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Here’s how to cook frozen shrimp! Follow these tips and frozen shrimp recipes for the best tender, juicy flavor.

How to cook frozen shrimp, frozen shrimp recipes

Got a bag of frozen shrimp and want to turn it into dinner? Shrimp is a fantastic protein because it’s healthy, quick to cook, and stores well in the freezer. Pull out a bag and it’s instant dinner! But how to cook frozen shrimp: do you have to thaw it? Can you dump those icy shrimp right into the pan and apply heat? Here’s what to know, and 20 of our favorite frozen shrimp recipes for making it into a meal.

How to cook frozen shrimp

Do you have to thaw frozen shrimp before cooking it? Yes, it’s best practice to thaw shrimp before cooking it. Why? Shrimp is easy to overcook, which gives it a rubbery texture. Cooking a piece of fish from frozen starts cooking the outside of the fish first, then the inside as it thaws. This means the outside of the fish is cooked before the inside is done.

It’s easy to thaw frozen shrimp, and you don’t even need to think ahead! Of course the best way to is to place them in the refrigerator for 12 hours to allow them to defrost. But here’s the quick method for defrosting and cooking frozen shrimp in a recipe:

  • Place the shrimp in a large bowl of very cold water.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes and stir the bowl every 5 minutes to break up clumps that freeze together. The shrimp should be defrosted in about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp (very large shrimp can take up to 20 minutes).
  • Pat the shrimp dry. This is important: otherwise the shrimp will steam instead of cooking (unless you plan to boil or steam them).
  • Cook the shrimp, following the instructions in Sauteed Shrimp, Boiled Shrimp, Baked Shrimp, Grilled Shrimp, or Steamed Shrimp.

Can you cook frozen shrimp without thawing?

It’s best practice to thaw your shrimp before cooking it to avoid rubbery, overcooked shrimp. It takes just 15 minutes to thaw the shrimp in a bowl of cold water. If you’re really in a rush, the best cooking methods for frozen shrimp are boiled shrimp or steamed shrimp: increase the cook time by 1 minute and check often to assess doneness.

20 frozen shrimp recipes

What are the best recipes for using thawed frozen shrimp to make a quick dinner? Here are all our favorite cooking methods and ways to prepare shrimp to make a healthy meal.

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Sauteed shrimp

How to Cook Frozen Shrimp (& 20 Recipes!)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This sauteed shrimp recipe comes out juicy and seasoned to perfection in less than 10 minutes! Here are the secrets to how to saute shrimp.


  • 1 1/2 pounds medium frozen shrimp, deveined (tail on or peeled)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika (or substitute standard paprika)
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 3 lemon wedges
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish


  1. Remove the shrimp from the package and place them in a large bowl of very cold water for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to break up clumps that freeze together. (After 15 minutes, rinse off any remaining ice.)
  2. Pat the shrimp completely dry. In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with the salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side until just opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs.
  4. Spritz with juice of the lemon wedges and serve immediately.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Sauteed
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Frozen shrimp, how to cook frozen shrimp, frozen shrimp recipes

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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