Easy Pan Seared Shrimp

seared shrimp on plate FI

5 from 9 reviews

This easy pan seared shrimp recipe is ready in only 10 minutes! The cold-start cooking method, adapted from Cook's Illustrated, guarantees nicely browned shrimp that are always tender and juicy - never overcooked!


Units Scale
  • 1 pound (454 g) jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (avocado oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, smoked or regular
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or salt to taste (Diamond Crystal; for table salt or Morton kosher use 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)


  1. Pat the shrimp dry very well with clean paper towels. 
  2. Add the shrimp to a bowl, along with the oil, paprika, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper (optional).
  3. Toss the shrimp together with the oil and seasonings, until the shrimp are evenly coated.
  4. Place a large (~12 inches/30 cm) non-stick skillet on the stove top (with the burner off). Arrange the shrimp in the skillet so they are evenly spaced. (If there isn't enough room to arrange the shrimp without crowding, cook shrimp in 2 batches.)
  5. Turn the burner on to high heat. Without touching the shrimp, let them cook for 3 - 4 minutes, or until the edges of the shrimp are starting to turn opaque and the underside of the shrimp are browned. 
  6. Turn off the burner, but keep the pan in place. Flip the shrimp to the other side. Let the shrimp stay in the hot pan for another 2 - 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through (the shrimp should be curled into a "C" shape, and the flesh will have a pearly opaque color).
  7. As soon as the shrimp are cooked, remove them to a plate and serve immediately.


Jumbo shrimp typically have between 21 - 24 shrimps per pound. You can use shrimp that are slightly larger or smaller than this size, but you may need to adjust the cook time up or down accordingly.

This recipe works best with a non-stick skillet. You can also use a stainless steel skillet, but spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray before adding the shrimp. Because of the cold-start cooking method, a cast-iron pan is not recommended.

For best results, use a burner that is large enough to cover the cook surface of the pan you are using. If you use a burner that is too small, the shrimp may not cook as evenly.

The cook times listed are approximate. Cook times may vary based on the size of shrimp, the type of pan, and type and size of burner you are using. So, use the visual cues to know when the shrimp are done (the shrimp should be curled into a "C" shape, and the flesh will have a pearly opaque color).

The nutrition information below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. The nutrition counts of your dish will vary based on the brands and exact amounts of ingredients used. See our full nutrition disclosure policy.