Are Shrimp Naturally Salty or Not?


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
The other day I got some frozen Shrimp and decided to thaw them in salt water. I lightly salted them and grilled them and they were too salty. Obviously there was too much salt, so I'm wondering if the frozen shrimp were already brined before freezing. Before you tell me... I know, shrimp come from the ocean. ;)
Joined Apr 25, 2017
I think it is. We don't salt shrimp when we cook it (and we make a lot of shrimp) I suspect the saltwater thaw was the biggest mistake.

Now, we are using local shrimp that we catch ourselves or buy fresh from the docks, so they may differ from commercially frozen shrimp - if that is what you had.
Joined Jul 13, 2012
I've never seen "brined" frozen shrimp. They are sea crustaceans so they do possess a natural salinity I'm guessing.
Joined Dec 18, 2010
See this article that discusses how shrimp are processed to frozen. It has a detailed iscussion of “brine freezing”:

And this assessment is frozen shrimp sodium sources/levels:

I’ve not researched this but I think there aren’t enough disclosure requirmentsvfor salt/brine and other “preservatives” like sodium bisufide (or is it bisufate?) used to process seafood. The only seller that I know who will even casually mention this is a Trader Joe.

We all seem aware that “dry scallops “ are better than “wet scallops”...
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
Crab legs and some flash frozen fish are sometimes frozen with salt water and have that "glaze" over them that should be washed before using.
Joined Jul 13, 2012
The shrimp I buy are wild caught IQF and have no added anything - just shrimp. They have a natural sodium content from well being sea creatures.

Don't confuse "shrimp" with "cooked shrimp" I never buy cooked shrimp they don't hold up well unless your were making a seafood salad, or something cold.
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Yes, shrimp have an inherent level of salt. However, like most sea creatures, shrimp are made up of high percentage of water, typically around 75% to 80%, and by "water" I mean salt water. But, wild caught shrimp that have little to no processing have less salt that we would think. Its the processed shrimp, especially those treated with STPP that have very high salt content. Incidentally, shrimp treated with STPP also contain upwards of 90% water or more.

Cheers. :)
Joined Oct 23, 2012
Unless I am getting shrimp that are basically right off the boat, which is rare these days as I am not as close to the boat as I used to be, I almost always briefly brine my shrimp after peeling and de-veining them.

Put them in some salt water (not quite as salty as the sea) with (sometimes) a little baking soda for about 15 mintues then rinse. Gets them closer to the 'off the boat' flavor.
Joined May 5, 2010
When I worked for Hyatt, I'd had to cook off 100 pounds of IQF 16/20 p&d shrimp every week . As the years went by I noticed the look of the shrimp had changed in that it seemed to be lighter in color and after cooking, had a slightly slimy texture. I found out later that the shrimp were being treated with Sodium Bisulfate.
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