Sous Vide Shrimp With Garlic, Sherry, and Smoked Paprika Recipe

Cooking shrimp sous vide allows you to infuse them with flavor. In this recipe, we use the flavor profile of the Spanish tapas standby, gambas al ajillo.

Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Why It Works

  • Cooking shrimp sous vide ensures consistently plump, juicy, flavorful results.
  • Tossing the shrimp with baking soda firms up their texture.
  • Garlic, paprika, sherry, olive oil, and butter pack the shrimp with extra flavor.

We love using an immersion circulator to cook shrimp to the perfect temperature, no guesswork required. Not only does it guarantee a tender, snappy texture, but the method also allows you to infuse the shrimp with flavor while they cook. In this recipe, we give them a Spanish twist with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika, and sherry.

Sous Vide Shrimp Cooking Temperature

125°F (52°C)  Translucent, semi-raw with a soft, buttery texture. 
130°F (54°C)  Nearly opaque, very tender with a hint of firmness. 
135°F (57°C)  Barely opaque, moist, juicy, and tender. 
140°F (60°C)  Traditional poached texture with good bounce and a crisp, juicy bite. 

Recipe Facts



Active: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 1 1/2 pounds large peeled shrimp (about 700g) (see note)

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 6 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika (about 6g)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) sherry

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6ml) sherry vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons (30g) butter

  • Crusty bread, for serving


  1. Set your sous vide water bath to desired temperature according to the chart above.

  2. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and the baking soda. Set aside.

  3. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until garlic sizzles and softens but is not browned, about 3 minutes. Add paprika and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sherry and sherry vinegar, increase heat to high, and cook until the liquid is reduced and sauce starts to emulsify, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Season to taste with salt. Let cool about 5 minutes.

  4. Place shrimp in a heavy duty zipper-lock bag or a vacuum bag. Pour in oil/garlic mixture. Remove all air from bag using the water displacement method or a vacuum sealer. Press shrimp into a single layer.

  5. Add bagged shrimp to preheated water bath and cook for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour (the texture should show very little variation within this time frame).

  6. Pour cooked shrimp and sauce into a warm bowl and serve. Alternatively, preheat a cast iron skillet over high heat until a bead of water dropped in sizzles immediately. Place on a trivet and pour in the shrimp/oil mixture. Serve immediately, passing bread for sopping up the extra sauce.

Special equipment

Sous vide precision cooker


You can also cook shell-on shrimp. They will be more flavorful, but you'll either have to shell before serving, or have diners shell them on their own (or just eat the shells, they're delicious). For shell-on shrimp, add 5 minutes to the minimum cooking time.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
264 Calories
19g Fat
6g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 264
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 158mg 53%
Sodium 1009mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 184mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)