Old Bay Steamed Shrimp Recipe


Old Bay Steamed Shrimp is a classic and simple seafood dish that highlights the flavors of the ocean with a zesty and aromatic touch. Perfect for a quick and easy appetizer or a light main course, this recipe features succulent shrimp steamed with the iconic Old Bay seasoning and a splash of apple cider vinegar for extra tanginess. Serve it with fresh lemon wedges, and you have a delightful dish ready in minutes.

Overview of the Recipe

This recipe involves steaming large, deveined shrimp in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, and Old Bay seasoning. The process is straightforward and takes just a few minutes, ensuring the shrimp are tender and flavorful. The combination of Old Bay seasoning and apple cider vinegar adds a distinctive flavor that enhances the natural sweetness of the shrimp.

History and Origin

Old Bay seasoning is a staple in American cuisine, particularly in the Chesapeake Bay area, where it originated. Developed in the 1940s, Old Bay is a blend of spices that has become synonymous with seafood dishes. Steaming shrimp with Old Bay seasoning is a traditional method that captures the essence of East Coast seafood cooking, known for its simplicity and robust flavors.


  • 2 pounds large shrimp, deveined and shells on
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • Lemon wedges for serving


  1. Prepare the Steaming Liquid: In a large pot, combine the apple cider vinegar, water, and Old Bay seasoning. Stir to mix the seasoning into the liquid.
  2. Bring to a Boil: Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. The vinegar and water should create a flavorful steam infused with Old Bay seasoning.
  3. Steam the Shrimp: Add the shrimp to the pot, ensuring they are evenly spread out. Cover the pot with a lid and steam the shrimp for 2-3 minutes. The shrimp are done when they turn pink and are cooked through.
  4. Remove and Serve: Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the shrimp from the pot and transfer them to a serving dish. Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the shrimp.


Old Bay Steamed Shrimp is best served hot, straight from the pot. Arrange the shrimp on a large serving platter with plenty of lemon wedges. This dish can be served as an appetizer, part of a seafood platter, or as a light main course. For a complete meal, consider pairing it with a side of coleslaw, corn on the cob, or a fresh green salad.

Pairing and Serving Suggestions

Old Bay Steamed Shrimp pairs well with a variety of side dishes and drinks. Consider serving it with:

  • Side Dishes: Potato salad, garlic bread, steamed vegetables, or a simple pasta salad.
  • Beverages: Iced tea, lemonade, or a refreshing cucumber-infused water. For a non-alcoholic festive option, try a sparkling cider.

Variations of the Recipe

  • Spicy Variation: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a few dashes of hot sauce to the steaming liquid for an extra kick.
  • Garlic Variation: Toss a few minced garlic cloves into the pot for a garlicky flavor.
  • Butter Variation: Melt some butter and toss the steamed shrimp in it before serving for a richer taste.
  • Herb Variation: Add a handful of fresh herbs like parsley or dill to the steaming liquid for a fresh, aromatic twist.

Health Benefits

Shrimp is a nutritious seafood option that offers several health benefits:

  • Low in Calories: Shrimp is low in calories yet high in protein, making it an excellent choice for a light and healthy meal.
  • Rich in Nutrients: It is a good source of selenium, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for overall health.
  • Antioxidants: Shrimp contains antioxidants like astaxanthin, which can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health.


For best results, use fresh, large shrimp with the shells on. The shells help to lock in moisture and flavor during steaming. Adjust the amount of Old Bay seasoning according to your taste preference, and ensure the shrimp are not overcooked to maintain their tender texture.


Q: Can I use frozen shrimp for this recipe? A: Yes, you can use frozen shrimp, but make sure to thaw them completely and pat them dry before steaming.

Q: How do I know when the shrimp are done? A: The shrimp are done when they turn pink and opaque. Overcooked shrimp will become tough and rubbery, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the pot as soon as they are done.

Q: Can I use a different seasoning blend? A: While Old Bay seasoning is traditional, you can experiment with other seafood seasoning blends to suit your taste.

Q: How do I devein shrimp with the shells on? A: To devein shrimp with the shells on, use a small knife or a shrimp deveiner to make a shallow cut along the back of the shrimp and remove the dark vein.


Old Bay Steamed Shrimp is a quick, easy, and delicious way to enjoy seafood. With its minimal ingredients and simple cooking method, this dish is perfect for both busy weeknights and special occasions. The distinctive flavor of Old Bay seasoning combined with the tanginess of apple cider vinegar makes these steamed shrimp a standout dish that is sure to impress. Enjoy them hot with a squeeze of fresh lemon, and savor the taste of the sea.

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