How do I know whether I should leave the shrimp tail on or take it off?

Coconut Shrimpenlarge
Photo: Van Chaplin; Styling: Vanessa McNeil Rocchio

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Leaving the shrimp tail on or off may be a matter of personal preference, but here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

When you leave the tail on, the shrimp is easier to pick up. When I am serving shrimp as finger food (such as the Coconut Shrimp pictured on the left), I leave the tail on—it's like a built-in handle!

The tail also gives shrimp a pretty and more dramatic look, so if I want to highlight them in the dish, I will leave the tail on. But bear in mind that requires the diner to then cut it off, so if the entire dish is in bite-size pieces (not requiring cutting), I am more likely to remove the tail.

For more shrimp tips, watch our videos on How to Peel, Devein, and Butterfly Shrimp and see our collection of Shrimp Recipes.

Marge Perry
Jun, 2011
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