What Herbs Go Best With Shrimp

Shrimp is a common option for seafood that can be cooked in a number of different ways; however, elevating the dish by using herbs may take it to the next level. Not only can herbs contribute to taste, but they also have a wide variety of health advantages. In this article, we will discuss some of the most effective herbs for seasoning shrimp, as well as their taste profiles and the many ways in which they may be used in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting out in the kitchen; including herbs in your shrimp recipes is an excellent way to inject a blast of flavor and nutrients into your meals. So, let’s get started!

Fresh vs. Dried Herbs

herbs best with shrimp
Photo credits: Annie Spratt

Herbs are an essential ingredient in a broad variety of cuisines all over the world since they lend meals a wide range of flavors, aromas, and colors. Fresh herbs and dried herbs are the two most typical forms in which these natural components are utilized; nevertheless, they can be employed in a variety of ways. The flavor and consistency of the meal you prepare can be drastically altered depending on whether you use fresh or dried herbs. So, which one is best to use in the kitchen?

🟩 Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs are essential in many international cuisines. They’re usually sold in bunches in supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and specialty shops. These herbs are usually sold green and moist since they are plucked before full maturity. These types of herbs have a particular flavor and smell that dried herbs cannot match.

>>Pros of Using Fresh Herbs

Better flavor: Fresh herbs have a more powerful and unique flavor than dried herbs. They have more essential oils, which are responsible for their taste and aroma.

Nutritional benefits: Fresh herbs contain more nutrients because the vitamins and minerals retain even after being harvested. They are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Versatility: Fresh herbs can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, stews, sauces, marinades, and dressings.

>>Cons of Using Fresh Herbs

Short shelf-life/lifespan: Fresh herbs have a short shelf life, which is why you must use or consume them within a few days of purchase. They also cost more than the dried ones, especially if they are out of season or not locally grown.

Prep time: Fresh herbs require more prep time than dried herbs. They need to be washed, dried, and chopped before use.

Seasonality: Some fresh herbs are only available seasonally, which can limit their use in certain dishes.

🟩Dried Herbs

Dehydrating or air-drying fresh herbs preserve their quality and taste. Dehydrating involves drying herbs in a dehydrator, oven, or warm, dry location.

Dehydrated herbs may be kept in jars, sachets, or packages without losing taste. This makes them useful for folks who require herbs for cooking, baking, or other culinary purposes.

Oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, and bay leaves are popular dried herbs. The powerful tastes and capacity to enhance various recipes make these plants popular. Sage leaves are dried to retain their taste and are used in many cuisines.

Dried herbs give flavor and depth to meals. But, dried herbs are stronger than fresh herbs, so you may need to alter your recipe amounts. Dried herbs lose taste over time, so utilize them within a year.

>>Pros of Using Dried Herbs

Longer shelf life/lifespan: Dried herbs can be kept for months or even years without losing their flavor or potency. Compared to fresh herbs, dried herbs are recommended if you want to just store them in your cupboard.

Convenience: Dried herbs are more convenient to use and require no prep time than fresh herbs. They can be added directly to dishes because you do not need to wash or chop them.

Cost-effective: Dried herbs are generally cheaper than fresh herbs and can be used in larger quantities without spending too much.

>>Cons of Using Dried Herbs

Weaker flavor: Though we mentioned that dried herbs are stronger than fresh herbs, some dried herbs may still have a weaker flavor. This happens because of overdrying, which results in losing some of their essential oils during the drying process.

Limited versatility: Dried herbs are best suited for cooked dishes, such as soups, stews, and casseroles. You can’t generally use them for raw dishes, such as dressings and salads.

Nutritional value: Though drying is an excellent way of preservation, dried herbs may have a lower nutritional value than fresh herbs. They contain fewer vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, especially if the herbs were overdried.

