How Do I Thaw and Serve Frozen Cooked Shrimp?

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Thaw frozen shrimp in the fridge overnight, or under cool water.
Image Credit: Claudia Totir/Moment/GettyImages

Frozen cooked shrimp recipes are a super-quick option when preparing weeknight meals, last-minute appetizers or late-night snacks. It lends itself well to dishes served cold, such as shrimp cocktail and shrimp salad, and adds an elegant touch to pasta, pizza and stir-fries.

In fact, frozen cooked shrimp is one of the most versatile foods you can keep in your freezer — ready to thaw at a moment's notice to star in your next dish.

Read more: What Is the Nutritional Value of Shrimp?

Tip

Thaw frozen shrimp in the fridge overnight or under cool water. Serve as an appetizer or as the main attraction.

Thaw Frozen Shrimp

Thaw frozen cooked shrimp overnight in the refrigerator or place the frozen shrimp in a colander in the sink and run cold water over it until thawed, which should take about 30 minutes per pound, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Do not thaw shrimp on a counter at room temperature — this can lead to growth of harmful bacteria and foodborne illness. Once it is thawed, use the shrimp immediately or keep it tightly covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Serve a Cocktail Classic

Try serving frozen cooked shrimp at its simplest — as the classic shrimp cocktail. Since the shrimp is the showcase in this appetizer, buy the highest quality shrimp you can afford. Recipes for cocktail sauce are widely available, but it's fun to start with a purchased brand and add your own touch.

Fresh horseradish, lemon juice, chopped cilantro or minced fresh ginger are good places to start, but feel free to experiment.

Try Shrimp as Sophisticated Salad

Another option that requires no additional cooking is the famous shrimp roll. Basically shrimp salad served on a bun, sometimes with lettuce and tomato, the shrimp roll is a beach-town favorite up and down the East Coast.

Chop the thawed shrimp coarsely and add mayonnaise, pickle relish, and lots of fresh dill to make a succulent salad. Serve on rolls with green leaf lettuce, or just skip the bread and make a lettuce wrap by serving the shrimp salad on individual leaves of Boston lettuce.

Read more: Does Eating Prawns Have Negative Health Effects?

Serve Shrimp Hot

Frozen cooked shrimp can be added to a pot of boiling pasta during the last minute of cooking, and drained along with the pasta, ready to toss with your favorite sauce. Try adding thawed shrimp to a spicy Asian-inspired stir fry. Just add them during the last minute or two of cooking to heat the shrimp through.

For an unexpected, elegant brunch treat, add the thawed shrimp to an omelet and top with bearnaise sauce. Since the shrimp are already cooked, make sure to add them to your dish at the last minute.

When using raw seafood, cook your shrimp until the flesh is pearly and opaque, as advised by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Save leftover shrimp for a tasty next-day meal. Store leftovers promptly — discard any leftovers that have been at room temperature for more than two hours, as advised by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Reheat leftovers to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce risk of harmful bacteria.

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