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How to Cook Cooked Shrimp Safely & to Retain Flavour

How to Cook Cooked Shrimp Safely & to Retain Flavour

Last Updated on 31st May 2023 by

When you purchase shrimp that is already pre-cooked, it doesn’t take very long to cook it up at home. It will cook quickly and make for a really simple addition to your meal.

A lot of the shrimp you buy in the grocery store will be precooked, so it’s good to know how to cook cooked shrimp.

Can You Cook Cooked Shrimp?

You might think it sounds silly to cook shrimp that’s already cooked. When most people are talking about cooking precooked shrimp, however, they’re probably just saying that it needs to be warmed up again.

They may also want it to brown a little bit so that it looks a little different from how it comes out of the packaging.

Even when shrimp is sold already precooked, it may not look cooked to you. For some people, shrimp only appears cooked to them when it’s been browned a little bit, and that’s why we cook the precooked shrimp.

Also, cooking shrimp like this gives it a nice texture, making it a little more complex of a dish and more interesting food to eat.

How to Cook Cooked Shrimp Safely & to Retain Flavour
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Grilled Garlic Shrimp

Enjoy a taste of summer with this Grilled Garlic Shrimp recipe! Succulent shrimp are marinated in a garlicky, lemon-infused olive oil, then grilled to perfection. This dish makes a wonderful appetiser for your barbecue parties, or serve it as a main dish with a side of rice or on top of a fresh salad. Quick to prepare and bursting with flavour, it's the perfect seafood treat for any occasion.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time21 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 Kilo of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed juice of one lemon


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine minced garlic, olive oil, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Stir until well combined.
  • Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss until they are well coated with the marinade. Let the shrimp marinate for at least 15 minutes at room temperature.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • Thread the shrimp onto skewers (if using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to prevent burning).
  • Grill the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are pink and opaque.
  • Remove the shrimp from the grill and serve immediately.


  • For added flavor, you can marinate the shrimp for longer. If marinating for more than 30 minutes, place in the refrigerator.
  • The shrimp can be served on its own, with a side of rice, or atop a fresh salad.

Preparing Shrimp for Cooking

Even shrimp that is precooked may need a little preparation before you put it in the frying pan or cook it up some other way. If the tails are still attached, you may want to remove them first. It’s definitely easier to remove the tails from cold shrimp than from hot ones.

Shrimp may need to be deveined and peeled as well. Once again, it’s definitely easier to do this before you cook it, and the shrimp will cook easier if it’s been peeled first.

Just pull the outer shell off the shrimp as well as the legs dangling off the underside of the shrimp’s body. These may come off piece by piece, but it will make for easier eating if you take the time to remove these parts.

Deveining the shrimp means taking off the dark line along the back of the shrimp, where the backbone might be if it were a vertebrate. There’s no need to devein the shrimp and remove that part of the body, as it’s not harmful to eat.

Some people just prefer it removed because they like the way a deveined shrimp looks.

How to Cook Precooked Shrimp on the Stove

Probably the most straightforward way to cook up your shrimp is to use your stovetop and a frying pan. This only takes a few minutes, and you can do it with a minimum of ingredients and mess.

Start by setting up a frying pan on the stove and adding about a tablespoon of butter for every 15 pieces of shrimp you’re going to cook. Once the butter starts to melt, you can add your shrimp.

How to cook already cooked shrimp when you are using a frying pan? Just cook the shrimp until it starts to change color, flipping it over to the other side so it can cook evenly on both sides. This should only take a few minutes.

How Long to Cook Precooked Shrimp?

Precooked shrimp cooks up a matter of minutes, and it primarily just needs to warm. If you’re cooking on the stovetop with a little bit of oil or butter and the heat is on medium, the shrimp should cook in about four to six minutes. That’s two to three minutes for each side.

Make sure you flip over the shrimp as it’s cooking so that it will be able to cook evenly and thoroughly.

You know it’s done cooking when it starts to change color.

How to Reheat Cooked Shrimp

You don’t have to use a frying pan to warm up shrimp, if that’s all you’re looking to do. They can be warmed up in the microwave very quickly and easily.

Place about 10 shrimp on a microwave safe plate and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure none of the shrimp are overlapping. Then, cook them for one minute on high. You can check the shrimp at that point see if they are warm. If not, give them another 30 seconds to warm up.

How to Cook Precooked Shrimp in Air Fryer

If you’re using an air fryer to cook precooked shrimp, you can save a little time and make it with even less mess than cooking on the stovetop.
Just preheat the air fryer 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the fryer is heated up, you can add your shrimp to the fryer basket and cook them for five minutes. Be sure to not pack the fryer basket too full of shrimp, otherwise they won’t cook thoroughly in that time.

But what about if they’re frozen? We’ve talked about how to cook precooked shrimp in the air fryer basket and a few other ways, so how about cooking frozen shrimp?

How to Cook Frozen Cooked Shrimp

If you want to use the air fryer basket, you’ll cook your frozen shrimp for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit using the same method as above. You can use the exact same time and temperature if you’re cooking raw shrimp in the air fryer.

It all cooks the same way, but your cooking time changes based on whether the shrimp is frozen, raw, or precooked and thawed.

You can use similar methods as what I’ve already described if you’re cooking frozen shrimp in the frying pan. You don’t have to deice it or defrost it at all. It can cook straight in the pan once the butter or oil has heated on the stove top.

The only difference is that it will take longer to cook. Expect the shrimp to take almost 5 minutes to cook on each side if it’s frozen.

How long it takes will also depend on how much should you have in the skillet. It’s best not to crowd the skillet, and you definitely want to remember to flip over the shrimp so that it cooks evenly on the two sides.


How do you use already cooked shrimp?

To use already cooked shrimp, thaw if frozen, then add to your dish at the end of cooking to warm through. They’re ideal for salads, stir-fries, pasta, and seafood bakes. Overcooking can toughen them, so heat gently.

How to cook cooked shrimp on the stove?

To cook cooked shrimp on the hob, first defrost if necessary. Warm a pan over medium heat, add a bit of oil or butter, then add shrimp. Heat for 2-3 minutes until warmed through. Avoid overcooking to prevent them becoming tough.

What is the best way to cook shrimp?

The best way to cook shrimp is to sauté them in a hot pan with a bit of oil, garlic, and seasoning, just until they turn pink. This retains their tender, juicy nature. It’s crucial not to overcook them as they can become tough.

Do precooked shrimp need to be cooked?

Precooked shrimp do not need further cooking. Simply defrost if frozen, then heat gently if desired. Be careful not to overheat as this can make them tough. They’re perfect for adding to salads, stir-fries, or pasta dishes near the end.

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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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