Shrimp and old bay

Can I Make my own Old Bay Seasoning?

This Old Bay Shrimp isn’t called Old Bay Shrimp for nothing -it is ALL about the complex spice blend! There are many “copycat, do it yourself” Old Bay seasoning mix recipes out there, but Old Bay survived since 1939 for a reason. In my opinion, Old Bay seasoning isn’t like making your own taco seasoning, after all, it does boast 18 different herbs/spices such as paprika, celery salt, bay leaves, thyme, cayenne, dry mustard, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, etc.

So if you don’t own the bright yellow can with a bold blue stripe, then I suggest investing in some. Not only does it go great with anything seafood and produce stellar Old Bay Shrimp, but add a sprinkle to French fries, chicken, hamburgers and sandwiches, dips, potatoes, veggies, pizza, popcorn, eggs, soups and immediately delishify your plate!


For this Old Bay Shrimp recipe, you will want to use defrosted (or fresh), peeled and deveined shrimp. There are two options for defrosting your shrimp:

  1. To quickly defrost shrimp: place the frozen shrimp into in a fine-mesh sieve or colander. Place this sieve in a large bowl of cold tap water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, replace the water in the bowl with new cold tap water and resubmerge the shrimp. Let shrimp sit an additional 10- 20 minutes. At this point the shrimp should be completely defrosted.
  2. To defrost shrimp overnight: The easier way to defrost your shrimp (if you remember in advance) is to remove your frozen shrimp to a covered bowl and let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Whatever you do, resist the urge to defrost your shrimp using warm tap water (and definitely NOT the microwave) as this will cause the shrimp to defrost and cook unevenly.

How Do You Cook Old Bay Shrimp?

To make this Old Bay Shrimp on the stove top, it starts with the best ever homemade cocktail sauce that also becomes part of your quick marinade. Once you try this homemade cocktail sauce, you will never be tempted to buy the store version again! Its a quick whisking of chili sauce (NOT the Asian sweet chili sauce I use all the time but the tomato based by Heinz), ketchup horseradish sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to taste.

Add one tablespoon of this Cocktail Sauce to your shrimp along with olive oil, fresh garlic and Old Bay seasoning and let marinate 20-30 minutes. Next, saute your shrimp in some butter for literally 3 MINUTES and you have the quickest, easiest, tastiest appetizer in minutes OR add some veggies and rice/potatoes and you have a complete meal. Thank you Old Bay Seasoning, thank you.

What Should I Serve with Old Bay Shrimp?

You can turn this Old Bay Shrimp recipe into a complete meal by serving it with some stir fried veggies and rice or serving it with some of these sides:

  • Pasta Salads: Italian Pasta Salad with Tortellini, Cowboy Pasta Salad, Greek Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Feta Pesto, or Creamy Bacon Pea Pasta Salad
  • Green Salads: a big green salad,Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing or Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad
  • Fruit Salads: Perfect Fruit Salad, Creamy Grape Salad, or Pina Colada Fruit Salad
  • Breads: Cheesy Pull Apart Pesto Bread or Award Winning Sweet Moist Cornbread
  • Potatoes: Kicked Up Classy Creamy Potato Salad, Baked Parmesan Fingerling Potato Fries or Company Mashed Potatoes
  • Rice: Cilantro Lime Rice, Pineapple Coconut Cashew Rice, Red Beans and Rice or Lemon Rice
  • Veggies: Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Carrots, Sauted Brussels Spouts
  • Classics: Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Beans with Brown Sugar and Bacon, or Slow Cooker Creamed Corn

Spicy Boiled Old Bay Shrimp


Old Bay seasoning isn’t just about crab cakes…

There’s so much you can do with it, and one of our favorites is a quick shrimp boil to give those shellfish a special Maryland kick. Spicy boiled Old Bay shrimp is a simple recipe – very easy to make, quick from the kitchen to the plate. But don’t equate simple with flavorless.

No, Old Bay packs a ton of spice in that cannister. Take a look at Old Bay’s ingredients and you’ll get an idea of how much flavor we’re talking about here. From ginger to allspice, it’s a laundry list of spices that, together, create a highly-addictive taste. This is an excellent party recipe, whether it’s a summer barbecue or a game day celebration.

The paprika in Old Bay supplies the heat (and there’s just a little spiciness here), but you can turn things up a notch by pairing these shrimp with a spicy cocktail sauce. See our recipe here for a good option that uses Tabasco. Or, if you prefer a little smokiness with your spicy boiled Old Bay shrimp, take a look at this chipotle cocktail sauce recipe. Both are quick to whip up and perfectly pair pepper and horseradish spiciness.

