What You Need To Know About Freezer Burn Shrimp

Seafood has always been an essential mineral supplement for the diet. Across cuisine cultures, many recipes use seafood as a main ingredient.

These foods are not only nutrition-rich, healthful, and benign, but also tasty as well if having proper treatment.

For the public, we believe that the top famous seafood is fish, lobster, squid, shrimp, etc. Apart from other foods, the shrimp is considered easy to eat for first-time seafood eaters because shrimp taste is sweet, its texture is chewy and thick, while the taste is light.

However, when storing raw shrimp, there is a serious food storage problem for entry-level chefs: freezer burn shrimps.

Hence, in this post, let’s dive deep into the freezer burn shrimps, how to recognize and resolve the problem for a better cooking experience!

Freezer Burn Shrimps Explained

Freezer Burn Shrimp
Freezer Burn Shrimp

Suppose you are storing the raw shrimp in the freezer for quite a long time. Then, suddenly, you take out the shrimp, and you realize that, surprisingly, the ice-coating shrimp is burned.

Why is there such a weird case – frozen food being burned – like that, right? Let’s have quick research on this relevant topic.

What is freezer-burned food, anyway? Theoretically, freezer burn is the commonly used term in the culinary world to indicate the food that has shown the sign of discoloration.

Another proof is that the food’s texture changes or some spots occur. We will discuss these components in the upcoming section.

So, what makes the freezer burn happen? According to expert chefs, for freezer storage, there is a possibility, small but (still) possible, that air exposure can happen.

Yeah, sounds surprising, right? Even after you freeze the food, there are chances that it turns spoiled.

If the food is exposed, then the dehydration and oxidation may be triggered to happen faster.

To be specific, the microorganisms in food, like bacterias, viruses, germs, etc., live well when having the chemical trigger. And the air is that “switch” they want.

With the air exposure, the microorganisms will be stronger and faster to break the proteins’ chemical bonds, making the composition inside the muscle broken apart. Thus, you can see the structure of the raw shrimp change.

The oxidation causes the bacteria to multiply; then, these microorganisms will break down the red blood cells in the meat, destroy the hemoglobin, and oxidate the red cells into the black cells.

Given these facts, the frozen burn shrimp seems to have lost the original, authentic flavor you could expect from a shrimp. Well, that’s true. However, you can still eat those foods even if it turns bad that way.

You may wonder: “How could I recognize a freezer burn shrimp?” right? In the next section, let me show you some physical traits you could tell from a burned shrimp. Let’s check it out!

How To Identify A Freezer-burn Shrimp?


The typical color of frozen shrimp is mildly orange with white strips. When freezing this food, the color remains the same if being stored properly.

However, if the frozen food is exposed to air, then the oxidation process will occur quickly. The bacteria in the air can destroy all hemoglobin, which makes the red scent of the shrimp.

That being said, the red tint will be removed, and what is left in the dark, brownish, or yellowish color of the food.

Besides, the microorganisms living inside the food can breed and multiply, either. Hence, there can be small white spots on the food, indicating that the bacterias already infected the area.

To add-in, the level of damage on each part is different. Hence, if the food is exposed to bacterias, there will be different single discolored spots spread on the food – some areas have more serious infections than others and vice versa.


With the exposure to air, the raw shrimp is now full of microorganisms. These germs and viruses can grow much stronger when being in such a “nutritional” environment like the shrimp.

Hence, they can quickly destroy the natural composition of the food, making a change in texture.

Based on our experience, the raw shrimp usually turns tougher or higher because protein bonds are removed. If you feel that the shrimp is harder and more rigid, then that seafood may have a freezer burn.

How To Prevent Freezer Burn On Shrimp?

Even if it doesn’t make the food spoiled, freezer burn shrimps is still a “nightmare” for chefs. Who doesn’t want a sweet, chewy, delicate, juicy shrimp instead of a rough one, right?

Understanding the struggle, we will provide you with some tips on preventing the freezer burn on shrimp.

First, we advise you to add more additional layers to the food to prevent the effect of air exposure.

As mentioned above, the shrimp turns bad because there is an interaction with air and bacteria in the room environment, right?

