How to Spot Spoiled Shrimp?

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Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Share My Kitchen

Spoiled shrimp cause food poisoning. So, it is crucial to inspect its appearance and smell before you cook it. Bad-smelling shrimp might have a slimy texture or a strong sour odor. It should also be white, transparent, or pink, regardless of its color. So, if the shells are discolored, it is likely that the shrimp are spoiled. The shrimp may have been treated with bleach if they were brown. Furthermore, a rancid shrimp can have an unpleasant taste.

A fresh raw shrimp should be translucent and whitish-gray in color. While a bad shrimp will have black spots and a slimy texture. A spoiled shrimp will also have a moldy or faded appearance. It will smell fishy and stick to your fingers, so you will have to throw it away. To extend the shelf life of cooked shrimp, it must be kept in the refrigerator.

Indications of Spoiled Shrimp

Every year, food poisoning affects more than 76 million people, with spoiled shellfish as the most common cause. The common signs of food poisoning are severe vomiting and diarrhea. This is not the best way to finish your seafood dinner. Shrimp is a shellfish that can be used in many cuisines, so it’s important to recognize signs of damaged shrimp to keep you and the people you cook for healthy.

Spoiled Shrimp Smell

You can use your senses to easily tell if the shrimp is edible or not. Could you get a sniff of the shrimp before you buy it? Fresh shrimp purchased from a supermarket or a fisherman is safer since you can’t smell the shrimp through their plastic wraps.

Fresh shrimp should have little to no smell and should have a mild saline smell similar to seawater. Don’t buy shrimp that smells like ammonia, or appears to be “off.” The bacteria growing in the rotting shrimp emits the ammonia-like or “off” odor. This can lead to food poisoning.

The appearance of the Shell

Fresh shrimp bodies are solid and should stay attached to their shells. They should also have clear, clean pearl-like shells. If the bodies look loose within the shell, or if the shell is stained with dark spots, the flesh may have begun to fall apart.

Also, ensure that the shells are stiff and glossy. If the shells are cracked, slippery, or slimy, it is possible that the shrimp is spoiled and should not be bought. This is why it is easier to inspect fresh, uncooked shrimp than prepared shrimp.

Color of the Spoiled Shrimp

Make sure the shrimp are free from discoloration on their heads or shells. Raw shrimp should be translucent and white when they are purchased. If you are purchasing cooked shrimp, make sure that they are pink. A sour shrimp is discolored, and it is a sign that the flesh has spoiled.

Check the shells for signs of dirt or yellowing. This could be a sign that the shells have been bleached with a chemical, such as sodium bi-sulfate. The chemical was possibly used to hide the age of the shrimp.

Eye Appearance

You can purchase shrimp with their heads on to help determine if they are rotten or not. You should see bright and gleaming eyes. Be worried about its freshness if its eyes appear dry, brittle, or completely missing. You buy shrimp from another source if you are concerned about safety.

The appearance of the Frozen Shrimp

Frozen shrimp have problems with freezer burns, thawing, and refreezing. These problems are indicated when there are ice crystals or frost on the shrimp. If shrimp are left in the freezer for a prolonged period of time, they can develop freezer burn. Tears in the bag may also indicate a problem.

You can usually eat freezer-burned shrimp. However, if you store the shrimp in the freezer too long, the flavor and texture of the shrimp will change. Seafood should not be unsafe to eat unless there is an unusual smell or any other signs of perishing.

How to Properly Freeze Shrimp

Freezing shrimp is the best method to store large quantities of raw or cooked shrimp. Shrimp can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days without any signs of deterioration. While frozen shrimp can be stored for up to 6 months without losing its flavor. Once you have frozen and packaged your shrimp, you can store it for up to 6 months.

Guide to Freezing Shrimp That Has Been Cooked 

The shrimp meat should be removed from its shells. It will last longer if you shell-cook the shrimp before freezing. Then, you can remove the tails and shells using your hands. Also, If you did not remove the heat during cooking, snap it off.

You should not leave cooked shrimp out on the counter for more than two hours. If you don’t have the time to shell all the shrimp at once, place them in the refrigerator between each break.

You can remove the large vein that runs down the back of the shrimp if you wish, but it is not necessary for freezing.

Cook the Shrimp

The shrimp should be cooked for approximately 10 minutes at low heat. Fill your pot halfway with water, and bring it to a boil. Then, add your shrimp. To kill any bacteria or shell fragments, let them simmer for about 10 minutes.

You should do this after you have cooked the shrimp, and you are ready to freeze it. This is because cooking the shrimp kills hazardous bacteria.

Remove the cooked shrimp from the saucepan, put them on a baking tray, and freeze to use later. Also, make sure they are equally spaced.

Store Cooked Shrimp in the Freezer

Then, store them in the freezer until they are solid. This will prevent cooked shrimp from clumping together since they were kept separately.

Keep the shrimp in the freezer within 1-2 days after boiling to prevent them from deteriorating.

You don’t need to worry if there isn’t enough room in your fridge for cookie sheets. Once they have frozen, they can be stored in smaller containers.

Then, fill large freezer bags halfway with prawns. Once the shrimp have frozen, take the cookie sheet out of the freezer, and transfer them into sealed bags. Press the bag to let out as much air as possible while closing them before putting the bags in the freezer.

Label the freezer bags

Moreover, remember to write the date on the bags before you put them in the freezer. This will let you know how long the bags will last.

Frozen shrimp can last up to 3 to 6 months in the freezer. However, you should try to use the shrimp as soon as possible when you have had the shrimp for 3 months.

They will not expire if they are frozen, even if they get freezer burn.

What Is the Color of Spoiled Shrimp?

Raw shrimp should be translucent and white when they are purchased. If you are purchasing cooked shrimp, ensure they are pink. The sour shrimp has discoloration, and it is a sign that the flesh has rotted. Moreover, check the shells for signs of dirt or yellowing.

It is best to inspect the shrimp and smell it. Keep an eye (or nose) for bad odor, poor color, and slimy texture. These are all signs of rotten shrimp, so discard them immediately.


You can examine the shrimp for bad signs to determine if the cooked shrimp has gone bad. Check if it is slimy, has a foul odor, or looks off. To prevent it from spoiling, it should be kept out of direct sunlight and in the refrigerator for at least a week. Furthermore, you can inspect the shrimp to check if the shells are intact and healthy. Most sour shrimp shells will emit a foul-smelling odor.

Bad-smelling shrimps will have an unpleasant fishy or ammonia smell, and a pale, matte texture. Look out for shrimps with slimy texture, and pale color. If you suspect that the shrimp has spoiled, it is best to throw it out. It’s also important to discard it to avoid food poisoning.

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