Shrimp Salad

4.58 from 7 votes
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Are you looking for an easy and delicious salad recipe? This shrimp salad is the perfect option! Protein-packed with succulent seafood, crunchy vegetables, and a creamy citrus dressing. This refreshing dish is a crowd-pleaser for any occasion.

Just like my classic tuna salad or chicken salad, this is a versatile recipe for meal prep.

Shrimp salad served in a large white bowl.

This creamy shrimp salad is the perfect dish to pack for a summer gathering or to whip up for a seafood-inspired dinner. The chilled shrimp are gently cooked for succulent bites. It’s paired with crisp celery and red onions, then tossed in a velvety lemon dill dressing.

It’s easy to overcook the delicate crustaceans, but don’t worry! I’ll show you my foolproof poaching method that only takes a few minutes on the stovetop. Say goodbye to tough and rubbery shrimp! Serve as a sandwich piled in a bun or croissant or lettuce wrapped for a low-carb meal.

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients needed to make this shrimp salad recipe.
  • Shrimp: You can use fresh shrimp or frozen shrimp. Precooked shrimp is a good option for quicker prep. The best size to buy is large 2-bite pieces for a hearty salad. I use the 16/20 count size, which is pieces per pound. If serving with crackers or toast, use smaller shrimp.
  • Vegetables: To add an exciting contrast in texture, chop up celery and red onion for the salad.
  • Dressing: A combination of sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, fresh dill, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Defrost the shrimp

Frozen shrimp in a colander being rinsed with warm water.

Step 1: If using frozen shrimp, defrost in the refrigerator overnight or with cool water until no longer icy. Peel and devein the thawed frozen shrimp or fresh pieces before cooking. This ensures that the digestive tract is removed and cleaned.

Poach the shrimp

Person adding salt to a pot of water.

Salt the water.

Thawed shrimp being added to a pot of hot water.

Add the defrosted shrimp.

Spoon lifting two poached shrimp from a pot.

Step 2: Cooking the shrimp using the poaching method is the most gentle technique to cook the pieces thoroughly. Heat salted water to about 180°F (82ºC); this is when you can see movement in the water with bubbles forming. Do not boil the shrimp!

The proteins cook quickly, turning the texture tough and rubbery if not monitored. Poaching only takes about 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes. It’s quick! The shrimp will turn bright orange, opaque, and loosely curled.

Stop the cooking process

Poached shrimp placed in a bowl of water and ice cubes.

Step 3: Immediately after poaching, transfer the shrimp to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

Make the shrimp salad dressing

Dill, garlic, mayo, sour cream, and spices in a mixing bowl.

Add the dressing ingredients.

Creamy shrimp salad dressing whisked together in a mixing bowl.

Whisk until combined.

Step 4: Whisk together equal parts of mayonnaise and sour cream for a rich emulsified base. Add freshly chopped dill, Dijon mustard for tanginess, fresh lemon zest and juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

This recipe for shrimp salad is one of my favorite summer salads because of the cool and creamy dressing. It’s straightforward to prepare! The recipe makes about 1 cup. It’s also great to serve with cooked lobster to make a salad or roll.

How to make shrimp salad

Poached shrimp in a bowl of dressing with diced onions and celery.
Close up of a wooden spoon and two pieces of shrimp.

Step 5: Once the shrimp is chilled, drain well and add them to the creamy lemon dressing. Add chopped celery and onions, then toss well to combine. The dressing is thick, so it should cling to the shrimp. Enjoy right away, or refrigerate until ready to serve. It stores well for 3 to 5 days.

Flavor variations

There are various ways to switch up the flavor of this shrimp salad recipe. Try these delicious ideas:

  • Seasoning: Add cajun seasoning for smokiness and heat, Old Bay seasoning, lemon pepper, smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or taco seasoning. Vinegar will add extra tanginess.
  • Herbs: Sliced green onions, chives, basil, oregano, tarragon, cilantro, or parsley; these add fresh herbaceous notes.
  • Mayonnaise Substitute: For a lighter dressing, use low-fat mayonnaise. Add plain Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil for extra protein and probiotics. Use vegan mayonnaise or dairy-free sour cream.
  • Citrus: Instead of lemons, try lime or orange to flavor the dressing or a combination.
  • Spicy: Make it spicy with hot sauce, chipotle chili powder, cayenne, red chili flakes, or freshly diced hot peppers.
  • Vegetables: Add cucumber, carrots, red bell peppers, corn, beans, diced tomatoes, or avocado.
Shrimp salad sandwich with lettuce and tomato.

Serving suggestions

Frequently asked questions

Can I use pre-cooked shrimp?

Yes! This is a great way to make a quick meal. Remove the shrimp tails and rinse with cold water. Drain well before adding to the dressing.

Can I make the shrimp salad ahead of time?

The shrimp and dressing can be prepared 1 to 2 days in advance. Once mixed, it tastes best served within the same day for the creamiest consistency. The dressing starts to thin out as the salt draws out some of the juices from the shrimp. Just mix again before serving. The salad can be refrigerated for 3 to 5 days.

How do I cook the shrimp for the salad?

Poaching is the most gentle method for cooking. However, you can use sauteed shrimp, roasted shrimp, or grilled shrimp for extra flavor.

Shrimp salad lettuce wraps.

How to tell when shrimp is done cooking

Shrimp proteins denature and cook within minutes! There are various cues to look for to tell when it’s ready. The color will change to pink due to a pigment called astaxanthin released when the internal temperature hits 120ºF (49ºC). It will make a loosely curled “C” shape. If it becomes a very tight “O,” it may be overcooked. Test the internal temperature of the shrimp. It should reach 140ºF (60ºC).

Shrimp Salad

With its vibrant colors, mouthwatering flavors, and easy preparation, this shrimp salad recipe will be a hit at your next gathering or a delightful light meal for yourself.
4.58 from 7 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

Poached Shrimp

  • 2 pounds shrimp, 16/20 count, peeled and deveined
  • 3 quarts cold water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups ice

Shrimp Salad

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic, or ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup diced celery, ⅛" dice
  • ¼  cup minced red onion

Instructions 

  • Defrost the Shrimp – If using frozen shrimp, defrost in the refrigerator overnight or for about 24 hours. For quick defrosting, place them in a colander and run cold water over them until no longer icy.
    In a large bowl, add ice and 4 cups of cold water to make an ice bath. Set aside.
  • Poach the Shrimp – Heat 8 cups of water in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of salt. Heat until the surface is just beginning to move but not bubbling, about 180°F (82ºC). Add the shrimp, stir, and cook until opaque, loosely curled, and the thickest part reaches 140ºF (60ºC), about 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes.
  • Stop the Cooking Process – Immediately transfer the shrimp to the ice water bath. Chill until cool, about 5 minutes. Drain using a colander.
  • Make the Dressing – In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper.
  • Mix the Shrimp Salad – To the dressing, add the drained poached shrimp, celery, and onion. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To Serve – Serve as is, with crackers to dip, toast for sandwiches, or on top of lettuce leaves.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Serving Size: 4 to 5 shrimp
  • Make ahead: Refrigerate cooked shrimp 1 day in advance. The dressing can be made 2 days in advance.
  • Storing: Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 225kcal (11%)Carbohydrates 2g (1%)Protein 23g (46%)Fat 14g (22%)Saturated Fat 3g (15%)Polyunsaturated Fat 7gMonounsaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0.03gCholesterol 197mg (66%)Sodium 406mg (17%)Potassium 352mg (10%)Fiber 0.3g (1%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 137IU (3%)Vitamin C 2mg (2%)Calcium 98mg (10%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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