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How To Tell When Shrimp Is Done?

How To Tell When Shrimp Is Done?

Shrimp is delicious, affordable seafood that is one of the most consumed seafood worldwide.

You can turn on your natural gas grill and make BBQ shrimp, or you can sear the shrimp in a hot cast-iron skillet on the stovetop.

You can add shrimp to burgers, salad, sandwiches, soups, and mac and cheese. 

There are more than a million shrimp recipes on the internet, so it’s no wonder how to tell when shrimp is done.

Luckily it is extremely easy to tell when shrimp is done. Just pay attention to the color, shape, and temperature. 

Can You Eat Undercooked Shrimp?

Asking if you can eat undercooked shrimp is like asking if you can eat spoiled prime rib.

You would not eat spoiled prime rib, so do not eat undercooked shrimp. 

Let me say it again, under no circumstance should you ever consume undercooked shrimp. 

If you consume undercooked shrimp, you may come down with a case of food poisoning.

By now, you are probably thinking of the fact that folks in China and Japan consume raw shrimp.

However, I do not recommend consuming raw shrimp because of the bacteria, specifically Vibro. 

There are over 70 strains of Vibro, and 12 of these strains are responsible for severe sicknesses in humans.

Symptoms of Vibro include fever, watery diarrhea, nausea, chills, abdominal cramping, and vomiting. 

Vibro symptoms may present themselves within 24 hours after they are ingested and last for 3 days. 

Furthermore, pregnant women, older people, and young children should not eat undercooked shrimp because they are at greater risk of contracting foodborne illnesses. 

Tips for Cooking Shrimp

Before you pull out your skillet or indoor grill to cook that delicious shrimp, you should keep a few tips in mind. 

Unfortunately, most individuals don’t have access to fresh shrimp, so we purchase frozen shrimp.

Despite everything you’ve heard about frozen shrimp, they are not a bad thing.

Frozen shrimp have been flash-frozen to keep them fresher longer. 

Nevertheless, it’s best to avoid shrimp that has preservatives listed on the ingredient list. 

In contrast, if you are lucky enough to find fresh shrimp, ensure it does not have a fishy aroma. A fishy smell equals rotten shrimp.

More importantly, if you are using shell-on shrimp, make sure your fresh or frozen shrimp have translucent grey color.

Next, devein the shrimp before you cook them. Deveining the shrimp removes the digestive tract, which can add a bitter flavor to the shrimp once they are cooked

If you plan to remove the shells from your shrimp, use the shells to make a sauce.

The shells pack a lot of flavors that will be released as they cook in the liquid. 

If you are working with frozen shrimp, the best way to defrost shrimp is in the fridge overnight.

The shrimp will be allowed to thaw gradually overnight without ever having to enter the danger zone.

Plus, the shrimp will still be good for 1-2 days if you do not cook them right away. 

Grilled shrimp on a stone board

How To Cook Shrimp 

Shrimp are as popular as salmon. Shrimp can be cooked in several ways.

However, the most common methods for cooking shrimp are grilling or sautéing them. 

You can easily thread your shrimp through a skewer and season them with your favorite BBQ rub before placing them onto your portable pellet grill.

You may need a grill basket to prevent the shrimp from falling through your kamado grill’s grates

You can also sauté shrimp in a skillet over medium-high heat. You can also add vegetables to the shrimp.

However, you must cook the vegetables first and add the shrimp when the vegetables are just about done to prevent them from being overcooked.

How To Tell When Shrimp Is Done

Now that we’ve discussed how to cook shrimp let’s talk about how to tell when shrimp is done.


Raw shrimp have great shells and translucent flesh. However, when they are cooked, their exterior will be pink with red tails.

The flesh will be slightly opaque and have a slight white color. 

Truthfully speaking, slightly white can be a little confusing. The color can vary, but if the shrimp are bright white, they are definitely overcooked.

In addition to this, just like Denver steak, the shrimp will continue to cook after you remove them from the stove.  


Raw shrimp aren’t exactly straight, but they aren’t curved either. They have a slight curl to their shape. 

However, when you cook shrimp, they will begin to curl up in a C shape.

If you let them cook too long, this C-shape will quickly turn into an O-shape, which means they are overcooked. 

Remember, C-shaped equals cooked shrimp, and O-shaped equals overcooked shrimp

However, if this method does not apply if you thread the shrimp through skewers to make kabobs, the shrimp will not curl, so it’s best to pay attention to the color or the temperature. 


Even though I have mentioned other methods of how to tell if shrimp is cooked, the temperature is the best way to test shrimp’s doneness.

Shrimp is officially cooked when it has a temperature of 165ºF.

Make sure you have your infrared thermometer to monitor the temperature of your shrimp. 

How Long To Cook Shrimp

To cook shrimp perfectly, you must make sure they are not overcooked or undercooked. That’s why it’s essential to know how long to cook shrimp. 

Ultimately, the cooking time of shrimp depends on the cooking method. In addition to this, the size and amount of shrimp also impact the cooking time.  

On average, shrimp should be cooked for 2-5 minutes. However, if you are grilling shrimp, they will take about 2 minutes per side.

Nevertheless, if you cook the shrimp for longer than 5 minutes, they will be overcooked. 

Final Thoughts

Wondering how to tell if shrimp is done is normal. After all, no one wants to eat overcooked or undercooked shrimp.

Luckily, you will be making perfectly cooked shrimp from now on, so this won’t be an issue. 

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