How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp?

How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp: A Quick Guide

Want to know how to thaw frozen shrimp quickly?

This short guide will highlight the three best methods available, as well as other useful/important information.

How to Safely Defrost Shrimp: What You Need to Know

Before we get into the different methods to thaw frozen shrimp, you first need to understand food safety and why certain steps need to be taken to ensure that your food does not enter the ‘Danger Zone’

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the ‘Danger Zone’ is the range of temperatures 40 ° and 140 °F, where bacteria grows quickly.  Under the right circumstances, harmful bacteria can double in amount, every twenty minutes.

These bacteria are one of the main sources of food poisoning and this simple act of keeping food in the ‘Danger Zone’ can lead to people getting sick.

This is why it is important to not let your frozen shrimp defrost at room temperature, as the risk of entering the danger zone increases significantly. The temperature could increase as the shrimp thaws

Overnight in the Refrigerator: The Safest Way to Thaw Shrimp

Thawed Frozen Shrimp

Overnight in the refrigerator is the recommended method for thawing frozen shrimp.

While it isn’t the quickest method available and does require advanced planning, you can be sure that it will thaw safely and be ready for when you are ready to use it.

When preparing the shrimp for defrosting in the refrigerator, place the package in a container or bowl on the bottom shelf of the fridge, away from other foods for food safety reasons.

As the shrimp thaws, you don’t want possible drippings contaminating other foods.

Related: How to Thaw Scallops?

Microwave: The Quickest Way to Thaw Shrimp

How to Thaw Shrimp Quickly

The microwave is the by far the fastest option available if you need to defrost shrimp quickly.

With that said, you still need to take some caution when using it, simply because, you could end up heating your food too much, to the point that it begins to cook.

Microwaves work by heating up food and with shrimp, there is the chance that you could cook parts of the shrimp as it defrosts (if you leave it in too long).

There is also a food safety concern in using the microwave, as aside from uneven thawing taking place, you could also raise the temperature of the shrimp to the ‘Danger Zone’ where harmful bacteria could begin to multiply.

Once you have thawed the shrimp using the microwave, it should be used immediately.


  1. Place the frozen shrimp in a microwave-safe plate/container. (Paper towels can be used to cover the shrimp, as this will help to absorb moisture as they begin to thaw)

  1. Switch to the microwaves defrost setting or use 30% power to begin the thawing process. As a rule of thumb, it should take around 7-8 minutes for a pound of frozen seafood to defrost.

  1. Please keep checking the microwave to ensure that there is even thawing and that you are not cooking the shrimp.

  2. Once thawed out, immediately use.

Related: How to Thaw Frozen Salmon?

Cold Water: Another Quick Way to Defrost Frozen Shrimp (If You Have Time)

if you are not in a rush to use the frozen shrimp right away, but still need them defrosted, then could use the cold water method as you prepare your ingredients or start cooking other dishes.

Using the cold water method, you can have your shrimp ready to be used in about 15 to 30 minutes. This whole process requires you either placing them under a faucet of running water or submerged in a container of cold water.

Steps for Running Under in Cold Water

  1. Take the package of frozen shrimp and run it under the kitchen pipe for a couple minutes, constantly turning through  on the kitchen pipe to cold and take the packaging and run it under the pipe for a couple of minutes.

  2. Let the water y run over the frozen bag of scallops, turning the bag throughout the process..

  3. After couple of minutes, all the scallops should be defrosted ready to be used.

  4. Use immediately, once thawed.

Steps Submerging in Cold Water

  1. Fill a container with cold water.

  2. You can either remove the frozen shrimp from the packaging/bags or keep them in, but you are going to take the shrimp and submerge it in to the container of cold water.

  3. Let the shrimp sit in the container for about 10-15 minutes. Check to see if they have thawed or still need more time.

  4. If they still need more time, you can throw out the water in the container and fill it up with a new batch of cold water.
  1. Depending on how much shrimp you plan on using, you might have to spend a total of 30 minutes or more to get everything fully thawed out

  1. Once thawed, use immediately.

Wrapping it up

When defrosting frozen shrimp, you have a couple of options to choose from.

Before you start the process, you need to be aware of harmful temperatures, which can lead to an increase in bacteria that can cause food borne illnesses.

This is why it is important to thaw your frozen shrimp overnight in the refrigerator, as this is the safest method.

If you are in a rush, you can use the microwave or the cold water method, just ensure that you are paying attention to the temperatures and do not let the shrimp sit around for an extended period of time.

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