The Helpful Tip You Need To Know For Serving Shrimp With Dipping Sauce

Shrimp can be quite delicious when served alone, but dipping them in a bright, tangy sauce can really enhance and complement these sweet, fresh-tasting shellfish. Shrimp and dip make an easy yet refined appetizer for a party or a potluck, and the combination is a crowd-pleaser that can be enjoyed as finger food — if you know how to prepare and serve shrimp properly.

If you're planning to serve your shrimp with a dip, especially at a party where people will be walking around and enjoying food on the go, leave those tail shells on. This is already a popular way to serve shrimp cocktail, but it works for other preparations as well. Shrimp tails make the perfect natural handle for a grabbable, dippable bite. Whether you're serving your shrimp boiled, steamed, or fried with a breading or batter, if you use this tail-on tip, you can make dipping and eating the shrimp easy for your guests without needing to use toothpicks or other utensils.

Is it safe to cook and eat shrimp tails?

Keeping the tails on your shrimp makes them easier to eat with your hands, sure — but is it food-safe to leave part of the shell on? Happily, yes it is, as it is perfectly safe to cook and eat shrimp tails. Leaving the shrimp tails on while cooking can enhance the flavors of your finished dish. There is a lot of flavor locked into those shells; that's the reason chefs and home cooks in the know will save shellfish shells and simmer them to make rich stocks and broths.

Shrimp tails are especially crisp and crackly when battered and fried, such as in shrimp tempura. If you're not a fan of the texture of a shrimp tail, you can always eat just the shrimp body and then discard the tail. But since eating shrimp tails won't hurt you in the slightest, go ahead and crunch down on them without fear. You can even dunk the shrimp tails into the dip to give them an additional blast of flavor, just as you would the meat.

What are the best dips for shrimp?

Shrimp goes well with a medley of different dips, from the classic cocktail and tartar sauces to the sweet chili sauce you can make to serve with your homemade crunchy coconut shrimp. When it comes to selecting a dip for your shrimp, you might want to consider how you've prepared the shrimp itself. Different preparations call for different dips since these accompaniments can vary wildly in flavor and texture, and pairing each dip with the right shrimp partner is essential for building a delicious appetizer.

For simply prepared shrimp that have been boiled, poached, or steamed, you might want to go with a sauce that's tangy and fresh. Cocktail sauce is a classic, but something like a ginger-soy sauce will also add plenty of flavor. You could also go with something a bit richer and more decadent: A classic garlic-butter sauce with a spritz of lemon is always a hit.

For fried shrimp, something with a little body and brightness pairs well. A tasty homemade tartar sauce is a good accompaniment or a Bang Bang sauce made with mayo, vinegar, and sweet chili. Whatever flavors and textures you choose to pair, leaving those tails on can help make dipping a breeze.