How to Cook Frozen Raw Shrimp

How to Cook Frozen Raw Shrimp (Image: Azurita/iStock/GettyImages)

Keeping a bag of frozen shrimp on hand offers a convenient way to mix in a little seafood on your menu. You can use a variety of frozen raw shrimp recipes to prepare your seafood, but first, you'll want to defrost the seafood. Thawing frozen shrimp helps it cook evenly.

Basics of Frozen Raw Shrimp

You can buy frozen shrimp either raw or cooked. You can tell it's raw by the gray color, and the packaging should clearly label it as raw. Either option works for your recipes, but raw shrimp offers more versatility and lets you flavor and prepare it in your preferred way.

Thawing Frozen Shrimp

You can cook frozen, raw shrimp right from the freezer, but thawing makes it easier to handle and helps it cook evenly. You may have difficulty getting seasoning to stick to frozen shrimp. You may need to add a little extra cooking time, but it shouldn't take much longer since shrimp are so small and cook quickly anyway.

The easiest and safest way to thaw frozen shrimp is putting it in the refrigerator overnight. This lets it thaw slowly without the risk of increased bacterial growth.

You can also put shrimp in a bowl of cold water to thaw it. Leave the shrimp in a plastic bag or other airtight packaging when thawing it in water. Put fresh cold water in regularly to keep the shrimp cold. You'll know it's ready when the shrimp is pliable.

Preparing the Shrimp

If you didn't buy deveined shrimp, remove the vein that runs along each shrimp. You can remove the shell if you prefer to cook the shrimp without it. Leaving the shells on during cooking can help hold in some of the flavor. Rinse the thawed raw shrimp under cold water before seasoning it.

Cooking Frozen Shrimp by Poaching

For quick, easy cooking, fill a pan with water or your choice of liquid. Add your choice of seasonings to the water to help flavor the shrimp. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the heat so it's simmering.

Pop the shrimp in the pot of simmering water. Cook it just until it's done, which is usually only two to three minutes. You can use this method for frozen or thawed shrimp.

Sauteing Frozen Shrimp

Another option for cooking frozen shrimp is by sauteing it in a little olive oil or butter in a skillet. You can use this method to make frozen shrimp scampi or choose any seasonings to saute with the shrimp.

Turn the burner to medium low to heat your choice of grease. Saute your thawed raw shrimp with a little garlic just until it turns pink, usually about four to five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add any other seasonings or flavorings, such as lemon juice, salt, pepper and parsley and serve.

Grilling the Seafood

Switch up your grilling routine with shrimp. Thawing at least partially helps for grilling shrimp because you'll want to slide the pieces onto skewers for easy turning. Brush a little olive oil on the shrimp and season to your preferences. Grill the shrimp for about five to seven minutes until it turns pink with opaque flesh.

Checking for Doneness

Shrimp only takes a few minutes to cook because the pieces are so small. Check your specific frozen raw shrimp recipes for recommended cooking times or use visual clues.

Looking at your cooked shrimp helps you determine if it's cooked enough. Check for a pink, pearly, opaque flesh on the shrimp. The tails look bright red when they're done.

The shape of the cooked shrimp is also an indicator. When it's done just right, the shrimp should look curled like the letter "C." If the shrimp is straight, it probably needs more cooking time. Shrimp that's overcooked looks more like an "O."

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