Shrimps are one of the most popular forms of seafood. Not only are they great tasting, but it’s very versatile too. You can use shrimps in soups, stews, salads, or simply eating them fresh. When cooking shrimps, most will end up cooking more than they need. What if you want to store them in the freezer?
So can you freeze cooked shrimp? Yes, you can freeze cooked shrimp. For the best quality and maximum shelf life, cooked shrimps should be frozen with their shell intact and the head removed. The shrimps will stay fresh for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Proper Shrimp Handling
Shrimp, whether it’s cooked or raw, should never be left at room temperature for a long time. They are highly perishable and will get contaminated with harmful bacteria quickly.
For proper handling of shrimps, they should always be kept in the fridge or freezer when not used. This rule applies to both raw and cooked shrimps.
When shrimps are cooked, it has a lesser chance of harboring bacteria and parasites. However, this doesn’t mean that you should leave them out on the counter for an excessive period of time.
Usually, within an hour, all the cooked shrimps should be consumed. If there are any leftovers, it should be stored in the fridge until it’s ready to be eaten.
Freezing Cooked Shrimp
Freezing cooked shrimp is quite easy and doesn’t take up too much time. Just be sure those that you are planning to freeze are not sitting at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours. If so, they may be contaminated with harmful bacteria.
If you’re planning to use cooked shrimp within that time, it’s best to store them in the fridge to avoid bacterial growth. Otherwise, you can follow the simple steps below to preparing cooked shrimps for the freezer:
How To Freeze Cooked Shrimp
- Allow the shrimp to cool down to room temperature first if it’s freshly cooked. Make sure to not leave the shrimp at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. This will prevent bacteria growth on the shrimp.
- In an aluminum foil, place the cooked shrimps into it. Wrap the foil all around it. The aluminum foil will prevent moisture loss while keeping air from damaging the shrimp.
- In an airtight container or freezer bag, place the cooked shrimp in there and seal it tight.
- Label the bag or container with the freezing date and place it into the freezer.
Storing cooked shrimp in this manner will keep them fresh for up to 6 months.
How Do You Defrost Cooked Shrimp?
The great thing about cooked shrimp is that you don’t have to defrost them for certain types of recipes. If you’re planning to make soups, stews, or stir-fry, the shrimps don’t need to be thawed first. You can simply take as much shrimp from the freezer and toss them directly into the recipes when it’s almost done cooking. The frozen cooked shrimp will melt instantly.
For other foods such as salads, you can defrost the shrimp by reheating it in a pan. Set the stove to medium heat and cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes. Once it’s thawed, add them to your salad or dish.
If you don’t need to use cooked shrimp right away, you can simply place them in a bowl and put it into the fridge. Leave it in the fridge overnight or for 3-4 hours to thaw.
Once it’s thawed, you can store the cooked shrimps in there for up to 2 days. Any shrimps left after 2 days should be discarded right away. Most likely, harmful bacteria and parasites will have already contaminated the cooked shrimps.
Using Frozen Cooked Shrimp
When shrimp are cooked once, they can be used in many dishes, just like fresh shrimp would.
Below are some of the entree that you can use cooked shrimp for:
- Shrimp Pasta with Creamy Bisque Sauce
- Easy Shrimp & Guacamole Tostadas
- Shrimp & Pesto Pizza with Goat Cheese
- Crispy Coconut Shrimp
- Easy Hoisin Shrimp
- Asparagus & Spinach Pesto Pasta with Blackened Shrimp
- Shrimp Alfredo Pasta Bake
- Spicy Firecracker Shrimp
- Stir-Fry Shrimp
- Shrimp & Tomato Linguine
- Garlic Butter Shrimp and Quinoa
- Sriracha Firecracker Shrimp
- Shrimp Fried Rice
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Shrimp?
Cooked shrimps can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. This is only possible if it’s properly stored.
The cooked shrimps should be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag. The material it’s made from is strong enough to withstand the extreme cold temperature. Most importantly, it’s leaked proof to prevent air from entering.
If air gets into the container or bag, it will cause damage to the shrimp. This will result in freezer burn and the shrimp will lose its texture and flavor.
After 6 months, cooked shrimps will still be safe to eat, but the quality of it will decrease. Therefore, you should try to consume them within 6 months.
Can You Refreeze Cooked Shrimp?
Yes, you can refreeze cooked shrimp. Make sure that you only refreeze them once. Constant thawing and freezing compromise the flavor and texture quality of the shrimp.
When thawing them, make sure to never let it sit at room temperature to thaw. If you do, it will encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. If you try to freeze them again, the shrimp will freeze fine, but when it thaws, the taste and texture will be lost.
Does Cooked Shrimp Go Bad In the Freezer?
Yes, cooked shrimp do go bad in the freezer. This will usually be the result of them being left in the freezer for too long. Cooked shrimp will remain at best quality for up to 6 months. After that, the quality of the shrimps will start to deteriorate.
However, the cooked shrimps will still be safe to eat, but it won’t taste as fresh as it should.
While it could last for a couple of more months after 6 months, any shrimps left after 1 year should be discarded. After a year, the shrimp will be severely damaged due to freezer burn and will probably lose all of its taste and texture.
Other Questions about Cooked Shrimp
Can you freeze shrimp without a shell?
Yes, you can freeze shrimp without the shell on. However, it won’t last as long as it should in the freezer. The shell of the shrimp act as a barrier protecting the flesh from the freezing temperature. For maximum shelf life and quality, the shrimp should be frozen with its shell on, but heads removed.