Frozen shrimp are convenient but can be tricky to cook if you don't follow a few simple guidelines. Learn how to cook frozen shrimp so they turn out plump and flavorful instead of soggy and bland.

By Carl Hanson
Updated February 20, 2020

You know those small, pre-peeled, and deveined uncooked shrimp you find in the frozen section? There's probably a bag of 'em tucked in the back of your freezer right now. They're super convenient. But when you actually cook with them, you might find they're like tiny sponges — tiny sponges that wring out in the pan, turning your sauce into a too-thin, watery mess.

Well, good news, convenience-minded shrimp lovers. Chef John has a couple tricks to make frozen shrimp taste almost as good as fresh shrimp just pulled from the bay. Learn the best way to cook frozen shrimp with this step-by-step guide.

How to Cook Frozen Shrimp

Watch Chef John's technique as he makes his shrimp etouffee.

1. Thaw them in a strainer letting the water drip through.

2. Place them on towels to soak up any excess water.

3. Cook them in a skillet for a couple minutes on high heat just until they release more juices. Let the shrimp sit in the skillet without stirring for one minute, then stir quickly, and let them cook another minute. Then remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon.

4. Now here's another key trick: Save those shrimp juices in the pan. And if you're making a shrimp dish that calls for liquid, include your shrimp-flavored liquid as part of the measured amount of stock or wine or water you'll be using for your sauce. Basically, you don't want the liquid that the shrimp will release to be in excess of the amount of stock the recipe calls for.

5. Once your sauce is done, return the shrimp to the pan to cook through.

More About Cooking Shrimp

Related: Explore our complete collection of Shrimp Recipes.