Frozen popcorn shrimp is one of the most popular seafood dishes. It is loved even by those that don’t normally enjoy seafood all that much. It’s also super easy to make, as most commonly you won’t be making it from scratch – instead, you’ll be warming up frozen popcorn shrimp.
But can you microwave frozen popcorn shrimp? The answer is: you can, but should you? The truth is that pre-fried foods, such as popcorn shrimp, don’t really do well in a microwave. Sure, it will heat up, but it won’t taste as great as it should. We know that there are better ways to heat up your frozen popcorn shrimp, such as in the oven, an air fryer or a deep fryer.
Read on to find out the best ways to reheat frozen popcorn shrimp, and exactly how to do it!
Popcorn shrimp has an amazing taste that is definitely worthy of being highlighted by proper heating up. If you want to enjoy your meal to the fullest, check out our handy guide on preparing frozen popcorn shrimp.
How to prepare frozen popcorn shrimp?
There are many ways to prepare the perfect frozen popcorn shrimp, but unfortunately, using the microwave is not one of them. That is not to say you CAN’T use the microwave – you can. However, you may be less satisfied with the results than if you were to use a different method of cooking.
Frozen popcorn shrimp got its name after the shape of the shrimps. It’s not related to actual popcorn. It contains breaded, delicious shrimps that will not pop in the microwave – so that’s one benefit of using a microwave gone out the window.
The general rule of thumb is that if you want something to be crispy, the microwave may not quite hit the mark. A microwave may heat through your food efficiently enough, and it is quick, but if you care about the texture, you’re better off using the oven.
Another problem with using the microwave is that for bigger portions, you may find yourself with some of your shrimps still cold. You really don’t want that to happen, especially for products that came right out of the freezer.
However, this can be remedied by simply microwaving them long enough… but the texture and the taste cannot.
You may be wondering what will happen to frozen popcorn shrimp after a minute or two in the microwave? The answer is that as opposed to being crispy, the shrimp will go limp and possibly soggy or gummy. It doesn’t sound anywhere near as delicious as it should.
In other words: if you don’t much care for the crispy exterior of popcorn shrimp, you can use the microwave when you’re in a hurry. However, if you’ve got a bit of time on your hands and want to maximize the enjoyment you will get from your favorite meal, we recommend trying out a different method.
All that said, the main ways to prepare popcorn shrimp are:
- In the oven. Place your shrimp in an oven-proof dish, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and heat up for at least 17 minutes.
- In an air fryer. Preheat it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place shrimp in the air fryer and cook them for at least 8 minutes.
- In a deep fryer. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to around 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss in the shrimp and fry a few at a time until golden brown for a maximum of 5 minutes.
- In a deep skillet. Heat enough oil to have at least 2 inches on medium-high heat. Toss in a few shrimps and cook them 1-2 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and crispy.
As you can see, there are many ways to prepare popcorn shrimp, and they’re not all that time-consuming. While a microwave would probably take a maximum of 3-5 minutes, you’d never get the same kind of taste that you will be able to achieve with the above steps.
To help you truly enjoy your popcorn shrimp, we have prepared a handy step-by-step guide that will help you learn the methods to a T. Read on below to enjoy your favorite meal today!
Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Frozen Popcorn Shrimp
The first thing to know, before we delve further into the cooking methods, is that popcorn shrimp needs to reach really high temperatures to be properly cooked. Shrimp an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. As such, they will be very hot when leaving the pan or the oven, so please be careful!
Some of our methods call for the use of oil, namely the deep fryer method. However, know that when you’re preparing shrimp in a deep skillet, you don’t have to use oil. It’s optional – it does add to the taste, but it isn’t necessary.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the best methods to heat up frozen popcorn shrimp.
How to cook frozen popcorn shrimp in the oven
This is a healthier method than using the deep fryer. It may not net the same results in terms of taste, but for those that don’t like to use too much oil when cooking, it’s a very viable solution.
- Begin by preheating your conventional oven to 450 degrees F.
- Arrange all the frozen shrimp in an oven-safe dish. They should be in a single layer – don’t stack them.
- Place them on the middle rack of your oven.
- For a full package, bake the shrimp for 17 minutes.
- Halfway through the cooking, take your shrimp out and stir them.
- When done, be very careful when you’re handling the dish!
How to cook frozen popcorn shrimp in a deep skillet
This is one of the less healthy options, just like a deep fryer. However, no one can deny that the taste that it produces is absolutely amazing. If you’re looking to indulge, this is a solid option.
- Preheat a medium, deep skillet to medium-high.
- Arrange your shrimp evenly in the skillet.
- Add a bit of oil if you want to.
- Saute the entire package for about 8 minutes.
- Remember to stir every now and then and add oil if needed.
How to cook frozen popcorn shrimp in an air fryer
A healthy option that still produces a great taste. An air fryer should preserve the crispiness of popcorn shrimp without adding extra oil.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place frozen popcorn shrimp in the air dryer.
- Cook them for at least 6 minutes. However, we recommend up to 10 minutes.
- When fully cooked, carefully remove the shrimp and leave them to sit for about a minute before you try to eat them.
How to cook frozen popcorn shrimp in a deep fryer
The least healthy option on our list, but still very enjoyable. It’s good to allow yourself a treat now and then, so there’s no harm in deep frying some popcorn shrimp on a special night.
- Heat the oil in your deep fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Toss in the shrimp. Only toss a few at a time – you don’t want them to stick together.
- Fry until you are happy with the texture. We recommend taking them out when they reach a golden brown color.
- The entire frying process should take about 5 minutes at maximum.
- When you remove the shrimp, set them down on a paper towel. This will let the excess oil seep out of them, leaving a delicious shrimp that is not too oily.
How to cook frozen popcorn shrimp in a microwave
We’ve saved this method for last because it is our least favorite. However, if you’re in a hurry and don’t mind the texture, you can use the microwave to heat up your popcorn shrimp.
- Start by arranging the frozen shrimp in a single layer in a microwave-proof dish or bowl.
- Cover them with a paper towel.
- Microwave on high for around 5 minutes (this is for a 1100W microwave oven).
- Halfway through the microwaving process, take out your shrimp and stir thoroughly.
- Once done, don’t serve immediately. Let them stand for a minute before you serve.
These are all the methods in which you can prepare your frozen popcorn shrimp. We hope that you were able to choose one that works for you!
If you still have some questions or doubts, we are here to help! Read on below to check out our FAQ.
Do you have to defrost frozen shrimp prior to cooking?
Definitely not! For safety reasons, please do not allow your shrimp to defrost. For all of the above methods, the shrimp should be taken out of the freezer and cooked immediately. If your shrimp has defrosted, we recommend throwing it away.
Do you have to boil shrimp before frying?
If you were making popcorn shrimp from scratch, you may want to boil it a bit first. However, when it comes to frozen popcorn shrimp, the product you receive is already pre-heated prior to being frozen. As such, you definitely shouldn’t boil them. In fact, if you were to boil them, they would definitely lose all of their delicious texture. Feel free to fry them as needed without any further preparation.