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Easy Shrimp Salad

This is a recipe for Shrimp Salad which is light, low in calories and carbs and is a great lunch or dinner year-round. It is really good in the summer because you can just put it on a bed of lettuce and have a meal that you don’t have to heat up your kitchen by turning on the stove or oven.

How to Make Shrimp Salad

Honestly, who doesn’t love to eat shrimp? When you combine them with the other yummy flavors in this recipe, it becomes a treat for almost everyone. It has a lot of good flavor by adding some basic spices and seasonings that you probably have most of them in your own kitchen. 

The salad itself is open for interpretation, so if there is something that we put in it that you want to omit that’s fine, and if there is something else you want to add to the salad then go for it. You can also make it with whatever size shrimp that you want.

What is Shrimp Salad?

Shrimp salad is a blend of shrimp, mayonnaise, veggies, and some spices, that all combined together make up a lunch or dinner that can be made up ahead of time. It’s high in protein, low in calories and carbs, and easy to make which means it’s a staple in our house!

Is Shrimp Salad Healthy?

Cold Shrimp Salad Recipe

Shrimp salad is a very healthy food to eat for almost everyone. Anytime I eat shrimp I feel good because it is a high protein food that is low in calories and fat, along with the fact that it is also very low in carbs. 

It also promotes heart and brain health because of the omega oils in it, and is considered one of the 10 foods that are almost pure protein. 

Then add some healthy veggies to the salad and it’s a win, win food to eat. You can see why so many people love it.

For a 3 oz portion of shrimp there is:

  • Calories – 84
  • Protein – 18 grams
  • Carbs – Less than 1 carb
  • It has other great nutrients:
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Niacin
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Iodine
  • Omega 6 and Omega 3
  • Antioxidants

How Many Carbs are in Shrimp Salad? 

Our shrimp salad recipe offers a tasty meal that is low in carbs. A 1 cup serving is only 3.2 NET Carbs.

What Ingredients are in Shrimp Salad?

We have listed all of the ingredients to make the best shrimp salad. It is your choice whether to mix everything all in one step or you could mix up the dressing separately and then mix everything together. It’s up to you.

Shrimp Salad ingredients


  • Shrimp – The main ingredient in this salad and they can be any size that you want them to be.
  • Onion – Red onion preferably but any will do. 
  • Cucumbers – English cucumbers with the skin on will help keep them from making your shrimp salad soggy.
  • Scallions – A light onion flavor and will add some color variation to the salad.


  • Mayonnaise – Regular or low fat if you prefer.
  • Lemon Juice – Just a little will go well with the shrimp.
  • Salt – Any type will be fine but we always prefer to use sea salt, pink or white.
  • Pepper – Black pepper finely ground.
  • Dill – Fresh dill adds so much more flavor than dried, but if you can’t find fresh then by all means dried is better than nothing.
  • Parsley – The same with the parsley, fresh is best but if you can’t get it then use dried.

Different Variations

How to Make the Best Shrimp Salad
  • Garlic – This is a good addition if you are a garlic lover, which adds a lot of flavor to the shrimp salad, which can be freshly chopped, chopped in a jar, or powder form.
  • Avocado – This is a nice, tasty, and healthy addition to any salad.
  • Old Bay – A common spice that is served in many seafood restaurants on shrimp, crab legs, and other favorite kinds of seafood. It is a bit salty and spicy but very tasty.
  • Artichokes – These are a delicacy that goes well as an accent with many salads.
  • Peppers – A small number of red bell peppers would add a little flavor and color to the salad.

Dressing Options

Low-fat mayo is an alternative to use instead of regular mayo.

If you don’t like mayo and would like to substitute it with something else, here are a few ideas:

  • Yogurt
  • Oil and Vinegar
  • Sour Cream

They all make a good base for the dressing, and then add the spices of your choice.

Seasoning Options

I always feel that spices are up to the individual doing the cooking. Here are a few other options to try:

  • Garlic – Fresh or powder form.
  • Old Bay – A favorite spice that goes with seafood.
  • Celery – Comes in many forms. Fresh, seeds or flakes.
  • Paprika – Just a sprinkle on the top of the salad will add a finishing touch.

Add-In Options

Shrimp salad is one of those recipes that you can tailor to your likes and dislikes, by taking some things out and adding others to it. Here are a few ideas:

  • Celery Fresh
  • Celery Flakes
  • Celery Seeds
  • Pickles
  • Relish – dill or sweet
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Mustard

Can I Add Pasta?

Pasta salad is everyone’s favorite at a picnic, so cooked pasta for sure can be added to your shrimp salad. It makes your dish a little more hearty and filling and if you are on a budget it will stretch your funds by adding a pound of pasta. 

It is your personal preference what type of pasta. You can add something decorative like bow ties, or something small like elbows or shells or anything else that you can think of.

Obviously, if you are watching your carbs then adding pasta may not be a good choice.

What are the Best Shrimps for Shrimp Salad?

