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How to Sauté Shrimp


If you’ve never sautéed shrimp, pull out that skillet and consider it, especially if you’re looking for quick and convenient meal options. Shrimp shines whether you use it as a hearty protein in your stir-fry and pasta dish, or a as a topper for salads and grits.

The versatility of this bite-sized crustacean means you can easily take any dish from simple to stupendous with nothing more than the addition of perfectly sautéed shrimp. Here’s the skinny on how to sauté shrimp.

Start with Premium Frozen Shrimp

Let us squelch any fears you may have about keeping raw, frozen shrimp in your freezer. Unless being sold dockside or directly to local vendors, quality shrimp is responsibly sourced and flash-frozen day of catch to keep it fresh while it’s transported to a supermarket near you. That means any “fresh” shrimp you find at your local seafood counter was previously frozen, and once thawed, shrimp tend to quickly lose freshness, so purchasing frozen shrimp, rather than raw, means you can keep fresh shrimp on hand until you’re ready to cook it.

Best of all, frozen shrimp thaws FAST if you use the right technique.

Quick-Thaw Your Shrimp Like This

Here’s everything you need to thaw your shrimp in a matter of minutes: A colander, a large bowl (large enough to hold colander), and cool water. Simply place your colander in in the large bowl. Remove your frozen shrimp from its bag and pour it into your colander. Fill the bowl and colander with cool water, submerging your shrimp.

After five minutes, check on your shrimp. Do they bend easily and now show a slight translucency? If yes, your shrimp have thawed, pat them dry with a paper towel in preparation for cooking. If no, dump old water and re-submerge your shrimp in fresh, cool water for another 5-10 minutes. Repeat this method until thawed. Pat dry before cooking.

Thawing Note: You’ll know your shrimp has thawed when it is firm – not solid – and flexible. Check its progress with by gently wiggling the tail forward and back. The shrimp is ready to cook if it bends easily with little resistance.

How to Sauté Shrimp

Here’s how to sauté shrimp on your stovetop like a pro. Pull out a large skillet. Add a 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil and apply medium heat. If desired, add garlic and/or onions to your skillet and cook until soft. This will infuse your shrimp with an extra depth of savory flavor.

Sprinkle your shrimp with a dash of salt, pepper, and the seasoning of your choice or try our Seafood Rub with Citrus and Herb. Place them in your skillet, evenly spaced, and sauté your shrimp 4-5 minutes, or until the meat is opaque and bright pink with a firm texture. Remove from skillet and plate as you please. 

Cooking Note: Most shrimp show a translucent blue color when raw. This blue hue gives way to bright pink and red as the shrimp cooks. However, some shrimp varieties (Wild Argentinian Red Shrimp, for example) are red even when raw. Know your shrimp variety before cooking, so you can accurately gauge whether your shrimp are fully cooked.

Other Ways to Cook Shrimp

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.

How to Sauté Shrimp

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