Cooking shrimp is one of the easiest yet most rewarding tasks you can do in the kitchen. Shrimp is so delicious with a bold flavor yet it can pair easily and really well with so many other types of food. While a lot of recipes will have you cook shrimp alongside another main dish, they never go into detail about the process of cooking shrimp. It is more of a background challenge for you to complete alone. Thankfully, if you are wanting to know what temp shrimp should be cooked to, you came to the right place.
Table of Contents
- Safe Temperature for Shrimp
- Cooking Shrimps
- How To Know if Shrimp is Properly Cooked?
- Are Shrimps Better Cooked or Raw?
- FAQs on Cooking Shrimps
Safe Temperature for Shrimp
While there are many ways that you can cook shrimp, the method of heating does not matter too much. It is all about making sure you heat your shrimp to the safe internal temperature that indicates they are ready to be eaten.
Many fish can be eaten entirely raw, as proven by the Japanese cuisine of sashimi. Many people think it is sushi that is raw, although this is a common misconception, as sushi can have cooked fish. Raw fish is called sashimi.
Shrimp, on the other hand, is deemed very unsafe to eat raw. It is recommended that you at least cook it a bit before you eat it. It does not need to be cooked as thoroughly as other meats, such as pork or chicken. Yet it should still be cooked to a certain temperature to kill all of the harmful bacteria that it may be harboring.
Shrimp is recommended to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit before eating.
Many countries (such as Japan and China) will still eat shrimp raw as their fish is a lot healthier than other places. Although, in western markets such as the USA, Europe, and Canada, shrimp is heavily recommended to be heated before being eaten.
The dangers of eating raw shrimp, and consuming the harmful bacteria, are;
- Can lead to food poisoning
- Farmed shrimp contains as many as 100 different strains of vibrio which are immune to antibiotic treatment
- almost 100% of shrimp in Nigeria contains bacillus bacteria which can lead to diarrhea and vomiting
While raw shrimp is still eaten, and many times is relatively safe, the risk is not at all worth the reward of eating raw shrimp. If you internally heat the shrimp to 145 degrees F before eating, you can allow them to cool. They will still have relatively the same texture and flavor that they had when they were entirely raw.
There are many great ways to cook shrimp that not only make it safe to eat but also make it incredibly delicious and enjoyable. While some of these methods are very obvious such as oven-cooking or grilling them, they still result in delicious shrimps that you can eat however you please.
Cooking shrimp in the oven, also known as baking, is a very easy and straightforward method that will result in delicious shrimp ready for eating. The only things you will need for this are a baking tray with parchment paper, shrimp, and some butter or olive oil.
To start off, you will want to line your baking tray with parchment paper. This helps to make sure the shrimp do not stick to your tray and will also help you clean up afterward as there will be less mess.
You will want to preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and while you wait, lay your shrimp out on the tray while making sure they are evenly spaced apart and not touching. They can be very close, just make sure they do not touch.
Once your shrimp are properly arranged on the tray, you can brush them with melted butter or olive oil. This will help them form a crispy coating that is unbelievably satisfying to eat. You will want to cook these guys for around 8 minutes if they are fresh, or for around 10-12 minutes if they are frozen. Make sure you check on them and immediately remove them if they are getting too tough or rubbery.
There are many ways to grill shrimp. Although my favorite way has always been by skewering them first.
This can be done by using a long wooden skewer, or a metal one if you have any,. Stab the shrimp neatly so that they are rested on the skewer.
For presentation purposes, there are many ways to do this.
Piercing your shrimp in the middle while both of the curved bits hang off to the side is one way of doing it. Although it is also quite nice to piece them vertically so that it pierces the same shrimp twice
before coming out the other side. A mix of these two methods in alternation will result in a very nice-looking skewer. You can serve it with pride at any gathering!
After you have fiddled with your preferred skewing methods, it is time to grill your shrimp. Make sure that you clean and oil the grates on your grill prior to this so that your shrimp are both clean, and also unlikely to stick to the grill.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and allow each skewer to grill for 2-3 minutes per side depending on how crispy you want your shrimp.
