How to Devein Shrimp 2024 | Easy Step by Step Tutorial

What is more delicious than eating fish? almost nothing. but at the same time, there is nothing worse than having a messy countertop full of fish scales, right?

That’s why in this handy step-by-step guide we will be showing you how to scale fish like a pro!

How to Devein Shrimp  Easy Step by Step Tutorial

If you are cooking jumbo shrimp or larger shrimp, the veins are pretty easy to remove. However, many chefs will skip the deveining process for medium-sized or smaller shrimp unless they seem very gritty because they find it time-consuming and cooking time waste to “fish” out every vein, especially if they have larger amounts of shrimp.

Before I Step up your seafood skills, let me first answer this question.

Why Do We Devein Shrimp?

While you are shopping at the fish counter, you will notice raw shrimp with thin, black lines along their backs. These dark color lines are commonly referred to as the dark vein.

The vein is actually the digestive tract of the shrimp, and the dark color there is grit.

It is not harmful to eat this dark vein, but it is not at all visually appealing, plus it could make the shrimp have a gritty texture more than desired.

If you want to know more about whether you should devein shrimp or not, you can have a look at this article “Do I really need to devein shrimp?

How to devein shrimp without peeling?

How to devein shrimp without peeling?

Here are two ways to devein shrimp without taking off the outer shell, to make a yummy boiled or grilled shrimp dish.

Method #1. Devein Shrimps with a Toothpick

how to devein shrimp using a tooth pick

The method keeps the shell and removes the sand vein.

Gather Your Tools:

For the deveining process, you’ll need:

  • Toothpick
  • Sharp knife


  • Split the top of the shrimp with your hands to make a small split in the top of the shell, but make sure not to pull any of the shells out.
  • Use the sharp knife in a linear shape by grasping your knife blade. and then move it straight to the shrimp back.
  • Make a small cut at the back.
  • When you see the black vein, then, it is time to get your toothpick to pull it out.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of your shrimp.
  • Wash the shrimp with cold running water.

For further instructions, you can watch this video:

Method #2. Devein shrimp with a knife

If you are not good at using multiple tools at the same time, this method is perfect for you. as you will only need a sharp paring knife.

Gather Your Tools:

For the deveining process, you’ll need:

  • Paring knife
  • Potato starch (optional)


  • Get to the shrimp back by slightly moving one of the shells backward or forward. ( make sure you do not pull it out completely).
  • Use your knife blade and dig a small hole into the back of the shrimp.
  • Use the knife’s tip to remove the vein.
  • When you finish deveining your shrimp, put potato starch in the shrimp dish, and wash your shrimp in it.
  • The potato starch will eliminate any bad smell from your shrimp.

How To Peel & Devein Shrimp?

If you want to make deep-fried shrimp, Nigiri sushi, shrimp and crab soup, or brothy soups, then you need to get your peeled and deveined shrimp. Here are the easiest three methods to peel and devein shrimp

Method #1. Peel and Devein Shrimps With a Fork

devein shrimp with a fork
devein shrimp with a fork

Gather Your Tools:

For the deveining process, you’ll need:

  • Fork or tined cooking fork
  • Bowl of ice water


  • pull the shrimp head with your hand.
  • Place the endpoint of your fork at the beginning of the shrimp; between the shrimp shell and the flesh.
  • After you placed your fork at the right position between the flesh and the shell. All you have to do is simply move your fork in the same direction heading to the tail.
  • After heading to the tail. you’ll be able to get out the shrimp shell and the tail while keeping only the body. (You can use the shrimp head and tail in cooking a delicious seafood stock).
  • Use the endpoint of the fork again to make a small hole, in which you will get the shrimp’s vein out.
  • Rinse the shrimp with cold water.

