Baked stuffed shrimp is a timeless restaurant favorite that’s surprisingly easy to make at home. A popular choice in upscale steak and seafood houses in the 1960s and 70s, and sometimes offered in place of lobster in a classic surf and turf dinner, the dish is considered to be a little bit retro these days, but it never fails to make a hit with friends and family.
Having spent a lot of years dining out in Rhode Island, the New England version of baked stuffed shrimp I was most familiar with was topped with a Ritz cracker-based stuffing. While delicious, it’s a pretty rich dish, so when we worked on this recipe, we wanted something a bit lighter and fresher. Our recipe has a bit of an Italian flair, too, as the stuffing is made with fresh breadcrumbs from Italian bread, butter, extra-virgin olive oil, grated Parmesan, garlic, and parsley, which is why we always include it in our Italian-style Christmas Eve dinner.
- Shrimp: You’ll want to buy the biggest shrimp you can find for this dish. We try to find U/10 shrimp, a sizing term that refers to shrimp that come 10 or fewer to the pound. You can get away with slightly smaller ones, but bear in mind that smaller shrimp can get overcooked in the time it takes to cook the stuffing.
- Butter and olive oil: We use a combination of unsalted butter and extra-virgin olive oil to sauté the garlic for the stuffing and serve as the binder for the breadcrumbs.
- Garlic: How much garlic you want to use in the stuffing is really up to you. We call for 1-1/2 teaspoons, but you could add an extra 1/2 teaspoon if you like. For a more subtle garlic flavor, thinly slice a couple of cloves, sauté them until fragrant to scent the butter-oil combination, then remove them and discard.
- White wine: We call for a dry white wine and generally use an Italian variety like Pinot Grigio or Soave. If you prefer a non-alcoholic version, you can replace the wine with a combination of low-sodium chicken broth and lemon juice (instructions in recipe notes).
- Fresh breadcrumbs: We buy a loaf of Italian bread to make fresh breadcrumbs (instructions below) for this recipe. It has a relatively light, but not too airy texture that absorbs the butter and olive oil well. It’s also fairly easy to mold to the top of the shrimp.
- Parmesan cheese: A small amount of grated Parmesan cheese adds subtle flavor and helps to bind the breadcrumb mixture. If you would like a slightly more predominant taste, add an extra tablespoon.
- Seasonings: Along with salt and pepper, we use a combination of fresh parsley (adds both color and flavor), dried oregano, and a pinch of crushed red pepper to season the stuffing.
How to Make Baked Stuffed Shrimp
This is an overview of how this dish is made. Detailed measurements, ingredients, instructions, and times are available in the printable version of the recipe below.
Preheat the oven: Heat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Prep the shrimp: Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail intact. To butterfly them, make a slit along the outer side of the body, taking care not to slice all the way through. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer, split side down on the prepared baking sheet, and gently flatten them out to form a base for the stuffing.
Make the stuffing: Melt the butter over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, soft, and barely golden. Be careful not to let it brown. Stir in the wine and simmer long enough to eliminate the alcohol flavor. Remove from the heat, and let cool, then add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Combine thoroughly.
Top and bake the shrimp: Spoon even portions of the breadcrumb mixture over each of the butterflied shrimp and using your fingers, gently mold each portion of stuffing around the shrimp. Bake the shrimp for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they turn pink and opaque, and the crumbs are lightly toasted. Remove from the oven, drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and garnish with additional parsley before serving.
How to Make Fresh Breadcrumbs
Type of bread: You can use your food processor to make fresh breadcrumbs from Italian bread, French bread, sourdough, or even English muffins. We recommend Italian bread for this recipe. How many slices of bread you need will depend on the diameter of your loaf, but if you make too much, you can always freeze the extra in zip-top freezer bags.
Preparing the bread: If you can, use stale bread to make breadcrumbs. If you don’t have any, simply put a few slices in the oven at 275°F and bake until dry and lightly crisped. Times will vary depending on the type of bread you use, so keep a close eye on it and don’t let it get toasted, as it will likely be too dry and crumbly. Cut or tear the bread into small cubes. Note that it’s not necessary to remove the crust, but if you are using rustic-style bread with a very chewy crust, it might be harder to process it into crumbs as a chewy crust tends to get caught on the blades of the food processor.
Make the breadcrumbs: Put the bread cubes in the work bowl of your food processor and process them in short pulses until you get a medium-sized crumb. Some larger pieces are inevitable and that’s okay.
Side dishes: Simple vegetables like steamed green beans with butter, roasted cauliflower or zucchini, and roasted potatoes go well with baked stuffed shrimp. Or, try a pasta side dish like our Garlic Butter Shells or a simple Caesar salad.
Wine: As for wine pairings, look for varieties that are described as crisp with flavors of lemon, citrus, and apple. Pinot Grigio, unoaked Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc are all good possibilities.
Baked Stuffed Shrimp
- 12 U-10 shrimp, (under 10 per pound, colossal or extra-colossal)
- 4 tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 2 medium cloves
- 1/3 cup dry white wine, (see notes for substitutions)
- 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, (see notes for instructions)
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed if possible
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail intact. To butterfly them, make a slit along the outer side of the body, taking care not to slice all the way through.
- Arrange the shrimp on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer, split side down, and gently flatten them out to form a base for the stuffing.
- Melt the butter over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, until fragrant, soft, and barely golden. Be careful not to let it brown.
- Stir in the wine and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to eliminate the alcohol flavor. Remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Combine thoroughly. Note: If the mixture seems dry, you can add a little more olive oil or melted butter.
- Spoon even portions of the breadcrumb mixture over each of the butterflied shrimp and using your fingers, gently mold each portion of stuffing around the shrimp.
- Bake the shrimp for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they turn pink and opaque, and the crumbs are lightly toasted.
- Remove from the oven, drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and garnish with additional parsley before serving.