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Steamed Old Bay Shrimp Recipe

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This Old Bay steamed shrimp recipe is a great way to give a classic shrimp cocktail a little extra flavor. It’s mild in flavor, but will have everyone wondering how you made it. Serve this Old Bay shrimp recipe as a peel-and-eat appetizer or light meal, so include a bowl for the shells, it’s a DIY dish! It would also be excellent in a seafood salad. And if you’re looking for a boiled shrimp with Old Bay recipe, try my classic Low Country shrimp boil option that’s made in a large pot with beer, corn, and sausage.

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 on grilled lake trout, sprinkled over grilled kielbasa foil packets, and believe it or not, but 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.

Estimated reading time: 7 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


This mildly-seasoned shrimp has the perfect amount of spices and a flavor that works so well with shrimp. You’ll love this upgrade to shrimp cocktail.

  • 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 – We’re slicing it and adding it to the cooking liquid, so whole lemon is best.
  • Shrimp – You’re looking for raw shrimp WITH the peel on for the best flavor. Buy as large of shrimp as you can. You could also use a high-quality frozen shrimp, but make sure it is not precooked.
  • Old Bay Cocktail Sauce – ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, Old Bay seasoning
Ingredients to make old bay shrimp recipe.

How to Steam Shrimp in Old Bay

Let’s get to the good part, it’s time to steam shrimp with Old Bay!

  • Mix cocktail sauce. In a small bowl, stir together ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, and Old Bay seasoning.

TIP: Add more or less horseradish, according to your preference.

Bowl of cocktail sauce for old bay steamed shrimp.
  • Prep steaming liquid. Heat water, vinegar, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon slices in a large skillet over medium 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 for 3-6 minutes, 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. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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

Storage Instructions

Store the shrimp 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 completely before transferring to an airtight container (stasher bags work well!) and freeze for 1-2 months.

How to Serve Steamed Shrimp to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in. 😉

The Old Bay seasoning is very mild, so I think that this is a great food for little ones! If they aren’t familiar with shrimp, cut a small bite out for them to sample.

All of my articles on feeding kids can be found here and if you want a FULL list of all of the videos I have with hacks, tips, scripts, and ideas for feeding kids, check out my instagram or tiktok page.

Platter of old bay shrimp with bowl of cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.

What to Serve with Old Bay Shrimp Recipe

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, it depends on if you’ll serve the steamed shrimp in Old Bay as an appetizer or as part of a meal.

If you’re serving it as part of a meal, serve it with a simple veggie side dish:

More Easy Shrimp Recipes

If you like this steamed shrimp with Old Bay, you might also like some of these other easy seafood recipes:

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Helpful Tools to Make Shrimp in Old Bay

  • 12″ Skillet – Use a large skillet to steam the shrimp so that the liquid is shallow and you aren’t boiling the shrimp.
  • Stasher Bags – Store any leftover steamed Old Bay shrimp in these bags that work great for storing or freezing.
  • Old Bay Seasoning – This seasoning is a kitchen staple and can be used on everything from grilled trout to chicken.
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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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This EASY old bay steamed shrimp comes together in less than 15 minutes and makes a great appetizer or light meal.


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. 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. 


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

Keywords: old bay shrimp, old bay steamed shrimp, old bay shrimp recipe

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Photo Credit: All photos in this post were take by Loren at Sweet Rustic Bakes

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