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39 easy recipes to make with shrimp any night of the week

This little crustacean has big weeknight dinner potential.
/ Source: TODAY

If shrimp has yet to become a repeat protein in your weekly dinner routine, it's time to get acquainted with this wonderful little crustacean.

A simple star of any dinner table, this lean and durable shellfish has, for many home and professional chefs, become a staple of a wide range of dishes. It's a seafood option that grills, bakes and sautés seamlessly, cooks quickly and works versatilely with an endless amount of herbs, spices and sauces.

For seafood lovers, shrimp is a super accessible option to keep as an on-hand ingredient in the freezer for nights when you want something light and satisfying, but without having to march down to your local fishmonger or supermarket seafood counter. Because of depleted waters, shrimp in the U.S. is almost always imported and, like some other fish and shellfish, can't survive the trip without being frozen first. This means that almost anywhere you buy shrimp, it's been frozen or already is, which makes adding a large bag of frozen shrimp to the list every month a no-brainer.

"Any octopus, squid, shrimp is frozen if you're eating it in the U.S. unless you're getting it locally off an actual boat," Maine-based chef and shellfish connoisseur Arlin Smith told TODAY Food last year. "Being frozen, it's not bad. It's a way of preserving."

While Smith sticks to fresh seafood and shellfish for his restaurant's menu, he vouches for bags of frozen shrimp from the supermarket as a convenient option for many, and one he himself keeps at home in his own freezer for a quick meal. When shopping for shrimp, Smith advises looking for head-off that are little larger (like a 21/25 count). The count labeled on bagged shrimp represents how many shrimp there are per pound. The lower the count, the larger the shrimp!

Once you've got your shrimp from the market, it's time to start to cooking. Here's a whole slew of shrimp recipes that are easy to prepare as they are delicious.

Who doesn’t love a good serving of shrimp and grits? New Orleanians love barbecue shrimp and, no, it’s not just slathered with some barbecue sauce. This is a traditional NOLA dish made with a lot of seasoning, herbs and damn good grits. Head-on shrimp are coated in a rich and buttery sauce loaded with Creole spice, that, when you plate up is best ladled over the dish so that there's plenty to get mopped up with a loaf of soft, crusty French bread.

Orzo Pasta with Shrimp and Peas

Shrimp, peas, and orzo make up this Cajun-inspired comfort dish. It's great any time of year but shines particularly on chillier evenings when a spoonful of tomato-based, white wine broth goes down easy.

Summer Shrimp Rolls

Summer Shrimp Rolls

Elizabeth Heiskell

Shrimp rolls have all the fresh, cool seafood flavors as a lobster roll but are wonderfully economical to enjoy. Plus, shrimp are more readily available and easier to prepare than lobster, which makes the shellfish a more dependable, simpler option for larger meals or entertaining.

BBQ Shrimp Skewers

These succulent shrimp are great for summer backyard barbecues, but they can be served all year round with any seasonal side dish you prefer, from pasta to salad.

Easy Shrimp Stir-Fry with Ginger Rice

This bright, flavorful dish will quickly become one of your weeknight go-to recipes. The shrimp gets a touch of sweetness from the honey, and the bell pepper and sugar snap peas add the crunch factor. Served over a bed of rice, it satiates that weeknight craving for delicious stir-fry without weighing you down.

"When I cook with veggies, the smaller I chop them, the more likely my kids are to eat them," Camila Avles McConaughey says. "This easy and delicious recipe is the perfect light meal and great for getting little ones to eat their greens."

Shrimp and Lemon Linguini with Chiles

This recipe is packed with flavor and uses easy to find ingredients. It's one of Clodagh Mckenna's go-to recipes when he doeosn't have much time to cook, as it just takes 20 minutes to get on the table.

This quick-fix supper is short on time but not on flavor. The combination of fresh garlic, lemon and parsley is always a great choice for shrimp.

Spaghetti with Shrimp Fra Diavolo

This spicy pasta from the Scottos is restaurant-worthy. It's elegant enough to impress any guest at a dinner party, but easy enough to keep in the weekly meal rotation.

The Mediterranean diet is trendy not only because it's healthy, but also because it's delicious. This all-in-one, easy shrimp dinner is no exception. Oregano, mint and feta round out the veggies, salty Greek olives and shrimp.

Creole Shrimp

Creole Shrimp

Millie Peartree

Creole shrimp is similar to shrimp étouffée. Its deep, rich, spicy tomato flavor combined with the "holy trinity" — white onion, green bell pepper and celery — will definitely take your taste buds to new heights. Whether served with rice or as an appetizer with crusty bread, this simple dish will wow you time after time.

Spicy Shrimp

Spicy Shrimp

Dr. Uma Naidoo

This dish is a great way to get a dose of seafood and capsaicin in your diet. You can add a bit more cayenne pepper if you prefer your food spicier.

Al Roker uses olive oil with a high smoke point in his marinade so that the shrimp doesn't burn, keeping the shell on to ensure the smokiest flavor possible.

This hearty dish, inspired by the low-country boils of South Carolina, can be enjoyed from breakfast, brunch or dinner any time of year.

