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This shrimp salad recipe has an irresistibly zesty and creamy dressing! It’s a wonderful side dish or elevated lunch when you serve it over a bed of lettuce or with fresh bread.

Try this summery Shrimp Pasta Salad next for another warm-weather seafood favorite.

The best shrimp salad served over a bed of butter leaf lettuce (in a white salad bowl)

Why you’ll enjoy it

Is there anything more refreshing than a perfectly chilled shrimp salad on a hot summer day? I don’t think so. I wanted to kick it up a notch for this one since I’m definitely not a fan of one-dimensional salads. Horseradish adds bold extra flavor, so this isn’t just your average boring mayo-based dressing!

This classic shrimp salad makes a fantastic appetizer or salad course for easy entertaining. It’s also simple enough to whip up for a quick and satisfying lunch in under 30 minutes when you’re craving seafood, and it requires no fancy ingredients.

What you’ll need

For the salad

  • Shrimp – frozen ones that are deveined and peeled are a time saver
  • Red onion, celery, and cucumber – our chopped veggie trio to give a satisfying crunch and freshness. Red onions are best for salads since they’re not as sharp as other onion varieties.

For the dressing

  • Mayonnaise – I go for Hellmann’s, but use your usual brand or even Miracle Whip if that’s your thing
  • Horseradish – my secret ingredient. It’s a component of the red sauce/dip that accompanies shrimp cocktails, so I thought I’d use it here too! You’ll find it in a jar or squeeze bottle, and it’ll say “creamed” or “cream style”.
  • Lemon juice – always use freshly squeezed
  • Lemon zest – it adds so much brightness to mayo-based dressings. I use my Microplane zester to easily do it.  
  • Fresh dill – nothing goes better together than dill and seafood
  • Garlic powder – yeah, I can’t resist garlic
  • Worcestershire sauce – it amps up the savory flavor even more. I wouldn’t skip it.
cooked shrimp in a colander

What kind of shrimp do I use?

  • I recommend using raw 31-40/pound size shrimp. Larger or smaller shrimp will work too! Just adjust cooking time accordingly. To thaw, run them under cool water in a sieve or colander.
  • You can use pre-cooked shrimp if you prefer, but, in my opinion, shrimp that are cooked from scratch taste much better and are more tender. It’s super easy to cook them and doesn’t take long at all.
  • Unless you live right by the sea, frozen shrimp are actually the best choice because the ones at the seafood counter are usually also previously frozen and then thawed anyway.

How to make shrimp salad

This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

  • Thaw the shrimp and peel if necessary. Boil a pot of water, and cook the shrimp until pink. Drain and add them to an ice bath to cool them for a few minutes and stop them from overcooking. Pat dry with paper towel.
  • Add all the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and stir. Taste it and adjust the ingredient quantities to your preference.
  • Chop your veggies and add them to a salad bowl, followed by the shrimp. Toss with some of the dressing, using as much as you prefer. Chill for 30 minutes, and enjoy!

Pro tip

  • Shrimp are fairly salty and the dressing already includes salt in some of the components, so you may not need to add much (or any) extra salt to the salad. Definitely give it a taste first before adding any more.

Substitutions and variations

  • If you don’t have any horseradish, try subbing it with Dijon mustard.
  • I strongly suggest fresh dill, but if you can’t get any, try using 1 teaspoon or so of dried dill and adding more as needed.
  • If you want to add even more flavor to this salad, add a dash or two of hot sauce like Tabasco to the dressing, or sprinkle some Old Bay seasoning on top!
  • Try including some chopped avocado if you’re eating it right away and aren’t planning on having leftovers.
shrimp salad ingredients in a glass prep bowl

How to serve shrimp salad

  • I like to plate it over butter leaf lettuce. It looks pretty and pairs well. I lined the bowl in the photos with several leaves and then spooned the shrimp over top. You could even add a few pieces of the lettuce to individual plates and serve it as lettuce cups/wraps for a side or appetizer.
  • I sometimes just eat shrimp salad with a slice of good crusty bread. It is fairly rich, so I recommend serving smaller portions, and bread really helps to make it a complete meal without it being too heavy. You can make shrimp salad sandwiches if you want with a flaky croissant as well.
  • Try stuffing an avocado half with it if you’re going for a filling lower carb option. There are so many ways to enjoy it!

Leftovers and storage

  • This shrimp salad will last up to 3 days in the fridge just fine in an airtight container. It makes great make-ahead lunches too.
  • Just make sure to not leave it sitting out for too long. If it’s not eaten fairly quickly or is in the sun for a while, it’s best to discard it for food safety reasons.
close-up of cold shrimp salad in a glass prep bowl

Ask me any questions in the comments below! We hope you agree this is the best shrimp salad. As always, tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you made it.

The best shrimp salad served over a bed of butter leaf lettuce (in a white salad bowl)
5 from 1 vote

Easy Shrimp Salad

This shrimp salad recipe has an irresistibly zesty and creamy dressing! It's a wonderful side dish or elevated lunch when you serve it over a bed of lettuce or with fresh bread.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp (31-40/pound size) thawed & peeled
  • 2 tablespoons red onion chopped finely
  • 2 sticks celery chopped small
  • 1/2 cup cucumber chopped small

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayo or Miracle Whip
  • 1 tablespoon creamed horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice + zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Prep the shrimp (run under cool water to thaw if they're frozen, peel them, and remove the tails). Boil a pot of water to cook them, and fill a medium-sized bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Once the water is boiling, add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain the shrimp and add them to the ice bath to stop them from cooking further. Let them cool in there for a few minutes prior to draining them and patting them dry with paper towel.
  • Meanwhile, add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl and stir together thoroughly. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as needed (this dressing is quite zippy so start with half the horseradish and taste if you're unsure!). Prep the other ingredients (onion, celery, cucumber), and add them to a salad bowl.
  • Add the shrimp to the salad bowl and toss with the dressing (this makes a lot of dressing so feel free to not use it all if you prefer). I like to chill the salad for 30 minutes or so prior to serving (cover and refrigerate). Serve on a bed of butter leaf lettuce if desired.

Notes

  • Serves 4-6 depending on how much people eat. 
  • If you don’t have any/don’t want to buy horseradish, try subbing with Dijon mustard (start with 1/2 tbsp and add more as needed).
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 298mg, Sodium: 1106mg, Potassium: 187mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 108IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 172mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! Iā€™m Natasha.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We had leftover shrimp (whoever heard of such a thing?) and I was looking for something different to do with it. It needed to be not too complicated for after work and made from normal things I had at home. I found this recipe and it was perfect. I made it by the recipe except for white onion, I even used a dash of worcestershire-which I questioned. i wanted it light and summery and this was, the dressing wasn’t too heavy and the shrimp was still the star. We had it with good bread and cantaloupe and thought it was a perfect summer dinner.

    1. Hi Sheila! I think you could try, or even do a mayo-Greek yogurt mix (or add a bit of olive oil if using just Greek yogurt). With just yogurt, it will taste slightly more tangy, and it won’t be quite as smooth, so you may need to adjust ingredients a bit to come to a flavor/texture you enjoy. Let me know if you do try!