Florida Rock Shrimp Boiled, Broiled, or Fried

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Absolutely our favorite seafood here in Florida, these little gems taste a lot like lobster!

 Florida Rock Shrimp is the perfect shellfish here.

 Rock Shrimp are sweet and the best thing that's the closest taste to lobster.

Florida Rock Shrimp
, very different from regular shrimp.

Their bodies are rock hard when cooked and dipped in butter they taste like little lobster tails!

Dipped in herb butter just broiled after cleaning is my favorite way to serve these.

how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce

A little background on these shellfish

Rock shrimp (Sicyonia brevirostris) have a hard, spiny shell more like a lobster rather than its shrimp cousins. The shell is "hard as a rock," hence the term rock shrimp. They live and spawn in warm deep waters, 120 to 240 feet.

Until machines were invented to process them, rock shrimp were popular only with avid fishermen and divers because getting to the meat through the hard shell was such a chore.

Today rock shrimp is readily available, both fresh and frozen, head on or off, split and/or deveined.

Rock shrimp do not grow as large as their shrimp cousins.

Like shrimp, they are sorted and sold by count, meaning the number of shrimp it takes to weigh in at 1 pound.

The largest commercially-available rock shrimp are 21 to 25 to the pound and are about 2 inches in length (although some have been found measuring up to 6 inches).

how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce

See Short Video

In the end, there is a Youtube video to watch.

how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce

Rock Shrimp is Seasonal

This is seasonal and found all over Florida menus and cooked all different ways.

I like simple flavors however, many love these dipped in cocktail sauce, hot sauce, or just melted butter like me!

Most of the time you will find them here in Florida frozen, but much better fresh.

how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce


  • Do not skip the grit cleaning method
  • When these turn bright pink they are done, so don't overcook them
  • Always salt the water a little when soaking them
  • If frozen thaw in water in the refrigerator and never leave seafood out to thaw
  • Serve with hot sauce, cocktail sauce or herb butter

how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce

Cleaning method:

To ensure all sand is out methods:

Rinse shellfish under running water to remove loose sediment, discarding any with broken shells. (Healthy shellfish will close their shells when firmly tapped.)

Transfer shellfish to a large pot of cold salted water (like their natural environment). Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Just before cooking, lift the shellfish out of the water by hand, so that the sediment remains at the bottom of the pot. Mussels sometimes have small, fibrous “beards,” which should be pinched off.

Spoon out the delicious juices when serving.

Any grit released during cooking will fall to the bottom of the cooking liquid, where it should stay.

Another method I prefer is to do soak and boil to ensure the grit is all out.

I do both methods, soak for 30 minutes then boil for 35 seconds. Then continue cooking, broil, fry etc.

Most people do one or the other)I have had so many questions on why?

It's because I worry about bacteria in fish, so boiling for the 35 seconds makes me feel more confident, then broiling them isn't that long to consider they are cooking another way again.

Hope that helps you understand.that's your preference, boil or soak in cold water.

how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce

Cutting the rock shrimp

2 lbs Florida Rock Shrimp cleaned, deveined, cut down the center opened like a butterfly

Place the rock shrimp on a cutting board, dorsal side down and the swimmerets up.

With a sharp knife, cut from the base of the tail to the other end, but not through the shell.

Gently spread the meat apart to expose the sand vein and wash under cold running water.

how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce


In a large pot of lightly sea-salted water, bring to a boil, place rock shrimp in boiling water.

Rock shrimp cook more quickly than other shrimp. Stir, and after 35 seconds pour into a colander and rinse with cold water.

how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce


Place on a large broiler pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush lightly with garlic butter below, broil on high for 2 minutes, serve dipped with melted butter... enjoy!

Garlic Herb Butter

  • 3 tablespoons butter melted add below and stir

  • 1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried parsley

  • 3 tablespoon white wine

  • dash of cayenne pepper optional

    1. Mix together and serve as a dipping sauce.

    how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce


    Clean and wash rock shrimp, remove all shell.

    • Flour Seasoning:
    • 1/4 cup flour,
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch,
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder,
    • 1/4 teaspoon each salt, pepper, cayenne.

    1. In a large plastic bag mix together, shake rock shrimp in the seasoned flour.
    2. Fry in hot oil till browned, do not overcook. Serve with Hot Sauce.

    how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce

    When in Florida!

    Boiled, broiled or even deep fry, they are awesome.

    This Florida Rock Shrimp is delicious so don't miss an opportunity to try them in Florida on your
    next vacation!