Common Foods That Best Served With Herbs

🟩 Roasted vegetables

Wash and dry your veggies before roasting. After cleaning your veggies, start roasting them. For uniform cooking, cut the veggies into bite-sized pieces. Toss the veggies with olive oil, salt, and chopped rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Olive oil evenly cooks and crisps veggies. The chopped herbs give flavor and fragrance, while the salt brings out the veggies’ sweetness.

Use your hands to massage the oil and herbs into each veggie. This will guarantee flavorful bites. Spread coated veggies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Crowded veggies may steam instead of roast. Spread them out on the baking pan to let them breathe.

Lastly, roast the veggies in a preheated oven. Roasting might take 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the vegetable. Stir periodically to brown the veggies evenly. After cooking, let the veggies cool before serving. Roasted veggies make a great side dish or basis for a substantial grain bowl or salad. Served any way, roasted veggies’ flavorful and herbaceous qualities will satisfy.

🟩 Rice

Herbs like bay leaves, thyme, and parsley may improve rice flavor. The rice’s taste and fragrance are enhanced by these herbs: bay leaves, thyme, and parsley.

Bay leaves, with their characteristic aroma and somewhat sweet and bitter taste, are used in numerous dishes. These leaves offer a faint but unique taste to the rice. Bay leaves are healthful additions to rice dishes because they assist digestion and reduce inflammation.

Another herb used in cooking, thyme, tastes earthy and minty. Applying thyme to rice enhances its flavor and fragrance. Cooking rice with thyme is healthy because of its antibacterial and antifungal qualities.

Parsley adds flavor and color to every cuisine. Parsley gives the rice a mild herbal flavor that enhances other ingredients. Vitamins and minerals make parsley a nutritious complement to any meal.

🟩 Grilled meats

Marinating adds taste and tenderizes tough meats. Mix parsley, garlic, and basil for a tasty marinade. Herbs give flavor and nutritional advantages to meat. Basil is abundant in antioxidants, and garlic is anti-inflammatory, reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.

To enhance flavor, combine the herbs with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Lemon juice tenderizes the meat and offers a bright, acidic taste, while olive oil contains beneficial fats that lower inflammation and enhance heart health. Salt adds taste and helps the marinade permeate the meat by drawing away moisture.

After creating the marinade, put the meat in a large dish or resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it to coat it. To properly infuse the meat with flavor, cover the dish or bag and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight. The longer the meat marinates, the tastier and tenderer it becomes.

Discard the marinade and cook the meat. To avoid over-browning, pat the meat dry with a paper towel. Enjoy the marinated, tender, and flavorful meat after grilling.

🟩 Soups

Herbs provide flavor to a traditional soup base. Bay leaves, parsley, and thyme are the traditional herb combination that adds depth to soup and balances other tastes.

Bay leaves lend an earthy taste to soups and stews with their rich, pungent flavor. They may provide depth and complexity to the broth.

Parsley may also flavor soup bases. Its fresh, vibrant flavor adds sweetness and tartness to the soup. Vitamins A and C in parsley make your soup also nutritious.

Soup bases can also be flavored with thyme. It gives the soup a savory, herbaceous taste with a minty, earthy flavor. Thyme adds antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits to the soup.

These three herbs may provide a unique, layered taste profile that makes soup tasty. Next time you make soup, add bay leaves, parsley, and thyme, and watch how these basic herbs make it extraordinary.

🟩 Salads

This salad dressing recipe combines finely chopped basil, cilantro, and dill with olive oil, lemon juice, and honey or maple syrup.

Cut your herbs, eliminating any tough stems or leaves. Then, blend or process them with good olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and honey or maple syrup. Avoid over-blending, which may make herbs harsh. Adding more or less olive oil to the dressing also changes its consistency.

Pour the dressing over your favorite salad and toss to coat the greens. Herbs, lemon, and honey or maple syrup give depth and richness to your salad, making it taste even better.

This dressing complements mixed greens, tomato-cucumber, and pasta salads. It adds flavor and nutrients to any meal in a snap and will wow your family and friends with its fresh, vivid taste.

🟩 Pasta dishes

Tomato sauce enhances the taste of pasta, pizza, and meat meals. But adding a variety of herbs to the pan makes a tasty tomato sauce. Basil, oregano, and parsley go nicely with the tomatoes’ acidity and provide a fragrant, savory taste to the sauce.

Tomato sauce traditionally includes basil. Its sweet, somewhat peppery flavor complements the tomatoes’ bright, acidic taste. Basil’s fragrant, flowery scent enhances the sauce’s aroma. As the tomatoes start to simmer down, cut the basil finely and add it to the pan. You may also sauté entire basil leaves in the sauce to add flavor.

Tomato sauce also benefits from oregano. Its earthy, bitter taste balances the tomatoes’ sweetness. Oregano’s strong fragrance may enhance the sauce’s taste. Add the chopped oregano to the pan with the other herbs and spices to make a unique tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce may also include mild parsley. Its fresh, somewhat grassy taste may give the sauce an herbal feel. Parsley adds vitamins and minerals to dishes. To avoid losing parsley’s taste in tomato sauce, cut it finely and add it towards the end of cooking.

🟩 Pizza

Fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme may improve homemade pizza. These herbs give color and taste to your pizza, complementing the other toppings.

Basil combines nicely with tomato-based recipes and cheeses. To add freshness, sprinkle a handful of fresh basil leaves over your pizza before baking or after.

Oregano pairs well with tomato sauce, cheese, and meats like pepperoni and sausage. Oregano also adds warmth and richness to pizza.  Thyme’s beautiful leaves and citrus taste enhance pizza. To enhance the taste of white or seafood pizzas, sprinkle fresh thyme leaves.

Basil, oregano, and thyme are tasty and healthy. Oregano has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial components, basil has vitamin K and antioxidants, and thyme has vitamin C and may promote immunity.

🟩 Eggs

Adding chopped herbs like chives, thyme, and parsley to scrambled or fried eggs makes them taste better and more sophisticated. Chives’ light onion flavor and delicate texture provide a subtle sweetness to the eggs, while thyme’s strong, earthy flavor complements the eggs’ richness.

Parsley brightens the meal and balances the eggs’ richness. These herbs flavor and decorate the eggs when sprinkled on top.

After cooking, cut these herbs finely and sprinkle them on top of the eggs. This keeps the herbs fresh and flavors the eggs. Adding herbs like chives, thyme, and parsley to scrambled or fried eggs is a simple and tasty way to elevate breakfast.

🟩 Baked goods

Savory baking demands precision and care. Ingredients matter for taste and texture. Adding chopped herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage to the dough may improve savory baked goods.

Rosemary adds flavor and aroma to savory baked goods. Its earthy taste compliments the other components when added to the dough. Its pine-like scent transports you to the Mediterranean and gives baked items a chef-like flavor.

To flavor the dough, you can also add thyme, another savory herb. Thyme’s sweet, earthy, and minty flavor complements bread, pastries, and other savory baked foods. It may be used fresh or dried in any dish and is versatile.

Sage also gives baked items a strong, savory taste. Its bitter flavor enhances the dough and balances sweetness. Sage works nicely in savory baked foods and it also complements cheese, meats, and veggies.

🟩 Seafood

Fish and shellfish have delicate flavors that are readily overpowered when cooked. Nevertheless, fresh herbs like dill, tarragon, and parsley may improve seafood’s taste.

Dill’s somewhat sweet, tart taste pairs well with fish and shellfish’s inherent sweetness. Its fresh, somewhat lemony scent helps mask fishy smells. Especially shellfish goes nicely with tarragon. Its anise-like sweetness enhances the meal without dominating it. Tarragon’s harsh aftertaste balances the seafood’s richness.

Parsley works in many fish recipes. It lightens cream-based fish recipes with its bright, fresh taste. Its mild pepperiness may spice up your food. Herbs may also enhance shrimp recipes. For shrimp tacos or scampi, add chopped cilantro or thyme.

For the best herbs for shrimp, keep reading!

