Frozen cooked shrimp is 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.
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 between 10 and 15 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp. Do not thaw frozen shrimp at room temperature due to the risk of 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.
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.
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.
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 a dish at the last minute.