Ingredients

How Long Can Shrimp Marinate in the Fridge?

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Peeled shrimp

The Basic Answer For How Long Can Shrimp Marinate In The Fridge?

If your marinade has acid, you want to marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes at maximum. This will break down the shrimp and cause them to be mushy and unappealing when cooked. Additionally, without acid, there are 1 to 2 hours of quality marinating time you can rely on. Past this is overkill but without acid is not detrimental to the product in the long run.

Why You Should Not Marinade Shrimp Too Long

Marinades are a popular way to add flavor and improve texture within the culinary world. They also can add color and distinct flavor profiles to a dish, making the final dish delicious. So it is no secret that marinading shrimp can elevate their flavor and completely change and hone in on the flavor profile of the recipe they are in.

There are a few reasons to marinade shrimp. I want to do a quick breakdown of the outcomes of a marinade and what exactly can happen when we do decide to use them.

Texture

Adding acid, such as lemon juice, to a marinade for your shrimp when it is raw will cause the texture of the shrimp to change. The acid will denature the protein strands within the shrimp, and this causes a firm texture but, in turn, a more delicate bite when cooked. But over-marinating can result in the proteins denaturing.

When you cook shrimp that has sat in acid for too long, the shrimp not only becomes mushy on the palette, but it also will be pasty when chewed. You want shrimp to have a nice bite, and the over marinaded product will ruin your texture. It will also distort the perceived cooking doneness as they will not hold up and be chewy overall.

Flavor

If you decide to prep shrimp in advance and let them sit in the marinade, you want to omit any acid. If left too long, the acid in the marinade will make the shrimp sour and unappealing. Shrimp are small and the surface area for the acid to flow into is also relatively tiny. This is why 30 minutes or less is so important.

For non-acid-based marinades, 1-2 hours is the ideal time. This allows enough time for the marinade to soak into the shrimp and offer a delicious final product. Any more time after this is negligible, as the shrimp have soaked in all the flavors needed due to the marinade.

Marinating Shrimp

How To Store Marinaded Shrimp

The last important piece to this puzzle is ensuring you store the shrimp in a container when sitting in the fridge. When you cook the shrimp, you want moist, tender bites. If you leave the shrimp uncovered in the refrigerator, the cold air will dry out some of the pieces and leave you with less than desired results.

Especially if you are leaving for a long time, having a lid on the shrimp when in the fridge is integral. It keeps in the flavor, blocks any aromas from other ingredients in the fridge, and allows for the shrimp to marinate appropriately.

Conclusion

There are so many different recipes on how exactly to marinate shrimp. Cajun style, soy sauce based, and many more marinades complement and enhance this excellent ingredient. And making these marinades takes time and money to do so. So to ensure your time is well-spent, do not over-marinate your shrimp.

It would be best if you let the shrimp have 30 minutes in the marinade for acid-based recipes. And let shrimp sit for 1-2 hours in the marinade for non-acid-based recipes.

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About author
Ray Delucci is a chef and content creator with over 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has worked managing restaurants, in food manufacturing and food product development. He is also the creator of Line Cook Thoughts, a podcast and social media brand focused on sharing the thoughts of everyday cooks in the food world. He is currently located in the Greater Chicago Area.
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