To prepare shrimp for cooking, it’s important to devein them. Cooking them with the veins left in usually leads to a sour taste and a gritty texture.
However, deveining is hard work, and doing it yourself with a paring knife takes a lot of time. So, how do you do it quickly? You use a shrimp deveiner!
Generally, they come in two types: Knives and scissors. With the knife, you can devein with one single stroke. Using the scissors, you can peel the shell off easily.
This tool will help you clean shrimp extremely quickly, saving you a lot of time and ensuring your seafood dishes are cooked with the cleanest prawns you can get. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the market and find the best shrimp deveiner on offer today!
Types of Deveiners
Deveining shrimps can be a lot of work if you don’t have the right tools. So, today I’ll walk you through the different types of deveiners that you can use to clean shrimps more efficiently.
The shrimp peeler has a curved blade that passes through the shrimp’s tail, pushing the vein back and slicing through the shell for easy removal. This tool is the ideal alternative to the shrimp knife or scissors because it appeals to everyone, regardless of your experience deveining shrimps.
You can use the shrimp scissor to cut through the top of the tail and then remove the shell by hand. However, sometimes the scissor fails to hook the vein and remove it during the cutting. When that happens, turning to a shrimp knife is the next best thing to devein the shrimp.
The shrimp knife is a bit trickier to use than the other options, but they’re pretty effective when the scissors or peelers aren’t enough. Slide the knife approximately halfway in the tail, right where the shell and meat. Then, hold the shrimp firmly and push it forward across the blade’s length to remove the shrimp shell and the vein. These few steps allow you to prepare a butterfly-shaped shrimp that is ready for the kitchen.
This knife can be dangerous if the handle gets slippery, so you need a non-slip shrimp knife to avoid accidents.
What Kind of Knife Should You Use to Devein Shrimp?
Use a small knife featuring a three or four inches curved blade with teeth at the bottom edge near the tip to devein shrimps. A curved blade follows the contour of the shrimp while it uses the teeth to grab the vein. This type of knife is ideal for preparing shrimps because the blade treats them gently and doesn’t cut out more than necessary.
If the peeler and knife don’t work for you, then the shrimp butler is a modern and friendlier tool to devein shrimps faster and more efficiently. Using the shrimp butler is pretty easy as well. Put the headless shrimp in the opening at the top, and pull the leaver down quickly. The shrimp butler will cut and devein it instantly.
This tool works without electricity, so that’s another plus. It’s dishwasher-safe and comes with a stainless steel blade that lasts a long time. While it’s an excellent choice for home cooks, the shrimp butler is ideal for professional cooks that need to peel shrimps constantly.
Top 10 Shrimp Deveiners and Peelers of 2023
The Toadfish Shrimp Deveiner Tool is the best deveiner to prepare shrimps because it can peel, devein, and butterfly shrimps in a single motion. This tool comes with an underside stainless steel blade that butterflies and cleans the shrimp, a full tang construction for maximum strength, and an ergonomic handle to give you a firm grip. This particular design allows you to peel many shrimps in less time and without feeling fatigue.
Using this tool is as easy as inserting the tip below the shell’s top, pushing the tool forward, and sliding the shrimp towards the handle. The shell remains on the blades, while the peeled, deveined, and butterflied shrimp will be right at your hands.
The other items mentioned here can also remove veins and shells while splitting the tail in half to create a beautiful butterfly-like shape for presentation. They’re also pretty affordable products, so you have the opportunity to try one or many of them without breaking the bank.
1. OXO Good Grips Shrimp Cleaner
This pick comes from OXO, a New York-based company with 30 years of experience in manufacturing ergonomic kitchen products for their customers.
This shrimp cleaner features a sturdy plastic frame with a pressure-absorbing rubber handle, alongside a ridged end for easy peel removal.
With its specialized blade to remove shrimp shells, it works great on both cooked and raw shrimp alike. But in our experience, it’s best used for peeling and deveining boiled prawns.
Thanks to its size, it works well to devein shrimp of all sizes, although it works best on larger shrimp.
How to use:
- First, insert the tool’s tip into the end of the shrimp, ridged side up.
- After making sure it’s all the way inside the shrimp, all you need to do is pull.
- In one motion, you’ll split the shell and devein the shrimp.
However, you should pay attention when deveining shrimp with this tool, because it generally only removes about 70% of the vein. To clean the rest, you can rinse it or pluck it out by hand.
Due to its comfortable grip and low price point, the OXO Good Grips Shrimp Cleaner can be a budget option for your deveining needs!
- Its soft handle prevents your hand from slipping, even when wet.
- This tool’s lightweight construction allows you to devein lots of shrimp without wasting too much energy.
- 1% of OXO’s annual sales will be donated to environmental nonprofit organizations.
