How to peel and devein shrimp is an easy kitchen skill to master.  Enjoy using freshly cleaned shrimp for all your favorite shrimp recipes.  Impress your dinner guests with fresh shrimp that looks and tastes amazing.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
fresh shrimp in a bowl
45 Minutes or Less, How To, Seafood

How to Peel and Devein Shrimp

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Have you ever wanted to buy fresh shrimp but didn’t because you thought it would be tricky to clean them?  Put your fears at ease, because it’s really simple to do.  Keep reading to find out how it’s done.

Since we live in Brunswick, Georgia, we have the privilege of buying locally caught fresh sweet Georgia white shrimp.  There is a local wholesale seafood place called Poteet Seafood Company.  You can check out their website here if you are interested in ordering some fresh shrimp.  This isn’t a sponsored post; I just love their product.

bag of Georgia shrimp ready to be peeled and deveined

How do you peel raw shrimp?

First rinse the shrimp under cold water, then using your hands, pull off the legs.  Slide your finger under the shell and pull it off, then pinch off the tails if desired.

pulling the tail off a Georgia shrimp

Can I use the shells?

Yes, you can use them to make seafood stock.  Just rinse them, let them drain, and place in a freezer bag for later use or use right away.

shells from fresh Georgia shrimp

Is it necessary to devein shrimp?

In larger shrimp, the digestive tract is more pronounced than smaller shrimp, so most chefs prefer to remove it because it is unsightly and it adds some grittiness.  When the vein is removed, shrimp look better and have a cleaner taste.

How to do you devein White Georgia shrimp?

  • Hold the inside of the shrimp facing you.
  • Run the tip of a knife along the vein.
  • Pull the vein out with the tip of the knife.
  • Note: Many shrimp have the vein on the back.  In that case, you would have the back of the shrimp facing you.

deveining a fresh Georgia shrimp

 What are three benefits of peeling and deveining shrimp?

  1. Enjoy the incredible taste of fresh shrimp.
  2. Save some money.
  3. Increase your kitchen confidence.

See, the process of peeling and deveining shrimp is quick, simple, and painless.  The best part is when you sit down to enjoy your labor by savoring the best shrimp you’ve ever had.  If you’ve never had fresh shrimp cooked at home, I encourage you to try it tonight.

Now that you’re a shrimp peeling expert, use your skills to enjoy these other delicious recipes.

holding a bowl of shrimp and grits spoonful of jambalaya holding a bowl of gumbo 

Share how these tips for peeling and deveining shrimp worked for you by leaving a comment below.

fresh shrimp in a bowl

How to Peel and Devein Shrimp

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 33 large shrimp 1x


How to peel and devein shrimp is an easy kitchen skill to master.  Enjoy using freshly cleaned shrimp for all your favorite shrimp recipes.  Impress your dinner guests with fresh shrimp that looks and tastes amazing.



  • 1 pound fresh shrimp (roughly 33 large shrimp)


Peeling the Shrimp by Hand

  1. Remove the legs.
  2. Using your thumb, crack the underside of the shell.  It is softer here, so it’s easier to insert your thumb to remove the shell.  Peel around the base of the tail, and remove the shell.
  3. If you want to keep the tail on for presentation, then you can skip the next step.
  4. If you want to remove the tail for ease when eating, pinch the tail in the middle and pull it off.
  5. Rinse and drain the shells, and place in a freezer bag to freeze for later use.

Cleaning the White Georgia Shrimp

  1. Using a sharp pairing knife, run the blade along the underside of a shrimp.  You will see a dark grey vein.  Use the tip of the knife to pull the string-like vein out, then wipe off the vein onto a paper towel, or rinse it off.  Repeat with the remaining shrimp.
  2. Rinse the peeled and deveined shrimp under cold water and pat dry using a paper towel.
  3. Keep cool on ice and/or refrigerate until ready to cook.


  • You can also use kitchen shears to remove the shell.  Make a small cut at one end and remove the shell.  This keeps your hands a bit cleaner.
  • You can also use a toothpick to remove the vein.  Insert the wooden skewer closer to the tail section to make a small slit and pull out the vein.
  • To make shrimp extra clean after peeling and deveining, place shrimp in a bowl, sprinkle on potato starch, rub it into the shrimp, then rinse it off.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Hand Peeling
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: peel and devein shrimp, cleaning shrimp, removing shells

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