Can You Freeze Cooked Shrimp? Here’s How to do it Right

Sometimes we end up miscalculating and end up making too much of a dish. However, it is better to have too much than too little, but what do you do with the leftovers? One answer is to freeze them. In this article, we are going to be taking a look at freezing cooked shrimp and also how to defrost it. If you love shrimp you will hopefully find this article informative.

Is it Possible to Freeze Cooked Shrimp?

The answer to this question is ‘yes, absolutely’. Did you know that if you buy frozen shrimp from the store, more times than not it has already been cooked and then frozen. All you have to do is thaw the shrimp out and enjoy or you can add them to a dish while they are still frozen. 

It isn’t difficult to freeze cooked shrimp as long as you follow our guidelines, but remember not to refreeze shrimp that has already been frozen.

You can freeze fresh plain shrimp, shrimp in a sauce, and as part of a cooked recipe. Maybe you’ve made a shrimp gumbo and there is a lot left. It’s much better to freeze it for a different day rather than throw it away. 

How Should You Freeze Cooked Shrimp?

Don’t leave the leftover shrimp on the counter for too long before freezing. However, it is best to freeze it as soon as possible after cooking so that it remains fresh. Put it in the freezer as soon as it has cooled down. In addition, the longer it is left on the work surface, the more chance it will have of producing bacteria. 

These are our instructions for freezing shrimp. They are quite easy as you will see.

  • When you get out your fresh shrimp make sure that you clean it properly. You need to ensure that you cook it while it is still fresh. 
  • Before you freeze the shrimp, cook and cool it down. If you put anything hot into the freezer, it will bring the temperature up too much and food could spoil.
  • Once cooled, pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel. This stops them from sticking to each other. This only really works with plain shrimp.
  • You can now place your shrimp on a baking tray and put them in the freezer for a quarter of an hour. Again, this only really works with plain shrimp/.
  • Take the tray out of the freezer and put your shrimp in freezer bags. Make sure that you squeeze out extra air as this can cause the shrimp to spoil. Seal the bags next and it’s a good idea to label the bags so you know what date they were put in the freezer. Like all food in the freezer, it rarely goes off if packaged properly, but it can lose some of the flavor.
  • You can put the shrimp in a double layer of freezer bags to help prevent freezer burn.

How Can You Keep Cooked Shrimp for a Longer Time in the Freezer?

A trick you can use to keep your shrimp frozen for longer is to use a food saver. It helps to preserve the life of the shrimp and also keeps the flavor of the food. A food saver is a vacuum sealer machine and is useful for all foods that you might want to freeze. You can use it for leftover cooked meals, for meat, vegetables, and fish (see also Can You Freeze Clam Chowder). It is a good investment if you have lots of leftovers that you want to freeze. 

What is the Method of Thawing Cooked Shrimp?

It is very important that you thaw cooked shrimp in the right way otherwise you could get food poisoning. Don’t thaw the shrimp on your countertop as it will defrost too quickly and this can create bacteria. What you need to do is take the bags out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight is even better. 

However, if you are using the prawns (see also ‘Can You Freeze Prawns?‘) in a dish like gumbo or a stew, you can put the frozen shrimp directly into the dish and heat it up until the shrimp is cooked through.

When you have defrosted the shrimp or cooked it in a dish, eat it within 24 hours otherwise bacteria can develop. Keep the shrimp or the dish in the fridge for this time. 

It is important that you don’t refreeze your shrimp again once you have defrosted it. This again can lead to food poisoning. We’re not trying to scare you with this. It’s just a warning. Once you have got into the right habit of freezing and defrosting, the rest is easy.

If your shrimp was frozen into a meal, once it has thawed, it will only need a little reheating. If your shrimp was cooked on a skillet, it may need a little more cooking time. Why not try and make crispy shrimp tacos. All you have to do is bread the shrimp and fry them for about five minutes, turning them over now and again. Then put them in the tacos with lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.  

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