Honestly, you don’t have to devein shrimp at all – leaving the vein in isn’t harmful, it’s mostly removed for aesthetics. Usually, the larger the shrimp, the larger the vein, so you could easily forego deveining small shrimp. It’s your call.
Because shrimp are small, a sharp paring knife with a pointed tip is essential for deveining. A sharp blade requires less pressure to make the shallow slice along the back of the shrimp making a more precise cut, and the tip will easily slide under the vein to lift it out. Another helpful feature for the paring knife you use is a comfortable handle to assist with maneuverability.
The 3" Gourmet Paring Knife is a good choice for deveining. It’s got that pointed tip, and the sharp edge is slightly curved so it can easily make that slice along the back of the shrimp. The 4" Paring Knife would also work well.
Once the vein is removed, if you want your shrimp to butterfly a bit while cooking. Make a deeper cut along the back of it.
You can purchase deveined shrimp, but understand that it’s usually a bit more expensive. So, save a few dollars and devein your own.
How to Devein Shrimp
- Use a 3" Gourmet Paring Knife to cut through the shell and make a shallow slit along the back of the shrimp.
- If peeling, peel away the shell.
- Use the tip of the knife to lift out the vein.