How to Make Shrimp Stock

Forget about buying shrimp stock! It’s easy and cheaper to make your own at home. Save those heads and shells and turn them into a rich, flavorful stock to use in your favorite recipes.

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Meat or seafood stock adds incredible flavor to soups, stews, and sauces. While it might be more convenient to use store-bought, making your own gives you better control of the sodium content to suit your personal taste or dietary preference.

What you’ll need

  • Shrimp heads and shells- If your shrimp shells are not enough to make the stock, put them in a freezer bag or container and freeze until ready to use. Stored properly, they’ll keep for about 3 months.
  • Vegetables – mirepoix is the aromatic flavor base made of onions, celery, and carrots. These vegetables are like the holy trinity in stock making.
  • Herbs and spices- garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns brighten flavors in this stock recipe. Bundle the herbs together with kitchen twine or put in a spice sachet for easy removal later.
  • Water– always start with COLD water to ensure the stock heats slowly and evenly

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Helpful Tips

  • Use yellow onion in making this shrimp stock; the peels or skin of the onion help deepen the color of the stock giving it a beautiful golden color.
  • For a clear, clean stock, skim the scum that floats on top as the stocks comes to its initial boil. This foam is coagulated protein and excess fat that can cloud the stock.
  • After the initial boil, make sure to cook in a gentle simmer as the agitation from rapid or high heat might break up the protein and cloud the stock.
  • Use a fine-mesh sieve or colander lined with a cheesecloth to strain any sediments and impurities.

How to store

  • Store shrimp stock in a container with a tight-fitting and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
  • You also freeze the stock in ice cube trays for easier storage and thawing. Pour the stock into the ice cube tray and freeze. Once rock solid, pop out the cubes from the tray and transfer to resealable bags or freezer-safe container.


  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 4 cups shrimp heads and shells
  • 1 onion, quartered with skins on
  • 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, pounded
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 6 cups cold water


    • In a large stock pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add shrimp heads and shells and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 to 10 minutes or until color changes to pink.
    • Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and water.
    • Bring to a boil, skimming any scum or foam that floats on top.
  • Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the liquid has turned to light-orange color. Occasionally skim foam on the surface and press the shrimp heads with the back of the spoon to extract more flavor.

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