Old Bay Seasoned Steamed Shrimp: A Step-by-Step Guide

Old Bay Seasoned Steamed Shrimp: A Step-by-Step Guide

Old Bay Seasoning began its journey in 1939. Gustav Brunn, a German immigrant, created this unique blend of spices shortly after arriving in the United States. Driven by a passion for flavors, Brunn developed a mix that combined 18 spices, including mustard, paprika, celery seed, and black pepper. The seasoning gained its name from the Old Bay Line, a passenger ship service that operated in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Old Bay’s Rise in Seafood Cuisine

Quickly establishing a foothold in Maryland, Old Bay Seasoning captured the hearts of seafood lovers. Its distinct flavor profile, with a balance of savory and spicy notes, made it a perfect companion for various seafood dishes. Steamed shrimp, crab boils, and fish fillets benefited from the seasoning’s robust character. Over the decades, the brand expanded beyond the Chesapeake Bay, becoming a staple in American kitchens and seafood restaurants. Today, Old Bay is synonymous with seafood excellence, symbolizing a rich culinary tradition.

Why Old Bay Is Perfect for Steamed Shrimp

Flavor Profile of Old Bay

Old Bay’s unique blend of spices delivers a distinctive flavor that’s both savory and spicy. Its key ingredients, including mustard, paprika, celery seed, and black pepper, create a well-rounded profile enhancing seafood. The seasoning’s complexity complements shrimp, offering a taste that’s bold yet balanced. Its ability to elevate the natural sweetness of shrimp makes it an ideal choice for steamed dishes.

Benefits of Using Old Bay on Shrimp

Old Bay seasoning provides several benefits when used on steamed shrimp. Its robust flavor reduces the need for additional spices, simplifying the cooking process. The seasoning’s consistency also ensures even coating, which results in uniform taste in every bite. Old Bay’s blend includes anti-inflammatory ingredients like celery seed and mustard, adding a healthful aspect to your dish. Using Old Bay can also evoke a sense of tradition, bringing the authentic taste of the Chesapeake Bay to your table.

How to Make Old Bay Seasoned Steamed Shrimp

Ingredients Needed

To make Old Bay Seasoned Steamed Shrimp, gather the following ingredients:

  • 2 lbs large shrimp (shells on)
  • 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning (ensure even coating)
  • 1 cup water (for steaming)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (adds tang)
  • 1 lemon (cut into wedges, for garnish)
  1. Preparation: Rinse the shrimp under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. If desired, devein the shrimp.
  2. Steaming Setup: Pour the water and apple cider vinegar into a large pot. Place a steamer basket over the liquid, ensuring it doesn’t touch the liquid.
  3. Adding Shrimp: Arrange the shrimp in the steamer basket. Sprinkle half of the Old Bay Seasoning directly on the shrimp.
  4. Cooking: Cover the pot and bring the water-vinegar mixture to a boil. Steam the shrimp for 5-7 minutes until they turn pink and are opaque.
  5. Final Seasoning: Remove the shrimp from the pot. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with the remaining Old Bay Seasoning. Toss until shrimp are evenly coated.
  6. Serving: Garnish with lemon wedges. Serve immediately while hot.

Following these steps ensures your shrimp are perfectly seasoned and cooked.

Serving Suggestions for Old Bay Shrimp


Pair Old Bay Shrimp with classic sides to enhance the meal. Serve alongside:

  • Corn on the cob: Boiled or grilled for added flavor.
  • Coleslaw: Provides a crunchy, refreshing contrast.
  • Potato salad: Creamy texture complements seasoned shrimp.
  • Fresh lemon wedges: Add a citrusy kick.
  • Garlic bread: Perfect for soaking up any extra seasoning.

Each accompaniment balances the savory and spicy notes of Old Bay Shrimp, creating a well-rounded dining experience.

Presentation Tips

Elevate the appeal of your Old Bay Shrimp with thoughtful presentation:

  • Arrange shrimp in a circular pattern on a large platter, placing accompaniments in the center.
  • Garnish with sprigs of parsley or cilantro for a pop of color.
  • Use seafood picks or small forks to encourage easy eating.
  • Serve on a bed of mixed greens or iceberg lettuce to enhance visual appeal.

These presentation details make a simple dish look restaurant-quality, impressing guests and enhancing the dining experience.

Pairing Drinks with Old Bay Seasoned Shrimp

Alcoholic Beverages

Pair Old Bay Seasoned Shrimp with specific alcoholic beverages to enhance your culinary experience. Beers like pilsners and pale ales complement the savory and spicy flavors, providing a refreshing contrast. Try a Chesapeake Pale Ale or a classic Pilsner Urquell. White wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio also work well. Their acidity and lightness balance the Old Bay’s intensity, making each bite enjoyable. If you prefer spirits, a classic Margarita or a Bloody Mary, which is traditionally flavored with Old Bay, pairs perfectly with steamed shrimp.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Choose non-alcoholic beverages to ensure everyone at your gathering can enjoy Old Bay Seasoned Shrimp. Lemonade, with its bright citrus notes, cuts through the rich flavors of the seasoning. Unsweetened iced tea offers a simple, clean taste that refreshes the palate. For more adventurous options, consider a virgin Bloody Mary or a spicy ginger beer. These drinks add complexity and enhance the overall dining experience.

By selecting the right beverages, you elevate the flavors of Old Bay Seasoned Shrimp, creating a memorable meal for all your guests.


Old Bay Seasoned Steamed Shrimp isn’t just a dish; it’s a celebration of culinary tradition and flavor. With its perfect blend of spices, Old Bay transforms simple shrimp into a mouthwatering experience. Whether you’re hosting a summer cookout or a cozy dinner, this dish is sure to impress your guests.

Pair it with some classic sides like corn on the cob and coleslaw, and don’t forget to consider beverage options that complement the robust flavors. Elevate your dining experience with thoughtful presentation and garnishes. Enjoy the timeless taste of Old Bay Seasoned Steamed Shrimp and create memorable meals that everyone will love.

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