    Don't forget to try Linguine with Rock Shrimp Recipe HERE

    how to clean and cook rock shrimp these are on a white plate and butterflied with herb sauce


    1. Nice info on rock shrimp Claudia. They really are delish and very much gems!

    2. I love shrimp cooked in any way. I don't know which one to choose. Great ^__^ Bye, have a good day

    3. These look delicious and so fresh! The photographs are really beautiful Claudia!

    4. Just one word: Marvellous :D

    5. I think they should call them Rock Lobsters. They look delicious, I expect a big plate of them waiting for me when when I make it to FL.

    6. I've never eaten these but I'm sure I could go for a plate 3-ways - they look and sound delicious.

    7. Clauia, I want to go to Florida if only to visit you and eat at your table! YUM!

    8. I have no idea if I've ever eaten rock shrimp. I know this ... I want some.

    9. Lots of cool information on a critter I was not too familiar with :) Thanks for sharing!

    10. Shrimp I could eat everyday! Great info on handling and preparing, thanks.

    11. If I can find them, i'm going to make them - especially with that garlic butter!

    12. Oh, how delicious! My parents and my sister and her family live in Florida. I am going to forward a link to this recipe. They will love it! When I visit Florida in June, I am going to request that they make your recipe for me!

      Have a great day!

      My Kind of Cooking

    13. I just love Rock Shrimp! Thanks for all of the info, Claudia. Your photos are great.

    14. They looks awesome. Nice for the info about them.

    15. Your pictures are watering me...as always!
      But, in my dish, I'd like to get more than three!::)))
      have a nice day, barbara

    16. These rock shrimp look delicious Claudia! I am craving a plate of fried ones right now:)

    17. Oh! I like the texture of rock shrimps...and would without doubt have them cooked anyway. YUMMIE! Have a wonderful week ahead :-)

    18. Outstanding those shrimps Claudia! Summer is coming there - I'll visit you to taste another batch later :)



    19. Wow Claudia, I could eat every single one of those in one sitting! They look amazing. I can't find rock shrimp, but order it any time I see them on menus. I love all three versions here!

    20. I love shrimps in any way possible:)))...but right now could eat fried for sure!!!:))
      You did awesome job!!!

    21. ya know, of all my shrimp eating days, I have only seen these on menus but have not had them... now you make me want to go out and find them - I find it interesting that you boil and then broil them too, is that right? so you are cooking them twice... If true, I will have to try that method when I do find them as I know that to be the best way coming from you...

    22. Yum, I have never had or heard of Florida Rock Shrimp but it sounds fantastic. When I was in Florida my boyfriend (at the time) used to be big on boiling crab. Mmmm, all of a sudden I miss seafood. I just don't eat it as much here in the Midwest!

    23. I would love to try this! I will definitely look to try it when we visit Florida. I should tell Grumpy when I talk to him tonight to look for rock shrimp on the menu! I have never seen it up here ever.

    24. Your shrimp look so succulent and delicious! Lovely photostoo.

    25. I never had these before! Being a shrimp lover I know I would love them! Both versions look wonderful.

    26. I've never had these, but if they taste like lobster tails then I can only imagine how delicious they are! You're making me miss living on the coast!

    27. Oh my! I wish we could get fresh Florida rock shrimp here. This looks fantastic.

    28. Claudia, this shrimp looks so good!! I don't know if I've ever had that type of shrimp, but I wouldn't mind diving into those right about now.

    29. Mouth.Watering. I used to get rock shrimp all the time when I lived in Miami. This post is making me miss it!

    30. Oh, gosh, I could eat all three of these! And rock shrimp sounds fabulous! What an informative post~

    31. Thank goodness for some machine inventions...especially for the offering of this shrimp variety.

      I'll take a large plate of these any way you'll cook them for me ;o)

      Ciao for now,

    32. Why oh why don't they swim in lakes so I can get them here. The broiling really sends me over the edge with happiness. Now imagine if I was eating them...

    33. aww... I could eat them anytime.. perfect appetizer. so tempting !

    34. Awesome recipe! It looks like it really rocks. Just for the record, which one tastes best? The boiled, broiled, or fried? Thanks!

      ~ Tifanny

    35. I've read about these shrimp, but not been so lucky as to have tried them. They look amazing!

    36. I love shrimp ... this looks amazing!!!

    37. Great information on these gorgeous babies...I agree however they are prepared they are delightful :)

    38. I would love to sit in front of a big plate of these babies!

    39. I remember having rock shrimp when I have visited Florida in the past - they are truly scrumptious. Thank you for sharing this delicious post with Let's Do Brunch. The linky is up again for this week so I do hope you will come along and join in again!

    40. Thanks for participating in April's YBR :) Your shrimp look simple amazing and mouthwatering.


    Remember to use the search option for a recipe you're looking for and thanks for all your kind words and support. We love our readers all the best Claudia