How many medium shrimp in a pound?

Shrimp are a popular type of seafood that come in different sizes like small, medium, large, jumbo and more. When cooking recipes that call for shrimp, it’s useful to know approximately how many pieces you will get per pound based on the size. This allows you to buy the right amount at the store and plan your meal accurately.

For medium shrimp specifically, the common estimate is 41-50 pieces per pound. However, the exact count can vary a bit based on factors like where the shrimp came from and slight natural variations in size. Here’s a more in-depth look at estimating how many medium shrimp are in a pound.

What Qualifies as a Medium Shrimp?

Shrimp are categorized by “count per pound” or the approximate number of individual shrimp contained in one pound. Here are the common size classifications:

  • Colossal – under 10 per pound
  • Jumbo – 11-15 per pound
  • Extra Large – 16-20 per pound
  • Large – 21-25 per pound
  • Medium – 41-50 per pound
  • Small – 51-60 per pound

As you can see, medium shrimp are the second smallest commonly marketed size after small shrimp. To qualify as medium by industry standards, shrimp are sized to be 41 to 50 pieces per pound. So if you see “medium shrimp” advertised at the store or on a restaurant menu, you can assume the pieces are selected to be within that count range per pound.

The exact size that equates to can vary slightly but medium shrimp are generally:

  • 1.25 inches to 1.5 inches long
  • 8 to 10 shrimp per ounce

So when you see “1 lb of medium shrimp”, you can expect approximately 41-50 whole uncooked shrimp in that 1 pound package or container.

Factors Affecting Shrimp Counts per Pound

While size classifications like “medium” are meant to provide a general range for number of shrimp per pound, there are some factors that can cause variance:

Source Location

Wild caught shrimp can have some natural differences in size based on where they were harvested. Shrimp from different coasts and regions have slight size variations. Farm raised shrimp also show variability between producers.

Processing Variability

Since shrimp are hand processed and sorted for size classifications, there is some human error and subjectivity in the process. Grading isn’t an exact science.

Natural Growth Differences

Like all living creatures, individual shrimp of the same species don’t grow to an identical size. There is natural variability between different specimens.

Whole vs Peeled

Count per pound is based on whole unpeeled shrimp. When shrimp are peeled, the edible portion is lighter without the shell, changing the expected number per pound.

So while medium shrimp are defined as 41-50 per pound, the actual count could be a few over or under that range due to these factors. It’s not an exact science.

How Many Medium Shrimp in Specific Sizes?

Here is a breakdown of the approximate number of medium shrimp expected per different pound sizes:

1 Pound:

You can expect approximately 41-50 medium shrimp per 1 pound. This is the typical packaged size you’ll see medium shrimp sold in at the grocery store.

0.5 Pound:

For a half pound, expect approximately 20-25 medium shrimp.

2 Pounds:

For a 2 pound bag or container, expect approximately 82-100 medium shrimp.

5 Pounds:

In a 5 pound bulk package, expect approximately 205-250 medium shrimp.

So in summary for medium shrimp per pound:

  • 0.5 lb = 20-25 shrimp
  • 1 lb = 41-50 shrimp
  • 2 lb = 82-100 shrimp
  • 5 lb = 205-250 shrimp

You can use these estimates to determine how many pounds of medium shrimp to buy based on approximately how many pieces you need for your desired recipes or meals.

How Many Medium Shrimp per Ounce?

Here is a breakdown of how many medium shrimp on average are expected per ounce:

  • 1 Ounce: 8-10 shrimp
  • 4 Ounces: 32-40 shrimp
  • 8 Ounces: 64-80 shrimp
  • 16 Ounces (1 Pound): 128-160 shrimp

An average serving size is often 4 ounces which would be approximately 32-40 medium shrimp.

These ounce conversions can be handy for smaller amounts like if you are buying shrimp by the pound but only need a certain number of ounces for a particular recipe.

How Many Medium Shrimp per Serving?

