How To Cook Juicy Shrimp from Frozen

How To Cook Juicy Shrimp from Frozen

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Meghan Splawn
Aug 30, 2017
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

Discovering that I could cook shrimp straight from the freezer has to be one of the happiest accidents to come out of my kitchen this summer. You see, the resulting shrimp are so juicy and flavorful that I can hardly believe I've ever taken the time to thaw shrimp, however easy and short the thawing may be. Straight from the freezer to the sheet pan, these shrimp are coated with Cajun seasoning for a spicy, savory take on broiled shrimp.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

Is It Safe to Cook Shrimp from Frozen?

Totally! Unlike chicken or salmon that must be cooked to a correct temperature to ensure their safety, shrimp are so small and so quick to cook that it's hard to undercook them or serve them underdone. Cooking them from frozen actually helps prevent overcooking, leading to juicer, more tender shrimp.

For Your Information

  • This recipe calls for extra-large 21 to 25 sized shrimp. For ease of cooking and eating, go for peeled (or shell-off) shrimp. You can use anywhere from one pound to a pound-and-a-half, which is one (24-ounce) bag.
  • Preheat a baking sheet under the broiler and your shrimp will only need about 5 minutes of cook time. Yup, they are that fast.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

Broiled Shrimp Are Better Shrimp

I learned the joy that is sheet pan broiling shrimp from this recipe for shrimp and broccoli. It is hands-down the fastest, easiest way to cook shrimp. The secret is to preheat the oven and the sheet pan while you make the spice blend and coat the shrimp with it. Be sure to use a stainless steel baking sheet.

Cajun Shrimp in 15 Minutes

While the pan is preheating in the oven, these three steps will get the shrimp ready for the oven.

  • Make a spice blend: You can also use your favorite packaged spice blend (just make sure that you also have salt in the blend or on hand to season the shrimp).
  • Rinse the frozen shrimp: A quick, cold rinse removes ice crystals from the shrimp and loosens any shrimp that are stuck together.
  • Toss the shrimp with the spice blend: The moisture from rinsing the shrimp will help the spice blend adhere.

Serving Your Super-Juicy Shrimp

This shrimp-cooking method is my new favorite for serving shrimp over slow cooker grits, but they could easily serve as an appetizer with a cool, creamy sauce for dipping. Alternatively, toss with pasta or add to grain salads.

How To Cook Frozen Shrimp

Serves 4 to 6

What You Need

Ingredients
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds peeled (or shell-off) extra-large frozen shrimp (21 to 25 shrimp per pound)

Equipment
Measuring cups and spoons
Small mixing bowl
Colander
Medium mixing bowl
Rimed baking sheet

Instructions

  1. Make a Cajun spice blend for the shrimp. Place the salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Preheat the oven and a baking sheet. Set a rack about 6 inches under the broiler. Set the broiler to high and place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack directly underneath the broiler. Heat the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse the shrimp under cold water to remove ice crystals. Place the frozen shrimp in a colander and rinse under cool running water for about 1 minute — you want to remove any ice crystals and separate any shrimp that are frozen together. Shake the colander to remove as much excess water as possible.
  4. Season the shrimp. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl, add the spice mixture, and toss to combine.
  5. Broil the shrimp on the preheated baking sheet. Carefully take the preheated baking sheet out of the oven and quickly pour the shrimp onto it. You should immediately hear the shrimp sizzle. Use tongs to arrange any shrimp that are too close or on top of each other so that they sit in a single layer, evenly spaced apart.
  6. Broil for 5 minutes. Return the baking sheet to the rack under the broiler. Broil until the shrimp curve slightly and become opaque, about 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

  • Make ahead: The spice mixture can be made up to 3 months ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
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