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THE TIP

The Different Sizes of Shrimp

When you go to the seafood counter at your local market, you’ll notice a variety of different size of shrimp from small to large. Along with the location of origin and a note about whether they were pre-frozen, fresh, farm-raised, or wild-caught, you’ll also see a number range in the description, such as 18-20 or 21-25. Have you ever wondered what these numbers mean?

The number refers to the number of individual shrimp in a pound. So, an 18-20 count shrimp will have between 18 and 20 individual shrimp in a pound.

The higher the number, the smaller the shrimp. For most purposes, 21-25 shrimp are a great size but you might want something slightly larger if you’re grilling or something smaller for a ceviche. Remember, bigger is not always better so make sure to ask your seafood monger to get the sweetest, freshest shrimp.