So, to avoid the effect of that factor, the only thing we can do is to add more and more covers, as airtight as possible, to reduce the amount of air exposed to the meat and avoid the possibility of dehydration and oxidation.

Second, change the container after two weeks. Usually, most people buy frozen shrimp at the store rather than buy fresh food then freeze them at home.

The package of the supermarkets then is not high-qualified and airtight as you expect.

They are connected by glue, so after half a month, please take out the container and change it because the glue is washed away. 

Third, it would be helpful if you cover the food in aluminum foil rather than plastic. These two types are also acceptable and commonly preferred in public, but, based on our experience, the foil works better than plastic.

The foil can fully block the light and temperature from the environment as well as avoid oxidation. Meanwhile, the plastic works not-too-effective in hindering light and temperature.

And, you know that the temperature triggers the dehydration and oxidation procedure to occur faster, right?

The fourth point to consider is that you can vacuum seal the shrimp. Just like frozen shrimp, it’s easy to find sealed shrimp at the store at an affordable price.

If you don’t intend to use that shrimp shortly, buy an airtight shrimp, vacuumed and sealed professionally, and put them in freezer storage. That will make the ultimate air blocking fence for your food.

The final advice for you is super basic: remember to label each package. Just stick a small sticker on each bag, write the freezing date or the expiry date on it, and put it in the freezer.

Whenever you need to check for expiry dates, it takes you only a few times to find out which bag should be used first.

Recommended Recipes With The Freezer Burn Shrimps

Crispy Shrimp Tempura

The first recipe on the list is shrimp tempura. This formula is quite easy to do without paying too much effort. Hence, we choose it to introduce you to on the list.

What you need to have for cooking this shrimp tempura is quite simple: flour, cornstarch, baking powder, soda, kosher salt, pepper, oil, and shrimp.

Let’s start cooking the shrimp recipe.

Step 1: Set a saucepan onto the stove, turn up the heat to 375 Fahrenheit degrees. Pour 3-inches deep oil into the pot and let it start boiling.

Step 2: In a separate bowl, mix flour, cornstarch baking powder, pepper, and salt to prepare for coating the shrimp. Next, dip the shrimp into that mixture and coat the food fully in flour.

Step 3: On another batter, stir club soda and whisk together, and after dipping the shrimp in flour as mentioned above, soak the shrimp into this batter.

Step 4: Place the shrimp into the oil, frying for about 3 minutes until you can see the fried shrimp turn golden brown. Your food is ready to serve.

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo

This recipe comes up with the idea of resembling creamy Italian fettuccine with shrimps.

This recipe requires seasoning the food with garlic, onions, and pepper, so we don’t think the shrimp’s taste is that much important. We can all fix it by using seasonings, right?

First, please prepare some things: fettuccine, shrimp, onions, cloves, oil, Parmigiano cheese, cream cheese, black pepper, and parsley.

Now, let’s start the cooking by boiling the fettuccine first

Step 1: dip pasta in a big bowl full of water and place it on the stove. Then, turn up the stove to the boiling temperature and repetitively stir the noodles until softening.

Please take out the pasta and drain them over a bowl and save 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.

Step 2: Consequently, put the shrimp – onions – garlic into a small pan after seasoning them. Stir the food on medium-high heat, then pour oil to season the flavor. Continue sauteing for 4 minutes and turn down the heat.

Step 3: Add cream cheese, cooking liquid, and Parmigiano cheese into the mixture. Cook for 2 minutes until all cheeses melt.

Put fettuccine, cheese, and shrimp mixture into a deep dish and enjoy. Add pepper and parsley if needed.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

The Shrimp fra Diavolo seems to be bizarre, right? This recipe isn’t common in the USA, but this recipe is actually a signature Italian food that any Italian cuisine lovers must know.

What is fra Diavolo, anyway? In short, fra Diavolo is an Italian recipe combining tomato paste and lemon juice.

Here is what you need to do in this recipe: about 8 ounces of linguine, three tablespoons of oil, dried basil, oregano, tomato paste, lemon juice, crushed tomatoes, and seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, and onion.

Let’s start doing the Fra Diavolo.

