How to Cook Frozen Raw Shrimp

Shrimp shells turn pink or red when cooked.
Shrimp shells turn pink or red when cooked. (Image: shrimp image by Liz Van Steenburgh from

How you cook frozen raw shrimp depends on your personal preferences, but typically, they are boiled in water with a little sea salt. Before they can be cooked, frozen seafood must be thawed properly to insure even and thorough cooking. Placing frozen shrimp in a bowl in the refrigerator for 24 hours allows them to thaw safely. For boiled shrimp, removing the shell and vein can wait until after cooking. To saute with other foods, shelling and deveining before cooking is preferred.

Things You'll Need

  • Stock pot
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • Colander
  • Frying pan
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic (optional)

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Boiling Shrimp

Fill a large kettle or stockpot with 2 quarts of water. Add 2 tablespoons sea salt. Bring the pot of water to a rapid boil.

Drop 1 pound of thawed shrimp into the boiling water. Return the water to a rapid boil.

Cover the pot and allow the shrimp to boil for 3 to 6 minutes. The amount of time required depends on the size of the shrimp.

Check the shrimp after 3 minutes. The shell turns pink, the shrimp float to the top of the water and the meat becomes white or translucent when the shrimp is done. Cut one open to check that the meat is cooked in the center.

Remove the shrimp from the water and drain them in a colander.

Immediately run the shrimp under cold water to thoroughly cool the shrimp. As a rule, shrimp require the same amount of cooling time as they did cooking time. This stops the cooking process.

Shell the shrimp with your hands by pulling off the shell, legs and tail and removing the dark vein. Eat the shrimp with cocktail sauce or serve in your favorite recipe.

Pan Frying Raw Shrimp

Rinse the thawed shrimp under cold running water. Pat them dry with a paper towel.

Slide the blade of a slender knife under the shell at the neck of the shrimp and cut down the back to the tail. Pull out the dark vein with your hands. Rinse the shrimp under cold water again, if the vein breaks to remove any residue. Pull off the shell, including the legs and tail and discard the shells.

Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil or butter over medium high heat in a hot pan. Some prefer to add 2 to 3 cloves of minced garlic to the oil and butter to enhance the flavor.

Add the shrimp and fry or 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shells turn pink.

Remove the shrimp from the pan and serve while hot.


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