Improperly cooked shrimp and fish is never a welcome sight. When it's under-cooked, some can still carry dangerous bacteria, and when it's overcooked, it's chewy and dry. Most of the time, the latter is the more common offense. Shrimp and fish both cook up quickly and it can be easy to over do them if you're not paying attention. However, with these simple tips, you'll always know what to look for.


Unlike most meats, fish does not have an internal temperature it needs to reach to be considered "done." Fish is cooked once it becomes opaque inside and out. This means that it's really the thickness of the fish you're cooking that matters. The general guideline is that for every inch the fish is thick, you'll need to cook it for another 8-10 minutes.

  • It's important to remember that food continues to cook for a few minutes after its removed from heat, so if you stop cooking just shy of done, you'll end up with perfectly cooked fish.
  • When a fish is cooked just right, it should be slightly flaky, but should not just fall apart. Usually when the flesh gives away too easily to a fork or knife, it means that it's overcooked.
  • It's fine to eat some types of fish slightly under-cooked; tuna and salmon are commonly prepared this way. (And obviously, if you're using sashimi-grade fish, you don't have to (and probably shouldn't) cook it at all).


Like fish, shrimp loses its transparency during the cooking process; it becomes white or pink, a bit firmer, and curls up. Many people use its color to determine whether or not it's done, but really, the best way to tell is by the shape. If the shrimp has curled into the shape of a C, it's perfectly cooked. If it's curled around tightly into the shape of an O, it's overcooked!

  • Shrimp cooks quickly! At most, it'll take 4-5 minutes for large shrimps to cook.
  • If you're using frozen shrimp, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, or in a bowl of ice water on the counter. Make sure the bowl stays cold!  A bowl of warm, raw seafood is a great way to encourage bacterial growth.

Photo Credits: Hass Avocado Board, Coastal Living

14 Must-Make Cauliflower Recipes.
Broccoli and Cauliflower Recipes Even Kids Will Love.
Hearty, Chunky Soups for a Cold Day.
Healthy, Easy New Ways to Enjoy Salmon.
10 Tasty Ways to Make Canned Tuna Gourmet.
What's in Season: Fall Vegetables You Can't Miss.
Crispy, Creamy, and Perfectly Cheesy Gourmet Gratins.
10 Creative New Ways to Cook Salmon.
Cozy into Fall with Savory Seasonal Soups.
Creamy, Comforting Macaroni and Cheese Recipes.
12 Terrific New Takes on Jalapeño Poppers.
Quick and Easy 5 Ingredient Pastas.
Edible Flowers from The Garden of Eat'n.
Snack Healthy with Homemade Hummus.
Every Dish is Made Better with Beer.
10 Exceptional Coffee Drinks to Make at Home.
10 Handy Meals Made in a Muffin Tin.
Vegan Appetizers Anyone Will Love.
Simple, Hearty Mexican Dishes for a Crowd.
10 Succulent Salmon Dishes for Healthier Eating.
Appetizer Ideas for the Big Game.
Italian Dishes Minus the Indulgence.
Cozy Chili Recipes and Creative Ways to Enjoy Them.
Fantastic, Flavorful 5-Ingredient Chicken Dinners.
10 Savory Curries You Can Make in a Hurry.
Top 10 Christmas Cookies of the Season.
5 Creative Cinco de Mayo Recipes to get the Fiesta Started!.
Fun Football Shaped Bites for the Super Bowl.
The Ultimate Super Bowl Appetizer: 5-Layer Football Field Dip.
Complete Your Meal With a Perfect Wine Pairing.
Pass the Chickpeas! 10 Healthy Garbanzo Bean Recipes.
Food Pairings with Sean McKenzie and Dave Matthews.
Top 10 Tips for Winning Dinners!.
From Apples to Kale to Salmon, How to Keep What You Love Fresh.
Cooking with Silk®.
Grow Your Own Ingredients: Fresh Garden Favorites.