The Easy Alphabetic Trick To Seeing If Your Shrimp Is Cooked Properly

Cooking shrimp can be a bit intimidating, especially with the lingering fear of them not being cooked all the way through. It doesn't take long for shrimp to cook but making sure you have cooked them properly is very important because undercooked seafood can cause food-borne illness. There are various ways to cook shrimp, from grilling to baking, air frying to sautéing, and each one will require you to do different things to ensure that the shrimp is cooked all the way through.

Then you have to contend with different types of shrimp. Frozen or raw, peeled or shell-on — all of these will require different temperatures and cooking times to ensure that they are properly cooked. If you are worried about cooking shrimp, there are some tell-tale signs that your shrimp are cooked thoroughly to help you out, but the easiest way to determine the shellfish's doneness comes down to remembering your alphabet.

Easy as ABC or ICO

To tell if your shrimp are cooked thoroughly, you can start with checking their shape. Shrimp curls as it cooks because the moisture is leaving the meat, making it shrink. If a shrimp looks like the letter "I" it is not cooked enough, or it is "incomplete." If the shrimp resembles a letter "C," then it is good to go, or "cooked." If the shrimp looks like an "O," chances are you have "overcooked" it and it will be tough to eat.

If the shape isn't enough to convince you that your shrimp are ready to eat, you can also check their color and texture for added assurance. Raw shrimp are gray in color, but they turn pink or reddish-orange when cooked. If your shrimp have spots of grey, they are not done. Additionally, cooked shrimp are firm and slightly springy to the touch. If they are soft or mushy, they may not be cooked all the way and you need to cook them a little longer. It's always best to err on the side of caution, so if you think the shrimp aren't ready, cook them a few minutes more.

Don't overcook the shrimp

While it's best to make sure your shrimp are done all the way, you also don't want to overcook the shrimp because that can make them chewy and flavorless. Shrimp cook best at medium heat, no matter which method you use to cook them. This helps them develop a nice crust on the outside, but you should keep an eye on them and remove them from the heat as soon as they are pink and reach a "C" shape. Make sure you do not overcrowd the pan with too many shrimp, as this can cause them to steam instead of sear, leading to uneven cooking. Keep in mind that larger shrimp can take longer to cook, so you need to adjust your cooking time to ensure they are cooked through before serving.

Speaking of serving, you should serve shrimp right away so they have the best texture and flavor. You can store cooked shrimp for around three days in the refrigerator, but you should only reheat cooked shrimp once, as reheating them multiple times can cause them to dry out and lose flavor.