Make boiled frozen shrimp the quick and easy method! Did you forget to defrost the shrimp for a recipe and you don't have time to defrost shrimp to raw?
Learn how to boil frozen shrimp using our simple technique whether you're needing shrimp for shrimp cocktail, in salads, or in other types of recipes. It's a WHOLE LOTTA YUM!
How to Boil Shrimp from Frozen
If you've been wondering "can you boil frozen shrimp without thawing?" the answer is definitely yes! Although technically speaking you are simmering shrimp over a gentle boil and not actually cooking them at a hard boil. Plus it just makes life easier when you forget to defrost the shrimp!
Frozen boiled shrimp are so versatile whether you're eating them as an appetizer or adding them to another dish like salad or pasta.
And if you have an air fryer, did you know you can also make air fryer frozen shrimp without defrosting it first as a variation to boiling frozen shrimp?
Ingredients you'll need to Boil Shrimp
Learning how to boil frozen shrimp is super simple. While it might seem like you could just boil water and add frozen shrimp, you want to give the shrimp a little more care than that so they turn out juicy and flavorful, regardless of how you plan to use the boiled shrimp in a further recipe!
You want your boiled shrimp to taste so good just as is you could eat them plain and simply love them as is.
- raw frozen shrimp, tail on - buying the raw shrimp that's already been peeled and deveined saves you time, however, if preferred you can also use this method for cooking raw shrimp with the shell on.
- sea salt or kosher salt - it's critical to at least add salt to the water or your shrimp will taste like nothing. Salt helps to bring out the natural flavors of the shrimp. This is the one ingredient besides shrimp and water that's essential to boiling frozen shrimp.
- pepper - we added a pinch of black peppercorns to help season the boiling water, you can also add in ground black pepper or skip the pepper.
- lemon, cut into slices - lemon and seafood go hand in hand
- bay leaves- we added a couple for flavor, this is an optional ingredient
** Please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the exact quantities **
Boiled Shrimp Recipe Variations
Boiling frozen cooked shrimp - This same method will work for heating up pre-cooked frozen shrimp in the bag also. Remove them from the water when the shrimp is just heated through so they don't overcook.
Adding Old Bay - Boiling seafood like shrimp in Old Bay is a terrific alternative to adding salt and some of the other seasonings we've suggested. The rule of thumb with Old Bay is ¼ cup per 2 quarts of water.
Serve with Cajun seafood boil sauce
Cooking Frozen Shrimp
Boil seasoned water
- Add 8 cups of cold water (2 quarts) to a large pot. Add seasonings if desired such as ½ lemon sliced, 1 Tablespoon sea salt or kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon black peppercorns. You can also add a couple of bay leaves, or use garlic salt in place of the sea salt. The salt is critical, the rest are optional but things we like to add.
- Over high heat, bring the large pot of water to a boil.
Steam frozen shrimp
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the pound of frozen large shrimp. Simmer the shrimp for 2-3 minutes or until they're just cooked through to a light pink color.
- Right before the shrimp is done cooking get a water bath ready by filling a large bowl with a mix of cold water and 2 cups of ice cubes.
- Quickly remove the shrimp from the hot water and place them in the ice bath to stop the shrimp from cooking. Peel and devein the shrimp if they didn't already come that way.
- Serve cold as an appetizer alongside shrimp cocktail sauce or use in your favorite recipe. You can also toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and seasoning as a tasty snack. Enjoy!
Tips for Boiling Shrimp
- Using frozen peeled and deveined shrimp works best for this recipe. We buy it by the bag in the freezer section.
- Typically you'd remove the shell and devein the shrimp before cooking it, but if you only have shell on frozen shrimp, you'll need to boil the frozen shrimp shell on and remove it afterward.
- Cooking the shrimp until it JUST turns pink is essential. Even 1-2 minutes too long can overcook the shrimp and make it tough and rubbery.
- To cook fresh shrimp is the exact same process, you'll simply need to cook it for less time since it's fresh and raw, the total cooking time will be about 2 minutes.
- Adding seasoning to the pot of water isn't essential, but we at least suggest adding the salt since it helps to bring out the natural flavors of the shrimp plus salt keeps the shrimp juicy and tender.
How to Know When Shrimp is Done
The main way to know when shrimp is done cooking is their change in color. Most raw shrimp varieties are translucent and gray in color. When they cook, they turn pink. Shrimp also as they cook. When they form a loose "C" shape, they are perfectly cooked. However, if they continue to curl into a tight "O" shape, they might be overcooked.
You want to cook shrimp until they JUST turn pink since they overcook very quickly.
How to Store Leftover Boiled Shrimp
Before storing leftover boiled shrimp, let the shrimp cool down to room temperature and then place them in an airtight container or Ziplock style bag. Cooked shrimp can be stored for up to 2-3 days in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Cooked Shrimp?
Yes, you can freeze cooked shrimp to make it last longer, here’s some tips:
Let the shrimp cool down to room temperature and place the shrimp in freezer-safe bags or containers.
The shrimp can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use the frozen shrimp, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
Frozen Shrimp FAQs
Instead of making frozen boiled shrimp, you can instead use a steamer basket. Insert the steamer basket into the bottom of a medium-sized pot and add 1 cup of water. Add the large shrimp and put the lid on. Steam the shrimp for 4-5 minutes or until they just turn pink. Add the shrimp to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
Cooked shrimp will be at their best if you eat them within 2 to 3 days of cooking. Put leftovers in the fridge in an air-tight container.
More Frozen Shrimp Recipes
- Cajun air fryer shrimp
- Air fryer frozen shrimp
- Shrimp Zucchini noodles with pesto
- Mexican shrimp salad
- Air fryer shrimp with Old Bay