"Grits have always had a special place in my heart because they're so comforting and quickly take on new flavors," says Will Coleman. "And I can always count on pimento cheese to add a robust, smoky and spicy flavor to anything I'm cooking."

Meet your new favorite seafood sandwich! The tangy, tart and creamy remoulade perks up the crispy, sweet fried shrimp and the satisfying crunch of the slaw brings it all together.

Butter Lettuce-Wrapped Shrimp Tacos

An alternative to flour- or corn-based tacos, using light yet hearty butter lettuce brings about more refreshing flavor. The crunch and savory nature of this dish will make it a go-to meal on any weeknight.

These roll-ups are great for shrimp, pasta and cheese lovers! You can make it all the way through if you have the time, or you can refrigerate or freeze the unbaked casserole for less fuss at dinnertime.

Shrimp don't need much dressing up to be tasty. Here, a simple marinade and quick sauté yields a deeply flavorful and perfectly cooked result. The crunchy broccolini and earthy soba noodles are a great complement to the sweet and savory shrimp.

Gail Simmons' Lazy Shrimp Pie

This recipe is inspired by one of Gail Simmons' favorite Massachusetts restaurant's Lazy Lobster Pie, which is a mix of chopped fresh lobster meat smothered in melted butter, topped with crushed Ritz crackers, baked into a casserole, then broiled to golden-brown perfection. This easier shrimp-based recipe is her recreation with fresh herbs, a little lemon and a sprinkling of toasty panko breadcrumbs.

These tacos are insanely flavorful: The ginger-soy shrimp, fresh cilantro, spicy chiles and tart lime juice all blend together beautifully.

3-Ingredient Chipotle-Lime Shrimp Skewers

A can of chipotles in adobo is your secret weapon for making these three-ingredient chipotle-shrimp skewers. They're perfect for a party appetizer but also would make a fabulous weeknight dinner.

Stir-Fried Noodles with Shrimp and Vegetables

This recipe can wear many different hats because you can change the protein and vegetables according to what you have on hand. During Lunar New Year, families enjoy eating noodles, because the noodles represent long life — especially if the cook makes homemade noodles that are extra long.

Gullah-Style Shrimp and Gravy

There's no wrong way to eat shrimp and gravy. You can serve it with creamy grits, fluffy rice, crumbly cornbread or just eat it right out of the bowl!

Chili Marinated Shrimp

This shrimp dish has an amazing smoky flavor due to the charring of the chili in the marinade. It takes ordinary to extraordinary.

Shrimp Étouffée and Dumplings

Try this wonderfully comforting Creole dishes. It's so warm and flavorful. Brian Landry advises always making extra because it tastes even better the next day.

The low country offers a legacy of Africa and the Caribbean on the doorstep of the American South, and the culinary and social richness of the Gullah Geechee people can't be captured in any one thing — which is why, instead of trying that, JJ Johnson takes inspiration from their cuisine and flies off to Asia.

Oven-Baked Crispy Herbed Shrimp

This recipe is super simple, plus it uses ingredients that normally get thrown away, including parsley stems and stale bread.

Joy Bauer looks to her husband, Ian, for this recipe. After tying something similar in the Florida Keys, he was on a mission to recreate the savory dish, and did so using dark beer and a hodgepodge of flavor. It's a go-to, especially at warm weather cookouts.

Grilled Shrimp with Yuzu Butter

Shrimp is a classic for grilling, and seasoning it with yuzu juice gives it a more unique taste than lemon juice. Bottled yuzu juice can be found online, at specialty stores and some regular grocery stores.

The zucchini noodles and lemon zest add a brightness that is missing from traditional shrimp scampi with regular pasta in this healthy dish from Valerie Bertinelli.

Shrimp Caesar Salad

Caesar salad pairs well with almost anything added on top. It's great with chicken, bacon and steak, but but one of the absolute best ways to serve it is with grilled jumbo shrimp.

Shrimp cocktail and a martini so cold it hurts your fingers: It simply does not get much better than that. In this recipe, Molly Baz shares her tips for mastering the perfect shrimp cocktail and it's totally worth the work.

Grilled Peel-and-Eat Shrimp

Peel-and-eat shrimp are a great interactive appetizer but also a conversation starter. Put out a big bowl of the flavorful morsels and let the party begin!

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Sheldon Simeon

Inspired by Sheldon Simeon's mouthwatering experience with a honey-walnut shrimp bathed in sweet, condensed milk and mayo at a family favorite Chinese restaurant, this take on typical coconut shrimp is a must-try.

Jerk Shrimp Fried Rice

Jerk Shrimp Fried Rice

Wenford Simpson

When you need a very easy, quick and flavorful one-pot meal, this is the one! Plus, it represents Jamaica with the jerk seasoning.

The shrimp tacos by Juan Pablo Loza are an exceptional and thoughtful combination of fresh flavor sourced sustainably with intention.

This simple preparation proves you don't need a lot of complicated ingredients to make an outstanding dish. Each element shines through while blending beautifully together.

While elevated enough to serve at your next summer bash, this dish also absurdly easy to throw together for any warm-weather weeknight.