Shrimp is one of the most common and widely used seafoods around. Whether enjoying it cold as a shrimp cocktail, skewered and grilled on a kabob, or cooked into your favorite Italian pasta, the uses for shrimp are endless.
Being so versatile, it’s a nice protein to have around. If you have any questions on how long your favorite shrimp dish will last, search no more as we have your shrimp storage questions covered!
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How Long Can Shrimp Sit Out on the Counter?
Whether cooked or raw, shrimp should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Anything longer will give harmful bacteria too much of a chance to grow on your food making it dangerous to eat.
How Long Does Shrimp Last in the Refrigerator?
The answer to this depends on whether you are storing raw or cooked shrimp. You can expect raw shrimp to last in the fridge for one to two days if it is properly stored in an airtight container or covered with an air-tight plastic wrap.
Cooked shrimp can generally last a little longer than raw shrimp. If it is stored correctly, you can expect your cooked shrimp to last three to four days.
When you purchase both raw or cooked shrimp from the store, the packaging may have a “best-by” or “use-by” date. In general, your shrimp should still be good a day or two after that date. However, I would make sure it hasn’t gone bad before eating or using in a recipe.
Can You Freeze Shrimp?
Luckily, both cooked and raw shrimp freeze well! In fact, I always make sure to have a pound or two of frozen shrimp in my freezer because it is easy to thaw on the fly. If storing for future use, I would recommend buying frozen shrimp as I think it tastes better than the cooked frozen shrimp you buy from the store.
If freezing raw shrimp, which is my preferred way to buy shrimp, make sure you clean it and pat it dry before putting in a freezer bag or container. Freeze as quick as you can to minimize the amount of time it is at room temperature. This helps keep it fresh for when you are ready to use it.
When freezing cooked shrimp you first want to pop it in the fridge until it is chilled. This will prevent it from letting off steam in the freezer and causing freezer burn. If you are freezing cooked shrimp by itself (not as a component of a dish), I would pat it dry with a paper towel to avoid it sticking to each other. Finally, place in a freezer bag or freezer container, pushing all the air out before sealing, and put in the freezer.
An important, but often overlooked, step when freezing raw or cooked shrimp is to allocate it into portions that will be convenient to thaw at a later date. Otherwise, you could be forced to thaw more than you would be able to use and may have to throw some of it out.
How Long Does Shrimp Last in the Freezer?
As long as it was frozen and stored properly, you can expect your raw and cooked shrimp to last up to a year in the freezer. However, the sooner you use the better. I try to use my frozen leftovers within six months of freezing it to make sure they are just as good as when I froze them.
How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp
The best way to thaw frozen shrimp when you are ready to use it is to put it in the fridge overnight (or for 12 hours). I would make sure to put the bag of frozen shrimp in a bowl just in case there are any leaks in the bag. Otherwise, you could have a puddle of shrimp water in your fridge when you take it out. Make sure that you cook or eat your shrimp within 1 to 2 days after thawing in the fridge.
A quicker way to thaw shrimp is to place the freezer bag or container in a bowl of cold water for an hour or so. You may need to change the water periodically to avoid the water freezing around it. To speed things up further, you can also put the freezer bag or container under the faucet while cold water runs over it. I would make sure you cook or eat right away after thawing if you use this method.
All of these methods are good for thawing both raw or cooked shrimp.
How to Tell if Shrimp has Gone Bad
Like most foods, the best way to tell if shrimp has gone bad is to use your senses.
Both fresh and cooked shrimp have similar signs they are going bad. If you are trying to determine whether your shrimp is still good, I would look for the following red flags:
- The shrimp appears to be pulling away from its shell
- There are black spots or discoloration of the shrimp itself or the shell
- The shrimp has a slimy or sticky texture
- The shrimp is mushy and loses its firm texture
- It has a rotten or unpleasant smell
- Hopefully it doesn’t come to this but if you take a bite and it tastes off, get rid of it
If you notice any of the above red flags or something just seems off, I wouldn’t eat it. As I always say, when in doubt, throw it out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you refreeze shrimp?
If you buy frozen shrimp and cook them, you can refreeze what you don’t eat. However, I wouldn’t refreeze more than once as you run the risk of freezer burn or degraded taste and quality the more times you freeze.
Is shrimp good for you?
Yes! Shrimp is very good for you as it packs the protein, omega-3’s and other nutritional benefits of most seafood. In addition, it is low in the harmful mercury found in many types of seafood.
Why do you have to chill cooked shrimp before freezing?
It is important to chill cooked shrimp before freezing to prevent freezer burn. If you put it into the freezer warm, it could emit steam and cause freezer burn. To avoid this, pop your shrimp into the fridge until chilled prior to freezing.
Final Thoughts About How Long Shrimp is Good in the Fridge?
Whether you have leftover shrimp cocktail from a football party or you just want to have shrimp on hand for when the occasion calls for it, knowing how to safely store shrimp is important. We hope you have found this article helpful! Happy cooking!
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