2. Frogmore Shrimp Deveiner Tool With Butterfly Blade
This pick comes from Toadfish Outfitters, a company that specializes in making coastal lifestyle products such as fishing gear and kitchen tools for seafood preparation.
With a point blade constructed from stainless steel, this deveiner provides strength to make the shrimp deveining process as easy as it could be.
To fulfill your seafood preparation needs, this deveiner works on raw, boiled, and steamed shrimp alike. However, it is best used if you’re cleaning fresh prawns.
The size of this deveining tool also lends itself well to most shrimp sizes, although we recommend it best for larger prawns.
After use, cleaning is made very easy by either hand-washing or top-rack dishwasher.
How to use this tool:
- First, you slide the shrimp deveiner below the shrimp’s shell.
- Then you push it forward, pulling the shrimp towards you at the same time.
- Now, the entire peel should be left on the tool while the shrimp will be in your hand already peeled, deveined, and butterflied.
- To finish the process, all you need is to wash the shrimp.
With its high-quality construction and easy use, the Frogmore Shrimp Deveiner is one of the best choices if you’re looking to peel and butterfly shrimp!
- An ergonomic handle makes the deveining process much easier on your hands.
- By buying this product you also help plant more oyster habitats, ensuring the shrimp population keeps flourishing.
- All plastic parts on this tool are made from responsibly-sourced recycled materials.
3. Coastal Kitchen Collection by Toadfish Outfitters
This entry into our list also comes from Toadfish Outfitters, the coastal lifestyle company that manufactures fishing items and other seafood preparation products.
This collection offers three of their best seafood prep tools in one box! It contains a Frogmore Shrimp Tool, a Crab Cutter, as well as a high-quality Oyster Knife in one package.
The deveiner features a stainless steel blade to provide strength and make the deveining process easier. Its construction also makes it best used to peel larger shrimp.
To make your food preparation easier, this Frogmore deveiner’s point blade butterflies the shrimp in addition to peeling it.
The Frogmore deveiner provides great performance with both raw and cooked shrimp, but it works best when cleaning fresh catches.
To take care of this shrimp deveiner, you can either hand wash it or put it in a dishwasher.
How to use this tool:
- First, prepare the tool in one hand and the shrimp in your other.
- Taking the tool, poke it just underneath the shrimp’s shell.
- Pull the shrimp toward you.
- Push the tool forward.
- The shrimp’s shell will now be stuck on the tool.
- Retrieve the peeled and deveined shrimp by sliding it out of the opened shell.
If you eat seafood often, the Toadfish Coastal Kitchen Collection offers shrimp prep solutions and so much more in one package!
- Packaged in a beautiful box for easy storage
- Oyster knife is made out of rust-resistant Japanese steel, allowing it to pop open oysters easily.
- Crab cutter has a spring-based design built for easy use.
4. SCI Cuisine Red Shrimp Deveiner
This shrimp deveiner comes from Scandicrafts Cuisine Internationale, a California-based company founded in 1956 specializing in quality gourmet kitchen items.
- It is dishwasher safe, so it’s much easier to clean.
- The simple but sturdy construction will let this tool last years before you need to replace it.
- This 12-inch long tool lends itself well to peeling medium to large shrimp.
Entirely made of plastic, this tool and features a very simple construction that does its job very well. While you can devein both raw and boiled shrimp with this product, we find that it performs best peeling uncooked prawns.
To get the maximum performance out of this deveiner, you need to learn how to use it properly. The main trick is to insert the plastic blade into the shrimp’s vein tract, make sure it goes all the way through the tail, and pull the shell off sideways instead of upward. This way, you’ll get perfect peels every time.
In the case that the tip breaks off, you can still work around it by shaving the remaining blade down so it retains its sharpness and purpose.
Don’t let its price fool you, the SCI Cuisine Red Shrimp Deveiner is a simple, reliable tool that will help you fulfill your shrimp deveining needs for a long time!
5. Lamson Shrimp Walnut Deveiner
This shrimp deveiner is sold by Massachusetts-based Lamson & Goodnow, a company with almost 200 years of experience in manufacturing cutlery. They offer knives as well as other kitchen products boasting professional quality for expert chefs and home cooks alike.
- Durable riveted walnut handle with a beautiful finish.
- Lamson & Goodnow provides a lifetime guarantee for replacements due to manufacturer defects.
- This tool has a cutting edge on both sides so you can cut the shrimp’s back and shell simultaneously.
Boasting a tempered high-carbon steel blade for strength, the 3-inch cutting edge of this tool follows the contours of a shrimp’s body perfectly and the teeth at the end can grab onto the vein for easy deveining.
