How to Cook Frozen Shrimp: 6 Different and Easy Ways

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Learn how to cook frozen shrimp in these six easy ways to whip up flavorful, nutritious, and delicious meals in minutes!

Just remember to pick a bag of shrimp that has been individually frozen for better flavor and taste. 

Moreover, the shrimp should be deveined and peeled. This will save you time plus it’s impossible to remove the vein once it’s been cooked. This brings us to the next question.

You may also like: How to Tell if Shrimp is Cooked: How to Perfectly Cook Shrimp Every Time

Can You Cook Frozen Shrimp?

how to cook frozen shrimp

Guess what – the simple answer is yes, you can cook frozen shrimp! Unlike meat and fish that need to be thawed and then cooked to ensure they’re safe to eat, you can cook frozen shrimp without thawing. 

In fact, cooking shrimp directly from the freezer retains its juice, flavor, and texture, preventing it from getting overcooked and rubbery. But, you need to know how long to cook frozen shrimp to get the best taste. 

How Long to Cook Frozen Shrimp?

Depending on the size of the shrimp, you should not spend more than two to three minutes cooking frozen shrimp. Notice when the translucent shrimp turn opaque and slightly pink. That’s a sure sign that the shrimp is ready to be taken off the heat. 

How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp in 3 Simple Steps

Although you can cook frozen shrimp, some recipes may call for thawed shrimp before they’re cooked. Here is a simple step-by-step instruction on how to thaw frozen shrimp.

Step 1: Take the amount required from the bag, reseal the bag, and put it back in the freezer. 

Step 2: Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge a colander with the frozen shrimp in this bowl. Leave it for 10 minutes. 

Step 3: Take the colander out, throw away the water, and refill the bowl with cold water. Let the colander with the shrimp rest in this bowl of water for another 10 to 20 minutes.

Another way to defrost frozen shrimp is to put them in a bowl, cover them, and leave it in the fridge overnight. Run them under cold tap water the next day before you cook them. 

Pro Tip: Always pat dry defrosted shrimp with a paper towel before you cook them so that the extra water doesn’t turn the shrimp dish soggy and tasteless. 

How to Cook Frozen Shrimp in 6 Ways

Now that we have covered the basics of frozen shrimp, let’s look at how to cook frozen shrimp in six easy ways. If you’re not sure what to cook frozen shrimp with, each method below will come with basic recipe ideas.

How to Cook Frozen Shrimp: 6 Different and Easy Ways 1
How to Cook Frozen Shrimp in 6 ways 1

1. Air Fryer

Cook frozen shrimp in an air fryer to retain its juice, taste, and texture. 

Step 1: Simply preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204.5 degrees Celsius). Without thawing the shrimp, place them in the air fryer basket. 

Step 2: If you’re using frozen raw shrimp, cook for 10 minutes. However, 5 minutes will suffice for frozen pre-cooked shrimp. 

Step 3: After you take them out of the air fryer, add the shrimp to any sauce that you like. We recommend teriyaki sauce for a sweet and tangy taste.

Alternatively, you can add dry seasoning like salt and pepper, smoked paprika powder, or garlic powder to add more flavor to the shrimp. 

Is Air-frying More Healthy For You? 

Since air-frying makes minimum use of oil, it is better and healthier for you. In fact, it can cut down calories in your food by 70 – 80%. 

Moreover, air-frying also helps reduce the chances of getting cancer. How? Well, when you fry potatoes and other starchy foods in oil, a chemical called acrylamide. Research has shown this chemical has a direct relation to causing cancer. 

If you air-fry potatoes, the amount of acrylamide is reduced to 90%, thus making it a much healthier option to cook your food. 

2. Stove

You can cook frozen shrimp on the stove through the simple process of boiling. 

Step 1: Put a large pot on the stove and fill it ¾th part with water. You may like to fill it with hot tap water to reduce the boiling time. 

Step 2: On medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil. Don’t put the frozen shrimp before the water boils as this will lower the temperature of the water. The shrimp will not only take longer to cook but will also turn rubbery. 

Step 3: Add some seasonings like salt, whole peppercorn, and bay leaves. For some lemony zest, squeeze the juice of half a lemon and drop the lemon in the water. 

Don’t shy away from adding herbs like parsley, cilantro, or thyme to make it more flavorful. 

Step 4: Simmer for about five minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. 

Step 5: Add the shrimp and let them boil for 2 to 7 minutes or until some of them start rising up to the top. Remember to stir it around to make sure all the shrimp gets evenly heated. 

Step 6: Strain the boiled shrimp through a colander and serve with melted butter and seasoning of your choice.

Pro Tip: In two cups of ice cubes and half a bowl of water, put the boiled shrimp to stop them from overcooking. This step is great for cooking frozen shrimp for shrimp cocktail or shrimp salad. 

3. Instant Pot

If you’ve ever wondered how to cook frozen shrimp in an instant pot, look no further! Just follow the steps below. 

Step 1: Into the instant pot, put a steamer basket. 

Step 2: Put the frozen shrimp in the steamer, add water, and close the lid. 

Step 3: Select the Pressure Cooking option, select “High”, and set the timer at 0 minutes. 

Step 4: It will take 10 to 15 minutes for the cycle to run through. 

Step 5: Let the steam out by opening the Quick Release option. 

Step 6: After all the steam is out, take off the cover, and strain the liquid. 

Step 7: Season the strained shrimp with seasonings and sauce of your choice. 

If you don’t own an instant pot, it’s easier than ever to get one now!

4. Pan

Did you know that it’s possible to cook frozen shrimp in a pan? It’s quite simple if you check out the following steps. 

Step 1: Put a tablespoon or two of oil or butter in a pan and wait till it gets heated. 

