Cooking frozen shrimp is convenient and easy. Shrimp is often flash-frozen in blocks of ice, so you can keep it in your freezer until you're ready to cook it.
According to the USDA, 4 ounces (112 grams) of shrimp has 79.5 calories, 18 grams of protein, less than one gram of total fat and 140 milligrams of cholesterol. Shrimp is a great source of lean protein.
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The Food and Drug Administration recommends exercising care when you buy frozen shrimp. Avoid any packages that are torn, open, crushed or contain ice crystals or frost. Also don't buy any packages if the shrimp aren't hard. You shouldn't be able to bend them.
Preparing Frozen Shrimp
While you can cook shrimp from frozen, you can also thaw them before cooking. It's up to you as to which one you want to do.
There are two ways you can thaw your shrimp: Either put them in the refrigerator a day or two before cooking or thaw them with cold water, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. If you want to thaw them using cold water, keep the shrimp in the package they're in and put it in a bowl.
Place the bowl in the sink and fill it with cold water. The package of shrimp should be completely submerged in the water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the shrimp have thawed. Shrimp will easily bend when thawed. Smaller packages of about a pound or less can thaw in about an hour. Shrimp must be cooked immediately after thawing.
Most shrimp comes with an EZ Peel label, which means that the shrimp have been cut down the back and the black vein (intestine) has been removed, notes Sea Lion International. If it's still there, you can use a paring knife to lift the veins off the backs of the shrimp and wipe them onto a paper towel. Your shrimp are now ready to be cooked.
Cooking frozen shrimp (instead of thawing) is sometimes preferred, because shrimp are small and easy to cook, but frozen shrimp take about 50 percent longer to cook than thawed shrimp, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
You can go straight from the freezer to the pan with your shrimp, making cooking quick and easy. Just make sure your shrimp have the EZ Peel label on them, so you won't have to de-vein them.
How to Cook Frozen Shrimp
Cooking frozen shrimp in a pan is easy and convenient. When they're ready, use them in your favorite frozen shrimp recipes or just add cooked shrimp to pasta, rice or salad for a nutritious meal.
Step 1: Prepare the Shrimp
Prepare your frozen shrimp by tossing them in a bowl with some bay seasoning.
Step 2: Cook the Shrimp
Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Wait for the oil to get hot and then add the shrimp. Shrimp will take about three to four minutes to cook. Continuously stir the shrimp while cooking.
Use a pan large enough to cook all of your shrimp in a single layer. If you have to use a smaller pan, you may need to cook in smaller single-layer batches.
Step 3: Check for Doneness and Serve
According to the Food and Drug Administration, shrimp should be cooked until the flesh is white and opaque. When your shrimp reach this point, remove them from the pan and serve.
- USDA FoodData Central: "Shrimp"
- Food and Drug Administration: "Selecting and Serving Fresh and Frozen Seafood Safely"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Safe Defrosting Methods"
- Food and Drug Administration: "Safe Minimal Internal Temperatures"
- Sea Lion International: "Cooked Shrimp, Easy Peel, Headless Shell-On"