How To Devein A Shrimp Easily

This simple trick using a toothpick will prep shrimps faster, easier.

Preparing shrimps will always be a hassle. There is the removing of the heads, the peeling of the shells, and the removing of the veins before you even cook these shellfish. The bad news is that you have to do this to every single one of them before these become warm and begin to turn slightly orange. (Turning orange is a sign your shrimps are no longer cold and is, in fact, heating up.) 

When you’re cooking an entire kilo of shrimps, this kitchen task might and will take time. While we can definitely ask our fishmonger to do the work for you, there is something comforting in knowing that you handled each shrimp because you learn just how fresh your shrimps really are. The freshest shrimps have heads that do not droop from its body. Any shrimps with limp heads are not as fresh as ones with heads that don’t. You won’t know this if you don’t handle the shrimps yourself. 

Not only that, this prep work can be fast and easy once you get the hang of it. Even removing the vein can be fast and easy. You won’t even need to use a knife, especially if you know this easy kitchen trick.

What you do need is a toothpick

Ready to learn how? 

This is how you devein shrimps easily, quickly. 

Prepare your shrimps as the recipe directs.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

1 Prepare the shrimps or prawns. 

Remove the head and shells as per the recipe. You can leave the last segment or the tail on. What’s great about this trick is that no matter how you need to prepare these shellfish, you can do this trick. 

Aim for a spot just under the vein in the section right before the tail.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

2 Grab a toothpick. 

Use a toothpick, and while holding the shrimp in one hand with the tail end up, aim the toothpick at a spot that’s just under the vein on the back of the shrimp. 

Pierce the shrimp with the toothpick near the tail section and under the vein on its back.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

3 Pierce the spot with the toothpick. 

Poke the spot with the toothpick. The pointed end should show up on the other side. This should also be right under the vein that’s we’re looking to remove. 


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Lift the toothpick through the shrimp’s back. You should have hooked the vein.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

4 Lift the toothpick.

Hold firmly and begin to lift the toothpick through the shrimp that you just pierced. The tricky part here is to break through the shrimp’s back with the vein, so if needed, go slowly so you can hook that vein as you lift. 

Grasp the vein as it appears so it won’t break.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

5 Pull the vein out. 

If you don’t hook the vein, go back and pierce the toothpick under your original spot. You should be able to hook the vein. Once you’ve hooked the vein, grasp that vein and pull it out. 


Devein shrimp in a matter of seconds and all without the use of a knife, too. 

Easy? Definitely and you can do this to any shrimp. What you might encounter when doing this trick is that the vein breaks, especially if the vein is particularly clean or thin. Clean intestines have a tendency to break easier than those which aren’t, so pull gently but firmly as needed once you grasp it. 

Now that you know this easy kitchen trick, you can try this on any of these delicious recipes: 

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