Step 2: Add chopped shallots, minced garlic, parsley, or coriander leaves to flavor the oil. 

Step 3: Sauté for about a minute until they become soft and translucent. 

Step 4: Add the frozen shrimp to the pan and stir for 4 to 5 minutes until they turn pink. 

Step 5: Season with salt and pepper. If you want a stronger flavor, you can sprinkle some curry powder or chili powder. 

 5. Oven

By using the broiler in your oven, cooking frozen shrimp is a matter of minutes. 

Step 1: Preheat the oven broiler by setting the temperature to High for 8 to 10 minutes. 

Alternatively, you can preheat your convection oven to 400 °F (204.5 °C). Broiling is preferred, however, to cook faster and get the perfect texture of the shrimp. 

Step 2: For 230 grams or half a pound of shrimp, make a seasoning mix by combining ¾ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of crushed black pepper, ½ teaspoon of garlic and paprika powder, and ¼ teaspoon of oregano and cayenne pepper. 

Step 3: Toss the shrimp in the seasonings mixture until they are coated well. 

Step 4: Take a baking sheet and arrange the shrimp in a single layer, making sure there’s a half an inch gap between each. 

Step 5: Put the pan beneath the oven broiler for 5 to 8 minutes. 

Step 6: When the shrimp turn pink, carefully get the pan out of the oven and wait for the shrimp to cool down before serving. 

6. Steamer

For cooking frozen shrimp in a steamer, follow the same steps for cooking in an instant pot. 

The only difference is instead of using an instant pot, use a large pot on the stove. 

Step 1: Fill the pot with an inch of water and bring to a boil. 

Step 2: Carefully place the steamer basket in the pot with water. 

Step 3: Place the shrimp in the steamer basket, put the lid on the pot, and steam for 5 to 6 minutes. 

Step 4: Take the steamer basket out, plate the shrimp, and season with salt, pepper, and other condiments that you like. You can squeeze a few drops of lemon for a zesty flavor. 

How to Cook Frozen Shrimp with Shell

frozen shrimp with shell
Frozen Shrimp with Shell

Cooking frozen shrimp with shell protects the texture of the shrimp and also helps to lock in the moisture and flavor, resulting in succulent shrimp. 

Just add salt and pepper seasoning to a large bowl and toss in the frozen shrimp with the shell.  

Heat a pan on the stove and add a couple of tablespoons of oil. 

Once the oil is heated, add the shrimp and sauté for 2 minutes if the shrimp is small or for 4 minutes if they are larger. Wait until the tails are red so that you know the shrimp has been cooked to perfection. 

3 Frozen Shrimp Recipes for Weeknights

shrimp for pasta
How to Cook Frozen Shrimp for Pasta

Until now, we have talked about the different ways to cook frozen shrimp. Now, let’s look at three easy and tasty frozen shrimp recipes for weeknights. 

1. How to Cook Frozen Shrimp for Pasta

Start by cooking pasta as per the package instructions. 

Follow the steps mentioned above for cooking shrimp in a pan. After the shrimp is done, add the boiled pasta to the pan and toss to mix well with the shrimp. 

2. Frozen Shrimp Scampi Recipe


  • 1 pound of frozen shrimp, deveined and shell-off
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon red chili flakes
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


Step 1: Put a heavy skillet on the stove and add the butter and olive oil. 

Step 2: Add the chopped garlic and red chili flakes to the pan and sauté for a minute. 

Step 3: Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté for one minute. 

Step 4: Add the white wine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes before flipping the shrimp to cook on the other side. 

Step 5: After a minute, season the shrimp scampi with a pinch of salt, lemon juice, and chopped parsley. 

Step 6: Sprinkle black pepper and coat the shrimp with all the ingredients before serving. 

For a non-alcoholic version, replace the white wine with white wine substitutes or with either chicken or shrimp stock. 

3. How to Cook Frozen Shrimp for Alfredo


  • A bag of frozen shrimp, precooked, deveined, and peeled
  • Pasta 
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • Heavy cream
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley, chopped


Step 1: Cook the pasta al dente in salted water.

Step 2: Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and melt it on a medium-low flame. 

Step 3: Add the shrimp and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until they turn pink and opaque. 

Step 4: Add the minced garlic to the shrimp and coat well. 

Step 5: After a minute, take the shrimp out of the pan and put it aside. 

Step 6: In the same pan, add the heavy cream over a medium-low flame and add the rest of the butter. Use a whisk to mix well. 

Step 7: Add the grated Parmesan or any hard cheese and season with black pepper. 

Step 8: When the Alfredo sauce is ready, add the cooked pasta and shrimp back to the pan to mix well. Finish by adding fresh chopped parsley. 

Final Thoughts

A bag of frozen shrimp lodged deep in your freezer can be the beginning of your go-to meal when you’ve had a long day. The beauty of it is that you don’t even need to thaw frozen shrimp to make a quick dinner. 

Just be sure not to overcook frozen shrimp as that would make it rubbery and it won’t taste great. 

With six different ways of cooking frozen shrimp and a handful of easy recipes, we hope that your culinary affair with frozen shrimp will be a long and satisfying one. 


How long should you cook frozen raw shrimp?

If the frozen shrimp are small, don’t spend more than two minutes cooking them. For shrimp that are larger, three minutes at max should be good. 

How long should you cook frozen pre-cooked shrimp?

If the frozen shrimp are small, don’t spend more than two minutes cooking them. For shrimp that are larger, three minutes at max should be good. 

Should I thaw frozen shrimp before cooking?

No, there’s no need to thaw frozen shrimp before cooking. Frozen shrimp can be cooked straight away and will give your dish a better texture and taste.

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