I love shrimp and 99% of the shrimp recipes you’ve seen on FoodMayhem have been made with frozen shrimp (defrosted). I use individually quick frozen, RAW shrimp. I prefer shell-on but when the store runs out, I’ll use peeled. Here’s 5 reasons why you should buy frozen shrimp.

Frozen Shrimp 3

1. Quality

This is the #1 most important fact you need to know about shrimp because there is a huge misconception out there that buying “fresh” shrimp is better. If you are in the United States, nearly all the shrimp you buy is frozen at sea and shipped to us because fresh shrimp has a very short shelf-life. When you think you are buying fresh shrimp, it is most likely just frozen shrimp that has been defrosted before being sold. When you see that shrimp at the market, it could have been defrosted for a few hours, or a day or two.  If you buy frozen shrimp, you can use it at the peak of it’s quality by defrosting it just before use. Basically, most of us, even in big fancy cities, do not have access to what is truly fresh shrimp, so unless you are sure it is fresh shrimp and not just defrosted shrimp, frozen is better.

2. Cheaper

Frozen shrimp is so much cheaper. I usually buy 2 lb bags of 21/25 (see sizing explanation below) shrimp for about $11 and 31/35 shrimp for about $8 or $9 at the Chinese market. Fresh shrimp (really frozen defrosted) is about $6.99 and up per pound. The extra charge is just for defrosting it for you and the cost to them is really the waste cost from shortening the shelf-life now that they have defrosted it.

pile of Frozen Shrimp 2

3. Shelf-Life

Frozen shrimp can be stored in your freezer for up to 9 months.

4. Bulk Buying and Portioning

Because of the long shelf-life, you can buy more shrimp at one time and not have to run out to the store every time you need a few pieces. I buy about 4 pounds each time and get more than 6 meals (for two) out of it. I love having the shrimp available any time I need it and have used it for last minute guests countless times.

5. Clear Labeling: Size

The bags of frozen shrimp I buy are clearly labeled with size, type, and where they came from. The size is most important because often you will find a recipe you want to use and it says 21/25 or 31/35. That just means the size is 21 to 25 shrimp per pound or 31 to 35 shrimp per pound. Often, you won’t see those sizes at the market though, especially if you go down to Chinatown. Different places have different definitions for medium, large, and jumbo shrimp so that’s not as accurate as the number sizing.

bag of Frozen Shrimp


Now that you have converted to frozen shrimp, you need to know how to defrost it. It’s so easy! I put them in a bowl in the sink and run cold water, allowing overflow. Depending on the size of the shrimp, it could take anywhere from 3 minutes to 15 minutes. It’s also faster if you don’t crowd too much shrimp into one bowl.

Try some of these shrimp recipes:

Roasted Shrimp with Tomato Vinegar

Shrimp Stuffed Tofu

Spicy Tequila Shrimp

Shrimp Ceviche of No Origin

posted by jessica at 01:27 PM Filed under Basics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.