Stuffed Shrimp

a pewter platter of baked crab stuffed shrimp.

While stuffed shrimp is on the menu at many high-end restaurants, it’s also easy to make at home. This simple crab stuffed shrimp uses lump crab meat and swaps the typical Ritz crackers for panko breadcrumbs. Season with your favorite Creole or Cajun seasoning, or use Old Bay for a classic Chesapeake Bay flavor. Everyone will love this baked stuffed shrimp recipe.

A bowl filled with jumbo shrimp.
Get the freshest shrimp you can, preferably with the shells still intact.

Stuffed shrimp is great as an appetizer or main course

Want a classic recipe that’s perfect for holidays and special occasions? Baked stuffed shrimp is it. You’ll love it because it’s an eye-popping dish that’s easy to make and feeds a crowd.

While this dish may look fancy, baked stuffed shrimp is a straightforward recipe. You can serve it as an appetizer (2-3 per person) or the main course (3-5 per person) with a few other side dishes.

I hadn’t made baked stuffed shrimp in years but was inspired by my recently deceased Aunt, Heather. She passed in March of 2022, and her estate has been in probate ever since.

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Every few weeks, I stop by her house to pick up her mail and deliver it to my Dad, who’s acting as the estate executor.

The sheer volume of fancy food catalogs in her mail was astounding—everything from steaks and prime meats to pastries and baked goods.

One, in particular, was filled with “gourmet” food items like lobster mac and cheese, fried oysters, pot pie, potstickers, and baked stuffed shrimp with crabmeat.

These frozen delicacies command a gourmet price tag too. Usually, four to five times what it would cost to make them at home. I made this batch for a fraction of the cost of what the catalog charged and got more than double the yield.

Why you’ll love this crab stuffed shrimp recipe

  • It can be assembled ahead of time.
  • Makes a great appetizer or main course.
  • It feeds a crowd for much less than a restaurant or “gourmet food service.”
  • The baked stuffed shrimp is customizable according to your tastes.
  • Any leftover crab meat stuffing will make great crab cakes later.
A collage showing the chopped bell peppers and shallots and what they look like after sweating them in a pan.

Ingredients you’ll need to make stuffed shrimp:

  • Jumbo or Extra Large Shrimp – preferably fresh, never frozen shrimp.
  • Lump Crabmeat – picked over to remove any shells or cartilage
  • Olive Oil – Doesn’t have to be an expensive one.
  • Red Bell Pepper – adds sweetness to the crab filling.
  • Shallot – or onion.
  • Mayonnaise – We like Duke’s or Hellman’s
  • Eggs – acts as a binder for the crab meat stuffing.
  • Dijon Mustard – softer, milder and more subtle than yellow mustard
  • Creole, Cajun, or Old Bay Seasoning (your choice)
  • Worcestershire Sauce – adds an umami kick.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs (can use fresh breadcrumbs or Ritz cracker crumbs)
  • Italian Flat Leaf Parsley – for freshness.

I don’t add extra salt to this dish because the seasoning blends contain salt. If you want it, you can certainly add ¼ to ½ teaspoonful.

steps for deveining a shrimp.
Use a sharp knife to make a slit along the length of the back of the shrimp, find the vein and remove it.

Best shrimp for stuffing

Before the recipe, let’s discuss the best shrimp for stuffing. They need to be big. U-10 to U-15. What that means is 10 to 15 shrimp PER POUND.

Think about that. Most fresh shrimp are sold in the 26-30 per pound range (or more). That means these prawns are two and a half to three times LARGER than their smaller siblings.

They must be large to stuff them with the crab meat filling.

How to peel and butterfly shrimp for stuffing

  1. Hold the shrimp in one hand and pull away the legs and shell. Leave the last abdomen segment and tail intact.
  2. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a slit about 1/4″ deep along the length of the back.
  3. Remove the vein (a.k.a. the digestive tract).
  4. You may need to make a deeper cut along the length of the shrimp to have it stand flat (as shown below). Cut the slice to 1/2 to 2/3 of the depth so it will stand flat and upright, with the tail curving over the body. They’re ready to stuff. (Keep the prepped prawns in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fill them with the crab meat stuffing.
The peeled and deveined shrimp after splitting so they sit upright on a platter.

