Understanding Shrimp Sizes and Count

What Does the Count Mean?

Have you ever been puzzled by shrimp sizes and their count while shopping for seafood? Shrimp count refers to the number of shrimp you can expect to find in one pound. For instance, if the count reads 21/25, it means there are approximately 21 to 25 shrimp in a pound. The larger the shrimp, the smaller the count, and vice versa.

Importance of Shrimp Size in Cooking

Selecting the right shrimp size is crucial for successful cooking. Different sizes work better in specific recipes and impact the final presentation, cooking time, and taste. Understanding shrimp sizes will make your shopping experience easier and more efficient.

Different Shrimp Sizes and Their Counts

Let’s dive into the world of shrimp sizes and their corresponding counts to better understand the choices available to you.

Small Shrimp

  • Tiny Shrimp (61/70 count)

Tiny shrimp are often used in dishes where the shrimp are mixed with other ingredients, such as pasta, stir-fries, or salads. They cook quickly, so be cautious not to overcook them.

  • Small Shrimp (51/60 count)

Small shrimp are slightly larger than tiny shrimp and work well in various dishes, including shrimp cocktails, po’ boys, and fried rice. They also cook relatively fast, so keep an eye on them.

Medium Shrimp

  • Medium Shrimp (41/50 count)

Medium shrimp are a versatile size that can be used in many recipes. They are perfect for skewers, saut├ęs, and shrimp scampi. Medium shrimp offer a good balance between size and value.

  • Medium-Large Shrimp (36/40 count)

Medium-large shrimp are an excellent choice for dishes that call for slightly larger shrimp, such as shrimp alfredo or etouffee. They provide a satisfying bite without being too large or small.

Large Shrimp

  • Large Shrimp (31/35 count)

Large shrimp are a popular choice for grilling, broiling, or stuffing. Their size makes them visually appealing, and they have a meaty texture that pairs

well with robust flavors.

  • Extra-Large Shrimp (26/30 count)

Extra-large shrimp are ideal for recipes that require a substantial, meaty shrimp presence, such as shrimp and grits or shrimp tacos. They cook relatively quickly, but their larger size makes them less likely to overcook.

Jumbo Shrimp

  • Jumbo Shrimp (21/25 count)

Jumbo shrimp are perfect for recipes where the shrimp are the star of the dish, like shrimp cocktail or grilled shrimp skewers. Their size makes them a showstopper, and they have a nice, firm texture.

  • Extra-Jumbo Shrimp (16/20 count)

Extra-jumbo shrimp are a luxurious choice, often reserved for special occasions or fine dining. They work well in dishes like shrimp scampi or coconut shrimp, where their size adds a touch of elegance.

Colossal Shrimp

  • Colossal Shrimp (10/15 count)

Colossal shrimp are the giants of the shrimp world, making a statement in any dish. They are excellent for stuffing, grilling, or even serving as an impressive appetizer.

  • Super Colossal Shrimp (U10 count)

Super colossal shrimp are the ultimate indulgence, with fewer than 10 shrimp per pound. These behemoths are perfect for upscale presentations, such as a shrimp cocktail centerpiece or a surf and turf dish.

How to Choose the Right Shrimp Size

Consider the Recipe

The recipe you plan to make is a significant factor in choosing the appropriate shrimp size. Larger shrimp work better in dishes where they are the main attraction, while smaller shrimp are suitable for mixed dishes.

Personal Preference

Your preference for shrimp size is also essential. Some people enjoy the meaty texture of larger shrimp, while others prefer the delicate flavor of smaller shrimp.


Finally, consider your budget when choosing shrimp size. Larger shrimp tend to be more expensive, so be prepared to spend more if you opt for jumbo or colossal sizes.


Understanding shrimp sizes and their counts will make your shopping experience easier and help you choose the right shrimp for your recipes. Consider the recipe, your personal preference, and budget when selecting shrimp sizes. With this knowledge, you can confidently create delicious and visually appealing dishes featuring shrimp.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does the shrimp count mean?

Shrimp count refers to the number of shrimp per pound. A lower count indicates larger shrimp, while a higher count means smaller shrimp.

  1. How do I choose the right shrimp size for my recipe?

Consider the type of dish you’re making and whether the shrimp are the main attraction or part of a mixture. Larger shrimp work well in recipes where they are the focus, while smaller shrimp are suitable for mixed dishes.

  1. Do shrimp sizes affect cooking time?

Yes, shrimp size affects cooking time. Smaller shrimp cook more quickly, while larger shrimp take longer to cook.

  1. Are larger shrimp always more expensive?

Typically, larger shrimp are more expensive due to their size and perceived quality. However, prices can vary depending on factors like seasonality and availability.

  1. Is there a noticeable difference in taste between different shrimp sizes?

While the taste of shrimp can vary slightly depending on their size, the primary difference is in the texture. Larger shrimp have a meatier texture, while smaller shrimp are more delicate.