How to Make a Quick Shrimp Stock

Quick Shrimp Stock

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 0 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cup

Before you throw away all of those shrimp shells, consider making a shrimp stock with them. Shrimp stock adds extra flavor to your seafood dishes, maintaining a seafood flavor (vs. the addition of chicken or vegetable stock)—at no extra cost. So, next time you're peeling shrimp, save the shells and make this quick and easy stock. The recipe is for using shells from one pound of shrimp, but it can be adjusted depending on the weight of your shrimp.

If you don't have time to make the stock when you are using the shrimp, don't discard the shells. Put them in a heavy-duty freezer bag or container and freeze them for later use. If tightly closed, they'll keep for about three months until you're ready for them.

And if you're a gardener, the shrimp shells are great for the soil. So after you've made the stock, add the mineral-rich shells to your compost pile or work them directly into the soil for the ultimate in recycling efficiency.


  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • Shells from 1 pound of shrimp
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Salt (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Quick Shrimp Stock ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the shrimp shells and toss well.

    cook shrimp shells in oil

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Allow the shells to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often.

    shrimp shells cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Add the water to the shells. Bring to a simmer, pressing down on the shells with a spatula or large spoon to extract maximum flavor. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes.

    shrimp shells cooking with water in a pan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Pour the stock through a mesh strainer into a saucepan, pressing down on the shells until all the liquid is extracted.

    Pour the stock through a mesh strainer into a saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary.  

    Quick Shrimp Stock, add salt to the saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Recipe Variations

  • Use flavored oils such as garlic, basil, or sun-dried tomato oil to sauté the shells.
  • Use aromatics like fresh rosemary, celery leaves, allspice berries, or citrus rinds in the cooking water.
  • Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white wine or light chicken stock for an equal amount of the cooking water.