My restaurant-style shrimp salad makes the perfect lunch or light supper. Whether you serve it as a sandwich or as a salad, you won’t believe how easy my shrimp salad is to make and how much better it is than most of your favorite restaurants.
Just look at those big pieces of shrimp. They are so much tastier and have a better appearance than small shrimp. Using the right ingredients makes all the difference in the world!
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Ways to serve shrimp salad!
My shrimp salad was delicious, served on a buttery, flaky croissant. It also makes a great sandwich filling, for a pita pocket, multigrain roll, or as a lettuce wrap. My wife’s favorite way to eat it is between two slices of good rye bread.
You can enjoy this creamy shrimp salad in several ways. Add a scoop to your favorite salad. Or, serve it on top of a bed of lettuce or salad greens. And, of course, crackers go really well with shrimp salad.
If you love shrimp, my golden brown deep-fried shrimp will rock your world!
Ingredients to make shrimp salad
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make shrimp salad. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
What Kind of Shrimp should I use?
Since shrimp is the star of the dish, you want to make sure you buy the best shrimp you can, and for shrimp salad, I always use jumbo shrimp.
- Shrimp is either wild-caught or farmed. My first choice is always Gulf or Pacific shrimp from American waters. Farmed shrimp will be less expensive but can be a poor choice depending upon how responsible the farms are run.
- Shrimp sized under 30 per pound will have the best flavor profile and offer the best value. Small shrimp won’t have as much flavor, they are really a waste of money. My choice for shrimp salad is 26-30 sized. I use Under 15 count and 16 -20 count for shrimp cocktail and cooking.
- Shrimp get their color from what they eat. Brown shrimp will have a higher concentration of iodine and a more mineral flavor. Pink and White shrimp are generally sweeter.
- Almost all shrimp are frozen before being transported. If you see them thawed in a supermarket, they were originally frozen.
- Avoid buying peeled and deveined shrimp. Cleaning the shrimp before freezing may cause a loss of flavor and texture.
- Frozen or thawed cooked shrimp that are frequently sold in local supermarkets are not a good choice. They won’t have much flavor and the texture of precooked shrimp gets worse the longer they stay thawed.
If you have a question about the sustainability and quality of seafood, check the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
How do I thaw frozen shrimp?
Start by thawing the shrimp in cold running water. You can also leave them in a covered bowl in your fridge overnight to thaw.
How long should I cook the shrimp?
When the shrimp are fully thawed, place them into boiling water with one tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning.
Let the shrimp cook until the water comes back to a boil up to 5-6 minutes for 26-30 sized shrimp. Larger shrimp will take 1-2 minutes longer.
When the shrimp are done cooking, remove them from the pan and place the cooked shrimp into a large bowl or container filled partway with ice.
How to make shrimp salad
After cooking and chilling, the next step is to peel and devein the shrimp. The next step is to rough cut the shrimp, but don’t cut the pieces too small. You’re buying good shrimp and you want your guests to see nice big chunks of shrimp.
In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients together and mix well. Chill the mixture for one hour before serving. This will the flavors time to build.
What else can I add to the shrimp salad dressing?
Adding your favorite seasonings and condiments is a great way to customize this easy-to-make shrimp salad. Try adding Dijon mustard, green onions, chopped red onions, fresh dill, lemon juice, or other fresh herbs. This is about making something you enjoy eating, it’s all up to you!
If there’s any leftover on day two, you’ll find the shrimp salad bursting with flavor. The mayonnaise may look a little runny, but the flavor will make up for the appearance.
Other delicious salads you can try are my Blackened Salmon Salad and my Nicoise Salad Summer Salad.
Yum yum yum.
This is an excellent recipe. I used the recommended amount of old bay and found it a little salty so I added a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to balance the saltiness. Excellent. Can’t wait to look around for more recipes on your site.
If using fresh shrimp, dehead them and use a pair of small, sharp scissors and cut their back and remove the digestive track before boiling. It removes easier raw than when it’s cooked and they are also easier to peel.
Again. An excellent recipe.
I love shrimp salad this was easy and fast great on toasted cheese bread or an artesian roll
Is there any other spice mix that can be used instead of Old Bay? It tastes like soap, as does cilantro, to me…Thanks
Chef Dennis Littley
Great question and yes you can leave out the old bay. Honestly salt and black pepper are enough, but you can add a little onion powder and fresh dill is also a good choice.
SO good and SO easy! Loved it (but left out the sugar).
I made this as written except I used my homemade Old Bay spice mix. I suspected mine might be a little saltier than the store bough so I went with the lower measurement in the salad prep. I have to say this is the best shrimp salad I’ve had, bar none, even better than restaurants. Now I have to keep myself from picking on it until my husband gets home for lunch. Can’t wait! Going to serve it on some homemade sourdough toast.
Chef Dennis Littley
I’m happy to hear you enjoyed my shrimp salad recipe! I just made some for my wife today. Her biggest complaint is getting tiny shrimp!
I made the shrimp salad with left over shrimp from appetizer tray. It was delicious and I served it on a croissant for my daughter. Sliced 1/2 avocado on each plate and a lemon slice. It was quite eloquent and fun.
I like this on a bed of lettuce and stuff a tomato with the shrimp salad.
Would you make a suggestion for the mayo? Any brand that you really like?
Chef Dennis Littley
I only use Hellmans, but any may you enjoy will be fine
SO SO GOOD. Easy and fast. Second time I made it. Doesn’t hurt
I work at Whole foods Market and get to pick my own big shrimp.
Chef Dennis, you make this shrimp salad just as delicious as I make mine. It’s the best ever – because I use YOUR recipe. TY!
Do you haft to add sugar?
Chef Dennis Littley
no you don’t
This is an AMAZING recipe!! Thank you so much for sharing! It’s super easy and family friendly! LOVE, love , love it! Make it with the wild Argentinian Trader Joe’s frozen shrimps. The French brioches are also from Trader Joe’s
Chef Dennis Littley
thanks for the great review and comment! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the shrimp salad
Looking forward to having this on a split top brioche bun that i butter and toast. Sounds like a winner!peggy
This recipe is fantastic! And it’s just as you said, allowing it to refrigerate overnight makes the flavor burst! I’m making some now for the second time. So, so good and easy!
A perfect recipe to make this time of year. Always looking for new ways to cook with seafood at home and this is a great idea!
Your in process shots making following this recipe so simple and easy! Thanks so much for sharing :).
I go weak on my knees everytime I see any dish with shrimp and mayo. So delicious! I can easily finish a couple of these salad sandwiches. looks very tempting.
I have never tried shrimp salad before but this looks so good and any recipe with Old Bay seasoning is a winner in my book!
Wow, what a great shrimp salad recipe! I love the old bay seasoning and your helpful notes about thawing shrimp and what type of shrimp to buy. Honestly for me there isn’t anything better than a sandwich on a flaky, buttery croissant!
Looks good! I would definitely vote for the croissant version please! I like that size shrimp best as well. Always try to have a bag in the freezer for a quick meal.