Step 1: Boil the linguine under hot water until it softens. Then, drain it and keep the paste warm.

Step 2: On another skillet, place a deep saucepan and add a spoonful of oil until the oil reaches the boiling temperature. Next, add half a spoon of garlic and shrimp into the pan.

Step 3: Stir the food repetitively until the shrimp is done. Please take out the food and let it sit out in a few minutes.

Step 4: We need to make sauce for the food. On a different pan, pour a spoonful of oil and onion, then mix it until the onion is cooked.

Add remaining garlic, pepper, oregano, basil into the skillet and stir for two more minutes. The next stage is to add tomato paste and lemon juice and stir for the next 5 minutes.

Step 5: Finally, add seasoning and crushed tomatoes and mix until all the food is thoroughly cooked. Now, pour the shrimp and the sauce mixture into the pasta and serve it.

Shrimp Cakes

Finally, let me introduce you to the shrimp cakes recipe.

What you need to prepare is quite a lot: 1 pound of shrimp (of course!), three tablespoons of unsalted butter, two eggs, 1/3 cup of minced onion, two spoonfuls of horseradish, canola oil, lemon wedges, and seasonings as lemon zest, salt, paprika, mayonnaise.

Now, let’s start making the shrimp cakes.

Step 1: Like making other types of cakes, you have to add: shrimp, butter, eggs, lemon zest, green onions, panko, lemon juice, salt, and paprika in a deep, big bowl. Then, stir the mixture until it turns to the soft-powder state.

Step 2: shape the dough into 3-inches cakes. After molding, put the dough onto a panko-covered plate. Transfer the cakes to the plate. You have to wait and let the dough sit out for 15 minutes while being covered with plastic food wrap or foil.

Step 3: In another bowl, mix the mayonnaise, horseradish, paprika, salt, and lemon juice to prepare for the sauce.

Step 4: Finally, set a big nonstick skillet on the medium-heat stove. Add two spoonfuls of oil, and then put the cakes into the pan. Two minutes are usually enough for a cake to fully cook both sides.

When the food corms to a boil, take it out and top up with the sauce and some scallions. You can eat it with lemon wedges.


Is it safe to eat freezer burn shrimp?

As mentioned above, the freezer burnt shrimp is still edible as normal shrimp

What makes the freezer burnt one distinctive is that it was exposed to air, and such factors change the color of the food as well as turn the food thicker and rougher.

That being said, the freezer-burned shrimp is edible, safe, and harmless to your health. You can eat it without any problem. However, the taste turns bad, so you may consider carefully before cooking.

What Temperature is Shrimp Frozen at?

Typically, shrimp will freeze at 28 degrees Fahrenheit or -2.2 Celsius degree. Hence, you have to set the freezer’s temperature at the demanding heat to let the shrimp start freezing.

However, if you don’t have a freezer at home, using a refrigerator is acceptable either. You need to set your fridge’s temperature to 28 degrees Fahrenheit or -2.2 Celsius degrees and let the food be frozen.

How long can the freezer-burn shrimp last?

The typical shelf life of shrimp is various. If the food is fresh and unfrozen, then it can last for about 2 or 3 days in the fridge.

However, if it was stored in the freezer, or even better – be frozen – the shrimp can expand its freezer life to 6 months.

Hence, like a frozen shrimp, the freezer-burn ones could also last to 6 months. The freezer burn just causes the change in color and taste of the food, not making this frozen food’s shelf life change significantly.

Based on our experience, the gap between the “normal” and the freezer-burn is about a week less.

Wrapping It Up

Through this post, we have discovered more insights about freezer burn shrimp-like its features, the reason that leads to the case, how to resolve and prevent the problem. We also clarify some questions regarding eating freezer-burned shrimp.

The freezer burnt shrimp is safe to eat, but the food’s taste is just not as wonderful as it should be. Besides, there are many recipes suitable for freezer burnt shrimp, as mentioned above.

Please refer to these recipes if you still want to use the freeze burned shrimp instead of throwing it away.

I hope this article helps you in storing and cooking shrimp effectively. Thank you for reading, and enjoy the meal!

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