Why You Should Freeze Shrimp In A Single Layer On A Baking Sheet

From cocktail party entertaining to spicy air fryer appetizers, shrimp is an excellent ingredient to always have on hand. Not only is it quick and easy to cook, but shrimp is practically unlimited in the ways you can customize it, and generally pretty budget-friendly. However, raw shrimp kept in the refrigerator will stay safe to cook and eat for only one to two days, according to the USDA. Because of this short timeframe, if you won't be immediately enjoying your shrimp, it's important to store it away in the freezer for freshness and quality. However, if you want to do your future self a favor, you can't just dump the shrimp into a Tupperware container and throw it into the freezer. For optimal storage, you'll first want to set the shrimp to freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. This keeps your shrimp from forming into a giant frosty clump in the freezer.

Finding that your shrimp has frozen together is the last thing you want to discover when you go to cook it. Not only is the dreaded ice clump nearly impossible to separate but keeping the shrimp separate allows you much easier access for grabbing the specific amount you want to cook at a time from a large batch. It's best to keep all individual shrimp separate until the initial freezing is complete, and doing so is simpler than you might realize.

Don't be shellfish, take the extra time

For frozen shrimp that doesn't stick, all you need to do is lay down a piece of parchment paper or foil on a standard cookie baking sheet and arrange all the shrimp you'll be freezing into one single layer. Make sure there's enough room in your freezer for the entire baking sheet because you'll then be transferring the tray straight into your kitchen tundra until each piece of shrimp is frozen solid. From that point, you can move the shrimp to an airtight container, which can be a Ziploc bag or a freezer-safe storage container, and then return the shrimp to your freezer for long-term storage.

The reason for freezing your shrimp on a layer of parchment or foil is two-fold. Firstly, it protects your cookie sheet from the spread of bacteria. Fresh shrimp is raw meat, after all. Secondly, this added layer will keep the shrimp from freezing directly onto your baking sheet, which would cause you a headache equally as frustrating as if your shrimp froze together.

According to foodsafety.gov, shrimp will maintain quality when frozen for 6-18 months. With this shrimp freezing hack in mind, you'll be ready to whip up everything from a flavorful shrimp mofongo to a juicy shrimp burger at just a moment's notice. Just be sure to properly thaw your shrimp in the refrigerator first for the best results!