How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp
Unlike other foods that can suffer damage when frozen, shrimp thrives in the freezer. In fact, they're often frozen right on the boat, directly after being caught. This means they're at peak freshness when frozen, making them delicious and convenient (and you probably have a bag in your freezer right now).
Unless you live on the Gulf Coast, the "fresh" shrimp you can find in the grocery store probably came from frozen...so you might as well skip the middle-man and just buy it frozen.
There's just one problem, right? You have to thaw those suckers. But don't fret, whether you planned ahead or you need to have dinner on the table in an hour, it's easy to thaw frozen shrimp for all your cooking needs.
How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp 3 Ways
Regardless of how you thaw them, you'll know shrimp has finished thawing when the exterior looks translucent, and there are no remaining frozen parts. Here are three ways to thaw shrimp, depending on how much time you have:
If you're one of those people who plans dinner ahead of time (we're talking a whole day in advance), congrats! Thawing shrimp is going to be a breeze. Your best bet is going to be to move that frozen package of shrimp from your freezer to your fridge the night before you want to cook it. Allow it to thaw overnight, or for up to 24 hours. To prevent drips, put the package in a bowl or lay it flat on a rimmed baking sheet.
In 45 minutes
Okay, if you're like most of us you just decided what to make for dinner at 5:01. If that's you, no worries, you can still thaw and cook your frozen shrimp in time to have dinner.
To start, remove the unopened bag of shrimp from the freezer and place it in a large bowl of cold water. Don't use hot water, as this will cause the shrimp to cook inside the bag (yuck). Use a plate or other heavy object to hold the bag down, and allow it to thaw, fully submerged, for 45 minutes.
In 20 minutes
Don't have 45 minutes? If you're scrambling to get dinner on the table fast, use this method for lightning fast (20-minute) thawing:
Open your package of shrimp and dump the shrimp directly into a bowl of cold water. Depending on the size of the shrimp, they will thaw in about 10 to 20 minutes.
Although this method is effective when you're in a pinch, it may cause the shrimp to take on excess water. If you're worried about your shrimp turning into a watery mess, use this trick to cook frozen shrimp without thinning out your sauce.
How not to thaw shrimp. Ever.
Never thaw frozen shrimp at room temperature. This will cause it to enter the temperature "danger zone," — the range between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F where bacteria grow most rapidly.