Homemade Shrimp Stock is a great make ahead ingredient. Sauté the shrimp shells with garlic, before adding water and some aromatic fresh herbs for a great tasting base stock. Once cooked, this versatile ingredient can be used in a whole range of different dishes.
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My family loves shrimp, and shrimp based dishes feature regularly on the weekly dinner plan. Whilst I use the shrimp meat, I hate to see the shrimp shells going to waste.
Shrimp shells have so much flavor, that rather throwing them away, I like to make this simple shrimp stock. This is my best shrimp stock recipe, it uses ingredients most of us will have at home, and adds a boost of flavor to any dish it is added to.
I make my shrimp stock on the stovetop, but you can also use make Instant Pot Shrimp Stock, or Slow Cooker Shrimp Stock and I explain both those processes later in the post.
I like making my own homemade stocks and broths; that way, I know what’s going into them. Homemade stock is always healthy as it contains no preservatives and also happens to be naturally gluten-free.
- Shrimp shells – I usually buy a pound or two of shrimp at a time and save the shells.
- Aromatics and Herbs – I use garlic, celery, yellow onion, carrot, celery, whole black peppercorns, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and salt.
- Water – to make the stock.
How to make shrimp stock
Heat a large pot over medium heat.
Add the oil, shrimp shells, and garlic and sauté until the shells turn pink, about 2-3 minutes.
Add water, onion, carrot, celery, black peppercorns, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf to the pot and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until the liquid has reduced and the stock tastes like shrimp.
Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Add salt if desired.
Cool and use immediately or store for later use.
Other cooking methods
This recipe is easily adapted to suit other methods of cooking and I’ve detailed those below.
How to make shrimp stock in Instant Pot
After sautéing the shrimp shells and garlic in the oil, add to the Instant Pot along with the remaining ingredients. Cover the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, then allow the pressure cooker to naturally release for 10 minutes.
How to make shrimp stock in slow cooker
Follow the directions above but add ingredients to a slow cooker after sautéing the shrimp shells and garlic. Slow cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Why sauté the shrimp shells when making stock?
Sautéing the shrimp shells in garlic first adds depth of flavor to the finished stock. This important steps results in a richer, fuller, intensely flavored shrimp broth.
Uses for shrimp stock
As is the case with any great quality homemade stock, it can be used in a variety of dishes. Try adding it to soups, stews, risotto, basically any dish where you would be adding a fish or seafood based stock.
This makes a great base for shrimp stock soup, sauté some veggies, add the stock and finally some fresh shrimp.
You can also adapt the flavors to make an Asian shrimp stock, by adding some soy sauce, rice wine and slices of fresh ginger. Fresh red chilies can also be added for a kick of heat.
What makes homemade stock different to store bought?
Homemade stock always tastes better as you can tailor the recipe to suit. Also, there are no unnecessary additives and preservatives in a homemade stock, just simple, natural ingredients.
- When preparing shrimps for recipes there is always leftover shrimp shells. The shells have so much flavor and this is a great way to use them up, rather than wasting them.
- Any time I’m preparing shrimp I save the shell and heads and place into a zip-loc freezer bag. I store the bag in the freezer, adding to it as I go along, until I am ready to cook up a batch of shrimp stock. The shells will store for up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Divide the stock between several small jars or storage containers. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Don’t season the stock with salt during the cook as you will ruin the flavor. As it bubbles away, the stock reduces and you can end up with really salty stock. Instead I season the stock to taste once it has been reduced, or season the food I am adding the stock to.
How do you store shrimp stock?
Homemade shrimp stock is a great make ahead ingredient, that can be stored until you are ready to use it. I like to make a large batch, using some now and freezing some for later.
To refrigerate: Once cooked allow the stock to cool in the jar or container, then when cold fit with a lid and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to use ensure you heat the stock up to piping hot.
To freeze: Once cooked allow the stock to cool completely and place into an airtight container with a tight fitting lid. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly and reheat it to piping hot before serving.
A seafood stock is slightly lighter than a seafood broth which will usually have other ingredients added to it, but they are predominantly the same. Seafood stock is used as a base to which other ingredients are added, whereas a broth an be eaten as it is.
I use shrimp heads and shells when making stock, but never the meat of the shrimp as I tend to use that in other dishes.
More recipes featuring shrimp
We eat a lot of shrimp, so why not try some of these other great recipes, and save the shells for making this stock.
- Southern Style Shrimp & Grits
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Easy Southern Pickled Shrimp
- Jamaican Curry Shrimp
- Baked Jamaican Jerk Shrimp
If you have tried this homemade shrimp stock recipe or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below.
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- shells from 1 pound of shrimp
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 6 cups water
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 4 stems parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- salt to taste
- Heat oil over medium heat. Add oil, shells, and garlic. Sauté until the shells turn pink, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add water, onion, carrot, celery, black peppercorns, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Bring water to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until liquid has reduced and the broth tastes like shrimp.
- Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Season with salt if desired. Cool and use immediately or store for later use.