To properly clean up a shrimp with this tool, you simply push the blade through to remove the shell and pull up. If you need it butterflied, all you need to do is flip the deveiner over.
Its short blade allows it to peel and devein small shrimp easily, although it still performs well on larger prawns. Despite its size, this tool can still perfectly fit big hands.
This product is a perfect choice if you cook often since it performs best when used to clean and devein boiled shrimp.
Due to the wooden handle on this shrimp deveiner, we recommend that you wash it by hand. To prevent the wood from drying out, you should also treat it with mineral oil every so often.
Simple but effective, Lamson & Goodnow’s Shrimp Deveiner (made in the USA) is an excellent addition to your kitchen if you need help peeling and deveining shrimp.
6. Norpro Shrimp/Prawn Deveiner
This entry into our picks is sold by Washington-based Norpro, a company with over 40 years of experience in manufacturing quality kitchen products at an affordable price.
- Its scissor-like construction also makes this product a good tool to cut crab legs and lobster tails.
- Stainless steel blade for strength and durability.
- This product boasts a very low price tag for its performance.
To use this scissor-shaped shrimp peeler, you need to slide the cutting edge under the prawn’s shell and push it through so you can remove the vein. All that’s left to do is make the cut so you can completely peel it.
Its construction makes it great for both raw and cooked shrimp, but it’s best used if you prefer to remove shells after cooking.
Due to its simple use and its length, you’ll find that this tool can help you go through lots of large shrimp easily. However, it does take a little extra effort compared to the one-stroke deveining offered by the Frogmore Shrimp Deveiner.
With the deveining performance and simplicity this product offers, the Norpro Shrimp/Prawn Deveiner is a good option if you need to clean lots of shrimp really fast!
7. Challenge Shrimp Cleaner
This item comes from Challenge Plastic Products, an Indiana-based company that specializes in plastic design and assembly. This manufacturer with almost 30 years of experience also provides a line of fishing tools and accessories.
- This product boasts a very low price tag.
- Simple, sturdy plastic construction without any moving parts.
- At only 0.71 ounces, this tool is very lightweight.
Like most deveiners, you need to slide this product’s blade into the shrimp’s shell and punch through the other side before pushing up to remove it. If there’s any vein left, you can take it out by hand or rinse it out.
In our experience, it’s best used for uncooked shrimp, and its length works best with medium or large ones. However, if you use this product often, you might find that it doesn’t handle as comfortably as the OXO Good Grips Shrimp Cleaner.
If you need an affordable deveiner that does exactly what it’s meant to do, the Challenge Shrimp Cleaner could be the right choice!
The Toothpick Method of Deveining Shrimp
Say you bought a bunch of shrimps, but you had no idea that you had to devein them. If you don’t have a deveiner tool readily available, you can devein them just fine using a toothpick. Here’s how you do it.
Grab the shrimp with your thumb and index finger, keeping it curved to leave the center of the abdominal section exposed. With your other hand, use a clean toothpick and poke between the shell and the meat near the tail’s top side. Hook the vein, and pull the toothpick up to remove it.
In some cases, you may either break the vein or fail to get it. Don’t worry. Try again from another angle, and you’ll eventually get it done.
What to Consider Before Buying a Deveiner?
If you want a quality shrimp deveiner, choose a tool with a stainless steel blade. It’s durable and easy to clean, making it a convenient and reliable deveiner for home cooks and professionals alike. Stainless steel blades are also sturdier, which is a plus when you need to apply a little more pressure to slice through the shell. Blades made with this material are also resistant to rust, corrosion, and the weight feels comfortable with decent balance.
The other option is a plastic blade, which is lightweight and has zero chances of rusting over time. This material is more suitable if you prepare shrimps occasionally, as it requires little maintenance attention. Nonetheless, plastic is the lower quality alternative because it’s flimsier than stainless steel. Thin plastic can bend, and it’s less durable.
2. Handle Design
Plastic handles are often cheap and affordable, making them ideal if you’re an entry-level cook that doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on a deveiner. This material is also lightweight for more comfort and doesn’t have any issue with rust or corrosion. Plastic is food-safe and may have a notched design to give you a secure grip even when your hands are wet. Therefore, the risks of slips are minimal.
A rubber handle is easily one of the most effective for giving you a firm grip while deveining shrimps. Handles made with this material are soft and provide a grippy texture that feels comfortable to hold, even when your hands are wet from deveining many shrimps. These handles may also have grooves, a common feature in fishing tools that guarantee slip resistance.
Have you ever dealt with slimy hands after deveining shrimps? That won’t be a problem anymore.
Wooden handles are stylish and make the shrimp deveiners look more professional. They’re soft on the hand and have high resistance against bacteria, which is super handy if you deal with shrimps regularly. The downside to this type of handle is that keeping them clean is a hassle.
