Shrimp Permutations Time/Temp

There’s enough information on the internet regarding how to sous vide raw uncooked shrimp. But it’s not always available in that form, for one reason or another. Sometimes there’s a sale on frozen precooked shrimp, sometimes frozen uncooked. Sometimes I’ve thought ahead enough to thaw my frozen shrimp overnight. Sometimes I come home from the grocery store with a bag of frozen shrimp intending to serve it for dinner that night. In a perfect world, sure I’d always have fresh raw shrimp. In my world though, particularly after work on a weeknight, I’m grabbing something out of my freezer and trying to make the best of it. I’ve looked around and have found surprisingly little helpful information on the topic.

The following table is a series of questions, not recommendations… I’m here cause I haven’t been able to find a definitive set of statements on the topic… these times and temps seem reasonable to me, though I’ve not yet tried them out.

*** uncooked, thawed shrimp** - just to put numbers on it, my preference is traditional poached texture @140 for 15-30 minutes. Plenty of other time/temp options though.
*** uncooked, frozen shrimp** - does the +50% rule work here? aka @140 for 25-45min? Or do people recommend thawing first using other means before adding to the bath for their preferred thawed time/temp?
*** precooked, thawed shrimp** - This is not a permutation I typically encounter, but if it came up it’s essentially just bringing the shrimp up to temp. If it were shrimp cocktail, I’d probably put it in an ice bath. But some quick weeknight meal, I suppose… 10 minutes at 130 to warm them up without further cooking them?
*** precooked, frozen shrimp** - +50% rule again, so… 15 minutes at 130?

I suppose a big factor for the frozen rows would be how important the marinade is to the dish vs relying on a sauce to provide most of the flavor. Would adding an acidic marinade to raw frozen shrimp then cooking it directly from frozen be considerably noticeable compared to thawing it and marinating for 30 minutes before cooking as separate (and time consuming) steps? Would it be good enough for a weeknight meal? Or should I not even bother?

I cook from frozen all the time (steak, not shrimp though), and have no issues. The time largely depends on the size of your shrimp too. If I were feeling lazy, I’d just put then in at 140 °F (since that’s the temperature that you use for raw shrimp) and cook/reheat them for the time it takes me to have a shower and unwind a little before dinner.

For marinades, i don’t think frozen stuff takes in marinades very well, due to the reduced permeability of the frozen food. If you really wanted a marinade, I would suggest you thaw the food, then marinade it, then cook. Alternatively, some simple seasoning could be good enough too, and applied before or after the cook regardless whether your shrimp is fresh or frozen. I like soy sauce, pepper, a bit of cayenne, and garlic powder.

It feels like blasphemy to say this in amsous-vide forum, but…

I don’t sous-vide shrimp!

I learned this perfect shrimp technique about 20 years ago and have stuck to it since then.

This method sounds like a lot of bother, but when you do it once you will find it easy and the result is perfectly cooked shrimp in less than 15 minutes from frozen.

1- Place a wide bottomed pan on medium or medium-high heat to boil enough water to about cover the shrimp twice, (i.e. if its a single layer of shrimp - about an inch deep - then use 2 inches of water, scale up from there as you add more shrimp), add a slice of lemon & cover the pot.

2- Meanwhile thaw frozen shrimp in cool running water, (about7-10 minutes), peel them when thawed.
(If you are grilling them, marinate now.)
( If you are marinating, don’t cook in water.)
By now, your water will just be coming to a boil.

3- Set a timer for 3 minutes. Take the boiling pot off of the heat.
Toss in the shrimp - leave the lid off & stir once after a minute.
( At 3 minutes in hot water - don’t boil - the shrimp are about medium-well done, so be quick or use 2 min 45 sec in the water. )

4- Dump the pot through a strainer & serve immediately hot, OR plunge the strained shrimp into ice water for 5-10 minutes to serve cold or later.

Just remember the smaller the shrimp - the shorter the time. 31-40 sized shrimp take about 2’45" and 16-20 sized shrimp take 3’- 3’05".


We enjoy shrimp as well. We never purchase cooked shrimp. We watch for sales on the size shrimp and purchase enough to have some in the freezer for when we want it. Thawing it has never been a problem for us. We put the quantity of shrimp we wish to use in a zip-lock bag and put it in the sink with hot water. The bag tends to float so we cover the bag with a dinner plate placed over the bag upside-down. This keeps the shrimp under water. We put enough water in the sink to cover the bag. The hot water never affects the shrimp because it cools ass the shrimp warm up. It doesn’t take very long to defrost. If you are concerned with the hot water, then use warm water, it’ll just take a little longer./

What bother? If I can get a main course done in under 15 I’m good. Simple is as simple does. Thanks for the recipe!