How to Make Shrimp Stock

Make homemade shrimp stock from leftover shrimp shells with this simple and economical tutorial. All your favorite seafood recipes will taste even more delicious! Freezer-friendly.

Shrimp stock labeled in three mason jars.

Shrimp shells, tails, heads, legs, all the parts that we usually don’t eat: They’re loaded with shrimpy flavor!

All you have to do is coax it out with a little boiling water and some time. It’s the same basic technique people use for making chicken stock with chicken bones.

It’s also the reason I tend to buy shrimp with their shells still attached. It’s easy to clean shrimp, then stash the crunchy bits in a freezer bag until there’s enough to work with.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled shrimp stock ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Shrimp shells: The star of the show. Gather and save as many uncooked shrimp shells, legs, tails, and heads as you can. Stow them away in the depths of your deep-freeze and try not to forget about them. Technically, you can make stock with cooked shells, but the flavor will be weaker.
  • Cold water: Always start with cold water. This helps keep the broth clear, not cloudy. The amount of water used and the length of simmering time will determine the intensity of the broth.
  • Vegetables: Some cooks save old vegetable trimmings to add to their broth. I prefer to start with new, fresh vegetables because I think the broth will taste better. So yes, we peel the carrots, and save your vegetable scraps for composting!
  • Herbs and spices: A sachet is a fancy term for parsley stems, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and optionally, garlic or cloves, tied up in a piece of cheesecloth with twine. You could also use a tea ball or loose leaf tea bag to hold them. It makes it easier to pull these small ingredients out of the broth later. Or, you can just add everything straight to the pot since you strain the broth at the end.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Gather your ingredients, and add them to the bottom of a stockpot. Then cover them with cold water. You can use more or less water, depending on how many shells you’ve got, and how fully-flavored you want the stock to taste.
    Shrimp stock ingredients in a silver pot.
  2. Cover and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, uncover and turn the heat down so that the water simmers. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes or so. Longer, if you like.
    Shrimp stock ingredients in a silver pot.
  3. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid through a layer or two of cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer. Finally, you can discard those shells, the vegetables, and spices.
    Shrimp stock being strained over a clear bowl.
  4. Let the stock cool completely and pour the stock into clean, freezer-safe containers.
    Shrimp stock in three mason jars.

Recipe tips or variations:

  • Refrigerate: Store shrimp stock in the refrigerator and use within 4 days.
  • Freezer: Divide the stock into freezer-safe containers (I like to use 16-ounce glass jars) and leave 1/2-inch head space for expansion. Label and date, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Shrimp stock vs. broth: Technically, stock is made with just bones (or shells), while broth is made with the bones and meat.
  • Seafood stock: Lobster bodies (lucky you!) and crab bodies can also be added to make a fantastic seafood stock.

More seafood recipes:

 

Three jars of shrimp stock on a white platter.

How to Make Shrimp Stock

Make homemade shrimp stock from leftover shrimp shells with this simple and economical tutorial. All your favorite seafood recipes will taste even more delicious! Freezer-friendly.
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Course: Pantry, Soup
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 73kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shrimp shells from 2 pounds large shrimp (about 6 ounces, see note 1)
  • Cold water about 8 cups (see note 2)
  • 1 medium onion peeled and halved (see note 3)
  • 1 carrot peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 rib celery coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Sachet (see note 4):

  • 6 fresh parsley stems
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

Instructions

  • To a Dutch oven or large stock pot, add shrimp shells, onion, carrot, celery, and salt. If desired, tie parsley stems, thyme, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns in a sachet or add loosely to the pot (see note 4). Add cold water to cover.
  • Over medium-high heat, cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered (bubbles should barely break the surface at irregular intervals) for 20 minutes.
  • Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Chill covered in the refrigerator, then divide the broth into freezer-safe containers (leaving at least 1/2-inch for expansion), label, and freeze.

Notes

  1. Shrimp shells: The star of the show. Gather and save as many uncooked shrimp shells, legs, tails, and heads as you can. Stow them away in the depths of your deep-freeze and try not to forget about them. Technically, you can make stock with cooked shells, but the flavor will be weaker.
  2. Cold water: Always start with cold water. This helps keep the broth clear, not cloudy. The amount of water used and the length of simmering time will determine the intensity of the broth.
  3. Vegetables: Some cooks save old vegetable trimmings to add to their broth. I prefer to start with new, fresh vegetables because I think the broth will taste better. So yes, we peel the carrots, and save your vegetable scraps for composting!
  4. Herbs and spices: A sachet is a fancy term for parsley stems, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and optionally, garlic or cloves, tied up in a piece of cheesecloth with twine. You could also use a tea ball or loose leaf tea bag to hold them. It makes it easier to pull these small ingredients out of the broth later. Or, you can just add everything straight to the pot since you strain the broth at the end.
  5. Refrigerate: Store shrimp stock in the refrigerator and use within 4 days.
  6. Freezer: Divide the stock into freezer-safe containers (I like to use 16-ounce glass jars) and leave 1/2-inch head space for expansion. Label and date, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  7. Shrimp stock vs. broth: Technically, stock is made with just bones (or shells), while broth is made with the bones and meat.
  8. Seafood stock: Lobster bodies (lucky you!) and crab bodies can also be added to make a fantastic seafood stock.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2735mg | Potassium: 392mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2677IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 1mg
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