Pasta lovers already know how great a combination juicy shrimp and creamy white sauce are together. These ingredients also turn a regular pizza into an easy yet sophisticated weeknight meal. And in just about 30 minutes!
To make this shrimp pizza, you’ll start by making a light cream sauce, aka “bechamel,” of flour, butter and milk (here’s more on how to make bechamel). Then you’ll add cooked shrimp and cheese, and let it bake into a delicious pizza. Who knew such simple ingredients could make any pizza night such a special one?
Shrimp Pizza Ingredients
- Pizza crust: This recipe uses a premade pizza crust for a quick and easy pizza night (here are the Test Kitchen’s picks for best premade pizza crust). If you want to use store-bought or homemade pizza dough for the crust, press the dough into a 12-inch pizza pan coated with cooking spray, prick it with a fork, and bake it at 425°F for 10 minutes.
- Shrimp: Choose medium-size shrimp (41 to 50 count per pound) to avoid over- or undercooking the shellfish as the pizza bakes.
- Butter: The building block to a great white sauce is the roux, a cooked mixture of flour and some kind of fat (in this case, butter). Unsalted butter is best, but it’s OK to use salted. Just adjust the seasoning when finishing the sauce.
- Spices: Small amounts of ground mustard and cayenne add a surprising hit of flavor and heat to the sauce in our shrimp pizza.
- Milk: You’ll need milk to make the white sauce. Our recipe calls for 2% milk, but you can use nonfat or whole milk if you prefer.
Step 1: Make the white sauce
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small nonstick saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, mustard, cayenne and salt until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk, and slowly bring the mixture to a boil. Cook and stir for about two minutes, until thickened. Remove the sauce from heat, and set it aside.
Editor’s Tip: To get rid of the raw flour taste, you can cook the butter and flour until it’s just bubbling before you add the milk. After you add the milk, make sure to stop cooking once the mixture just thickens. You don’t want to scorch the sauce.
Step 2: Cook the toppings
In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook the onion over medium heat for two minutes. Add the shrimp, and cook for two to three minutes longer, until the outside just begins to turn opaque. Remove from heat, and drain off any liquid.
Step 3: Assemble the pizza
Place the prebaked crust on a pizza pan or a baking sheet. Spread the white sauce over the surface. Top with the shrimp mixture, then the cheese.
Step 4: Bake the pizza
Bake the pizza for 8 to 12 minutes, until the shrimp turn an opaque pink and the cheese is melted. Remove the pizza from the oven, and slide it onto a cutting board. If desired, garnish with parsley.
Editor’s Tip: Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before you slice into it! Not letting a pizza cool before slicing and serving is one the most common pizza mistakes.
- Make an herbed crust: Customize a homemade pizza dough with a sprinkle of fresh herbs that complement the shrimp and white sauce. Then sprinkle in extra herbs and a minced garlic clove when you precook the onion and shrimp for bonus flavor.
- Add veggies: Replace some of the shrimp with marinated artichokes, drained well and cut into bite-sized pieces as needed. Well-drained cooked mushrooms, roasted red peppers or fresh baby spinach would be other good substitutes for part of the shrimp.
- Brighten with lemon: For a bright, citrusy burst, squeeze a lemon over the shrimp while they’re on the stovetop, then sprinkle the assembled pizza with grated lemon zest. Alternatively, slice a whole lemon paper-thin, and lay the slices over the cheese before baking the shrimp pizza.
How to Store Shrimp Pizza
Wrapped tightly or stored in an airtight container, leftover shrimp pizza will last in the refrigerator for up to four days. You can wrap individual slices or stack them in between layers of parchment, and store them in a resealable plastic bag. To reheat pizza, you can use the oven, microwave, toaster oven or even a skillet.
Can you make shrimp pizza ahead of time?
The white sauce and the shrimp are best prepared the day you want to use them. However, if you use a homemade pizza dough, you can bake the crust a day or two in advance, then assemble and bake the pizza the day you want to serve it. You can even freeze pizza dough to use whenever you need it!
Shrimp Pizza Tips
Can I use frozen shrimp for the pizza?
Frozen raw shrimp can be thawed and used in this recipe, but avoid frozen cooked shrimp. Whether fresh or frozen (uncooked) shrimp. Also, make sure to remove the shell and tail (here’s how to clean shrimp properly), and cook the shrimp briefly on the stovetop. This ensures evenly cooked shrimp, and it helps release some of their moisture that could otherwise make for a soggy pizza. Precooked shrimp would likely become tough and chewy in the oven, so it’s best to avoid in this recipe.
How can I prevent overcooking shrimp on the pizza?
To avoid overcooking the shrimp for pizza, choose medium-size raw shrimp rather than small or precooked shrimp. If you want to use larger shrimp, cut them in half lengthwise before cooking. Also, when you cook the shrimp, stir them often, cook them until they’re just opaque, and don’t overcrowd them in the skillet. Remove the shrimp from the skillet once they’re cooked so they don’t keep cooking before you put them on your pizza.
What should you serve with shrimp pizza?
Any side salad recipe will go well with shrimp pizza. Try something simple and elegant like a classic Caesar or an arugula-and-Parmesan salad. You could also serve something like roasted asparagus or Broccolini for an extra boost of green.