Benefits Of Using Herbs On Shrimp Dishes

🟩 Adds flavor

Shrimp may be grilled, fried, boiled, or sautéed. Shrimp is mild, therefore, not everyone likes it. And you can use herbs to improve the taste and satisfaction.

Herbs flavor shrimp and provide health benefits. Basil contains vitamin K, which is important for bone health. Antioxidants in cilantro fight inflammation and illness. Vitamin C in parsley helps with immunity and skin health.

Basil’s sweet and peppery flavor complements shrimp’s delicate flavor in shrimp pasta meals. Cilantro’s tangy, sharp flavor complements shrimp’s sweetness in tacos and stir-fries. Thyme is another shrimp-friendly plant. Its somewhat earthy and savory flavor enhances the shrimp’s natural flavor. Parsley’s fresh, grassy taste balances the shrimp’s sweetness.

Combining herbs gives shrimp a more distinct taste!

🟩 Aroma

Herbs in shrimp recipes may change the taste of the dish. Fresh or dried herbs contribute to taste, nutrition, aroma, and appeal to food.

Herbs emit their aromatic oils when chopped or cooked. Its scent may enhance the meal, particularly for seafood-sensitive people. In shrimp recipes, basil, thyme, and parsley may hide fishy smells. These fragrant herbs may mask the strong scent of fish, making the meal more pleasurable to consume.

🟩 Health benefits

Several shrimp herbs have health advantages beyond taste. Basil has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial chemicals, including eugenol. These properties minimize inflammation and inhibit bacterial development. Basil also contains vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals and oxidative stress.

Cilantro, another shrimp herb, has several health advantages. Its antioxidants may decrease inflammation and prevent or control chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Cilantro is also antibacterial, making it a great accent to any cuisine.

Herbs provide flavor and nutrition to shrimp meals. Next time you cook shrimp, add fresh herbs for taste and nutrients.

🟩 Versatility

Herbs are versatile ingredients that can be used in many different types of shrimp dishes. For example, fresh basil can be used in a simple shrimp and tomato pasta dish, while rosemary can be used to flavor grilled shrimp skewers. Other herbs like dill and chives can be used to add flavor to creamy shrimp dips or soups. Using herbs in shrimp dishes can help elevate the dish and make it more interesting, no matter how it is prepared.

Top 7 Herbs That Best Go With Shrimps

🟩 Garlic 

Garlic is a culinary staple for a reason. It enhances many foods, particularly shellfish like shrimp. Like peas and carrots, garlic and shrimp combine well.

Depending on taste, garlic may be minced, chopped, or sliced for shrimp recipes. Chopped or sliced garlic adds taste, but minced garlic blends better.

Garlic butter shrimp is a popular dish and this meal has shrimp sautéed in butter and garlic in a wonderful garlic butter sauce. Butter and garlic give richness and creaminess to the shrimp’s inherent sweetness.

Garlic shrimp scampi is also popular. Shrimp, garlic-infused olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, and parsley are sautéed in this traditional Italian meal. The white wine and lemon juice cut the shrimp’s richness, while the garlic gives a peppery edge.

Garlic shrimp stir-fry is a great fast shrimp recipe. This meal stir-fries shrimp with garlic, ginger, and bell peppers, and onions. Garlic and ginger enhance flavor, while veggies bring texture and freshness.

🟩 Thyme 

Thyme, a tiny, aromatic herb, is often used to flavor seafood, especially shrimp. Shrimp’s sweetness pairs well with this herb’s earthy, lemony flavor.

Thyme is flexible and may be used in many shrimp recipes. It may be used in marinades and rubs to flavor shrimp before cooking or as a garnish to enhance color and taste.  Garlic, parsley, rosemary, and oregano compliment thyme. These herbs may enhance shrimp meals with diverse and tasty flavors.

Shrimp scampi, spaghetti, and stew are typical thyme-infused shrimp meals. Thyme gives shrimp scampi a citrus taste that compliments the garlic and butter. Thyme may be added to the sauce or garnished over shrimp pasta to increase the taste. It adds depth and richness to shrimp stew broth, making it tasty and soothing.

