The Fastest, Easiest Way to Cook Frozen Shrimp

Forgot to thaw your shrimp? No worries, you can cook those crustaceans in a flash.

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Photo: OlegD (Shutterstock)

I’m back on my shrimp shit. Ever since I discovered my grocery store’s discount frozen shrimp section—not far from the discount cocktail shrimp enjoyed by my colleague Brianna Wellen—I’ve cycled through blissful weeks of extreme shrimp consumption. This is one of those weeks. Frozen shrimp is mega-nutritious, filling, delicious, and quick to prepare—even if you forget to thaw it. Yes, readers, that’s right: You can cook frozen shrimp without thawing it overnight. All you need is a splash of ice-cold water and an oven with a broiler function.

How to cook frozen shrimp without thawing

First, I should note that there are a few different ways to cook shrimp directly from frozen. Boiling seems to be a popular method—but I find that broiling lends itself to a juicier, well-seasoned product. Here’s what you’ll need:

Easy, right? Once you’ve assembled your materials, follow these steps:

  • Prepare your baking sheet. Cover your baking sheet in aluminum foil. Then, place it in your oven directly under the oven’s broiling element. (My oven has a broiler drawer, but your broiling element might be located at the top of your oven. Just depends on the model.)
  • Turn the broiler to high. Allow the baking sheet to heat inside the broiler for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the shrimp. While the broiler is heating, throw your frozen shrimp into a colander and give it a good rinse under cold water. No need to rinse for more than a minute or so—you just need to wash away any ice crystals and separate any shrimp that have frozen together into a shrimp blob.
  • Season the shrimp. Pat the shrimp dry, then season it to taste. You can use a store-bought spice blend like the one I’ve cited above, or you can leave it unseasoned if you’re planning to add the shrimp to a flavorful sauce.
  • Broil the shrimp. Remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven (careful!), then add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer. You’ll hear the shrimp sizzle, and you might see the shrimp tails turn a vibrant shade of red when they hit the hot surface. All of this is normal! Place the shrimp back in the oven, and broil it for 5–8 minutes until the shrimp is completely opaque and slightly springy to the touch.
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