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Goodbye Mushy Shrimp: How To Boil Shrimp

7 Japanese Home Cooking Hacks Goodbye Mushy Boiled Shrimp How To Boil Shrimp Perfectly Food & Recipes

Boiled shrimp should have a sweet and mild ocean flavor with a fresh bouncy texture.

It is really sad when the boiled shrimp is mushy, watery, and fishy.

Boiling shrimp has a simple process, yet, doesn’t mean it is an easy task that everyone can get successful.

To remove the fishy flavor-this is easy though.

Which are-

deveining and cleaning.

About these cooking tips are mentioned in detail in this post, read this post first, if you are interested.

This post will tell you why you should clean the shrimp with starch and salt.

So, the point of boiling shrimp may need more experience and practice, to be precise, how long to cook the shrimp since they can be easily cooked, (meanwhile they are easy to overcook), we have a chance to destroy their charming texture and flavor at any time.

However, it may be an overwhelming worry.

Undercooking the shrimp is better than over-boiled shrimp, you know! We can fix it!

In this post, I’ll help you with some tips to improve your boiled shrimp for your lunch, dinner, and party!

You may feel more effort to need to boil shrimp, but! you can surprise your family and friends with delicious boiled shrimp when following these Japanese home cooking tips.


When you want to use frozen shrimp for boiled shrimp, they are needed to be thawed before cooking.

When boiling frozen shrimp without thawing causes dried (overcooked) tasteless shrimp because,

  • It takes time to cook frozen shrimp
  • Rich flavor will be drawn out into the boiled water

Therefore, make sure to thaw frozen shrimp before cooking.

So, here are tips for thawing and cleaning to bring a fresh texture to shrimp after being cooked.


There are some ways to thaw shrimp including thawing them in a fridge naturally or in a water bath with ice.

Personally, I like the quick and easy way with the best (or close to the best) result, so I like

using salt water to thaw frozen shrimp or frozen seafood is recommended.

Defrosting shrimp with a salt concentration close to that of seawater makes it less likely to shrink and has a fresh texture.

The saltwater to be used should have a salt content of 3% of the water.

In this way, you can get frozen seafood in the minimum hour without losing flavor and texture.

I almost always use salted water to thaw frozen seafood because it is quick.

I can make seafood Japanese curry in an hour!

If I’ll give you another key, remove the frozen seafood from the salted water before they’ll be fully thawed.

When they are 80% defrosted (and the center is still frozen), remove them from the water, tap dry, and refrigerate them to continue thaw if needed.

Like shrimp, clams, squids, and cuttlefishes, you don’t need to thaw fully when you are going to cook them.

Easy Tasty Japanese Seafood Curry: Golden Curry Recipe With Frozen Seafood Mix

Isn’t Seafood preparation hard work? Use frozen seafood mix and make Japanese curry and rice for an easy summer dinner. Japanese curry, a most popular staple comfort food in Japan, is super easy to make. Traditional Japanese curry often makes beef, pork, chicken, and a variety of veggies such as potatoes, carrots, and onion, but, in this recipe, use only onion and garlic to enhance seafood flavor. , rest overnight is more delicious, but, this seafood curry can be served for 1 hour.


Cleaning the shrimp with salt will surprise you how will be fresh bouncy (spring back to your teeth) texture.

Needless to say, it also works to clean and remove the fishy flavor from the shrimp as well.

Place the shrimp and salt (*2 tbsp of salt per 10 medium-sized shrimp) in a bowl and mix them well to clean while rubbing the shrimp occasionally.

Then, continue cleaning with the starch and sake (white wine).

For the full steps, please read this post!


Prepare these items to make the perfect boiled shrimp.

  • A large pot (with plenty of water)
  • Salt
  • Vinegar or lemon
  • Japanese sake or white wine

Use an enough large pot so that the shrimp will have enough space around each piece.

Then, add plenty of water as a guide about 5 times water by the total weight of the shrimp.

Bring the water to a boil and add

  • 2 teaspoons of salt per about 1 quart of water
  • 1 tablespoon of sake or white wine per about 1 quart of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice per about 1 quart of water

Vinegar or lemon juice can help firm protein quickly and keep a fresh texture in shrimp, and also help to stop boiled shrimp from going spoil.


Make sure the water (with salt, vinegar, and sake/wine) is boiling fully.
(The water has movement and bubbles.)

If the water is not enough boiled, it increases the cooking time, and also hard to find when the shrimp will be removed.

It means causing mushy or dried tasteless boiled shrimp.

It is an easy and effortless step that can bring perfect boiled shrimp! So, give your time to bring to water to a full boil.

(Aim for mindful cooking!)


If you boil a big batch of shrimp, it’s better to divide them into small batches to cook.