Spicy Boiled Old Bay Shrimp

Chesapeake flavor through and through Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes Course: Meal Keyword: Old Bay Servings: 6 Calories: 186kcal


  • 2 pounds large uncooked shrimp unpeeled, with tails still on
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups beer
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Rinse the shrimp and place to the side on paper towels to dry.
  • In a large pot mix the water, beer, and Old Bay. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to medium-high, stir, and then cover for 4 minutes. Stir once half way through.
  • Check the shrimp to see if they are pink. If they are. drain the shrimp and move them to a serving plate. If not, cook them until they are pink (typically 1 to 2 additional minutes).
  • On the serving plate, sprinkle the shrimp with Old Bay and then serve with salsa, cocktail sauce, and/or lemons.


Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 381mg | Sodium: 1179mg | Potassium: 157mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 6.5mg | Calcium: 251mg | Iron: 4.2mg Tried this recipe?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale!

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These old bay spiced shrimp take less than 5 minutes to make and are seasoned to perfection with 4 simple ingredients!

Mmmmmm shrimp.

I’m a lover of any and all kinds of shrimp. Are you? I’ll take them any way that I can get them: fried, steamed, boiled, broiled, as my dinner or even as an appetizer. I just love shrimp that much. What I love so much about these old bay spiced shrimp is that they literally take less than five minutes to make and are downright delicious.

They are seasoned to perfection with Old Bay seasoning, then steamed for 3-4 minutes in a mixture of water, apple cider vinegar, and the tried and true Old Bay seasoning. Don’t skip out on these my friends or you will be missing out.

If you’ve got 4 simple ingredients and five minutes you can make these super easy Old Bay spiced shrimp and have dinner served on the table in no time. 🙂

Ingredients Used to Make Old Bay Spiced Shrimp

  • 1lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2.5 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • Optional: Store-bought or homemade cocktail sauce, for serving & lemon wedges

Steps to Making Old Bay Spiced Shrimp

  1. In large saucepan mix vinegar, water, and old bay seasoning. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Add shrimp to saucepan and cover. Steam shrimp for 3-4 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Drain water from saucepan.
  3. Serve with store-bought or homemade cocktail sauce and lemon wedges, if desired.

5 minute Old Bay Spiced Shrimp…

Easy. Fast. Delish.



If you make this tag @sodamndelish on Instagram. Show me you rocked it!






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Shrimp boil is one amazing dinner. While a full low country shrimp boil has way more than just shrimp, including potatoes, corn, sausage all as part of the boil, I often boil a pot of just peel and eat shrimp. It is perfect to go alongside a meal and it is also great as an appetizer for a party or just a snack while watching a game of football.

I remember when my kids were younger, they were hesitant to eat shrimp. Actually, they would not eat anything that came out of the water.

Over the years, they started eating shrimp and now have developed a huge love for peel and eat shrimp. So much so, that I need to cook more shrimp now if I want to get any!

I have prepared and cooked shrimp many different ways, but by far, peel and eat shrimp is the most popular!

If you want to try any of my other shrimp recipes, check out these.

  • Pesto Shrimp
  • Chili Garlic King Prawns

Even though you can buy bags of frozen shrimp that has already been cooked, I far prefer boiling my own.

Cooked shrimp that has been frozen seems to take in lots of water and I find the texture to be too soft for eating cold peel and eat shrimp. I do not mind these packages of shrimp if I am tossing the shrimp in a soup like gumbo or in pasta, but for eating cold, no thanks. I want to boil my own shrimp.

Frozen or Fresh Shrimp?

I buy my shrimp raw and they are either still frozen or already thawed. While there are some places where I live that I can get fresh (and sometimes even live shrimp), usually it is frozen. This is ok, because frozen shrimp can still result in a peel and eat shrimp that tastes great and has a very good texture.

  • If you buy frozen shrimp, make sure it thaws first before boiling. Thawing should not take long and you can speed it up by sticking the shrimp in a colander under cold running water. Will thaw in no time!

Add some Seasoning to the Boil!

Over the years, making pot after pot of shrimp boil, I have used all sorts of different spice mixes. Old Bay Seasoning, Zatarain’s Shrimp Boil and Slap Ya Mama Shrimp Boil are all great and provide a wonderful flavour for peel and eat shrimp.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find some of those seasonings up here in Canada. Therefore, I have ended up making my own seasoning blend for shrimp boil, and since I always have a fully stocked spice cupboard, there has never been a shortage of spices to go into the pot.

I throw in lots of different spices including bay leaves, salt, coarse black pepper, dried chili flakes, celery seed and more. I also toss in a few garlic cloves as well.

Bring a large pot of water with all the seasonings to a boil. Let it have a rolling boil for a few minutes as this allows the seasoning to infuse into the water .

This works with all sorts of shrimp. Gulf shrimp, black tiger shrimp, white shrimp, rock shrimp and others all work great. It is fine if the shrimp still has the head on, or if the head has been removed and the shrimp deveined.

There are so many different ways to buy shrimp, and they all work just fine for boiling.

