How to Cook Frozen Raw Shrimp

Cheryl Cirelli
raw shrimp

Frozen raw shrimp can be simple to prepare if you know the right techniques. Shrimp are low in saturated fat and calories, high in protein, and rich in flavor. They are also versatile and can be used in a wide variety of recipes once they are cooked, from shrimp scampi to shrimp fried rice.

Cooking Techniques for Frozen Raw Shrimp

Raw shrimp are more moist and flavorful since the shells protect the meat during freezing. Popular cooking techniques for frozen raw shrimp include:

Poaching

In many cases, poaching is a better method for cooking shrimp than boiling. A full boil is too hard on this delicate seafood; the temperature is too high and it is easy to overcook them. Instead, poaching is gentler. Add hot or cold poached shrimp to a green salad for a healthy dish.

Try this method for poaching shrimp:

  1. Place thawed and cleaned shrimp in a simmering liquid, such as water or a sauce. You can keep the shells on the shrimp if desired.
  2. The liquid should be almost to a boiling point, but not bubbling.
  3. Allow shrimp to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they have just turned pink and the tails have curled.
  4. If cooking in water, drain and rinse in cool water to stop the cooking process. If cooking in a sauce, add them at the very end of the sauce's cooking time, so they do not overcook.

Sautéing

Garlic Shrimp

Sautéing is quickly cooking in a little hot oil or butter. Add some flavor to your sauté by trying the following recipe.

Sautéed Garlic Shrimp: Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds large, raw shrimp (thawed, peeled, and deveined)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat for 45 seconds.
  2. Add the shrimp and garlic and sauté until shrimp begin to turn pink. This takes about 5 minutes.
  3. Lower the heat and add the parsley, lemon juice, and salt.
  4. Stir well to coat the shrimp.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the shrimp to a platter and serve immediately.

Grilling

Shrimp skewers

Grilling is a quick and tasty way to cook shrimp. Add a little seasoning and you have a quick and flavorful main dish.

Grilled Shrimp on Skewers: Ingredients

  • 12 thawed, raw shrimp (cleaned, peeled, and deveined)
  • 1 fresh lemon cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Wooden skewers

Instructions

  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes to prevent them from burning as they are grilled.
  2. Thread the skewer through both ends of each shrimp to secure it in place and to prevent the shrimp from rotating during grilling. You can leave the tails on the shrimp.
  3. Brush each skewer of shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  4. Use a medium heat and grill the shrimp for 6 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.
  5. Remove from heat and squeeze fresh lemon over the tops.

Frying

Popular with children, fried shrimp is easy to prepare. To prepare fried shrimp:

  1. Coat cleaned, deveined, and thawed shrimp in a batter or a starch, such as coconut flour or all-purpose flour.
  2. Heat half of an inch of oil in a skillet until hot.
  3. Put the shrimp in the skillet, cook until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Once you master frying shrimp with a basic batter or dry coating, try making coconut shrimp or tempura batter for shrimp.

Stir-Frying

For a stir-fry, place unbattered shrimp in a hot skillet or wok with a little oil. Stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes, until they are pink, and remove from heat. Toss with vegetables and brown rice for a quick and easy dinner.

Purchasing and Preparing Raw Shrimp

Not all frozen shrimp are raw. Some manufacturers precook frozen shrimp as a convenience. These are usually peeled and may have lost some of their flavor and moisture during the freezing process. They are easily overcooked, which makes them tough. Purchasing raw frozen shrimp allows you to control the cooking process. Raw shrimp is often gray colored, and may or may not be peeled and deveined; cooked shrimp usually has a light pink tinge. However, once frozen, it may be harder to discern by looks alone. Check the bag's labeling before you buy to be sure you are getting raw frozen shrimp.

Thawing

Thaw frozen shrimp overnight in a covered bowl in the coldest part of the refrigerator. For a quicker thaw, run them under cold water until they become pliable.

Never thaw in warm or hot water or in the microwave since this will begin the cooking process. Never thaw shrimp at room temperature, as this is a food safety hazard.

Cleaning

Rinse all shrimp thoroughly in cold water after thawing. Opinions vary on whether you should peel and devein shrimp before or after cooking, if at all. It is a matter of personal preference. If you prefer them peeled and deveined, the task is simple.

How to Peel Shrimp

  1. Line the kitchen sink with newspaper to keep the shells for fish stock later, if desired.
  2. Hold with the underside up. Pinch the legs off.
  3. Place your thumbs on either side of the shell and peel the shell apart toward the top side. The shell should come off easily.
  4. Pull the tail off, if desired.
  5. Rinse thoroughly in cold water to ensure all shell is removed.

How to Devein Shrimp

The vein is actually the digestive tract. It is a dark line down the top of the shrimp, from head to tail. While it is not strictly necessary to remove it, some people find the vein unappetizing, especially in large shrimp. To remove the vein:

  1. Take a sharp knife and slice along the back next to the vein.
  2. Use your fingers or a dull knife to scoop out the vein.
  3. Doing this under cold, running water helps in removal.
  4. With large shrimp, you can pull the vein out in one piece.
  5. Rinse under cool water.

Butterflying Shrimp

Some recipes call for butterfly, or cut open, shrimp. To butterfly, do not remove the tail. After peeling, cut deeply on the underside from head to the tail, almost all the way through. Spread and flatten.

Basic Shrimp Cooking Methods Make Fast Meals

When you learn basic methods for cooking frozen raw shrimp, you can have a delicious and fast meal with simple ingredients already in the pantry. Start with a simple shrimp cocktail and move on to more involved recipes like shrimp bisque. There are limitless shrimp recipe variations to suit all tastes and that will appeal to everyone in your family.

How to Cook Frozen Raw Shrimp