When throwing many shrimp into the pot at once, the boiled water temperature will be instantly dropped which causes an increase in the cooking time of the shrimp.

Moreover, there is not enough space around each piece, and hard to find out when you should the shrimp removed out of the water.


So, how long do you boil shrimp?

It is hard to tell you the boiling time for the shrimp…

It varies depending on your stove, the pot size, the types of shrimp, and the amount of shrimp.

I want to be honest with you, so unfortunately, I can’t tell you the exact cooking time, but, I can tell you a few signs when you can remove the shrimp from the water.

First of all, avoid cooking the shrimp though in boiling water.

More specifically, cook the shrimp until 80%-90% cooked and cook through them on a colander while using the remaining heat.

Second, it doesn’t take long to cook the shrimp in boiling water.

So, once putting the shrimp in the fully boiled water, stir the water to keep the water temperature occasionally.

When the shrimp are getting pink and a few pieces start floating from the bottom (*small prawns) or their tails are going up or the piece is moving around in the water, it’s time to be ready to drain the water.

  • Small-Sized Shrimp: It starts floating for about 1 minute.
  • Medium Shrimp: It starts floating or the tail will be up for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Large-Extra large-Sized Shrimp: The tail will be up for about 1-3 minutes.


Do your best to drain shrimp as quickly as you can since they can be easily overcooked and lose the fresh texture.

How to remove the shrimp from the boiled water? Use a sieve to take out each piece?

Ideally, draining the shrimp in a colander is the best choice to avoid overcooking.

Yet, the pot maybe becomes too heavy for you, so remove the shrimp as quickly as you can with the sieve.


Let the shrimp cool down naturally on the colander.

You should not use cold water or an ice bath to cool the boiled shrimp.

It causes the shrimp absorbs the water and becomes watery and loses flavor.

Besides, we need to cook through the shrimp after draining so it is not necessary for my boiling shrimp recipe.

When you can touch a boiled shrimp, cut and look inside of a piece if you want to check out whether the shrimp is cooked perfectly.

If the shrimp is undercooked, simply, bring another salted water to a boil, and cook the shrimp for another 1 minute. Then, drain and let them cool on the colander.

Rico's Japanese Home Cooking Tips; Preparing Shrimp And How To Remove Fishy Taste

How To Prepare & Boil Shrimp PERFECTLY

Rico McConnellRico McConnell
Do you want to know how to get rid of the fishy taste of shrimp? The most important process for removing the fishy taste is preparation: deveining and cleaning the shrimp. Also, I'll tell you the ultimate guide on how to prepare (frozen) shrimp full of Japanese cooking tips!


  • Shrimp
  • Salt
  • Corn/potato starch
  • Japanese Sake/ White wine
  • Water


Thaw Frozen Shrimp Without Being Mushy

  • Make a 3% salt solution.
  • Soak frozen shrimp in the salt solution and let thaw them for 1-2 hours in a refrigerator.

Devein The Shrimp

  • Use a sharp paring knife.
  • Hold the knife a half-inch from the tip to avoid making a big notch.
  • Stretch and Hold a shrimp laid down on the cutting board (or an aluminum foil sheet) stretching with your thumb, index finger, and middle finger gently.
  • Cut (technically slide the tip of the knife) along the outer edge of the shrimp’s back, about 1/8 – 1/4 inch deep. It is not butterflying, so try not to cut so deep.
  • Using a blade tip, pull out a vein along the back.

Clean The Shrimp

  • Place the shrimp in a large bowl.
  • Add 1 tsp of salt (per 10 medium-sized shrimp), and mix them well gently while rubbing the shrimp occasionally, for about 1 minute.
  • Once you feel slimy, add 2 tbsps of the starch and 1 tbsp of sake or white wine or water, then continue cleaning, for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Rinse the shrimp under running water.
  • Repeat cleaning the shrimp until the drained water will be clear.
  • Drain the water, and towel-dry them well using kitchen paper.

Boil The Shrimp

  • In a large pot, add about 5 times water by the total weight of the shrimp.
    Add 2 teaspoons of salt and bring the water to a boil.
  • Add 1 tbsp of sake or white wine and 1 tsp of vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Make sure the water is fully boiled, and add shrimp. Stir the water to keep the temperature even.
  • Small-Medium Shrimp: When shrimp start floating in the boiling water in 1-2 minutes, it is the sign to take them out from the boiling water.
    Large-Extra large shrimp: When shrimp's tails will be up in the boiling water in 1-3 minutes, it is the sign to take them out.
  • You don't need to wait for all shrimp to float and drain the shrimp quickly.
  • Cool the cooked shrimp on the colander or transfer them to a baking sheet without laying them over each other.
    *Avoid an ice or water bath to cool them since it absorbs excess water and will be a watery texture.



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Keyword seafood, Shrimp, Tips & Hack
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