As counterintuitive as it seems, frozen shrimp is often the freshest available. Most shrimp is frozen at its peak freshness right after it's caught. Even shrimp at the grocery-store seafood counter was likely frozen and thawed already—might as well buy it frozen and defrost it yourself to avoid any issues with food safety or deterioration of quality. Here's how to thaw shelled, tail-on or peeled frozen shrimp.
Thawing in the Refrigerator
The safest way to thaw shrimp is in the fridge. Thawing it at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below keeps it safe from pathogens. Place frozen shimp (package and all) in the refrigerator overnight.
Thawing in Water
If you need to defrost shrimp faster, place it (in sealed packaging or in a zip-top plastic bag) in a bowl of cold water. If you can, set the bowl in the sink and let the faucet drip a regular trickle of cold water into the bowl as the overflow pours down the drain. This method takes about 15 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp.
Thawing in a Microwave
Save the microwave for thawing shrimp you plan to cook immediately. Use the defrost setting and only thaw until the shrimp is bendable, but still quite cold and icy.