If you need to reheat shrimp leftovers, follow these simple and helpful guidelines for perfectly flavorful reheated shrimp.
Shrimp is a fast-cooking protein that gets dinner on the table quickly. Some of my favorite shrimp recipes are Shrimp and Feta Garlic Bread, and Rice Noodles with Egg & Shrimp and Shrimp Linguine with Arugula Pesto.
However, the fact that shrimp cooks quickly is also what makes it challenging to reheat.
The Best Way to Reheat Shrimp
A gentle reheating method that keeps shrimp moist is the best way to reheat cooked shrimp. I find that the stovetop usually works best.
However, no matter what cooking method you use for reheating shrimp, keep these two tips in mind:
- Add Liquid: Broth or water helps shrimp stay moist while it reheats.
- Cover the shrimp: For some reheating methods (like the oven or microwave) cover the shrimp tightly to trap moisture while it reheats.
Gentle Simmer: This stovetop method works well if you're reheating cooked shrimp without any other ingredients.
- Fill a saute pan with about 2 inches of broth or water.
- Heat the liquid until it's almost beginning to boil. You want the liquid to be hot, but not boiling hot.
- Turn off the heat.
- Add the shrimp to the liquid just long enough to reheat (this should happen quickly).
Tip: You can add more flavor to water by adding a pinch of salt, squeeze of lemon or splash of white wine.
Saute: This method works well for shrimp that you don't want to simmer in liquid, and/or shrimp that are mixed in with other ingredients.
- Warm a wide saute pan over medium heat with a generous drizzle of oil.
- When the oil has warmed, add the shrimp and other ingredients.
- Saute gently until the shrimp and other ingredients are mostly heated.
- Turn off the heat and cover the pan with lid for the last minute or two, to trap moisture while the food finishes reheating.
I sometimes use the oven method if I'm reheating a large amount of shrimp and other ingredients.
- Heat oven to 300 F
- Spread the shrimp out in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan or baking dish. Ideally, heat other ingredients in a different baking pan.
- Add a few tablespoons of warm water to the sheet pan.
- Cover the sheet pan tightly with foil.
- Heat for about 10 to 15 minutes
Tip: If necessary you can heat shrimp with other food in the same baking dish, but the shrimp are likely to finish reheating first and will get dry and overcooked if left in the oven too long.
Answers to All Your Questions About Reheating Shrimp
My favorite method is the first one in the blog post above: a gentle simmer on the stovetop. I like this method because the heat is gentle and the shrimp warm quickly in liquid without drying out.
I find that the microwave makes cooked shrimp very rubbery. If you have to reheat shrimp in the microwave, cover the dish and reheat it for the shortest time possible.
Ideally, reheat the rice or pasta separately then add the shrimp back in. The reheated rice or pasta will gently warm the shrimp.
Otherwise, you have two options - follow the stovetop saute method in the blog post above, or the oven method. Either way, add a little bit of water to the rice or pasta, use a lid to trap moisture, and expect to add a little butter or oil after the dish has reheated.
Breaded shrimp can be reheated in a toaster oven, or sauteed in a pan with a drizzle of oil. Don't add liquid or use a lid, it will just make the coating soggy.
Overcooked shrimp curl into a tight "C' shape. The texture is dry and rubbery.
Foodsafety.gov says shrimp are fully cooked when the "flesh is pearly or white, and opaque." Look for the color to change from grayish and translucent to an opaque white, and the pinkish parts will get darker.
Shrimp cook very quickly, often in just a few minutes. The thickest part of the shrimp, where it curves on the back, is the part to watch. When that turns opaque and white, the shrimp are done.
Assuming that the raw shrimp were fresh to begin with and then cooked to a safe temperature, cooked shrimp will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 4 days.
It's not a good idea to cook shrimp, then reheat it, and then put it back in the refrigerator and reheat it again later.
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And don't forget, shrimp is delicious cold. Sometimes the best solution is to eat leftover shrimp without reheating it at all!