Shrimp is a reliable mealtime favorite. It’s loved by young and old; even folks who don’t love seafood, in general, will often eat shrimp. Shrimp is extremely versatile and plays a role in many cuisines from around the world. And best of all, it’s fast and easy to prepare, making it the perfect protein for weeknight dinners. Wondering how to add shrimp to your weeknight menu? Here are some additional facts:


Shrimp come in hundreds of varieties and are found across the globe. When shopping for shrimp, you’ll see the following terms:

Cold water shrimp: These are smaller varieties of shrimp that are harvested from the northeast and northwest ocean waters off the coasts of the US and Canada. The colder the water, the smaller the shrimp. These shrimp are only sold cooked and peeled.

Warm water shrimp: Warm water shrimp are harvested and farmed around the world in tropical or subtropical regions. Taste, texture, and price are different across the multiple varieties of warm water shrimp.

Prawns: This word is used differently around the world, but in the US, prawns usually refers to large varieties of shrimp.

Wild shrimp: Wild shrimp are cold or warm water shrimp that have been harvested from the ocean by traditional shrimping vessels. Less than 10% of all shrimp consumed in the United States is wild. 

Farmed shrimp: Farmed shrimp are warm-water species that are grown in controlled systems. Over 90% of the shrimp eaten by US consumers is farmed in locations outside the US.

There’s no right or wrong shrimp; it’s all delicious, and your choice is really all about your preference.

Other Buying Considerations

Aside from variety and origin, shrimp are classified by color, size, and uniformity. Generally speaking, the large the shrimp, the higher the price.

  • Colossal – 10 or less per pound
  • Jumbo —11-15 per pound
  • Extra-large—16-20 per pound
  • Large—21-30 per pound
  • Medium—31-35 per pound
  • Small—36-45 per pound
  • Miniature—roughly 100 per pound

Shrimp is available any time of the year. You can buy it shelled, unshelled and deveined, cooked, raw, fresh, or frozen. You can also find preparations such as butterflied and popcorn. As a guide, you can expect to get ½ to ¾ of a pound of meat from 1 pound of whole, shell-on, raw shrimp.

Serve it Up:

The following are tasty shrimp dinner recipes:

  • Broccoli, Parmesan, and Shrimp Pasta
  • Hawaiian Shrimp Pizzas
  • Crispy Honey Sesame Shrimp
  • Tempura Shrimp Sticks with Warm Apricot Dipping Sauce

Put one of these shrimp meals on your menu this week.