A great way to improve this method even further is by marinating the shrimp for half an hour in a bowl of olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika beforehand. The great thing about skewers is that you can flip your shrimp incredibly easily with one single movement instead of having to flip each shrimp individually.
By far my favorite method of cooking shrimp is by frying them in a pan with some garlic and olive oil. While this might seem simple, it has resulted in arguably the tastiest shrimps you could ever ask for.
The main step to this is making sure your pan is heated up on medium-high heat. While it might sound like we are about to burn the shrimps, we are only searing them.
As for ingredients, you can add whatever you want alongside this. But the main ingredients are olive oil, shrimp, and garlic cloves. To prepare, I always either smash my garlic cloves with the blunt side of a knife or thinly slice them. Thinly slicing your garlic cloves will result in a much stronger flavor, so it is all about personal preference when it comes to doing this.
After you have all your ingredients ready, you can add some salted butter or olive oil to the pan. Once this gets heated enough that it is runny, add in your shrimps and garlic along with any other additives such as salt or pepper.
You want to toss the shrimp every now and then to make sure they are evenly cooked on each side. Once they are opaque all the way through or read 145 degrees F on a meat thermometer, they are done.
With this, I usually also cook mushrooms with shrimp in the exact same way. This can be done in a single pan and I love to cook a sirloin steak at the same time. This is an easy one-pan dish of steak, shrimp, and mushrooms. Absolutely delicious and surprisingly easy.
How To Know if Shrimp is Properly Cooked?
There are many great ways to tell if your shrimp are properly cooked and are now safe to eat.
Thankfully, while a meat thermometer can be used, there are many ways to check if your shrimp is cooked without the need for extra tools or devices.
The most foolproof method of ensuring your shrimp is safe to eat is by using an instant-read or meat thermometer. To use an instant-read thermometer, you will want to cut the shrimp open at the thickest part. Inspect the temperature it is on the inside. To use a meat thermometer, you will want to insert the prong into the thickest part of the shrimp. If your thermometer is showing 145 degrees F or above, then your shrimp is safe to eat.
If you are without a thermometer of any kind, then fret not. There are quite a few ways to make sure your shrimp are well-cooked without the need for a gadget.
Shrimp will become opaque all the way through once they are properly cooked. Cut them open at the thickest part and make sure that this is true. If there is any translucent or white meat visible, they need to be cooked for longer.
Because of how the protein in shrimp reacts to heat, another great way to check if they are cooked or not is to squeeze the shrimp together. Once cooked, the meat will be tougher and less pliable. So it should bounce back to its initial shape if properly cooked. If your shrimp is overcooked, it will be rubbery and tough. While it can be difficult, finding the midpoint between these two will result in perfectly cooked shrimp.
Are Shrimps Better Cooked or Raw?
The main reasoning for not eating raw shrimp is that it is potentially harmful. It can result in your getting ill or food poisoning. Other than this, there are some reasons that you may enjoy eating raw shrimp instead of cooked ones.
Other than the safety of raw shrimp, you may choose to eat them for their flavor and texture. After being cooked, shrimp will have a slightly different flavor that will be less salty and more subtle. This can be good if you are wanting to pair the shrimp with other ingredients without overpowering anything.
As for texture, shrimp is very pliable and soft when raw which some people can really enjoy. Once cooked it will become very rubbery and tough. If overcooked, this is a bad thing although when they are perfectly cooked they are delicious little snacks.
Don’t forget your shrimp sides!
FAQs on Cooking Shrimps
How can you tell if shrimp are cooked?
To tell if your shrimp are cooked or not is quite challenging unless you know what you are doing. The easiest way is to use a meat thermometer and make sure the internal temperature of the shrimp is 145 degrees F. If you do not have a meat thermometer, make sure the shrimp is consistently opaque.
How long do you cook fully cooked shrimp?
Shrimp can be cooked quite quickly depending on how high the temperature is. In an oven, shrimp will be finished in about 10 minutes when cooked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to know when shrimp is done?
Shrimp is done when it is consistently opaque and the meat bounces back into place after being pinched together. To make sure it is safe to eat, the internal temperature should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit.