How to Cook Frozen Shrimp For The First Time

Frozen shrimp is a delicious staple to have in your freezer for quick weeknight meals, but “How to Cook Frozen Shrimp”, your first time can be intimidating if you do not already know how to cook frozen shrimp. Finding frozen shrimp recipes online is easy. Add this simple guide about the basic rules of cooking shrimp, and you will be enjoying your first homemade shrimp recipe in no time

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To Thaw or Not to Thaw

Forget taking something out of the freezer for dinner the next day. Life can get so hectic that we are lucky to remember our own heads. Should you be able to just pull some shrimp out of the freezer and then toss them straight onto a baking sheet or into a skillet? 

The good news is that you can. There are some instances where cooking straight from frozen is, in fact, is an ideal choice, and others where it is not preferable but works in a pinch.

Why Should You Thaw Your Frozen Shrimp?

Properly thawed shrimp holds less water, so it ends up more tender and juicy, instead of mushy and soggy. It is also pretty much impossible to peel and devein frozen shrimp. If your recipe calls for baking or sauteing, or you need to peel and devein your shrimp, thaw before cooking it. 

How to thaw frozen shrimp overnight method:

  1. Remove the desired amount from freezer
  2. Place in colander
  3. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight

How to thaw frozen shrimp quick method:

  1. Remove the desired amount from freezer
  2. Place in a sealed bag
  3. Run under cold water for 5-10 minutes

When is it Okay to Cook From Frozen?

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If you have precooked frozen shrimp, you can usually heat it from a frozen state. Follow the directions on the package, and you will have a delicious start to a meal. Sometimes the extra moisture in your shrimp is a good thing, or at least it does not matter. 

Cooking from frozen is good for: 

  • Soups or stews 
  • Sauces
  • Poaching
  • Steaming
  • Boiling 
  • Grilling at high temps

 How to Cook Frozen Shrimp

Now that we have covered thawing basics, it is time to get cooking! Below, you will find some of our favorite cooking techniques, and a couple of delicious frozen shrimp recipes. Cooking times may vary. You will know your shrimp is done when it takes a “C” shape, and it is opaque or nearly opaque and turning pink. When cooking with frozen shrimp, simply add a minute or two to your cook time.

Steaming

Steaming is a gentle way to cook your shrimp that helps you avoid overcooking and keeps the flesh tender without making it water-logged. It is best to steam with the shell on, to further protect from overcooking.

  1. Bring a pot of water to rolling boil.
  2. Meanwhile, coat shrimp liberally with seasoning.
  3. Put shrimp in the steamer basket or colander over water with a lid on (DO NOT put shrimp into boiling water).
  4. For larger shrimp, cook 5-6 minutes. Reduce time for smaller shrimp.
  5. Toss shrimp halfway through for even cooking.
  6. Remove from heat and dunk in an ice bath for quick cooling.

Poaching

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Poaching is even more gentle than steaming and is a better option if you are using peeled shrimp.

  1. Add plenty of herbs and salt to 3-4 quarts of water.
  2. Bring water to boil.
  3. Remove water from heat.
  4. Add shrimp.
  5. Cover tightly and let sit for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Remove shrimp from water and dunk in an ice bath for quick cooling.

Roasting

Roasting shrimp is a delicious way to trap in the natural moisture from your shrimp, keeping it plump, tender, and juicy. This method makes it easy to overcook your shrimp, so turn on the oven light so you can watch for the right time to take them out.

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. While the oven is heating, toss shrimp in plenty of oil and spices.
  3. Spread shrimp in single layer on baking sheet.
  4. Roast 6-8 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and enjoy! 

Pan-Frying

Pan-Frying or searing is one of the quickest, easiest ways to prepare shrimp, but it can also lead to overcooking them. As long as you watch closely, you will know when to take it off the heat before it becomes dry and rubbery.

  1. Put enough oil in the skillet to coat bottom.
  2. Preheat pan medium-high to high.
  3. Toss shrimp in spices and seasonings.
  4. Cook 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and use tongs to flip.
  6. Cover with a lid to allow another side to cook off the heat, 2-3 minutes.
  7. Plate and savor!

Frozen Shrimp Recipe Ideas

Now that you have these great tips, you know how to cook frozen shrimp, you may be looking for some favorite frozen shrimp recipes. Not to worry, there are tons of recipes on the internet, and you can buy plenty of pre-made frozen shrimp meal starters. Shrimp scampi and lemon pepper are two classics that are easy to find in the frozen food section of your grocery store, or you can do a quick search and find dozens of recipes online. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

TexMex:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Lime 
  • Cilantro
  • Taco shells

 Mediterranean:

  • Olive oil
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Olives
  • Fresh garlic
  • Cooked pasta base

 Asian:

  • Sesame oil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Sesame seeds
  • Ginger
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice base

 Bon appetit!