The Best Weeknight Shrimp Recipes

Shrimp can have a bit of luxury aura about it, despite that it's been readily and plentifully available since the mid-twentieth century (via The Washington Post). Even in a world of chain restaurant all-you-can-eat-shrimp-offerings, that aura has remained pretty much intact, thanks to grocery store prices for the freshest shrimp and delicate dishes like the classic shrimp cocktail on restaurant menus.

But once you've found a good deal on shrimp, and gotten some tips on how to prepare it, it's easy to see that shrimp is the perfect seafood choice for weekday dinner duty. In fact, if you're looking for weeknight recipes that deliver wonderful flavor with minimal effort, with a low prepping and cooking time at that, we can't imagine why you would look any further than shrimp.

There are just a few basics that we recommend keeping in mind when cooking shrimp and when shopping for shrimp — such as the difference between shrimp and prawns and why you should never buy farm-raised shrimp that came from outside the U.S. And finally, there are a few things that may be worth understanding about shrimp before adding it to the weekly rotation. But overall, the learning curve for cooking shrimp is wonderfully gentle, and we think you'll agree after trying any or all of these best weeknight shrimp recipes.

Easy Coconut Shrimp You Can Make In Under 30 Minutes

Who would have imagined you could take a trip to the tropics on a weeknight and be back in time for dessert? Well, that's exactly what you get when you make this stunningly easy recipe for crispy coconut-battered shrimp. From start to finish, it should take you no more than 30 minutes, and for your efforts, you'll be smoothly and safely transported to a warm, sunny place where dinners always come with a daquiri. Now, close your eyes and let yourself daydream about someone else doing the dishes.

This Quick Grilled Shrimp Goes With Anything

We can think of at least 10 perfect ways to cook shrimp, but of all of them, it's hard to imagine one more perfect than grilling. Fire plus sweet, succulent shrimp equals Maillard-reaction goodness that you simply cannot achieve with a sauté or a boil. And then there's this added bonus for busy weeknights: when you grill shrimp, you don't have to peel the shrimp first. In fact, it's probably better if you do not (yes, of course there's a reason for this). Here's our recipe for a grilled shrimp with a simple marinade that goes with absolutely everything. Try it along with this ridiculously easy hack that keeps your grilled shrimp from drying out.

Sheet Pan Surf and Turf Is Surprisingly Easy

Who says you can't get fancy on a weeknight? "Surf and turf" has been associated with delightfully frivolous excess since the 1960s, according to Ruth's Chris Steak House. In fact, the "original" version of surf and turf is believe to have been filet mignon and lobster. But cracking lobster shells on a weeknight? That's asking a lot. And frankly, when we're not focused on finding the leanest meat possible, we actually prefer a nice strip (that marbling can't be beat). Fortunately, and clearly as a matter of pure coincidence, we found this surprisingly easy sheet pan surf and turf recipe that calls for — you guessed it — shrimp and strip. 

These Easy Shrimp Rolls Take Just 30 Minutes

It may seem hard to imagine, but this recipe for shrimp rolls is so easy and efficient that if you have the ingredients on hand, dinner can be on the table in 20 minutes flat, start to finish. It helps speed the process further if you're using shrimp that comes pre-deveined and peeled. But even if you didn't think of that while you were running to the grocery story in between finishing up your last Zoom meeting and walking the dog, you're in luck because you can fall back on this genius shrimp-peeling hack that you'll wish you'd known about sooner. 

This Shrimp Po Boy Comes Together In Under 30 Minutes

Having sandwiches for dinner can be a deliciously efficient weekday solution, especially if you have little ones. And with the quickness of cooked shrimp, you can truly take this quick dinner up a notch. Sure, cold cuts or leftovers seems the obvious choice for a sandwich, but why limit yourself, especially when we found this shrimp po boy recipe with a homemade remoulade that comes together in under 30 minutes? 

Easy Shrimp Tacos The Whole Family Will Love

Taco night is always fun, but let's face it: As much as we love our classic beef tacos, after awhile, they can get to feeling a bit mundane. But who says tacos have to always be the same? After all, even the most authentic Mexican tacos offer plenty of room for variation, even for seafood lovers. On that note, we happen to know and love this game-changing shrimp taco recipe that was created specifically for weeknight meals by life-style blogger and recipe developer Shanika Graham-White. And this is not the only outstanding shrimp taco recipe on this list.

