Wild-caught Gulf shrimp are perfect for a variety of meals, from appetizers to the main course. But when you're preparing your favorite shrimp dishes, you'll find that you need the best size of shrimp for each particular meal. How do you choose? Today, we'll fill you in on everything you need to know about sizing up shrimp!
Shrimp Sizes Explained
When selecting the ideal shrimp sizes for your recipes, know that the count per pound (peeled) and size label go hand-in-hand. Shrimp are often categorized as "large" or "small," but the count per pound will give you the most accurate representation of how many are actually inside the packaging. For example, if you bought a 2-lb. bag labeled "Jumbo 21/30," then the bag will contain 21 to 30 Jumbo shrimp. Larger shrimp are noted with a "U," which stands for "Under." So, if you bought a bag of U/12 Colossal shrimp, then it would contain under 12 Colossal shrimp per pound. Check out our graphic below to get an idea of what to look for when selecting your shrimp:
Calculate the Serving Size of Your Meal
Whether you're making a mid-week meal just for you or feeding a crowd for an event, the serving size can help you gauge how much food you'll need and the nutritional value of your meal. According to the chart on our FAQ page, the serving size for shrimp can be calculated as follows:
- Extra small to medium: 16 to 11 shrimp per person
- Large to jumbo: 8 to 6 shrimp per person
- Extra jumbo and higher: 5 to 2 shrimp per person
Of course, these are situational, but we've found that overestimating the amount of shrimp you'll need for your course can help make sure that you'll always have enough shrimp to go around, plus some delicious leftovers to enjoy later!
Finding the Ideal Shrimp Size for Your Recipes
If you're cooking with a recipe, they usually call out specific shrimp sizes to ensure that prep work goes as planned. While most of the time this decision stems from personal preference and presentation, it's also based on serving size and how the shrimp will be eaten. Giant shrimp are easy to grill, medium shrimp can be arranged on a dinner plate as the main course and tiny shrimp are the perfect size for appetizers or po'boys. Here are some of our favorite ways to prepare shrimp based on their size:
- Colossal shrimp: Baked, stuffed, grilled, shrimp cocktail, skewers
- Jumbo shrimp: Salads, sandwiches, coconut shrimp, shrimp cocktail
- Large shrimp: Pasta, appetizers, shrimp rolls
- Medium shrimp: Stir-fry, fritters, boils, surf n' turf
- Small/extra-small shrimp: Stews, seafood pizza, gumbos, shrimp salad, fillings
Unless you're working with a recipe that calls for a specific size, there's really no one right answer. Get creative in your kitchen! The bigger the shrimp, the bigger the bite and flavor will be. The smaller the shrimp, the better each piece will combine with additional ingredients. It's all up to you!
Cook with Fresh Gulf Shrimp from Biloxi Shrimp Co.
Of course, no matter what size shrimp you cook with, always be sure to use wild-caught Gulf shrimp from us! At Biloxi Shrimp Co., we offer peeled, deveined and headless shrimp with or without tails of all different sizes to suit your recipe needs. For more information about shrimp sizing and ordering, contact us today!