For shrimp lovers, a go-to Shrimp Salad recipe is a must. This one is mine. It's all about enhancing the flavor of the shrimp with crunchy celery, briny capers, bright, fresh dill and just the right amount of creamy dressing.
It's classic picnic and potluck fare and perfect for a quick meal on hot summer nights.
It's such a versatile salad! Serve it over crisp lettuce leaves or pile it high on soft brioche buns for shrimp salad sandwiches, or toss with pasta and extra lemon juice and zest to make shrimp pasta salad (see recipe notes for more details).
Ingredients You Need to Make Shrimp Salad
- Shrimp: ideally medium shrimp for the best flavor and texture
- Mayonnaise: good quality store bought mayonnaise, homemade mayonnaise or a mixture of yogurt and sour cream for a lighter salad
- Mustard: ideally Dijon mustard
- Capers: ideally non-pareil capers (small capers with exceptional flavor!)
- Dill: ideally fresh dill, but ½ the amount of dry dill will do in a pinch
- Shallot: or red onion for a bolder onion flavor
- Celery: use the inner, tender ribs for the best texture and flavor
- Lemon Juice: ideally fresh
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Butter Lettuce Leaves: optional
Three Keys to a Spectacular Shrimp Salad
- Properly cook the shrimp: Overcooked shrimp is rubbery and bland. You want to cook the shrimp until just pink and firm, then transfer immediately to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
- Season the cooking water: boil the shrimp in salted water with lemon wedges (a method I learned from Ina Garten).
- Don't overdress: I recommend just enough dressing to make the salad creamy without overpowering all of the other flavors and textures in the salad. No goopy salads please!
More Seafood Dishes to Try
- Crab Cakes (I'm really picky about crab cakes and, I promise, these are amazing!)
- Shrimp Tacos (Read the comment thread if you need some convincing. 😉 )
- Grilled Shrimp Tacos (Perfect for summertime grilling! No stove top required.)
- Shrimp Piccata (A seafood riff on the Italian classic!)
- Crab Salad (This one is all about accentuating the real lump crab meat!)
- Seafood Pasta Salad (Loaded with shrimp and real lump crab!)
- Shrimp and Avocado Salad (Our favorite summer lunch!)
- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp (There's a trick you might not know about to make these perfectly succulent!)
- Bacon Wrapped Scallops (Always a crowd pleaser and SO easy!)
How to Make Shrimp Salad
Step 1: Bring water, salt and lemon wedges to boil in a large saucepan. Add shrimp and cover; remove from heat and allow to cook just until pink and firm (2 to 3 minutes). Transfer to ice bath. When cool, remove shrimp and pat dry.
Step 2: In a large bowl, stir dressing ingredients together until smooth: mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, capers, dill and shallot.
Step 3: Add celery and shrimp to dressing and stir to coat. Serve.
- 1 ½ lemons divided
- 2 pounds medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise or ⅓ cup mayonnaise and ⅓ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons capers coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- 1 medium shallot minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice from about ½ lemon
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 ribs celery diced small
- butter lettuce leaves optional
- Cut one lemon into wedges. (Reserve remaining half lemon for dressing.)
- Prepare ice bath for shrimp.
- Bring 2 quarts water, lemon wedges and kosher salt to boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in shrimp and cover; remove from heat and let stand until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to ice bath.
- When shrimp are cool, lift out of ice bath with slotted spoon. Pat dry and add to large salad bowl.
- To a separate bowl add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, capers, dill, and shallot. Squeeze remaining lemon half over (about 1 tablespoon of fresh juice). Whisk until well combined. Season to taste with pepper.
- Add celery to shrimp in salad bowl. Spoon mayonnaise mixture over and gently toss to coat evenly.
- If desired, line 6 individual serving bowls or salad plates with butter lettuce leaves.
- Divide shrimp salad among 6 bowls or plates and serve.
- Note that you'll need 1 ½ lemons for this recipe - one for the shrimp boiling water and another ½ for the dressing.
- Instead of serving shrimp salad over lettuce leaves, you can make shrimp salad sandwiches on soft bread (like brioche buns) or make a shrimp pasta salad by tossing shrimp salad with 4 cups of short pasta (8 ounces) like bow-tie (farfalle) or medium shell and extra lemon juice and zest.