There are hundreds of ways to prepare shrimp. Countless countries across the world use shrimp in various ways. You can have sushi with shrimp, shrimp cocktail, shrimp scampi, or any other popular dish. But what if your shrimp taste fishy after cooking? Is that something to be wary of?
Shrimp that smells or tastes overly “fishy” is likely spoiled and not safe to consume. If you’ve already had a few bites and the taste is strong, stop eating it.
In this article, we’re going to explore what shrimp are supposed to taste like, why your shrimp might taste a little fishy, and what you should do once you discover this fishy taste.
We cover the following items in this post:
- My Shrimp Tastes Fishy – Is That Normal?
- Why Does Shrimp Taste Fishy?
- Should Shrimp Smell Fishy After Cooking?
- How Do You Get The Fishy Taste Out Of Shrimp?
- How Can You Tell If Cooked Shrimp Is Bad?
- Final Thoughts On Why Shrimp Taste Fishy After Cooking
My Shrimp Tastes Fishy – Is That Normal?
No, it’s not normal for shrimp to taste fishy.
It might be easy to try and convince yourself that it’s not an issue due to the fact that shrimp are water-based crustaceans that are found in deep water all around the world. They can be found in oceans, freshwater lakes, and streams.
Shrimp should have a slightly salty and sweet flavor. The texture should be firm, but also soft and a bit chewy.
The closest thing that shrimp taste like is probably lobster. These undersea creatures are also crustaceans, with their biology being mostly the same as the biology of shrimps. Lobster and shrimp are both in the phylum Arthropoda, meaning they have a direct line of descent within their group in the animal kingdom.
As well as lobsters, crawfish are often said to taste a little like shrimp, though a bit chewier in terms of texture.
If your shrimp tastes fishy, throw it away! It’s not good and can cause you harm due to the bacteria it’s carrying. Open up Uber Eats and try for better results next time.
Why Does My Shrimp Taste Fishy? The Possible Causes
Shrimp generally tastes fishy because it has gone stale. The shrimp likely wasn’t stored properly when it was caught.
When shrimp or other seafood taste a little fishy, it’s due to the different bacteria which have started to digest the fish that they are living on.
These bacteria naturally live on and around the shrimp, but the immune system of sealife fends them off in the normal course of their life – just like how a human immune system fends off bacteria for our bodies.
When a shrimp dies, these bacteria will start to digest it, leading to that fishy smell that we all avoid.
Deveining of Shrimp
The thing that speeds up the development of this fishy aroma is when the shrimp hasn’t been deveined. The ‘vein’ of a shrimp is a black line that runs through the rough center of a fish – it’s the digestive tract where the food is taken in and, eventually, passed.
There are already bacteria in this part of the shrimp which are part of the process of digesting. This means that if the shrimp aren’t deveined very quickly after being caught, the bacteria in the vein will start to digest the shrimp itself. Over time, this will lead to the fishy smell and taste that we want to avoid.
This is why shrimp, and seafood in general, will start to taste fishy over time. This bacteria process produces a strong smell and taste, which people are very good at noticing.
Should Shrimp Smell Fishy After Cooking?
No, it shouldn’t.
Your shrimp shouldn’t have a strong smell unless that smell is the seasoning you’ve prepared it with. If the shrimp smells like ammonia or any other strong odor, you should throw it away.
Even before cooking shrimp, the raw shrimp shouldn’t have a strong odor either. The shrimp should have a light, salt-water scent or none at all.
Anything to the contrary is a strong indicator of some expired shrimp.
How Do You Get The Fishy Taste Out Of Shrimp?
A commonly recommended, and weird-sounding tip is to soak the shrimp in milk for between thirty minutes to an hour prior to cooking.
After that, drain them, rinse them off with water, and pat them dry. This will assist in removing a light fishy smell prior to cooking.
However, if the smell is strong, and is associated with a slimy texture and black spots, don’t even attempt this trick. That shrimp is past expiration and nothing can salvage it. You’d just be wasting milk at that point!
How Can You Tell If Cooked Shrimp Is Bad?
Below are the common indicators your cooked shrimp has gone bad:
- A strong, sour, or bitter smell
- A slimy texture
- Black spots
- A faded, gray color (Cooked shrimp should have a red, pink, and white mixture of colors)
Cooked shrimp lasts about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. If you’ve stored it longer than that duration, the shrimp likely has some of the symptoms listed above and is no longer safe to eat.
Final Thoughts On Why Shrimp Taste Fishy After Cooking
If your shrimp tastes fishy after cooking it, don’t eat it! It can lead to food poisoning, which from personal experience, absolutely sucks.
Shrimp has a limited shelf life once caught fresh, and once cooked. If any part of that process is delayed ever so slightly, it can lead to a spoiled batch.
In many cases, if you’ve stopped eating the shrimp once you tasted the fishiness and only ate a small portion, you’ll likely be okay. Your body is built to defend itself from bacteria and viruses, and it may be enough to help deter any illness caused by eating some bad shrimp.
If you begin to feel ill, call your general practitioner to get some advice on the next steps.
But, if you had one bad experience with shrimp, don’t let it ruin them for good. When they’re good, they’re hard to beat. And our secret tip for cooking great shrimp: old bay, baby!