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Best Way to Thaw Frozen Shrimp

What's the best way to thaw frozen shrimp? Does an overnight thaw in the fridge yield better results than a quick thaw under running water? Is the texture and/or flavor better that way?

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  1. i rarely think sufficiently ahead to thaw them in the fridge :) my preferred method is to seal them in an airtight plastic bag and submerge in hot water.

    1. I have used both the overnight thaw in the fridge, and the quick thaw under cold running water with no discernible difference in texture or flavor.....


      1. To save water, I either place their bag or the loose shrimp in a small amount of water in a bowl or glass measuring and put it on "defrost" in the microwave for a few minutes. They defrost evenly and don't overheat or cook.

        1 Reply
        1. re: maestra

          maestra, may I ask what kind of microwave you have? Every one I've ever owned still cooks food on "defrost." I'm in the middle of a remodel and haven't purchased a new nuke yet. Maybe this time I can upgrade.

        2. I would never thaw (or recommend thawing) food in hot water; certainly not shrimp. I put it inside a tightly sealed plastic bag from which all (or nearly all) the air has been removed and let it sit in a pan of cold tap water. It thaws rather quickly but, if you want to speed it up a little bit, just change the water every fifteen minutes or so. If the sealed bag floats you can weight it down by placing a plate or similar object on top of it to weight it down.

          5 Replies
          1. re: todao

            i place the shrimp in a bowl, fill with cold wter under the tap, then leave the tap on flowing ever so slightly so the water is moving and overflowing - again slightly. takes 2- 3 minutes

            1. re: thew

              Agree with the cold water in the sink, I do this twice a week, then wrap the shrimp in paper towels to blot out the water, then repeat the paper towel business, and the shrimp get tossed in a bowl with my Caesar salad.

              1. re: thew

                Dear Thew, After 3 years, here's a question........when I rinse Cooked Shrimp that has been frozen, it tends to lose all flavor. By de-thawing in milk, will it keep some if it;s flavor?

              2. re: todao

                "I would never thaw (or recommend thawing) food in hot water; certainly not shrimp."
                why not? the water's not boiling, it doesn't cook the shrimp, just thaws it in a jiffy. it's the same method as yours, just warmer water. i probably do it on a weekly basis...

              3. I thaw my frozen shrimp in milk. If there is any fishy smell ( or taste) in the shrimp, this takes it out. After they are thawed, I rinse in cold water. Seems to work great for me.

                1. I've been "thawing" my very large shrimp over a strainer for two days in my "meat" section; they are still icy. Is this a problem?


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                    Take them out of the fridge and run a bit of cold water over them. They will be ready to go in 10 minutes.

                    1. re: Faraway11

                      Meh... I know I COULD, but I got home late yesterday from soccer practice and hubby had made burgers. Today, he came home with pizza... tommorow is another soccer night, but I WILL make it happen.

                  2. The best way to thaw frozen shrimp is to put them in a colander and let cold water run over it. Let them sit under the water for 10 to 20 minutes. Ideally there is a spray nozzle on the faucet to increase the area of the the spray. This is not water efficient at all, but this is how we did it at the fish market where we were more concerned about the shrimp than the water cost.. Once the shrimp are not attached to each other (they might still be partially frozen) put them in the fridge until they are ready to use. Make sure they have good drainage. and aren't sitting in a pool of water.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Homero

                      HELP Please. I have fresh shrimp that I froze in water. They are large shrimp. What is the best way to thaw them? How long does it take? This is for dinner Saturday night is it OK to thaw them Friday night or do I need to wait until Saturday?
                      Thanks for your help

                    2. I've seen restaurants thaw them in running water off the tap.....
                      That's what they do when caught short and needed right away

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: zzDan

                        Which is exactly why I tend to do it that way. If I think about it enough in advance I'll save the big bowl of water I soaked or washed vegetables in, then put the frozen shrimp into a wire colander and dip and swish around the shrimp in the water until they're thawed, which happens very quickly. The basket keeps the shrimp away from any dirt residue in the bowl, and this procedure saves a bit of water.

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            if you let the water trickle into the bowl so there is a little overflow, the water waste is very minimal and they thew faster

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              Good idea
                              Shrimp thaws pretty quickly because it is a lot of individual shrimp...
                              Not one big hunk of meat or fish

                              1. re: zzDan

                                Is it better to put the shrimp in a ziploc bag and suck out the air before defrosting under running water, or not? I've read that this is the case with peeled shrimp, because otherwise the water washes away the shrimp's flavor. Is this true? Is it also true for unpeeled shrimp? Also, sans bag, does the shrimp get at all water-logged? I'm planning to grill, so I want to minimize moisture as much as possible to maximize browning.

                          2. I normally thaw in the fridge but will leave the bag in a bowl of cold water in an emergency.

                            1. I put frozen shrimp in a bowl of salted room temperature water - they thaw quickly and maintain that "sea water" taste that makes the finished dish just a touch yummier, imho.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: herby

                                It sounds like a great idea! I will definitely try it!

                                1. re: herby

                                  I also defrost them in a brine solution,works great.

                                  1. re: grangie angie

                                    All of my frozen Shrimp are stored in vac bags so they just get tossed in the sink with cold water and thaw rapidly but a brine is a great suggestion as a lot of frozen shrimp can be a bit on the limp side. The brine firms them up and gives them better texture

                                2. I'm cooking for 1. When nice big shrimp are at a good price, I'll by 1-2 lbs and vac seal in half lb portions. If I wanna fo boiled/steamed... I don't even bother thawing first. Right into pot with a little water and generous dose of Old Bay. By the time it comes to a boil... let it sit a few minutes and drain. If I wanna do something else with 1/2 lb, vac bag goes into room temp water for maybe half and hour and it's ready to go.

                                  1. The serving safe food advisers in the restaurant business recommend thawing overnight in their coolers/refrigerators. Alternatively, if time is an issue, thaw them under COLD, running water. Thawing under hot water is not acceptable to most health departments.

                                    1. the overnight method is easier, and you'll get more uniform thawing. you can do the cold water rinse in a colander deal if you are in a rush. problem is they'll be colder than when you thaw overnight in fridge.