Stainless steel handles are another option due to their high durability and strength. This type of handle is easy to clean, and it has high resistance to rust and corrosion. It’s the perfect alternative to wooden handles if you don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning them. The downside to this handle is that the metal produces a smooth surface prone to slipping if your hands are wet.
The shrimp peeler is the one deveiner that feels the most satisfying to use. It does take a bit of a learning curve at first, but you get the hang of it fairly quickly after the second or third shrimp deveined. Using a peeler is also the fastest method to devein a shrimp, averaging about five shrimps per minute once you master it. Plus, you don’t have to peel off the shell layer by layer, making the whole process less messy.
After peeling it, the shrimps may not look as good during your first time using this tool. But, take some time to practice and your precision will get much better.
Using a knife to devein a shrimp gives you complete control over where the blade is going. As a result, you can follow the tail with high precision, and the shrimp ends up looking much better after removing the vein and shell. However, if you’re prepping many shrimps, using the knife gets tiresome over time. This method is also messier. Your hands feel slimy, and you have to wash them and the knife thoroughly once you finish.
If you don’t want to put any effort into deveining shrimps, then the shrimp butler is for you. This device has a stainless steel blade and outstanding precision regardless of the shrimp size. The smaller the shrimp, the less it cuts into the shell to remove the vein without cutting much meat. You do have to remove the shell by hand afterward, but the shrimp looks incredibly well.
Shrimp scissors are good, but they don’t always work. It’s pretty easy to miss the vein with this tool, leading you to snip through the shrimp shell repeatedly until you can get it out. Therefore, using the scissors is often frustrating and prone to messing up the shrimps.
4. Ease of Use
As far as ease of use goes, I would recommend the deveiners as follows.
First is the shrimp butler. This device is the easiest out of the bunch, requiring little effort on your part. It doesn’t require any technique, as you only have to pull a lever and remove the shell afterward, which comes out of the device ready to peel off. Next is the shrimp peeler. This tool takes a bit of time to master but learning how to use it is considerably faster than shrimp knives or scissors.
The third option would be the shrimp knife, which requires more skills to remove the vein out gracefully. Shrimp scissors are the last choice simply because they’re not as effective as the others.
The shrimp peeler is perhaps the most versatile deveiner you could use due to its capacity to work with large, medium, and small shrimps. Not only that, but the peeler also serves more than one purpose. It can help you to peel, devein, and butterfly shrimps with a single and smooth motion. While the other tools like the shrimp knife, scissor, and butler can only devein, the peeler does it all to help you cook shrimps faster and easier.
Do I Have to Devein All Kinds of Shrimp?
You must devein large shrimps to guarantee they taste good and look perfect. Shrimps of small and medium sizes have tiny digestive tracts, and chances are you won’t even tell the difference whether you devein them or not.
Furthermore, deveining smaller shrimps will most likely cause you to mangle the flesh unwantedly. If you’re prepping farmed shrimps, then there’s no need to worry about any of that. Farmed shrimp producers let the shrimps starve for several days before harvesting to reduce the tract.
Why Should You Consider Removing The Vein?
Deveining shrimps allows you to remove the unpleasant taste some of them may have, which could come across as bitter, sour, or muddy. A non-deveined shrimp can also have a sandy or gritty texture, and you will feel it thoroughly within your mouth. Even if you apply sauce or dressing, these flavors and textures might not go away entirely.
If you work in a restaurant or want to prepare a dish that looks incredibly tasty, deveining is necessary. Using a deveiner creates an incision down the back of the shrimp’s tail, which then curls and turns into a butterfly shape while cooking. This process results in a beautiful presentation that will have your clients, friends, and family eager to dig right in.
Do Shrimp Deveiners Work on Cooked Shrimp?
Shrimp deveiner doesn’t work on cooked shrimps. Cooking the shrimp tail causes the vein to lose elasticity, becoming brittle and impossible to get it out. If you’re deveining shrimps, make sure to do it before cooking them.
Does Walmart Sell Shrimp Deveiner?
Walmart sells plenty of knives and peelers designed specifically to devein shrimps. Most of them are less than $30, which means that you won’t spend much money to get a tool to prepare shrimps perfectly.
Cleaning shrimp is a lot of work and will take up a lot of time if you do it by hand. When looking for shrimp peelers, the most important factors are speed, ease of use, and efficiency.
Thanks to its innovative construction coupled with its simple and easy single-stroke approach to peeling shrimp, the Frogmore Shrimp Deveiner is the essential shrimp-cleaning tool and our top pick.
If you want to remove shrimp peel on the cheap, the features offered by the OXO Good Grips Shrimp Cleaner, in addition to its comfortable slip-proof handle, makes it the perfect budget pick.