Skip to Content

How long to grill shrimp at 400?

Grilling shrimp is a quick and easy way to add delicious flavor to these tender, sweet shellfish. Cooking shrimp on a hot grill allows the outside to caramelize while keeping the inside moist and juicy. When grilling shrimp, cooking time will vary based on the size and thickness of the shrimp as well as the temperature of the grill. Here is a guide to how long shrimp should be grilled at 400 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure perfectly cooked, flavorful shrimp every time.

Factors That Affect Shrimp Grill Times

There are a few key factors that impact how long shrimp need to be grilled:

  • Shrimp size – Smaller shrimp like popcorn shrimp or shrimp used for shrimp cocktail will cook faster than larger shrimp such as jumbo shrimp. Larger shrimp will need a minute or two longer on the grill.
  • Shrimp thickness – Thicker, plumper shrimp hold more moisture so they may need a minute or two longer on the grill than thinner shrimp to ensure the centers are fully cooked.
  • Temperature of grill – The hotter the grill, the faster the shrimp will cook. If the grill is hotter than 400 degrees, the cooking time will decrease. If the grill runs cooler, the shrimp will need a little more time.
  • Whether shrimp are peeled – Shrimp cooked in the shell will take slightly longer to cook than peeled shrimp since the shell helps insulate the meat a bit.

Keeping these factors in mind will help ensure you get perfect grill times for shrimp, regardless of their size or shape.

Guidelines for Grilling Times at 400 Degrees

Here are some general guidelines for how long you should grill shrimp at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on size:

Shrimp Size Grill Time
Colossal shrimp (12-15 per pound) 5 minutes
Jumbo shrimp (16-20 per pound) 3-4 minutes
Extra large shrimp (21-25 per pound) 2-3 minutes
Large shrimp (26-30 per pound) 1.5-2 minutes
Medium shrimp (31-35 per pound) 1-1.5 minutes
Small shrimp (36-45 per pound) 1-1.25 minutes
Extra small (46-55 per pound) 0.75-1 minutes

These times are for shrimp grilled over direct heat on a preheated gas or charcoal grill stabilized at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The shrimp should be placed on the grill 4-5 inches from the heat source.

Always watch the shrimp carefully as they cook and flip them halfway through. Shrimp cook very quickly, so grilling times can sometimes be a little less than the times provided depending on the intensity of your grill’s heat.

Tips for Grilling Shrimp Perfectly

Follow these tips for flawlessly grilled shrimp every time:

  • Use medium to large shrimp for grilling. Very small shrimp may dry out quickly or fall through the grates.
  • Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails on. The tails help protect the shrimp shape.
  • Thread shrimp onto metal or wooden skewers if grilling without a grilling basket. This makes flipping easier.
  • Brush shrimp with oil or melted butter and season before grilling. This adds flavor and prevents sticking.
  • Grill shrimp in a single layer on hot, well-oiled grates. Don’t overcrowd.
  • Flip shrimp halfway through grilling time to cook both sides evenly.
  • Watch carefully to avoid overcooking. Shrimp overcook quickly.
  • Let shrimp rest 1-2 minutes after removing from grill before serving.

Grilling shrimp is quick and easy, especially when using medium to large shrimp. Just remember to watch them closely and don’t overcook. Perfectly grilled shrimp are slightly charred on the outside while still moist inside.

How to Tell When Shrimp Is Done Grilling

It’s important not to overcook shrimp on the grill. No one likes a chewy, rubbery shrimp. Here are some ways to tell when shrimp are perfectly cooked:

  • Opaque – The shrimp will turn opaque and solid white when they are fully cooked, with no translucent areas.
  • Firm – When lightly pressed, the shrimp will feel firm yet still yield a bit. They should not feel mushy.
  • Curled – As they cook, shrimp curl into a “C” shape. When fully cooked, the curl will be tight.
  • Color – Look for some grill marks and charring on the surface. The shrimp may take on a pinkish-orange hue.
  • Just cooked – Shrimp overcooks rapidly, so err on the side of slightly underdone. They’ll continue cooking after being removed from the grill.

Use tongs to test a thicker shrimp by pressing on it gently. It should feel firm yet still be moist. Remove shrimp immediately if there are any signs they are starting to get rubbery.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

It’s easy for grilled shrimp to go from succulent to overcooked quickly. Avoid these common grilling mistakes:

  • Overcrowding – Too many shrimp crowded on the grill leads to steaming versus grilling. Grill in a single layer.
  • Too much flipping – Flipping shrimp too often can lead to overcooking. Flip just once halfway through.
  • Too high heat – Excessive heat overcooks the outside before the inside cooks. Use medium-high heat around 400 degrees.
  • Underseasoning – Shrimp need seasoning to really shine. Generously season before grilling.
  • Overcooking – Err on the side of slightly undercooked. Shrimp overcooks rapidly.
  • Forgetting to clean the grill – A very hot, clean grill prevents sticking and flare-ups.

Avoid these mistakes for tender, juicy, flavorful grilled shrimp cooked to perfection.


Grilling shrimp at 400 degrees Fahrenheit results in tender, lightly charred, flavorful shrimp in just minutes. Very small shrimp may only need 30-60 seconds per side while jumbo shrimp need 3-4 minutes total. Monitor the shrimp closely as they cook, removing them immediately when opaque and firm with grill marks. Perfectly grilled shrimp are slightly underdone in the center when removed from the grill. Letting shrimp rest briefly before serving allows them to finish cooking without overcooking. Follow these guidelines for your shrimp size and watch closely for delicious grilled shrimp every time.