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How Do I Cook Frozen Shrimp?

By Rebecca Mecomber
Updated May 16, 2024
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Shrimp is an extremely popular seafood because of its versatility and easy preparation. Some shrimp is frozen raw, and other shrimp is de-veined, peeled, lightly cooked and then frozen. To cook frozen shrimp, you must first correctly thaw the shrimp. If you are using raw shrimp, the shrimp must be lightly steamed before adding it to your recipe. Cooking with shrimp is easy, but you must take care to thaw the frozen shrimp correctly to avoid bacterial growth on the meat.

To thaw precooked frozen shrimp, place the shrimp in a large bowl filled with cold water. Allow the shrimp to soak for 10 minutes, then replenish the water with more cold water for another 10 minutes. Do this three or four more times until the shrimp is thawed. If you are thawing shrimp that has been peeled and precooked, the shrimp is ready to add to recipes. Make sure to eat the shrimp within two hours to prevent bacterial growth, and do not refreeze thawed shrimp.

If you want to cook raw frozen shrimp, thaw it as you would for precooked shrimp. After the shrimp has thawed, you must remove the head, then de-vein and peel the shrimp. Use a small knife or special shrimp de-veiner to cut away the small black "vein" — it's actually the shrimp's digestive tract — and peel it off with your fingers. Remove the legs and peel off the outer shell of the shrimp. Keep the shrimp in cold water while you work.

Cooking with seafood is easy, and with shrimp you can let your creativity soar with a variety of dishes. After the raw shrimp is prepared, you can sauté the shrimp, bake them, grill them, boil them, add them to a soup or recipe or chop them for stuffing vegetables. Shrimp cooks very quickly, usually within three to four minutes for medium-sized shrimp. When the shrimp turn pink, they are cooked.

Make sure that you don't overcook shrimp, or the tender meat will become tough and chewy. One of the most popular methods of cooking shrimp is to boil them. Place 1 pound (0.45 kg) of thawed shrimp in 1 quart (0.95 liters) of boiling water. Lower the heat and cover the pot, then allow it to simmer until the shrimp meat turns opaque. Jumbo shrimp might take as long as eight minutes to cook, and large shrimp might take only five to seven minutes.

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Discussion Comments
By Grivusangel — On Jan 30, 2014

Shrimp will also continue cooking after they've been removed from the boiling water, so a cook needs to consider that fact, too.

But you don't just plop a brick of frozen shrimp into plain water. You have to season it. Most seasoning companies sell bags of crab and/or shrimp boil and these are great for seasoning. Add this to the pot of boiling water, along with a bay leaf, lemon slices, salt and a teaspoon or so of black peppercorns.

If you're shelling the shrimp before serving it, keep the boiling water and the shells and tails and return them to the water for about 20 minutes. Strain the water and you've got great shrimp stock, which can be frozen for later use.

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