Personally, I prefer to use shrimp that has the head removed but the shell still on. Sometimes I buy the kind where the shell is split and the shrimp deveined. These work very well and are super simple to remove the shell once cooked.

Every once in a while, I get some live shrimp and wow those are the best!!

If you are using frozen shrimp, make sure that they are fully thawed before throwing them into the boiling water.

How Long to Boil Shrimp?

I dump the shrimp by hand. Since the water is boiling pretty heavily, and I don’t want a big splash of boiling water, I find that placing a handful of shrimp into the pot works best.

Don’t delay though, because cooking shrimp does not take long at all.

I just keep grabbing a handful and gently placing them in the water until all the shrimp is in the pot.

Within just a few minutes, some of the shrimp will turn pink and float to the top. That is the indicator the shrimp is cooked.

A floating shrimp that is pink on all sides is done and ready to be removed from the pot.

Stand by the stove because it does not take long at all!

I use a metal strainer to scoop out the shrimp that has come to the top.

Keep scooping out the floating shrimp until all the shrimp is out of the pot.

We love to eat our shrimp cold, so I toss them in a bowl with ice cubes and place them in the fridge.

The ice cubes chills the shrimp more quickly than just using the fridge. Personally, I find that the rapid chilling of the shrimp gives them a superior texture.

Since I love my peel and eat shrimp cold, my favourite dipping sauce is cocktail sauce. It is simple but the flavour works so well to compliment the taste of the peel and eat shrimp.

For a recipe of cocktail sauce check out this – Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

Peel and Eat Shrimp Recipe

5 out of 5 1 review How to boil shrimp recipe with a spice blend similar to Old Bay seasoning. Boiled shrimp is easy to make with instructions for how long to boil shrimp. Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Servings: 4 people

  • 2 pounds shrimp , still in shell
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • 2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Fill a large pot with water. Add garlic cloves and all other seasonings.
  • Bring water to a rolling boil and let it boil for 5 minutes.
  • Drop shrimp in the boiling water.
  • Once the shrimp turns pink and floats to the top it is cooked and ready to be removed from the pot.
  • Use a metal strainer to remove the floating shrimp and transfer to a bowl.
  • Once all the shrimp is cooked and removed from the water, you can serve them hot, or chill them to serve cold.

Per serving:

Calories: 248kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 47gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 572mgSodium: 5269mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1g

Nutrition Disclaimer

Author: Steve Cylka Course: Appetizer Cuisine: American Keyword: Boiled, shrimp

Easy Peel and Eat Old Bay Shrimp are a fast, four-ingredient appetizer or light meal perfect for the warm weather. Shrimp are steamed over a beer, vinegar, and Old Bay seasoning boil for a flavorful, healthy summertime dish.

How are you doing on your summer food bucket list? Did you make a summer food bucket list? Because I’ll never pass up the opportunity to make a list, we came up with a list of food + drinks that needed to be on our menu by the time the temperature stays below 90°F, the humidity doesn’t turn my hair into a puff ball four seconds after leaving my house, and I don’t break into a sweat while going to get the mail.

Not that I’m trying to rush time, of course, but fall — I love you, I miss you, please come soon.

ANYWAY, I hope it’s not here too soon, because there are a few things on our list that have yet to be crossed off. We’ve enjoyed popsicles, frozen cocktails, ice cream cones on our balcony (this and this), and burgers/hotdogs/brats galore. Granted for that last category I must confess we’re putting our cast iron grill pan to serious use because grills aren’t allowed on our property. 😫 It’s not quite the same as grilling in the proper form, but it’ll do for BBQ-deprived apartment dwellers like us.

One of Brian’s *favorite* summer foods are steamed blue crabs, which are not hard to come by where he’s from (Maryland). That’s not the case down here in Tennessee, so we’ve been getting our steamed-seafood-loaded-with-Old-Bay fix by whipping up these peel and eat Old Bay shrimp like they’re going out of style.

This recipe is a quick and easy appetizer or light meal that can be made with either fresh or frozen and thawed shrimp. Our preferred method is actually to use frozen shrimp, because we can stock them in the freezer and always have them at the ready. If we have shrimp, 9 times out of 10 (probably more like 99 times out of 100) we have everything on hand to make these. Note that you’ll want to get shrimp with shells and tails on, and prepare them with them on, as well. The shells come off easily as you’re ready to eat.

When it comes to serving, we love these peel and eat Old Bay shrimp a few different ways. Once I remove the shell and tail, I like to dip the shrimp first in vinegar, and then in extra Old Bay. A little bit of tang from the vinegar + a little bit of zip from the spices = perfection. Of course, dipping the shrimp in melted butter or cocktail sauce works as well.

