner, which has a tapered point that does most of the work for you. You simply put the tool under the shell, push in to split it and remove the vein in one swift motion.

However, there’s not always a deveiner handy and deveining shrimp without one is a great knife skill to have. The paring knife is a great tool for this very occasion, as its blade design and small size makes it easy for this type of delicate, detailed work. Holding the shrimp in your hand, use the pointed tip of a sharp paring knife to slice through the back of the shell, then cut a shallow slit along the flesh to expose and remove the vein.

More Reasons to Own a Paring Knife: Top 5 Paring Knife Uses

If you’re following a recipe that calls for peeled shrimp, simply peel off the legs and the shell of the shrimp by hand, starting from the underside. Next, make a cut along the back of the shrimp and carefully remove the vein with the tip of the knife. Remember, some recipes will call for the shell to stay on, so make sure to check.

Here’s a handy tip if you don’t have either: use a toothpick. Take off the legs and shell by hand, then poke the toothpick through the shrimp crosswise, about a half inch above the tail, so it’s almost touching the vein. Gently pull the toothpick up and through the shrimp – and if you do it correctly – the vein will come right out.

You should be left with a veinless, shell-less and legless ready to cook shrimp.

A quick note, though. You can leave the tail on if you like, as it can help with presentation (depending on the dish, of course). It’s a good idea to rinse the shrimp in cold water before you start cooking, too. You can also brine the shrimp by mixing a pinch of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl of water. Then add the shrimp and make sure they’re submerged. Leave them for an hour and they’re ready to cook.

Temperature is important with shrimp, because they cook so fast that if the whole shrimp isn’t the same temperature, it won’t cook evenly.

Phew that’s over. Now let’s get to cooking.

21 Easy Shrimp Recipes Inspired by Bubba Blue of Forrest Gump

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Here are some great Bubba-inspired recipes to get the ol’ shrimp boat motor running.

  1. BBQ Shrimp – This one is a fairly salty dish that keeps the shrimp in the shells when cooked. They’re buttery, spicy and come with a lot of kick.
  2. Boiled Shrimp – A Louisiana favorite, this boiled shrimp recipe delivers a delicious blend of Southern flavors.
  3. Broiled Shrimp – If you love spice, you’ll definitely love this one. From paprika and cayenne pepper to creole seasoning and Worcestershire sauce to lemon and butter, this broiled shrimp recipe is exploding with spicy flavor.
  4. Baked Butter Garlic Shrimp – As the name suggests, butter and garlic come together in this deliciously easy recipe for baked shrimp.
  5. Garlic Butter Shrimp – This is the sauté portion of our article, and there’s that butter and garlic again – but really, what’s better than garlic and butter? Who knows? (It’s rhetorical, take it easy over there.)
  6. Shrimp Kabobs – Honestly, the hardest part about this method is probably threading them onto the skewers, but man, there’s something about sliding them off that’s so satisfying. Worth it!
  7. Shrimp Creole – Another spicy favorite, you can even add some bacon if you’re feeling particularly fancy. The fresher the shrimp, the better.
  8. Shrimp & Sausage Gumbo – Here’s another Louisiana favorite, and it’s really simple to make. The shrimp will boil in the sauce, and it goes great with rice.
  9. Pan-Fried Shrimp – This is for when you want something crispy but not overdone. Few things in life go together better than fried shrimp and cocktail sauce.
  10. Deep-Fried Shrimp – This is fried shrimp but after a night at the gym pumping weights. This is when you up the ante and go for the gold.
  11. Garlic Shrimp Stir Fry – Maybe artery clogging isn’t the way to go for you. If that’s the case, stir fried shrimp glazed in garlic sauce is an easy, delicious alternative.
  12. Pineapple Shrimp – Time to get tropical – with a fruity flavor that’s easy to whip up. Serve this one in a hollowed out pineapple because why not? Live a little!
  13. Lemon Garlic Shrimp – Lemon, garlic, and a handful of other flavors all come together in this seriously delicious pasta dish. What makes it even better is it takes less than 20 minutes to pull together. Hello busy week night meal!
  14. Coconut Shrimp – If you’re the type who loves the texture and taste of coconut, you’re in luck. This recipe is sweet and crispy all at once.
  15. Pepper Shrimp – This one is a nice spicy dish that can be prepared with the shell on or off, depending on your preference. This recipe is especially decadent because you’re going to want some bread to soak up all the goodness.
  16. Shrimp Soup – This is a great “cold day” dish, as it has all the right elements of heat. Very comforting dish.
  17. Shrimp Stew – What’s the difference between a soup and stew, you ask? It’s heartier! And in this case, shrimpier.
  18. Shrimp Salad – A pleasant, refreshing dish that’s both light and filling, this recipe combines crunchy celery flavor with a bright dill sheen and a creamy finish.
  19. Shrimp and Potatoes – A nice alternative to steak and potatoes, this dish is a quick and easy way to mix baked potatoes (yeah!) with shrimp.
  20. Shrimp Burger – You knew this one was on the way. This recipe involves forming the shrimp into patties, so there’s some prep work involved, but it’s definitely worth it.
  21. Shrimp Sandwich – This one has all the stuff, like avocado (what!) and creamy chipotle avocado mayonnaise (what!) and toasted bread rolls (whoa!). And who doesn’t love sandwiches? They’re the world’s most perfect food!

Well there you go – a shrimp dish for literally every occasion. And that’s all we’ve got to say about that.