The stuffing for the jumbo shrimp is similar to what I use for crab cakes. If you have any leftover stuffing, that’s a great way to use it up!

How to make crabmeat stuffing for shrimp:

  1. Sweat the shallots and bell peppers in olive oil until they’re softened and slightly translucent. Don’t brown the vegetables. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise, egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning of your choice, and parsley in a large bowl. Stir until it’s well combined.
  3. Add the drained lump crab meat and gently toss it with the mayo mixture.
  4. Add the panko breadcrumbs and mix until it’s evenly combined. Be gentle when stirring, as you don’t want to break apart the chunks of lump crab meat.
A pound of lump crabmeat in a plastic container.
This is lump crab meat (not jumbo lump).

Next, we stuff the shrimp with the crabmeat filling, and it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.

There’s no “cavity” to fill, so we’re topping the shrimp with the crab mixture and folding the tail over the filling to give the shrimp a “stuffed look.”

Tips for assembling crab stuffed shrimp:

  • Depending on the size of your shrimp, you’ll use 1-2 tablespoons of crab stuffing per prawn. The larger the shrimp, you can use a little more filling.
  • Lay the shrimp back-side down on a prepared baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with nonstick spray) about 2″ apart.
  • To keep the portions even, I recommend using a medium-sized cookie scoop to measure the crab mixture. My cookie scoop holds about two tablespoons.
  • Plop the crabmeat on the shrimp and gently pat the filling so it rests comfortably atop the shellfish.
  • Fold the shrimp’s tail over the stuffing and press it into the crab meat mixture to secure it. Sometimes the tail will pop up or lean to one side. Just rearrange it until it sticks. The stuffed shrimp are ready to bake.

If you’re making this recipe ahead of time, assemble the shrimp up to this point and refrigerate them until you want to bake. Remove them from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before baking so they can come to room temperature before sticking them into a hot oven. Otherwise, they’ll take longer to bake.

I am making the crab stuffing by combining the wet ingredients, adding the lump crab meat, and finally adding the panko breadcrumbs.
Mix the wet ingredients, add the crab meat, and fold in the panko.


  • Buy fresh, never frozen, shrimp from a reputable fishmonger. To tell if they’re good, smell the seafood. It should smell like the ocean and have no ammonia or fishy smells.
  • I prefer to peel and devein the shrimp myself. It’s a fast process when you’re working with jumbos, and it ensures that you’re getting a fresh product.
  • Refrain from overstuffing the shrimp. You want enough crab filling to sit atop the butterflied shrimp without spreading across the pan.
Stuffing the shrimp with crabmeat filling.
Mound a tablespoon or two (depending on the size of your shrimp) of the crabmeat stuffing onto the butterflied shrimp and fold the tail over the filling.

Swaps and Variations

  • Make this baked stuffed shrimp recipe traditionally with crumbled Ritz crackers instead of panko paired with Old Bay seasoning for a taste of Maryland.
  • Sprinkle the crab-stuffed shrimp with grated parmesan cheese just before baking for another layer of richness.
  • My husband likes to drizzle the shrimp with garlic butter just before serving. It’s rich but so good.
  • Wrap the stuffed shrimp in thinly sliced bacon before baking.
  • Make individual servings by arranging 3-5 crab-stuffed shrimp in mini gratin dishes to bake. They can be served as an appetizer before a larger meal or as the main course.
a baking sheet filled with crab stuffed shrimp.
Don’t they look great?!


Do you cut the tails off the shrimp before cooking or serving?

No. The tails are part of the presentation, though you don’t eat them. They give the baked stuffed shrimp a proud “peacock” effect.

Can I bake the stuffed shrimp ahead of time?

You can, but then you’d have to reheat them to serve, and the shrimp would dry out more than if they’d only been baked once.

Can I freeze crab stuffed shrimp?

