I used to live about ten miles from Morecambe and often went there to sit on the rocks and look at the sea, the home of the famous Morecambe Bay brown shrimp, which are made into the traditional potted shrimp.
For some daft reason, I didn’t eat many of them, but I do now! They’re absolutely delicious, yet in danger of being forgotten. I’m happy to report that there are a number of places you can buy them these days – even if you’re nowhere near Morecambe.
Where to Buy Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimps in the UK
Here’s a list of the best places to buy Morecambe potted shrimp – or, if you’re making your own – where to buy the authentic, traditional British brown shrimp that most recipes call for, too.
Please note that these aren’t prawns – they’re totally different, sweeter, and more succulent. Do try them!
The Fish Society is first on my list because they sell both the raw product (the brown shrimp) AND the traditional potted version.
Their potted shrimp is made by an artisan producer in Morecambe, and they recently switched up their recipe to include a bit more butter – which, they say, made everyone very happy. Their potted shrimps have excellent reviews, and they include a cracking recipe idea – tipping the whole lot over a hot jacket potato. Yes please!
If you’re going to make potted shrimp yourself, you can buy real brown shrimp (crangon crangon is the cute Latin name) from the Fish Society too, either peeled or whole.
Lovers of the potted version will be pleased to learn that there’s a “multibuy” deal so if you stock up on a few, the price goes down.
The Fish Society has a huge selection of other fish-related products so it’s very easy to get up to their minimum/free delivery threshold, too. I recommend them in my best British fishmongers article for this reason.
As you’d expect from the name, Fine Food Specialist only stocks the best versions of many luxury products. They are already in my top 10 online butchers for their quality meat, and their supplier of potted shrimps is no different.
You can only buy a multipack of 4 pots from them, which isn’t really a big deal if you’re making it worth your while for delivery. Plus they’re frozen, so you don’t have to use them up all at once.
Their potted shrimps are caught and cooked the traditional way – on board the boat, in seawater. This is the authentic method, and becoming increasingly hard to find since the number of boats fishing for the shrimp is in decline.
Buying from Fine Food Specialist is therefore a good way to support a small producer, still sticking to the older methods. It means their potted shrimp are delicious too – there’s a tiny bit of cayenne in their recipe and it makes all the difference.
Fun Fact: Forget Martinis and Bollinger – James Bond also loved Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimp. As did his creator, Ian Fleming.
Supermarkets (Waitrose and Booths in Particular)
If I run out of potted shrimp I’ve often thrown some in with the regular shop. Waitrose is fairly consistent in stocking the “Marine Gourmet” brand, which has been around forever – you’ll probably recognise the distinctive blue and white pot.
If you’re further North, Booths are also a reliable supermarket for potted shrimps and stock some local producers such as Furness Fish – who also run Morecambe Bay Shrimps, listed below.
I’ve noticed some potted shrimps in other supermarkets like Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, but these tend to be the larger stores.
Baxters “original potted shrimps” have the Royal Warrant, so if it’s good enough for the Queen, you know that these are high quality from the oldest supplier in the country. Before that, they were the Queen Mother’s choice, too.
The company go back all the way to 1799 and the seventh generation are still running the company. If you want tradition, then this is it! They also have a small selection of game and frozen, fish too.
There are MANY quantity options here – and at reasonable prices, too. If you already know you love potted shrimps and you want to stock up, you can get quantity and quality here – a rare thing.
Shipping is on the pricier side compared to some other suppliers (I paid just under a tenner for a pack of 6 single portions) but with such a delicate product, it’s probably a good idea to pay a bit more knowing it will arrive in good condition.
Fun Fact: A year’s supply of Potted Shrimp is the prize for the “Hatchet Job of the Year” among the UK press.
Morecambe Bay Shrimps (Furness Fish)
Morecambe Bay Shrimps – as you can tell from the name – have been doing this a long time. They are one of the biggest producers of traditional potted shrimp, and have larger quantities fit for dinner parties and large gatherings, if that’s what you’re after instead of the individual little pots.
They also sell peeled brown shrimps for you to make your own at home, too. Delivery is four days a week (Tues-Fri) and to most places in the UK, except the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
How Do You Eat or Serve Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimps?
The traditional way to serve and eat potted shrimps are on crusty bread or toast. It’s best to let the butter get to room temperature to make it easily spreadable. Alternatively, I recommend you warm the pot through a little bit in the oven at a low temperature, to help soften the butter.
I like mine piled on a slice of sourdough with a green salad on the side:
What’s the Shelf Life of Potted Shrimps? Do They Keep Well?
Potted shrimps can keep for up to three months or more when in the freezer. When in the fridge, they keep longer than you might expect because the butter preserves them – depending on the producer, the shelf life is given as 10 – 12 days.
For the best taste, eat your potted shrimps (when defrosted) by the date given on the pot. This is usually at least a week from when you buy them.
Can You Freeze Potted Shrimps?
You can freeze potted shrimps for up to three months, according to most producers. Very often, ones you’ll find in supermarkets have been previously frozen. This doesn’t impair the quality – they’ll still be delicious. The butter acts as a preservative, as with other “potted” products.
Why Are Potted Shrimps so Expensive?
Some people are surprised that a tiny pot of seafood can average about a fiver. You only have to look at the work that goes into making a little pot of brown shrimps to know why they can be expensive (considering their size!)
Potted Shrimps are expensive because catching and preparing them in the traditional way is a labour-intensive process. There are the running costs of the boat itself, and the equipment needed to boil and peel the fresh shrimp on board. Additionally, the traditional recipe calls for quality butter, which isn’t cheap either.
Some companies now use tractors to harvest the shrimp at low water, but these aren’t cheap to run, either!
Considering the amount of fiddly work that goes into this quality product, and the taste at the end, I think they’re well worth it.