This tasty shrimp salad with a creamy dressing is the perfect lunch, and it also makes a wonderful dinner in the summer.
Ready in just 25 minutes, this salad is truly easy to make, and the leftovers are excellent, too.
Main-dish salads are a lifesaver in the summer. They are quick, not too heavy, and fresh-tasting; just as importantly, they save you from heating the oven.
Here's an overview of the ingredients needed to make this salad. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below.
- Shrimp: It's best to use medium shrimp (50 per pound) since they are bite-size and easier to eat in a salad.
- Mayonnaise: I prefer avocado oil mayonnaise.
- Dijon mustard: Dijon is creamier and less vinegary than yellow mustard. I love the flavor it adds to this salad.
- White wine vinegar: Or use fresh lemon juice if you prefer.
- Kosher salt and black pepper: I use kosher salt in most of my recipes. If using fine salt, you should use half the amount listed in the recipe card.
- Vegetables and aromatics: Minced red onion, minced garlic, minced celery, and chopped cilantro.
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the dressing if you like spicy food. You can also add seeded, thinly sliced jalapeno peppers. I like both options!
- Sometimes, I add 2 tablespoons of bacon bits.
- I often add a couple of chopped, hard-boiled eggs.
- Scallions are a good substitute for red onions in this recipe.
- Avocado is a nice addition to this salad. You can peel and cube one small avocado and add it last, mixing it in gently.
Shrimp Salad Instructions
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
- First, boil the shrimp briefly until pink and opaque. Transfer them to a bowl filled with cold water. This will stop the cooking process and will help chill them.
- In a salad bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. (Photo 1).
- Add the cooked shrimp, red onion, celery, and cilantro to the dressing. (Photos 2-3).
- Mix gently, then serve. (Photos 4-5).
I recommend using medium shrimp (50 pieces per pound) in this recipe. Since they are bite-size, they are easy to eat in a salad. Large shrimp (40 pieces per pound) work, too.
If using extra-large shrimp (20 per pound), you'll need to cook them for a bit longer - 3 minutes. Once cooked, you can chop them into bite-size pieces, but leaving them whole is OK.
Yes, you can defrost them and use them in this recipe. But keep in mind that these shrimp are a compromise - they're not as good, in flavor and texture, as freshly cooked shrimp.
Yes. You can replace the mayonnaise with ½ cup of sour cream or ⅓ cup of olive oil.
If using olive oil, place the dressing ingredients in a jar, seal it well, and shake vigorously until the dressing emulsifies.
Yes! I often do. You can use 2-3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped. Add them last and mix them gently into the salad.
I like this salad as is, on a plate, eaten with a fork. But if you want to serve it with something, here are a few ideas that I tried and liked:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to two days. I don't recommend freezing the leftovers. The texture and flavor will be off after freezing and thawing the salad.
More Shrimp Recipes
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Creamy Shrimp Salad
- 1 pound raw shrimp medium or large, peeled and deveined, tails off (40-50 per pound)
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ teaspoon of any other salt
Additional salad ingredients:
- ¼ cup red onion minced
- ¼ cup celery minced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
Cook the shrimp:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and the shrimp. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook the shrimp, uncovered, until pink and cooked through, for about 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked shrimp onto a bowl filled with cold water to stop the cooking process. You don't want them overcooked.
Make the dressing:
- In a salad bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, vinegar, garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper.
Mix the salad:
- Add the cooked shrimp, red onion, celery, and cilantro. Gently mix to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for a couple of hours. Remix the salad before serving.
- It's OK to use frozen and defrosted pre-cooked shrimp, but remember that they're not as good in terms of flavor and texture as freshly cooked ones.
- If using extra-large shrimp (20 per pound), you'll need to cook them for a bit longer - 3 minutes. Once cooked, you can chop them into bite-size pieces, but leaving them whole is OK.
- You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to two days. I don't recommend freezing them.