This easy Shrimp Salad is a light, protein-packed dish that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. You can stuff it into wraps for lunch, serve it in lettuce cups as an appetizer, add it to salads as the main protein, and more. It only takes 10 minutes to make!
Anytime your grocery store puts pre-cooked shrimp on sale, grab a few bags, throw them in the freezer, and keep them on hands for recipes like this! They don’t even need to be big shrimp. I use a 41/50 size here that I snag for $7 per pound, and it works great.
This lightly creamy shrimp salad recipe is really easy to make, and hinges mostly on the freshness of the ingredients we add to it.
It’s kind of like my Salmon Salad recipe, or even Egg Salad and Cranberry Chicken Salad, in that it’s a great lunchtime staple, and can be eaten in many different ways. It travels really well, and can be taken to picnics, potlucks, and other remote gatherings.
Why This Recipe Is So Great
Packs well for lunches, picnics, etc. – I love putting this shrimp salad into wraps for lunch, or packing a container of it to enjoy at the park. It travels beautifully.
Nutritious and filling – There are a ton of protein and nutrients here in this recipe. It’s satisfying too!
Refreshing and delicious – This is wonderful served chilled, and the balance of creaminess from the sauce and brightness of the herbs is perfection. I love putting it into a lettuce wrap.
Economic option for enjoying seafood – Shrimp is one of the cheaper options for seafood, and you can also tweak the size per your cost needs. As much as I love things like lobster or crab (hello Crab Stuffed Avocado and Crab Cakes), they are pricey.
Tips for Best Results
Buy pre-cooked shrimp – Not only is it easier and more convenient, but I find that they always somehow get the shrimp more tender than I do if I try to cook it myself.
Use the freshest ingredients – Most people don’t realize how quickly fresh produce loses its flavor as it sits in the fridge. Try to make your grocery trip pretty close to actually making this, since most of the mix-in ingredients are fresh items that you want to be as crunchy and flavorful as possible.
Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving – While this isn’t essential, the shrimp salad will taste a little bit better if it sits in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving. It allows the flavors to meld together and makes the salad more refreshing.
Step by Step Overview:
Shrimp salad is mostly all about prep work. We’ll need to chop up all the vegetables and herbs, and mix together the dressing.
To begin, finely chop some fresh celery, fresh dill, chives, and shallots. Then add them to a large bowl with some mayonnaise, olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper:
I like the milder nature of the shallots, but feel free to substitute red onion or thinly sliced green onion here.
Also make sure to use a good quality mayonnaise. It’s wild how much the taste quality varies among mayonnaise brands at the grocery store. I now prefer to make my own Mayonnaise from scratch, but if you’re using storebought, I’ve had good experience with Sir Kensington brand.
Mix everything well to coat. You can see that the mayonnaise dressing here is very light. Add more if you wish, but I like it on the lighter side.
Next, add the shrimp!
What Kind of Shrimp to Use
My recommendation is to purchase pre-cooked shrimp from the store instead of raw, because it’s easy to thaw and use, and it’s less likely to be overcooked. However, you can certainly cook raw shrimp in a skillet for a couple minutes, until it turns pink, then cool it and add to the salad. It’s just a lot more work.
Fresh or Frozen: I find that fresh shrimp vs frozen doesn’t really make much difference. Most shrimp you come across will be previously frozen, unless you live somewhere coastal.
Farmed or Wild: Both work fine here, though I tend to prefer farmed shrimp. Sometimes the wild varieties have really strong flavors that are overly “fishy,” but this all comes down to your preferences.
Peeled and Deveined: Opt for deveined and peeled shrimp. Most small shrimp will already have the shell and vein removed.
Size: Save your money and don’t bother getting the jumbo shrimp here. The little shrimp, 41/50 per pound, are actually great because they are bite-sized.
How to Quick Thaw Frozen Shrimp
Place the shrimp in a bowl in the sink and run cold water over it for about 10-15 minutes, until no longer frozen. Drain shrimp well after soaking, then dry well with paper towel or a kitchen towel, so you don’t water down the dressing.
Give everything a thorough toss, so every shrimp is coated in herbs and dressing:
Now taste a shrimp and see if it needs any adjustments. Does it need extra salt or black pepper? A little more mayonnaise? Make those adjustments now.
For the best results, chill the shrimp salad in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld. But, you may also eat this right away if you prefer.
How to Serve It
I recommend adding a few lemon wedges on the side for serving, so those who like extra acidity with their seafood can squeeze before enjoying. Also decide what temperature you tend to like your salads. Do you enjoy them thoroughly chilled, straight cold from the fridge, or closer to room temperature? If you prefer closer to room temperature, simply remove the shrimp salad from the fridge 20 minutes before serving.
Enjoy as is for the perfect lunch, or spoon onto a bed of crisp lettuce (I recommend butter lettuce or Romaine), tortillas, or Sourdough Discard Flatbread.
You can also stuff it into avocado halves like my Crab Stuffed Avocado, add scoops to leafy salads to serve as the main protein, or put into New England style hot dog buns like in a Lobster Roll Recipe. You can also try them in Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns or soft Brioche buns.
This simple salad works well with substitutions, if you’d like to experiment with different ingredients.
Use grilled shrimp – During the summertime I love using leftover grilled shrimp here for a smoky flavor.
Bell peppers – Try adding small pieces of sweet red bell peppers for crunch and flavor.
Lime juice – Swap lime juice for the fresh lemon juice. Add lime zest or lemon zest for more aroma.
Seasonings – Add 1/2 teaspoon of old bay seasoning, or try 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder.
Up to 3 days, in an airtight container. Seafood doesn’t last as long as other food.
Not recommended, as the textures of all the fresh ingredients, like the crunchy celery and herbs, will get damaged by freezing.
Yes, it is Whole30 friendly, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, and low carb.
Stuff it into avocado halves, add it to salads as the main protein, serve in lettuce cups, place into New England style hot dog buns like lobster rolls, put it into sandwiches or wraps, serve in endive cups, etc.
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/3 cup chopped chives
- 1/4 cup chopped dill
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- 2 pounds cooked 41/50 shrimp*
- In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the shrimp.
- Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
- Serve cold, and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.