Can you eat shrimp tails?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can you eat shrimp tails?” We will also discuss whether we can eat tails of bigger shrimps, whether they are safe for consumption or not, and how we can use shrimp tails in recipes.

Can you eat shrimp tails?

Yes, you can eat shrimp tails. Some people might choose to remove the tails before eating shrimps but for the most shrimp tails are just as delicious as the rest of the shrimp parts. So whether you want to keep the tails or throw them, it is up to you. 

Thai and Northeastern Chinese cuisines frequently incorporate shrimp tails in their recipes. They give a crisp texture to foods and look great as an appetizer like popcorn shrimp or shrimp cocktail.

Can you eat tails of bigger shrimps?

Yes, you certainly can eat the tails of bigger shrimps but it is not advised to eat them. The tails of very large shrimp, such as jumbo and gigantic, will be much larger and tougher than the smaller-sized shrimps. 

All shrimp tails and shells are composed of chitins. Also, the bigger the shrimp, the harder will be the shells which makes it difficult for you to digest. Consuming the tails of bigger shrimps can even cause you to choke.

Are shrimp tails safe for consumption?

Yes, shrimp tails are absolutely safe for consumption. It is only a matter of whether you want them in your recipe. Shrimp tails are made of the polymer chitin. 

Many research studies have shown that human gastric juice contains the enzyme chitinase, which can deconstruct chitin. Chitinase degrades chitin, making it safe to consume. 

So shrimp tails are completely safe for consumption as well as digestion. It is quite similar to keratin and supplies some protein when digested. They are not just safe, but also have a few health benefits. They have numerous vitamins and minerals like selenium, chlorine, and zinc. Omega 3 fatty acids are also found in abundance in shrimp tails.

However, you must avoid eating shrimp tails if you are allergic to the chitin in the shells. This might cause redness and rashes on the skin upon touch, so eating them is off-limits. Also, if you have a gout problem keep shrimp tails away from your food as they are known to increase acid build-up.

How can we use shrimp tails in recipes?

There are different ways of using shrimp tails in your recipes. Some of them are as follows:\

Used for presentation

Most of the time when you don’t want to use them as a primary ingredient in your recipes, you can simply use the tails for presentation as they give a very good outlook. They are usually kept there at shrimp cocktails, fried shrimp, or seafood platters. It is also usually kept in dishes like pasta, salads, paella, and stir-fries.

But ultimately it’s the chef who decides where to leave the shrimp tails. Although most of the time shrimp tails are not exactly something you’d want to have, you can’t deny it looks good on the plate.

Deep fry your shrimp tails

Shrimp tails don’t exactly work in all kinds of recipes, but deep-fried shrimp tails are an exception. Probably the only time when shrimp tails are useful and actually taste delicious. Deep-fry the shrimp tails after coating them in flour and cornstarch and combine them with some red chili flakes and dips for the perfect flavors. 

The shrimps are crispy and crunchy after deep frying. So you can choose to eat or remove the tails as they easily come off after deep-frying.

Keep the tails for flavors

Just because most people choose to leave out the tails while cooking the shrimp doesn’t necessarily mean that they have no flavors. In fact, they have rich flavors which can be added to your recipe. You can leave them on for flavor while cooking and remove them when they’re done before serving your food.

Because of the extra chitin and shrimp-ness, the tails actually provide a lot of extra flavors to your dish. This is extremely helpful when preparing stock, the shrimp tails add rich flavors to the stock. Fill a pot halfway with cold water and add roughly a pound of shrimp tails and shells. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until the liquid becomes orange for the best shrimp stock ever.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Can you eat shrimp tails?” We have also discussed whether we can eat tails of bigger shrimps, whether they are safe for consumption or not, and how we can use shrimp tails in recipes.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment