Beer Boiled Peel and Eat Shrimp

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Peel and eat shrimp cooked and soaked in a spicy Old Bay seasoned beer broth.  Serve warm or cold with lemons, cocktail sauce, and plenty of napkins.

beer boiled shrimp sprinkled with Old Bay in a white bowl with lemon wedges

I love making this recipe for company.  It can be served hot or cold so you can make it while your company waits or make it earlier in the day and avoid kitchen detail when guests arrive.  It gets made at least 6 times a year for guests and another 6 for the hubby.

Some recipes call for steaming but I don’t think it leaves enough flavor.  Simmering your broth before cooking the shrimp adds a richness to the cooking liquid.

Allowing it to sit in the broth lets even more flavor soak in. These shrimp are really good enough to eat without lemons and cocktail sauce.

beer boiled shrimp in white bowl and a bowl of cocktail sauce with a shrimp on the rim

Shrimp Boil

This rich beer broth is perfect for an entire shrimp boil.

You’re going to need a lot more liquid though, so plan on at least doubling broth ingredients.  Depending on how many you are serving, you may need more than double.  That’s fine, this recipe can be adjusted up or down without an issue.

You will want to make sure that your potatoes, corn, and sausage are completely cooked through before adding the shrimp.

Even with a shrimp boil, you want to stop the shrimp from cooking as soon as they float to the top.  No one likes tough shrimp.

If you need extra time to finish cooking any of the other ingredients while the shrimp are in the liquid, the shrimp are going to be overcooked. Add them last!


Lemon halves, onions wedges, celery pieces, Old Bay seasoning, and a glass of beer on a cutting board


The shrimp for this recipe can be any size and of the frozen variety or “fresh” from the fish/meat department.

In parts of the country not blessed with miles of shoreline, that “fresh” shrimp was more than likely frozen and allowed to sit in that glass case.  You will likely save some cash by buying frozen.

Frozen shrimp in a white colandar

Shell-on shrimp work the best for holding all of those flavors next to the shrimp until they have been peeled.  De-veined is fine, actually, it’s the one I generally use since it cuts out the step of cleaning shrimp.

These are also easier for guests to peel and you don’t have to watch them fight with mud veins.

I have used up to 5 pounds of frozen shrimp without increasing the amount of beer broth.

Beer Broth

I use any standard American lager we might have leftover from some party.  Imports and craft beers all work fine with this recipe.

Be sure and use a gluten-free beer if you have any guests that are gluten-free.  Or in our case, a friend with a wheat allergy.

Now you need to add some aromatics to the broth.  Our all-time favorites are celery, onions, fresh lemons, and a healthy dose of Old Bay seasoning.

You will need more Old Bay seasoning for dusting these peel and eat shrimp when they are finished cooking.


Add 2 bottles of beer and 4 cups of water to a large stockpot.

Add 1 large lemon cut in half, 4 cleaned celery stalks cut into pieces, 1 large onion that has been cut into large dice, and 1 tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning and bring the mixture to a boil.

Celery, onions, and lemons floating in beer broth in a pan

Reduce the heat to simmer and allow the beer bath to simmer for at least 15 minutes and up to 60.  The longer the broth simmers, the more flavorful the end product will be.

Remove the lemon, celery, and onions pieces from the broth.

Wilted celery, onions, and lemons in a kitchen spider over a pot of beer broth

Bring the beer bath back to a rolling boil and add the shrimp.

While you’re waiting for it to come back to aboil fill a large bowl with ice, you need at least 2 cups and set it near the stove.

Once the water comes back to a boil and the shrimp float, about 3 to 10 minutes depending on the size and amount of shrimp used, remove the pan from the heat and dump in the ice.

Cooked shrimp and ice cubes in a pot of broth with a wooden spoon

Allow the shrimp to sit in the warm beer bath for 15 to 30 minutes.  It can sit longer but you won’t get much more flavor after about 30 minutes.

The shrimp can be served now, or it can be placed covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Once the shrimp have been plated, give them a good dusting of more Old Bay seasoning.  Be generous, a lot of seasoning will be lost on the discarded shells and messy fingers.

Serve with lemon, cocktail sauce, and plenty of napkins.  Don’t forget an empty bowl for collecting shrimp shells.  We call that a bone bowl around here and we use it when eating ribs and chicken wings.

shrimp hanging on a bowl of cocktail sauce, a lemon wedges, a shrimp shell, salt and pepper shakers, and bowl of shrimp


Simmer the beer bath for a bit to get all the flavor possible out of the aromatics before cooking the shrimp.

Remove all of the cooked onions, celery, and lemons from the broth before adding the shrimp.  Those things don’t look great on a serving platter and you will have a heck of a time picking them out of the shrimp later.

Use an ice bath to stop the cooking process as soon as the shrimp float to prevent overcooked and tough shrimp.  Allow the shrimp to soak in this beer bath to absorb more flavor.

If you don’t use an ice bath to stop the cooking, you need to go ahead and remove the shrimp as soon as they float.


Coconut Shrimp

Butterfly Shrimp

Shrimp Scampi

shell-on shrimp in teal bucket and a bowl of cocktail sauce with a shrimp



Cooked shrimp sprinkled with Old Bay in a white bowl with lemon wedges

Beer Boiled Peel and Eat Shrimp Recipe

Shrimp cooked in a simple, yet delicious, beer bath. Can be served hot or cold.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 2 pounds Shrimp
Calories: 135kcal
Author: Beth Mueller


  • 32 ounces Beer
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 Lemon cut in half
  • 2 stalks Celery cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 large Onion cut in half
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 pounds Shell-on Shrimp
  • 2 cups Ice
  • Additional Old Bay Seasoning if desired


  • In a large pot bring beer, water, lemon, celery, onion, and Old Bay to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until celery and onions are limp. 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Remove celery, onions, and lemon.
  • Bring the liquid back to a boil and add shrimp. Frozen shrimp is fine.
  • Boil just until shrimp floats.
  • Immediately turn off heat.
  • Add 2 cups of ice to shrimp and liquid.
  • Allow shrimp to steep in water for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove shrimp from liquid and serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold. Sprinkle with additional Old Bay seasoning if desired. Serve with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, and plenty of napkins.


Any size shrimp can be used, just cook until shrimp float. Time will vary by size of shrimp. Frozen shrimp should also just be cooked until they float.


Serving: 4ounces of shrimp | Calories: 135kcal | Protein: 27g | Fat: 1.9g | Saturated Fat: 0.6g | Cholesterol: 239mg | Sodium: 277mg
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