These Quick Shrimp Tacos Will Elevate Your Taco Night

Although the fact that it's Tuesday is always a perfectly legitimate excuse for making tacos, these parmesan crusted shrimp tacos are simply too good to be reserved for just one day of the week. That's why we are issuing a free pass to enjoy them any time, and especially weekends, when there's time to savor their complex flavors. That being said, considering their cooking time, these babies are perfectly appropriate for weekdays. It might seem hard to believe, but they actually come together in under half an hour — and that includes the 20 minutes the pickled onions require to marinate. 

This Aldi 5-Ingrdient Shrimp Scampi Is Out of This World

While admittedly, shrimp scampi earns no points for its authenticity as an Italian dish, it's nevertheless beloved by many, including chef and food writer Sher Castellano, who gave us this five-ingredient shrimp scampi recipe that works perfectly with Aldi's 12-ounce bag of frozen shrimp. The whole thing, start to finish, takes under 20 minutes, and that includes time to boil up some pasta or to toast some Italian bread to serve with it. Pro tip: Castellano suggests that to bring out all the complexity of the flavors, it's best to serve your scampi with a squeeze of lemon juice.

20-Minute Shrimp Alfredo Pasta The Whole Family Will Love

The very first Alfredo sauce was created in 1914 by a Roman chef by the name of Alfredo di Lelio. His recipe was a simple melding together of butter (lots of it) and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, but once the recipe made its way to the U.S., it required cream to compensate for a lack of richness in American butter and cheese. Shrimp is, of course, not required, but boy does it add a beautiful, juicy sweetness to the richness of Alfredo sauce. And this recipe for Shrimp Alfredo takes only 20 minutes, making it perfect for a low-key super-impressive mid-week dinner.

This Pad Thai Recipe Takes Less Than 30 Minutes To Make

Pad Thai probably sounds like a dish you'd never attempt on your own, let alone in the middle of the work/school-week. For that matter, it also only sounds authentically Thai, because according to The Atlantic, literally everything about this dish owes its origins to China. Be that as it may, pad Thai is nevertheless one of Thailand's proud national dishes, and it is delicious, filling, and for the most part, gluten free (as long as you use gluten-free soy sauce). And here's the kicker: This recipe for pad Thai takes a mere 30 minutes, start to finish. 

Cantonese Style Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

Chinese-American food-writer Jennifer En brought our attention to this recipe for har gow, which is what the dish is called in Canton, China, its place of origin. "I spent my youth developing my long-lasting affinity for har gow," En told Mashed. "Made with a filling of shrimp and bamboo shoots wrapped up inside thin, translucent dough wrappers, these delicate Cantonese dumplings are soft, pillow-y, and perfect with sips of tea in between bites." If you've got 25 minutes and the ingredients on hand, we highly recommend you try this recipe for Cantonese-style shrimp dumplings, also known as har gow.

The Best Shrimp And Grits You've Ever Tasted

Believe it or not, shrimp and grits originated in the 1930s as a breakfast food, according to Erin Byers Murray, writer for The Local Palate, who told Mashed that back then, the grits were cooked in a pot, with seawater, along with anything else that was cheap and available. Our favorite authentic Southern recipe for shrimp and grits doesn't stray too far from the dish's humble roots in the sense it's meant to be customized according to what you like and what you have available. Best of all, it's "pretty dang easy for just about anyone to pull off," according to its creator, food blogger Ashley Scheuring. 

The One-Pot Jambalaya You've Been Wanting To Try

Although our healthy one-pot jambalaya recipe will take just a bit longer to make than our other weekday shrimp dishes, at least half of that time is just for simmering with the occasional stir, leaving you ample time to open your mail and give the kids a kiss or the dog a belly-rub while it chugs along. What makes this particular recipe for one-pot jambalaya so very worth your time is that it's a lower sodium and saturated-fat version, and yet no one will know the difference.