Good things come in small packages.

Small but mighty shrimp deliver a whole lot of goodness for such a petite protein. Here are three big reasons to love little shrimp:

  1. They make any recipe feel a little luxurious — sort of like lobster but for a tiny fraction of the price.
  2. They're crazy easy to prepare in any number of ways.
  3. They cook up quickly enough for weeknight dinners.

Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, is here to show you five of her favorite ways to cook this versatile shellfish. Be sure to watch the video up top and then scroll down to get her tips and recipes to try.

Note: Before you head to the grocery store, take a few minutes to get to know how to buy (fresh or frozen?) and what size to buy for your recipe in our handy guide to buying and cooking shrimp.

1. Grilled Shrimp

close up of sweet and spicy grilled shrimp threaded on skewers and served on a platter garnished with cilantro
Credit: Allrecipes

Grilled shrimp are perfect for weeknight dinners and easy entertaining. For example, this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Grilled Shrimp takes only three ingredients and grills up in a speedy 10 minutes. You can load up the soaked skewers ahead of time and stash them in the fridge until you're ready to slap them on a hot grill. Five to 10 minutes later, they're ready to serve. Jumbo or extra large shrimp (16 to 20 shrimp per pound) are great choices for this kind of recipe. Find more grilled shrimp recipes.

2. Pickled Shrimp

close up of best pickled shrimp on a plate with pickled peppers and onions
Credit: Allrecipes

This bright and tangy Southern favorite makes a refreshing appetizer in hot summer months. Nicole like to put up a big jar of her recipe for Best Pickled Shrimp (she uses large shrimp) to keep in the fridge for easy snacking. Watch the video up top to get Nicole's easy tip for deveining shrimp using kitchen shears. Find more shrimp appetizer recipes.

3. Shrimp Boil

shrimp boil with shrimp, sausages, potatoes, corn, lemons, and brussels sprouts
Credit: Allrecipes

Want to throw the ultimate summer party? How about a good old-fashioned shrimp boil. It's the perfect communal meal that brings everyone together around the table. Use large shrimp instead of crab (or use both!) in this recipe for Dave's Low Country Boil, and read up on how to cook and host a shrimp boil. Nicole likes to add Brussels sprouts to her shrimp boil because they take on all the wonderful flavors and make the perfect little bite.

4. Pan-Roasted Shrimp

close up of simple garlic shrimp served over pasta noodles
Credit: Allrecipes

This recipe for Simple Garlic Shrimp is a great example of how easy it is to cook shrimp. Use medium shrimp (about 36 to 40 shrimp per pound), clean and devein them, them cook them quickly in a hot skillet with garlic and red pepper flakes, finish off with butter and lemon juice to make a sauce, and serve over pasta. Find more recipes for shrimp and pasta.

5. Fried Shrimp

side view of a shrimp po' boy sandwich with fried shrimp, tomatoes, and lettuce on a french roll
Credit: Allrecipes

Fried shrimp are great all on their own with a little dipping sauce, but one of Nicole's favorite way to enjoy fried shrimp is in a classic Shrimp Po' Boy sandwich. First you'll coat and fry the shrimp until they're crispy and golden brown on the outside. Use large shrimp (about 26 to 30 shrimp per pound) and try this recipe for Japanese-Style Deep-Fried Shrimp. To make po' boy sandwiches, split French rolls in half, spread with this must-have remoulade sauce, lay down some sliced tomatoes and fresh lettuce, top with fried shrimp, and go to town.

You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and on Instagram @nicolemcmom.

More tips, tricks, and ideas from Nicole: