Can You Eat Shrimp Tails? Everything You NEED TO KNOW!


It is pretty common to wonder whether or not it is truly okay to eat unshelled shrimps – especially with their tails on! Should one eat the whole thing? Can you eat shrimp tails? Are shrimp tails edible though?

Short answer:

Yes, shrimp tails are definitely edible! They’re crispy, tasty, and quite nutritious as well!

In this article, we will tackle the following main points to help clear things up with regard to eating shrimp tails:

Let’s dig in!

What Are Shrimp Tails Made Of? Are They Edible?

The tails of the shrimps compose of chitin, a tough, brittle substance found in many shellfish and insects.

Basically, it becomes crunchy and delectable when you fry shrimps with tails on!

There may be some confusion about whether or not shrimp tails are good to eat, but, yes! you can eat shrimp tails and they are edible.

Fun fact:

If you are one of those who can handle the crunch and are willing to eat the tail, you might get a reward for your attempt and savor such wonderful flavor.

Can You Eat Shrimp Tails? Is It Safe?

Of course, it is!

Food preppers would prefer to keep the shrimp tails on as it provides additional texture and taste to the dish. After all, there’s more flavor that is concentrated on the tail of the shrimp!

At the same time, cooking with their tails prevent these pleasantly delicious seafood-y juices from escaping the shrimp.

Apparently, it’s not very complicated to cook and eat them. There’s no such bad stuff that you can get from the tails of the shrimp.

Again, you don’t have to be afraid to eat these tails. However, one thing you’ll need to worry about is if your body can tolerate shrimps.

Some people don’t like to eat shrimp tails that haven’t been cooked very well. It is even more true if the meal is eaten in large amounts.

Can you eat shrimp while pregnant?

Warning: Pregnant women can eat shrimp tails because they don’t have as much mercury as other types of seafood, which makes them safe, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Learn more: Can You Eat Shrimp Shells?

Are Shrimp Tails Bad For You?

Because shrimp is healthy and filling, you might want to include it in your meals.

However, if you are allergic to crustaceans such as shrimps, you might as well give up on them for your own safety.

If you are experiencing allergic reactions such as itchy skin, swollen lips and tongue, digestive problems, and shortness of breath, please seek for immediate medical attention to overcome these serious symptoms.

Additionally, if you are allergic to shrimp, then it is better not to try to eat soup made of shrimp tails. 

Nutrition & Benefits of Eating Shrimp Tails

Shrimp tails alone are made up of minerals that but the amounts are of little nutritional value.

Nutritionally, shrimp with tails on are low in calories and high in protein, and a great choice.

If you eat 85g of cooked shrimp with tail on, this is the nutritional value you’ll get:

  • Calories: 50
  • Total fat: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 85mg
  • Sodium: 390mg
  • Protein: 12g
  • Calcium: 40mg

Other nutrients found in shrimps with tails include selenium, chlorine, zinc, and vitamin B12. (*)

Overall, you can eat shrimps with tails on as part of a healthy meal.

Though some people may it difficult to chew shrimp tails, just know that there’s still some nutritional value in it.

Did you know?

 A whole shrimp also has iodine, which helps keep the thyroid healthy and prevent thyroid diseases. It also supports brain health.

What Do Shrimp Tails Taste Like?

In comparison to chicken bones, shrimp tails are akin to cartilage. Plus, their crunchiness just makes it more palatable.

As a matter of fact, some people love shrimp tails, while others will only eat the flesh. And most people won’t even try to eat the shrimp tail at all!

Why? That is because the tails are often hard to eat.

If these were small-sized shrimps, it would be easier to chew them with tails on.

How to Cook Shrimp Tails?

The tails of shrimp are tasty! What can you do with it? Here’s how to make them.

1. Deep Fry

Deep-fried shrimp tails are the best method of cooking.

Just dip it in flour and cornstarch, then fry them in a pan of hot cooking oil.

After frying, place them on a serving plate and sprinkle a few red pepper flakes if you want some spiciness, then serve.

Voila! You’ve got deep-fried shrimp tails.

Get recipe:

2. Stock of Shrimp

The shrimp stock is excellent for risotto and gumbo.

And, you can use it as a replacement for other types of broths.

Here’s how to make a quick stock with shrimp tails:

  1. Take about a pound of shrimp tails and shells and put them in a pot.
  2. Fill the pot with tap water and bring to a boil.
  3. Let it simmer for 15 minutes until the water turns orange.

You can keep them inside the freezer for three months in a large Ziploc bag.

If you don’t want to consume it right away, store it right away inside the fridge.

Get recipe:

How to remove shrimp tails?

The shrimp’s tail isn’t something that many people like to cut off because it looks good on the plate.

Some people also eat shrimp by holding the tail.

If you don’ want the tail, you should gently cut it with your hands.

To get the shrimp tails off, follow these steps:

  1. Push the tail from the bottom of the shrimp’s body, where the tail meets the shrimp’s body.
  2. Slide the tail away from the shrimp. 
  3. Once you’re done, save the tail for other dishes.
  4. After removing the tail, the next step is to clean the shrimp and its tails.

Learn more: What to Cook with Shrimp: 24 Shrimp-ly Amazing Recipes to try!

Should you remove shrimp tails before cooking?

Actually, it’s all up to you! It all depends on your preference.
Note that keeping the tails on makes the meal more beautiful as it adds taste and crunchiness!
Plus, it makes the shrimp look bigger in size – definitely an advantage for restaurants.

Final Thoughts

Can you eat shrimp tails? Overall, shrimp tails are surprisingly good for you, and they do not pose any major health risks. Leaving the shrimp tail on or off may be up to you.

There is no doubt that shrimp tail is very useful. Also, keep the tail on if you want your dish to look good on the plate. However, shrimp tails may cause allergic reactions in some people.

Frequently Asked Questions

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