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Old Bay Steamed Shrimp Recipe

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This Old Bay steamed shrimp recipe is a great way to give a classic shrimp cocktail a little upgrade and extra flavor. It’s mild in flavor, but everyone will wonder how you made it because it tastes so good! Serve this Old Bay shrimp as a peel-and-eat appetizer along with some other snacks like veggies and dip, smoked salmon dip, or corn salsa or as part of a light meal with a simple veggie side like air fryer broccoli. It would also be excellent in a seafood salad.

So I love shrimp in Old Bay…and if you are anything like me, you also like just about any and all seafood with Old Bay. It’s a must in an Old Bay shrimp boil, sprinkled over grilled trout or grilled kielbasa foil packets, and believe it or not, a touch of it adds great flavor to air fryer lobster tails (we did a side-by-side test!).

Plate of old bay steamed shrimp on a platter with cocktail sauce.
Photo Credit: Loren Runion for My Everyday Table.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What You’ll Love About Old Bay Shrimp

  • Great as an appetizer or light dinner
  • Delicious and savory Old Bay flavor
  • Perfectly steamed shrimp
  • Just 15 minutes total time
  • Made with simple ingredients

Ingredients

  • Apple cider vinegar – This gives a nice bit of acidic flavor, but you could also use white vinegar or white balsamic vinegar instead.
  • Old Bay seasoning – This one is a must and I consider it a pantry staple.
  • Lemon – You’ll need a whole lemon as we’re slicing it and adding it to the cooking liquid.
  • Shrimp – You’re looking for raw shrimp WITH the peel on for the best flavor. Buy large shrimp (the biggest shrimp size you can like jumbo shrimp). You could also use a high-quality frozen shrimp, but make sure it is not pre-cooked.
  • Old Bay Cocktail Sauce – ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish sauce, Old Bay seasoning
Ingredients to make old bay shrimp.

How to Steam Shrimp

This is an overview on how to make old bay steamed shrimp, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

Mix cocktail sauce. In a small bowl, stir together ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, and Old Bay seasoning.
Bowl of cocktail sauce for steamed shrimp.
Prep steaming liquid. Heat water, vinegar, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon slices in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Skillet for old bay steamed shrimp with lemon wedges.
Steam shrimp. When mixture boils, add shrimp and stir into mixture. Lower heat, cover with lid and steam until shrimp is cooked through, opaque, and shells are pink. (See note on steaming below.)
Old bay steamed shrimp in a white skillet.
Serve shrimp. Drain shrimp and let cool so that you can handle and peel it, or chill it in the refrigerator before serving them peel-and-eat style. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce. Be sure to put a bowl out for the shells.
Platter of steamed shrimp with old bay and lemon wedges.

FAQs

Can you steam shrimp without a steamer basket?

You may have noticed that we are “steaming” the shrimp, but aren’t using a steamer basket. The trick to this is to use a large skillet (ideally at least 12 inches) so that the liquid is very shallow. This allows for a steaming hybrid of sorts. I actually prefer to let the cooking liquid fully season the shrimp, so the full contact is helpful here!

How do you know when shrimp are cooked?

Shrimp cook very quickly and we don’t want to overcook them as that’s when they turn rubbery and tough. So there are a few things to watch for:

  • The shells of the shrimp turn pink
  • The shrimp meat will turn white and opaque instead of translucent

How many calories in steamed shrimp?

The full old bay shrimp nutrition stats can be found below the recipe card, but each serving of steamed shrimp has about 100 calories and more than 20 grams of protein. It’s a nutritious snack or appetizer!

Storage Instructions

Store steamed shrimp with old bay in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

How to reheat

I think the shrimp is *possibly* more delicious served chilled, so I wouldn’t reheat it, but if you want it warm, you could gently reheat them in a hot skillet, just until warmed. Be careful to not overcook as the shrimp will get rubbery and tough. Microwaving is not recommended.

Can you freeze steamed shrimp?

Yes, you can freeze the steamed shrimp – either in our out of the shell. Chill thoroughly before transferring to an airtight container (stasher bags work well!) and freeze for 1-2 months.

Platter of steamed shrimp with bowl of cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.

What to Serve with Old Bay Steamed Shrimp

You have a few different options, but you’ll definitely want to serve it with some Old Bay cocktail sauce (recipe is below in the recipe card). Beyond the sauce, I like to serve it as part of an appetizer spread. Here are some other snack recipes to serve with this Old Bay shrimp recipe:

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More Shrimp Recipes

If you like this delicious shrimp recipe, you might also like some of these other easy shrimp recipes:

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Plate of old bay steamed shrimp on a platter with cocktail sauce.

Steamed Old Bay Shrimp Recipe

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free
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Description

This EASY old bay steamed shrimp comes together in less than 15 minutes and makes a great appetizer or light meal.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Steamed Shrimp:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 16 oz. jumbo shrimp (peel on)

Old Bay Cocktail Sauce: 

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. horseradish
  • 1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

Instructions

  1. Mix Old Bay cocktail sauce. In a small bowl, stir together ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, and Old Bay seasoning.
  2. Heat water, cider vinegar, old bay seasoning, and lemon slices in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. When mixture boils, add shrimp, stir into old bay mixture and cover. Lower heat and steam for 3-6 minutes, until shrimp is cooked through.
  4. Let shrimp cool (or chill completely) before serving and serve with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges. 


Notes

  • Adjust horseradish amount in cocktail sauce according to your personal preference. 

Keywords: old bay steamed shrimp, how to steam shrimp, steamed shrimp recipe, old bay shrimp

Food styling and photography by Loren Runion.

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  1. […] This Old Bay steamed shrimp recipe is a great way to give a classic shrimp cocktail a little upgrade and extra flavor. It’s mild in flavor, but everyone will wonder how you made it because it tastes so good! Get the recipe: Old Bay Steamed Shrimp […]

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