Best Shrimp Salad Recipe

All shrimp are not the same and do not come from one particular country, but at the same time, this gives you many choices when making your shrimp salad.

In this section, we will give you a bunch of information that will help you to know what kind of shrimp to use.

Should I Use Pre-Cooked Shrimp or Fresh Shrimp?

This decision is entirely up to you and either one is fine, but if you live near an area where shrimp are found, we recommend getting them fresh rather than frozen. 

If you live in an area that’s land-locked, you won’t have a choice but to buy frozen, pre-cooked shrimp.

If I am in a hurry, I will buy them already cooked.

Are Salad Shrimp Already Cooked?

Yes, they are. You would not use raw shrimp in this salad, the shrimp would definitely need to be cooked. When it is cooked it makes the perfect texture and flavor combination with the mayo and other ingredients.

Types of Shrimp

There are several types of shrimp that can be used in a shrimp salad.

  • Pink Shrimp – Their taste is mild and very sweet. They come from the south, like Florida for instance. They are light in color and have dark blue color on their tail.
  • White Shrimp – These are from other countries such as Mexico, China, Thailand, and Latin America. They are also tender and sweet and are light in color with green on their tail. 
  • Brown Shrimp – These come from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and are smaller in size. They have a slight purple tail and a light flavor.

One thing that these shrimp have in common is that they all come from places with warmer waters, so obviously they cannot survive in cold water like lobster and crabs.

Shrimp Salad in a bowl with sliced lemons

Shrimp Sizes

For this cold shrimp salad, we use 31/40 which simply means that there are about that many shrimp per pound. They are referred to as X-large shrimp.

The higher the numbers, like large shrimp, 50-60 means that the shrimp are smaller so you get that many per pound, and the lower the numbers, like jumbo shrimp,16-20 means that the shrimp are bigger so you get less per pound. 

In my opinion, the 31/40 is the best size because they are not too small and they are not too large where you would need to cut them in half in order to fit it all in your mouth at one time.

Shrimp Cooking Options

Shrimp can be cooked in many different ways, such as steamed or boiled, grilled, fried, sauteed…etc but for this recipe, the only way to make them is by boiling or steaming them. 

The other ways would not work well for shrimp salad because you want your shrimp to taste delicate, with only the pure shrimp flavor. If you grill, fry, or saute them they will take on other flavors that will not go with this kind of salad.

How to Make Shrimp Salad (Step-by-Step) 

We will now show you step by step how to make our cold shrimp salad recipe along with the dressing ingredients that pull it all together.

STEP 1: Prepare Your Ingredients

  1. The first thing to do is to gather all of your ingredients. Measure out the spices and chop all of your veggies, and place them in bowls.
Ingredients for Shrimp Salad

STEP 2: Cooking the Shrimp

(You can skip this step if you buy shrimp that are already cooked.) 

  1. If your shrimp need cooking, fill a pot ½ way up with water and add 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the shrimp. Bring the water back to a boil. When the shrimp turn pink then they are done.
  3. Dump them into a colander and drain well.

STEP 3: Peeling Shrimp

  1. If the shrimp that you are using have shells and tails, then now would be a good time to take care of taking them off.
  2. Once the shrimp are peeled, then place them on a cookie sheet that is lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Spread them out and then place more paper towels on top of the shrimp to absorb more moisture. Pat dry.
  3. Now place the shrimp in a bowl.

STEP 5: Putting it All Together

  1. Add all of the ingredients to the shrimp, in no special order, one at a time.

STEP 4: Making the Dressing

You can either make the dressing separately and blend it, or else add all of the ingredients to the shrimp, including the mayo and spices, and then blend everything together at once. 

For this recipe we just added all the ingredients together. I don’t find any difference in the finished product either way.

  1. Add the ingredients for the dressing into the blown and blend it all together. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

FAQs & Best Tips

Now we are going to answer some of the questions that may be running through your head, especially if you have never attempted to make shrimp salad before. We will also share some helpful tips with you that we have learned along the way.

  • You can use any size shrimp that you would like but I would recommend 31/40 count (X-Large) or 51/60 count (Large).
  • Fresh Dill makes the best flavor vs dried dill.
  • Low-Fat mayo can be used instead of regular mayo.
  • Omit or add any ingredients of your choice.
  • If the shrimp, fresh or frozen, smell weird then do not use them.
  • If you cook the shrimp yourself make sure not to overcook them or they will have a tough texture. Just cook them until they turn pink, which only takes a couple of minutes.
Shrimp Salad Recipe

How to Keep Shrimp Salad from being Watery?

If your shrimp salad is watery, it would ruin it, I mean, who wants watery mayo? So let’s make sure that does not happen to your shrimp salad.

Using Cooked Shrimp – If you cook your own shrimp then make sure that all of the water is drained off of it after you make it. I like to drain it in a colander and then I lay it out on a tray lined with paper towels and then after I lay the shrimp out on it, I also cover the top with paper towels to be sure to absorb all of the water.