🟩 Basil 

Basil is popular for its sweet, slightly spicy taste and unusual smell. It is a prominent herb used in various cuisines, and it goes well with shellfish like shrimp.

Basil and shrimp recipes are limitless. Pasta with shrimp is a rich, creamy sauce prepared with fresh basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Shrimp and tomato bruschetta uses the herb for freshness and depth.

Shrimp pesto uses basil too. Fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese are mixed to make this wonderful sauce, which is served over pasta or dipped in crusty bread.

Basil is also used medicinally and in cooking. It has been used to heal digestive and respiratory disorders for ages. Several studies show basil may decrease inflammation and cholesterol!

🟩 Parsley 

You can use parsley as a garnish and taste enhancer in cooking. The Apiaceae family member has flat or curled leaves, depending on the type.

Several seafood recipes, especially shrimp meals, use parsley. This versatile herb’s somewhat bitter, grassy flavor complements shrimp’s inherent sweetness, making it ideal for shrimp cocktails, salads, and risotto

Parsley is used in traditional medicine and cooking. Its vitamins A, C, and K and minerals, including calcium and iron have been used to alleviate digestive and respiratory difficulties.

🟩 Dill 

Dill is an aromatic culinary plant with fluffy green leaves. Its somewhat sweet and tangy flavor complements seafood, especially shrimp. Shrimp and cucumber salad, shrimp and dill sauce, and shrimp dip benefit from dill’s fresh, bright taste. Dill has been used medicinally and in cooking for ages. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial: it may lower cholesterol and assist digestion.

Dill is delicate and should you should introduce it late in cooking to maintain its taste!

🟩 Oregano 

Oregano adds depth and richness to many meals, particularly shrimp dishes, with its bitter and peppery flavor. This herb is used in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine for enhancing fish flavors.

Oregano enhances shrimp recipes’ inherent sweetness. Its modest pungency helps temper bold tastes like hot peppers or tart citrus. Oregano possesses antioxidants and therapeutic effects in addition to its flavor.

Shrimp tacos, made with grilled or sautéed shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, and lime, commonly include oregano. Shrimp fajitas and enchiladas also have this herb.

Oregano enhances sauces and shellfish in Mediterranean recipes like shrimp spaghetti. Shrimp and vegetable skewers are marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano before being grilled or roasted.

🟩 Rosemary 

Rosemary is a perennial evergreen that belongs to the Lamiaceae mint family. It is a  fragrant and aromatic herb with a piney and somewhat bitter taste used in many cuisines. The herb’s needle-like leaves are 1-2 inches long and are used fresh or dried.

Rosemary is famous for flavoring seafood and other meals. Its powerful taste pairs nicely with shrimp’s natural sweetness.

Shrimp-rosemary skewers are popular. Fresh shrimp are skewered and grilled or roasted with rosemary sprigs to impart their flavor. The outcome is a flavorful and fragrant appetizer or main entrée.

Shrimp spaghetti uses rosemary too. Shrimp is cooked in a garlic and herb sauce with rosemary. The shrimp’s sweetness, the garlic’s savoriness, and the rosemary’s piney taste complement each other.

Lastly, shrimp scampi, an Italian-American dish composed of butter, garlic, lemon juice, and white wine, often contains rosemary. The rosemary gives the meal a fragrant and savory taste, making it a seafood lover’s favorite.

Final Words

To summarize, using herbs in the preparation of shrimp meals is a simple and delectable approach to enhance the taste while also contributing some additional nutritional advantages. There are a wide variety of herbs that go well with shrimp, including those that are more uncommon, like lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, as well as others that are more common, like parsley and dill. Do not be afraid to experiment with various herbs while preparing your shrimp in the oven, on the grill, or in the sauté pan. This will allow you to identify the flavor combinations that you like the most. Hence, the next time you prepare shrimp, don’t forget to throw in some fresh herbs for a flavorful and nutritious boost to the dish!