Shrimp are sold by count per pound in the United States. The number on the label will indicate the number of shrimp in the package. If it reads 21/25, you know there should be from 21 to 25 shrimp in each pound.
Here's a general list of size designations and counts per pound, where the "U" means "under" or "less than."
|Size||Count Per Pound|
One thing to keep in mind is that the size designation isn't standard. What one store or vendor might call "Large," another might call "Jumbo." It's best to shop according to count, calculating how many shrimp you'll need for each person.
Nutritional factors might come into play as well. While plain boiled shrimp are low in fat and calories, (about 115 to 120 calories and 1 gram of fat in 4 ounces) deep fried or butter-rich garlic shrimp will increase that number significantly.
If you are serving several appetizers, allow 2 to 3 (medium or larger) shrimp per person. Calculate even more shrimp per person if there are no other appetizers on the menu.
Battered and deep-fried shrimp with remoulade sauce (pictured) make a tasty appetizer, but you might want to go with boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce if you're aware of guests' dietary restrictions or if you are serving many other appetizers.
According to the American Heart Association, a serving of fish or seafood is about 3 ounces, but that can vary, depending on appetite and whether you are feeding young children. Allow about 4 ounces for each adult and about 2 ounces for small children. If the shrimp are unpeeled or head-on, such as in a shrimp boil, allow roughly 6 to 8 ounces per person.
If you aren't sure about appetites, err on the side of more.
Shrimp Servings By the Numbers
- Medium and below, about 9 to 11 shrimp per person
- Large to jumbo, about 5 to 7 shrimp per person
- Extra jumbo and above, about 3 to 5 per person
Nutritional Facts Per 1 Ounce Cooked Shrimp
Total Fat: 0.66g
- Saturated Fat: 0.125g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.255g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 0.096g
Total Carbohydrate: 0.35g
- Dietary Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 0g
Whether you will be serving it as a main dish, snack, or appetizer, there are many ways to prepare and cook shrimp. Shrimp scampi, a classic garlic-laden shrimp dish, can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish with rice or pasta. Shrimp Creole and etouffee are Louisiana-style shrimp dishes with tomato-based sauces. Or try this garlic shrimp, cooked and served from the slow cooker. For cold dishes, consider this tasty pickled shrimp or a flavorful shrimp salad.