Here are some guidelines for about how many medium shrimp make up a typical serving:

  • Main dish serving: 6-8 shrimp
  • Appetizer or side serving: 4-5 shrimp
  • Shrimp cocktail: 4-6 shrimp
  • Scampi dish: 8-12 shrimp
  • Seafood pasta: 4-6 shrimp
  • Seafood bake/roast: 8-10 shrimp
  • Seafood stew/soup: 3-5 shrimp
  • Shrimp salad: 5-7 shrimp
  • Saut??ed/grilled shrimp: 7-10 shrimp

These serving sizes are estimated averages but can help provide rough guidelines for about how many medium shrimp to prepare per person depending on the recipe and dish style. Adjust as needed based on individual appetites.

Having an idea of typical shrimp servings can help you gauge amounts when cooking for a certain number of people.

Nutrition Facts for Medium Shrimp

Here are some key nutrition facts for medium shrimp:

Serving Size: 4 Ounces (112g)

Nutrient Amount
Calories 84
Protein 18g
Fat 1g
Carbohydrates 1g
Sodium 168mg
Cholesterol 172mg

Key things to note:

  • High in protein – each 4 ounce serving provides 18g protein, over 1/3 the RDA.
  • Low in fat and carbs
  • Has cholesterol, but still a lean protein choice
  • Decent sodium content but not excessive for a serving

Shrimp provide lean protein, vitamins like B12, selenium, iron, and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. They make a healthy choice as part of a balanced diet. Monitor sodium intake for certain health conditions.

Price Per Pound for Medium Shrimp

Pricing for medium shrimp can range based on:

  • Fresh vs Frozen – Fresh shrimp costs more than frozen per pound.
  • Cooked vs Raw – Cooked shrimp costs more than raw.
  • Wild Caught vs Farm Raised – Wild caught typically costs slightly more per pound.
  • Store Location – Prices can vary between grocery stores based on region.
  • Sale Prices – Look for seasonal sales around holidays and summer.
  • Bulk Sizes – Buying larger bulk packages can lower cost per pound.

On average expect to pay:

  • Raw medium shrimp: $7 to $10 per pound
  • Cooked medium shrimp: $8 to $12 per pound

At major grocery stores, medium shrimp prices tend to range from $8.99 to $12.99 per pound depending on the above factors. Look for sales and bulk options like 2 pound bags to lower the per pound price.

Buying frozen can offer big savings compared to fresh. Grocery store frozen shrimp that is raw and peeled typically runs $7 to $9 per pound.

Where to Buy Medium Shrimp

You can easily find medium shrimp at most major grocery stores and supermarkets. Here are some options:

  • Fresh seafood counter – found in the refrigerated meat/seafood area
  • Frozen seafood section – offers raw and cooked bags
  • Seafood specialty markets – for a wide selection
  • Wholesale clubs – in bulk for savings
  • Asian/Latin markets – wide variety and affordable pricing
  • Online retailers – order seafood directly to your door
  • Fish markets
  • Local fishermen and shrimpers – for freshly caught options

For peak freshness, look for plump shrimp with firm texture and no discoloration. Avoid slimy or mushy textures. Give frozen shrimp 24-48 hours to defrost in the fridge before cooking.

Storing and Freezing Medium Shrimp

Fresh Shrimp

Refrigerate fresh shrimp as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or sealable bag, and store on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Use within 1-2 days.

Frozen Shrimp

Keep frozen shrimp at 0??F or below. Use packages within 3-6 months for best quality. Thaw in fridge overnight before use.

Cooked Shrimp

Store cooked shrimp in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3-4 days. Can freeze for 2-3 months.

Shrimp Leftovers

Refrigerate leftover cooked shrimp for 3-4 days. Can add to salads, pasta, soup etc. Freeze for longer term storage.

Always thaw frozen shrimp gradually in the fridge, never at room temp. For food safety, follow handling guidelines and don’t re-freeze raw shrimp once thawed.


Medium shrimp provide a versatile protein option for seafood recipes and dishes. You can expect approximately 41-50 pieces per pound on average. Slight variations in size can occur due to source location, processing methods, and natural growth differences.

Use a guideline of about 6-10 medium shrimp per serving depending on the dish style. Buy medium shrimp fresh or frozen from grocery stores, wholesalers, fish markets or local shrimpers. Store fresh shrimp for 1-2 days and frozen for 3-6 months.

Knowing how many medium shrimp come in a pound or package allows you to purchase the right quantities for your recipes and budget. Enjoy the mild sweet flavor of medium shrimp in your favorite seafood dishes.

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