Are you planning to cook shrimp for dinner but don’t know how to defrost them properly? Then, you don’t have to cancel your dinner plans just yet because I’ll be showing you how to defrost shrimp using 2 easy methods.
At first, I was hesitant to buy frozen shrimps because I thought defrosting them would be strenuous. What I wanted to buy were fresh shrimps so I can cook them right away, but most supermarkets I visited only offer the frozen ones.
Since I don’t know how to defrost them, I searched online for some easy ways. Here are the defrosting methods which I think are great in keeping the texture of shrimps before cooking.
What You’ll Need
When it comes to buying nice frozen shrimp, read the label because it will clearly note whether it is wild or farmed. I personally prefer the wild shrimps because they’re fed with a natural diet and they’re free from potential toxins which might be present in the farm. I also like their shells and tails intact because they offer some kind of protection when frozen.
To buy shrimps with the best flavor and texture, look for the IQF mark, which stands for Individually Quick Frozen. Unlike other shrimps which were frozen in a large block of ice, shrimps marked with IQF are frozen individually. You should have a bag of shrimps which contain no salt, additives, and chemicals.
Cold Tap Water
You need cold tap water to help defrost the frozen shrimp. For Option 1, you need cold tap water to flow it through the hard block of small to medium-sized shrimps. For large shrimps, submerging it to a bowl of cold water is necessary. For Option 2, a running cold tap water is necessary to give a final rinse to the defrosted shrimps from the refrigerator.
A flat plate is needed to serve as a container for your defrosted shrimps. It will contain the plates as you lay them separately for drying. You can use any plate that you have in your kitchen, but make that the size is enough to dry the shrimps.
Alternatively, you can use a large cutting board to lay the defrosted shrimps for drying. It is okay to use this kitchen equipment as you have to lay a piece of paper towel on top of it before you can start laying the shrimps for drying.
To pat dry the defrosted shrimps properly, you need some layers of paper towels. You need to two layers to place on top of the plate or cutting board and another two layers for covering the shrimps for some dry patting. Make sure that the paper towels you’ll use are very absorbent so that they can dry the shrimps very quickly.
To drain the extra water out from the shrimps , you need a good-sized colander. The size should fit inside your bowl so you can cover all the surface area of the frozen shrimps when submerged into the bowl of cold water. Any material of colander will do, but to be safe, use a plastic colander that’s bisphenol A (BPA)- free.
FINE MESH SIEVE
Alternatively, you can use fine mesh sieve to drain the excess liquid from the shrimps. Just like the colander, choose a size that fits right into your bowl of choice. You want to let the shrimps sit in the bowl for awhile before you can start draining them for good.
A large bowl is needed to serve as a container for your shrimps when submerged in water. The size matters because you need to allow your shrimps to be fully submerged so they defrost quickly.
Whether plastic, ceramic, or metal, it doesn’t matter because you’ll be using cold water and not hot water, which is kind of an issue if you’re dealing with leaching BPA chemicals into your food.
SEALABLE PLASTIC BAG (OPTIONAL)
If you’re shrimps are peeled, it might be best to use a sealed plastic bag so you can protect their texture from the pressure of running tap water. Submerging the shrimps directly into the tap water might make the shrimp too watery. I usually use a Ziploc bag for this purpose.
To defrost your shrimps in the refrigerator overnight, you need to keep them in a good airtight container. You need to keep the shrimps covered in the refrigerator so you can keep them clean and to hasten the removal of ice formed. This design can also help protect your refrigerator from getting wet with the defrosted ice.
If you have no airtight container available, you can use a covered bowl. If your bowl has no designated lid, you can cover it up with a plastic wrap.
Option 1- Cold Tap Water Defrosting
The easiest way to defrost frozen shrimps is to use cold water. This might take 10-30 minutes depending on size. To get a better reference on how this is done properly, you can watch this video.
- step 1
- step 2
- step 3
- step 4
- step 5
1. Get your frozen shrimps and prepare your equipment
Get the frozen shrimps that you’ll be cooking for later. Fit the colander or fine mesh sieve into the bowl. When you do this, make sure that you’re near the kitchen sink so you can let the running water flow into your frozen shrimps easily.
2. Place the frozen shrimps into the colander or fine mesh sieve
Pour the frozen shrimps into the colander or fine mesh sieve. Make sure that they don’t overflow from the container.
If the shrimps are difficult to remove from the plastic container, place them in the sink and let the running water flow on them directly. As they can be removed from the container, transfer them into the colander or fine mesh sieve.
At this point, you may sealed them in a plastic bag so they can be protected while being submerged into the cold water.
3. Fill the bowl with cold water and defrost
In the kitchen sink, let the running cold tap water fill your bowl of frozen shrimps. Let the water run for about a minute. When the bowl gets filled with water, close the faucet and let the shrimps sit for about 10-30 minutes. Small to medium shrimps may need about 10-15 minutes while large shrimps and prawns may need around 25-35 minutes.
4. Check if they’re fully defrosted
After the time has passed, check if the shrimps have fully defrosted. If they’re already defrosted, proceed to step 5. If they’re still frozen, submerge them again for another 10 minutes. To do this, simply lift the colander from the bowl and change it with new cold tap water.
5. Drain and pat the shrimps dry
Now that the shrimps have fully defrosted, lift the colander and drain the excess water. Give a final rinse under cold running water. Set aside.
In a plate or cutting board, place two layers of paper towels. Place the shrimps in the paper towel and top them with another layer of paper towel to absorb the excess water. Pat them dry and season them for cooking.
Option 2- Defrost in the Refrigerator
If you have much time to prepare for your shrimp dinner, you can thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
1. Place your frozen shrimps in an airtight container or covered bowl
Get the right amount of frozen shrimps for your dinner and place them in an airtight container. You can also use a bowl, just make sure that you cover it well with a lid of its own or a plastic wrap. After you have sealed and packaged them well, place them in the refrigerator.
It is best to set the temperature of your fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to thaw the shrimps faster. Make sure that you do this at night, so you can use them for cooking the following morning.
2. Rinse and pat them dry
In the morning, rinse the shrimps under running tap water. This can also help remove some traces of ice that remained in the shrimps. After rinsing, pat them dry with some paper towels. Now, you’re ready to cook them whatever you want.
Tips from the Experts
Microwave the frozen shrimp
The United States Food and Drugs Administration (USFDA) suggests thawing seafood in the microwave in the defrost setting. You can end the defrost cycle while the seafood is still frozen, but flexible.
A minute in the microwave may be enough to melt the ice. You should cook the seafood immediately because some of their parts may become warm and start to cook during the warming process.
Never buy peeled and deveined shrimps
If you like to keep the texture and flavor of shrimp when cooking, Recipe Tips suggests buying frozen shrimps that are still encased on their shells and tails. For better taste, always cook shrimps within two days of purchase.
Since fresh seafood like shrimps are very hard to come by, not to mention that they mostly likely will be really expensive even if you do find one readily available, you can make do with frozen shrimps which are both cheaper and easier to find. Use the methods in this article to enjoy them the best way you can. All you need are a colander or airtight container and some paper towels.
If you’ve tried thawing some frozen shrimps, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. You can also share this wonderful information with your friends.