Yes, You Can Grill Frozen Shrimp Without Thawing

If you enjoy seafood, you most likely keep an ample supply of your favorite varieties, like salmon and shrimp, stocked safely in your freezer. However, when you're on the hunt to make easy weeknight fish and seafood recipes, you may believe thawing is a necessary step in producing tender and delicious shrimp. However, if you often fail to plan ahead and only have frozen shrimp to work with, look to your grill to get the job done. As long as you follow the recommended food safety guidelines when cooking seafood, you can easily cook frozen shrimp with mindful preparation and a hot grill.

All in all, shrimp doesn't take very long to cook. When grilled from raw (depending on the temperature of your grill), shrimp only takes up to 5 minutes before turning opaque and perfectly tender. According to the FDA, shrimp is considered fully cooked when its internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Since shrimp takes little time to cook, grilling frozen varieties may actually prevent you from overcooking your favorite seafood. Frozen shrimp are icy cold in the middle, so you can focus on achieving some of that signature char on the outside of your shrimp without overcooking. Whether you use frozen shrimp that's raw, fully cooked or still in the shell, keep in mind the variety you choose may further impact the resulting cook time. Furthermore, to experience the best results, make sure to put forth a little extra effort to prepare frozen shrimp before cooking.

How to effectively prime frozen shrimp for the grill

Before you start making all the best frozen shrimp recipes, you want to ensure you're setting yourself up for success. Whether you plan on grilling frozen raw shrimp or fully cooked varieties, there are a few extra steps you'll want to take to guarantee your seafood results in supreme tenderness. After preheating your grill, place frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold water or rinse under running water. Water helps remove excess ice and breaks apart frozen clusters.

Upon rinsing and drying, thread shrimp onto soaked wooden or metal skewers or add them to a bowl. After brushing with oil and a mixture of your favorite seasonings, you're ready to grill. Since shrimp are prone to sticking, ensure your grill has been adequately cleaned and oiled before use.

To achieve uniform temperature and texture, grill shrimp using skewers. Skewers help shrimp stay moist inside since they're tightly packed together. Alternatively, you can cook shrimp using a grill-safe ventilated bowl atop your grill grate. Make sure your grill is nice and hot before adding your prepared seafood. Whether raw or frozen, shrimp cook quickly, so focus on utilizing your grill's dry heat to achieve a good amount of color and enhanced flavor.

Consider quick-thawing frozen shrimp for the best results

Surprisingly, thawing frozen shrimp doesn't require as much time as you might assume. Not only that but thawing ensures evenly cooked shrimp. Shrimp that are still partially frozen on the inside when hitting your grill may take longer to cook fully, leaving the exterior overdone. To avoid this, submerge frozen shrimp in cold water for longer than a few minutes before grilling.

To quickly thaw frozen shrimp, place the seafood in a bowl of cold water and stir to break apart the ice. Stir the ice-cold shrimp every 5 minutes until completely thawed. Depending on the size of your shrimp, the process takes  10 to 20 minutes.

For those who have no trouble thinking ahead, thaw frozen shrimp a day in advance. Simply remove shrimp from the freezer and place your bagged portion on a lined baking sheet or in a resealable plastic bag in your refrigerator to catch any potential leaks. Frozen shrimp should be left in your refrigerator to thaw for at least 12 hours. Once shrimp is pliable the following day, rinse and dry before grilling. Now that you know you have more than one option for thawing seafood, consider utilizing the quick thaw method for all splendid shrimp recipes. Ultimately, the resulting consistency of your shrimp can make or break a variety of delicious meals.