P.S. – One special kitchen gadget we use here is a steamer basket

. It’s placed in the pot so that the bottom of the basket hits just above the boiling beer/vinegar/Old Bay mixture and helps make this recipe easy breezy. I’ve linked to the type we have above, but odds are you can probably find them in the kitchenwares section of your supermarket, too. Pin 5 from 4 votes

Easy Peel and Eat Old Bay Shrimp

Easy Peel and Eat Old Bay Shrimp are a fast, four-ingredient appetizer or light meal perfect for the warm weather. Shrimp are steamed over a beer, vinegar, and Old Bay seasoning boil for a flavorful, healthy summertime dish. Course Appetizer Cuisine American Prep Time 14 minutes Cook Time 6 minutes Total Time 20 minutes Servings 4 (estimated) Calories 112kcal Author Alyssa

  • 1 12-oz bottle or can of wheat beer*
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning divided
  • 1 lb. extra large shell-on raw shrimp, either fresh or frozen and thawed
  • For serving: extra Old Bay seasoning cocktail sauce, melted butter, vinegar, etc.
  • In a large pot, stir together beer, vinegar, and 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning. Cover pot and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. When steam begins to escape the lid, place steamer basket in the pot (the liquid should not boil above the bottom of the steam basket).
  • Add shrimp to basket and pour remaining 1 1/2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning over shrimp, tossing shrimp with a spoon so that it’s evenly distributed.
  • Replace top onto pot and bring back to a boil over high heat. You should begin to see steam escaping again. Reduce temperature to medium/medium-high and steam for 5-6 minutes. Shrimp will be done when the shrimp turns pink, they’re no longer translucent, and they’re in a curled shape. Do not overcook or they will become tough and difficult to peel. Serve immediately with additional Old Bay seasoning, cocktail sauce, melted butter, white vinegar, etc.


*This recipe works best with a wheat beer, or one that is on the lighter side. Calories: 112kcal | Protein: 23.7g | Fat: 1.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 414mg | Potassium: 206mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 3.4mg

Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.

*this post contains affiliate links.

Tasty Grilled Shrimp Skewers Are Fun Little Appetizers!

A ten minute snack. That’s what these grilled shrimp skewers are. Easy to prepare and quick cooking, these grilled appetizers are a great tasting way to pass the time before the meal. Flavored with a popular seafood seasoning and speared with bamboo skewers, you just pop ’em on a hot grill for a couple of minutes per side and they’re done.

Grilled Shrimp Skewers Recipe and Instructions

For this recipe I used large shrimp, with a count per pound of 31/35. Each shrimp is about a half an ounce. Here’s how to go about making this easy snack.

First step, light the grill and crank it to high.


  • Two pounds 31/35 size shrimp.
  • Two tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning
  • One teaspoon black pepper
  • One quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Two tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Bamboo skewers

Mix the dry seasonings together, then stir it in with the shrimp. Add the oil to the shrimp, being sure each one is coated thoroughly. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers and put ’em on the grill, over direct, high heat.

If you want to grill smoke these little beauties, about 10 minutes before grilling the shrimp, toss a few woodchips onto the charcoal. Make a small foil pack filled with chips if you’re using a gas grill. Don’t use too much wood. Shrimp is delicate, and just a touch of smoke flavor is plenty.

It takes only a couple of minutes per side to cook this size shrimp. If you use a larger size, give ’em a little more time. When the shrimp turn pink, they’re ready to eat.

Keep a couple of bags of frozen shrimp on hand, so when the urge strikes for a quick snack, you can whip up a batch of these grilled shrimp appetizers.

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Shrimp has always been a Sweeney family favorite. We love shrimp grilled, roasted, poached, sautéed, and even in ceviche. We love shrimp so much that sometimes my sister is called ‘lil shrint.’ During the summer, there’s no better way to cook shrimp than on the grill. My dad recently introduced me to Maryland-style shrimp — it’s basically shrimp that’s been coated in Old Bay seasoning. It’s finger licking good, but I decided to take it one step further by adding in a couple other ingredients. This recipe is quick, easy, and oh-so-scrumptious. It’s got everything necessary to become a new family favorite!

Grilled Shrimp With Old Bay

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deviened
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons Old Bay
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Place the shrimp in a large bowl or big plastic ziploc baggie.
  2. Add the olive oil, garlic, chili powder, Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Season generously with salt and pepper. Toss everything to combine, making sure that all of the shrimp is coated in the oil and spices.
  3. Set aside to marinade for 15 minutes. If you want to marinade it longer, place covered and closed, in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours.
  4. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill. You’ll want it to be medium high heat. If you can hold your hand 5 inches above the rack for only a couple of seconds, it’s hot enough.
  5. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and place directly on the grill. They cook very quickly so pay attention. When they curl and start to turn pink, flip and cook for 1 minute longer, about 3-4 minutes total. Serve immediately with lots of napkins and grilled bread, if desired.

Serves 4-6.


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