How to Buy Shrimp

by Contributor ; Updated October 17, 2017

Items you will need

  • fresh shrimp
  • fresh prawns
  • Groceries

How to Buy Shrimp. Even people that hate fish seem to love shrimp ... unless they are allergic to it. Shrimp aren't cheap, so follow these guidelines to get the most for your money.

Step 1

Avoid shrimp that has already been peeled and deveined - most shrimp is frozen and then thawed, and the shrimp is less protected against the freezer without its shell.

Step 2

Look for shrimp with firm white meat and a full shell.

Step 3

Do not buy shrimp with black spots or rings - except if you're buying black tiger shrimp -as this indicates that the meat is starting to break down.

Step 4

Avoid pink meat.

Step 5

Make sure the shell is not yellow, as this indicates that it was bleached.

Step 6

Avoid shrimp that smells of anything other than salt water.

Step 7

Be cautious of labels such as "jumbo," as there aren't any firm guidelines for applying such terms. For each shrimp variety, the fishmonger should display the number of shrimp that make up a pound; use this as a guideline instead. Larger shrimp are frequently more expensive, but that doesn't mean they taste better, although they will be easier to prepare, because you will have less of them.

Step 8

Buy enough for 1/4 pound of shelled shrimp for each person.


  • Gulf white shrimp, although the most expensive, are the best type to purchase. Sometimes the word "prawn" is used to mean "jumbo shrimp," but "prawn" is also used for two other types of crustacean: a saltwater creature that looks like a tiny, 6- to 8-inch lobster (the French langoustine) and a freshwater "prawn" that looks like a cross between a shrimp and a lobster.