Using Frozen Shrimp – If you buy frozen shrimp that is already cooked when you purchase it, make sure to take the same steps when thawing it out. After using a colander to drain the water off of it, use the tray and paper towel process to absorb any excess water before making your shrimp salad.

Should I Peel the Shrimp Shells Off?

For sure they will need to be peeled before adding them into the salad because no one wants to peel them once they are covered with dressing!

You will need to buy the shrimp either with the shells on or ones that have been pre-peeled before buying them.

Using Frozen Shrimp

This is inevitable in most cases. Shrimp are highly perishable, so that’s why they are frozen pretty soon after they are caught.

Unless you live near the ocean and buy shrimp from the fisherman on fishing boats or from a seafood store that sells the shrimp fresh from the fishermen, most of the shrimp that we buy in the store is either frozen when we buy it or has been frozen and then thawed out before selling it.

How to Serve Shrimp Salad?

Best Shrimp Salad Recipe

Shrimp salad is one of those foods that can be served for lunch or dinner or just a mid-afternoon snack. Now let’s see some of my favorite ways to serve the best shrimp salad recipe:

  • On a bed of lettuce
  • On a sandwich, either regular or low carb ( low carb bread and rolls on our website)
  • On crackers, (low carb crackers on our website) 
  • Just in a dish alone by itself
  • Stuffed inside a large tomato or in cherry tomatoes.
  • Mixed with pasta to make a cold pasta salad.
  • Inside a hollowed-out cucumber.
  • Inside an avocado half.

Can I Make This Recipe Ahead?

You can make this shrimp salad recipe ahead of time but not too far ahead because it does not stay fresh for very long. 

I find that it works out best if I make the salad just two or three hours before we are ready to eat it. That way once you blend all of the ingredients together it can chill up pretty good before serving it.

How to Store Shrimp Salad?

Once you make this recipe for shrimp salad, do not leave it laying around on the counter or table. Make sure that it stays in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.

Shrimp salad is best stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and would be best eaten within 2 days of making it. Both shrimp and mayo can spoil very easily so it is best if you don’t take any chances by keeping it around for several more days.

Shrimp Salad in a bowl with a fork

Can You Freeze Shrimp Salad?

No, you can’t. Shrimp salad is not one of those foods that can be frozen. The shrimp and the mayo do not freeze very well. So when you make shrimp salad, then eat it within a day or two and don’t plan on freezing it.

Tools to Use

You don’t need too many things in order to make this shrimp salad.

  • A Mixing Bowl
  • A Large Spoon
  • A Cutting Board
  • A Knife to chop up the veggies.

Diets This Recipe is Good For

  • Keto/low carb – This recipe for shrimp salad is a perfect low-carb meal.
  • Gluten-free – There is no gluten in a homemade shrimp salad.
  • Nut-free – There is no need to add any nuts to this salad.
  • Dairy-free – It’s a recipe that does not have any dairy for our friends that have an allergy.
  • Paleo – A good recipe for our paleo readers.
Best Shrimp Salad

Other Delicious Salad Recipes

We have a few other salads on our website that you can take a few minutes to look up. Try them out, because if you like our shrimp salad then you will also like:

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad Recipe

All of them are easy-to-make dinners and will have your friends & family raving!

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Shrimp Salad Recipe

Easy Shrimp Salad

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  • Author: Leigh Oskwarek
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings (1 Cup per serving) 1x
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This recipe for shrimp salad is one that you will want to make for lunch or dinner. It is light and tasty and easy to make, especially in the summer when you don’t feel like putting the stove or oven on. It’s quick to do and you can eat it on a sandwich or on top of a bed of lettuce. You can also use it to make stuffed tomatoes. 

Make it as it is in this recipe or make some adjustments according to your taste buds. You can make some additions or replacements to the ingredients.


  • 2 lbs./4 cups Frozen Shrimp, 31/40 ct (you can also use fresh shrimp)
  • Red Onion
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. Fresh Parsley
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. Fresh Dill
  • ½ cup English Cucumbers
  • ½ cup Scallions
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • ⅓ cup Mayo 



3.2 NET Carbs per Serving

Fresh Dill and Parsley have a much better flavor to use rather than dried.

Low-fat mayo can be substituted for regular mayo.

Add some extra veggies or spices of your choice, to make it the best shrimp salad for you.

Do not use the shrimp if they smell bad.

If you cook your shrimp yourself do not overcook or you will end up with tough, instead of tender shrimp.

Storing: If you have leftover shrimp salad, do not leave it laying around on the counter or table for too long. Both mayo and seafood need to be refrigerated right away so that they do not spoil.

Just store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and eat it within 2 days of making it.

Freezing: If you get the idea that you can freeze your leftover shrimp salad, do not do it. Both shrimp and mayo are 2 things that don’t freeze well.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes (if using frozen shrimp)
  • Category: Salads
  • Cuisine: American
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