What Size Shrimp to Buy
Oftentimes, buying shrimp can be a difficult task, unless you understand what size shrimp to buy. Besides size, shrimp are processed in different ways and there are countless species.
There are several species of shrimp that are sold commercially. These species include white shrimp, brown shrimp and pink shrimp.
In addition, you have the variations of how they are prepared before being sold. Our shrimp are processed in four ways, but we will focus on the main three. These include Headless Shell-On, Easy Peel and Hand Peeled & Deveined.
Now, let’s explore how these preparations differ!
Headless Shell-On American Shrimp (HLSO)
Headless Shell-On Shrimp are whole shrimp with the heads removed.
Easy Peel American Shrimp
Easy Peel Shrimp are whole shrimp with the heads removed, but an incision is made down the tail, which makes it easier to peel and enjoy.
Hand Peeled & Deveined American Shrimp
Hand Peeled and Deveined shrimp are whole shrimp with the heads, the entire shell and its vein removed.
When buying shrimp, one other thing to consider are the sizes. The size of the shrimp can be the most important factor. If you happen to order headless shrimp, but you wanted Easy Peel Shrimp you can always peel the shrimp, but you cannot increase or decrease the size of the shrimp.
We have a one question for you. Have you ever seen a number scale on a bag of shrimp? Chances are you have. This is indicative of their size. It is also referred to as the “shrimp count.” It is the number of individual shrimp it takes to create one pound.
Our average year-round standard sizes include: U10, U12, 10/15, 16/20 and 21/25.
Standard Size Chart:
- U10- The “U” indicates under and the number following the U is representative of the amount. For example, a size of U10 would give you under 10 shrimp in one pound. In other words, you would receive under 10 shrimp, because of how many shrimp it takes to weigh a single pound.
- U12- A “U12” count would give you under 12 shrimp in 1 pound. You get under 12 shrimp because of how many shrimp it takes to weigh a pound.
- 10/15- Just as we weigh the other shrimp, when you order 10/15 you can expect to receive between 10 to 15 shrimp per pound.
- 16/20- You will receive 16 to 20 shrimp, per pound ordered.
- 21/25- You will receive 21 to 25 shrimp, per pound ordered.
Both U10 and U12 shrimp are considered colossal. These are rare, and can be difficult to find in the seafood market. If you find anything being sold as larger than U10, such as a U8, you should consider whether the product is a shrimp or a prawn.
As an easy rule of thumb, the smaller the number, the bigger the shrimp. Make sure you know what size shrimp to buy for an individual recipe. When it comes to shrimp sizes, one does not fit all and understanding size and types is vital.