Yes. Here’s how. Assemble the stuffed shrimp and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze the raw stuffed shrimp until solid, then transfer them to an airtight freezer-safe container. The stuffed prawns will keep for up to two months. Arrange on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake in a 375° oven for 25-30 minutes.

You’ll want to accompany each appetizer dish with fresh parsley, chives or other herbs. I also like the stuffed shrimp with a squeeze of lemon juice. The fresh citrus makes the seafood flavors pop.

More ideas on what to serve with a stuffed shrimp appetizer

  • A crusty piece of warm french bread goes well with the baked stuffed shrimp.
  • Serve the crab stuffed shrimp on a bed of dressed salad greens.
  • If you like more heat, add a few drops of hot sauce.
  • Also, pair it with a chilled bottle of bubbly (champagne, prosecco, cava, or other sparkling wine) or a crisp, chilled Sauvignon Blanc, Pouilly-Fuissé, or Sancerre. A dry Gewürztraminer would also be a good choice.
The golden-baked stuffed shrimp is hot from the oven.
Hot from the oven, these baked stuffed shrimp with crabmeat smell so good you’ll want to dive right in.

What goes with crab stuffed shrimp as a meal?

Individual servings of the shrimp as an appetizer.
If you’re serving baked stuffed shrimp in individual gratin dishes, be sure to spray them with vegetable spray or olive oil so the shrimp and crab filling don’t stick.

More seafood appetizers you’ll love:

one baked crab stuffed shrimp on a sheet pan.

More crab and shrimp recipes you’ll love:

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baked crab stuffed shrimp on a platter with lemon wedges.
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5 from 7 votes

Stuffed Shrimp

Want a special seafood treat? These crab stuffed shrimp are phenomenal! Like what you’d get at a fancy restaurant, but made right in your own kitchen. The crab filling is similar to a crab cake and piled on butterflied jumbo shrimp. Makes a great appetizer for a special meal or main course with a salad and baked potato.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword crab, shrimp
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Pescatarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8



  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp U-10 to U-12


  • 1 pound lump crabmeat drained (not jumbo lump)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ red pepper minced
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • teaspoons Creole seasoning or Old Bay
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs or fresh bread crumbs made from Italian bread or sourdough.
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley chopped


  • chopped parsley
  • chopped chives
  • lemon wedges
  • extra Creole seasoning for sprinkling (or Old Bay)


  • Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.


  • Remove the shells from the shrimp leaving the last segment of the abdomen (closest to the tail) and the tail still attached.
  • Use a sharp paring knife to cut along the spine of the shrimp, about ¼” into the body. Remove the dark vein. Cut a little deeper into the shrimp (about ½ to ⅔ through the body, so that the shrimp can sit up straight and the tail will fold over onto itself. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the crab stuffing.


  • Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and bell pepper and cook 3-5 minutes until softened but not browned. Set aside to cool.
  • Drain the crab and gently separate the crab meat, but leaving it mostly whole.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sauteed vegetables, mayonnaise, egg, Dijon mustard, Creole seasoning (or Old Bay), worcestershire, and parsley. Mix to combine. Stir in the lump crab meat and panko breadcrumbs. Gently stir until just blended together.


  • Arrange the butterflied shrimp about 2″ apart on the prepared baking sheet. Scoop about 1½ heaping tablespoons onto each shrimp (I used a cookie scoop for even measuring).
  • Press the crab stuffing onto the shrimp to help it hold together and fold the shrimp tail over the stuffing. Lightly press the tail into the crab stuffing until it stays.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through and the crab stuffing is golden brown.


  • Serve the shrimp hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and chives, a squeeze of lemon and an extra dusting of Creole or Old Bay seasoning.


YouTube video


Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 199mg | Sodium: 1317mg | Potassium: 311mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 697IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. Sandrine Eifert says:

    5 stars
    This recipe looks so good. My husband and kids are not big seafood lovers but I am. I forsee having to freeze half of the uncooked stuffed shrimp. I saw your instruction for freezing and baking it.
    Do I bake it from frozen or do I need to thaw them first before baking?