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Deveining shrimp with a toothpick.

How to Clean Shrimp

Here is everything you need to know about choosing, defrosting, peeling, deveining and brining shrimp before you cook it.
Keyword guide, technique
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Shellfish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 pound


  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 1 toothpick
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 cups water


Peel the Shrimp

  • Starting at the thickest part of the shrimp, grab ahold of the legs, and pull them to one side. This should allow you to unwrap the shell from the shrimp.
    1 pound shrimp
    Peel the shell around the shrimp.
  • Repeat the previous step up closer to the tail to get the shrimp peeled to the tail.
    Pull the shell off up to the tail of the shrimp.
  • Fan the tail out and pinch it between your thumb and forefinger to press out any meat in the tail.
    Fan out the tail of the shrimp.
  • Pull the shrimp and tail in opposite directions to remove the shell from the tail.
    Pull the shell off of the tail of the shrimp.

Devein Shrimp

  • With the back of the shrimp facing you, insert a toothpick towards the tail, just to the right of center.
    1 toothpick
    Inserting a toothpick to devein the shrimp.
  • Work the tip of the toothpick under where the vein is in the center of the shrimp and then pry the toothpick up to pull the vein up to the surface.
    Prying the vein out of the back of the shrimp with a toothpick.
  • Continue prying up until the vein comes out of the shrimp.
    Pull the vein out of the shrimp using the tip of the toothpick.
  • Use your fingers to pluck the vein the from the shrimp.
    Pluck the vein from the shrimp.

Brine the Shrimp

  • Dissolve ½ tablespoon of baking soda into 2 cups of water (double or triple for more shrimp)
    ½ tablespoon baking soda, 2 cups water
    Stirring the baking soda and water solution.
  • Add the shrimp into the mixture and then soak in the refridgerator for at least 30 minutes.
    Brining shrimp in alkaline water to improve its texture.
  • Drain and rinse the shrimp thoroughly before using.
    Rinsing shrimp in a colander.