Method #2. Devein Shrimp with Kitchen Shears

Devein Shrimp with Kitchen Shears

Gather Your Tools:

For the deveining process, you’ll need:

  • Kitchen Shears
  • Knife


  • Twist off the head with your hand to remove it.
  • Adjust the position of your kitchen scissors in the middle of the shrimps’ back.
  • Cut half of the shell from the middle, you will be cutting half of the shell heading to the tail.
  • Repeat the process with the other half.
  • You will be able to get the shell out easily, and you can keep the tail for cooking a delicious seafood stock.
  • Dig a knife’s tip to get out the shrimp’s intestinal tract.
  • If you can not find it, you can make a small hole at the shrimps’ back so, you can be able to get it out.

Method #3. Devein Shrimp with a Deveiner

Devein Shrimp with a Deveiner

Shrimp deveiner is the easiest way of deveining shrimp. It saves a lot of time and effort if you are making large shrimp quantities. It simply pulls the shell out along with the black vein of the shrimps in one go

There is a bunch of deveiners out there to clean your shrimps easily. if you are confused about choosing the best deveiner on the market. consider reading our article Best Shrimp Deveiner.

Gather Your Tools:

For the deveining process, you’ll need:

  • Shrimp deveining tool
  • Knife


  • Start by removing the head of your shrimp and putting them aside.
  • Adjust the position of the tool by placing it right below the shell of the shrimp.
  • Start moving the deveiner straight towards the tail so about halfway to three-quarters of the way through a shrimp heading to the tail.
  • Switch your hand to be on the top side of the shrimp.
  • Then, move the deveiner towards the tail like the previous step.

Shrimp Deveining Tools—Worth It?

Shrimp deveining tools are way better and more comfortable than the other methods. they will peel and devein shrimp at the same time unless you want to keep the shells to make yummy shellfish recipes shrimp.

but still, this depends on how much you love shrimp! If you find yourself having to peel and devein large amounts of shrimp often, is better to get yourself a deveiner to make your life easier. However, a paring knife can also work perfectly for the same purpose.

What to Do with the Leftover Shells?

shrimps leftover

Shrimp shells make such a delicious seafood stock, the reason is that each piece of shrimp shell holds much of the delicious taste of the shrimp.

So, when you have leftover shells, you can save them in the freezer till needed. And when it is time to prepare your delicious shrimp recipe, all you need to do is to boil them for about 20 mins to get a yummy shrimp stock.

Should Shrimp Tails be Removed?

Should Shrimp Tails be Removed

You can leave the tail intact in dishes where it is obvious, in order for diners to be able to remove it themselves. You should also leave them on If you are frying the shrimp or making a bowl for a shrimp cocktail because it adds prettier presentation, and extra flavor to the dish, plus it makes the shrimp more tasty, crunchy, and larger in size.

On the other hand, in delicious shrimp recipes where a heavy sauce disguises the tail, it is better to remove it, so that you don’t surprise your invitee with an unexpected crunch bite of shrimp.

How To Quick Thaw Frozen Shrimp?

If you are in a hurry and didn’t plan ahead, you can put the shrimp in a bowl of ice water. Then place a small lid on the bowl to keep the shrimp fully submerged. Let sit for around 20 mins until thawed.

If after 20 mins the shrimp still isn’t thawed, you can change the water one more time.

Best Shrimp Recipes

  • Seafood risotto
  • Bacon-wrapped shrimp
  • Bowl for shrimp cocktail
  • Cajun popcorn shrimp
  • Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry
  • Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil
  • Old Bay Shrimp and Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner
  • Shrimp Alfredo
  • Grilled shrimp Skewers
  • Cajun Shrimp and Rice Skillet
  • Shrimp Fajitas
Photo of author

Daniel Rogers

My name is Daniel Rogers, a 35-year-old enthusiast of the kitchen. From the moment that I entered the kitchen, I have been passionate about cooking and baking. This passion made me eager enough to know more about the kitchen tools that I use. The older I become, the more I become knowledgeable about kitchen tools. When and how to use a special tool in the kitchen becomes my hobby. I read a lot about many brands, tried some of them by myself, and gathered sufficient information about the others.

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