Robert and my friends call this the Best Shrimp Salad Recipe. Easy to prepare, this scrumptious make ahead shrimp dish is fresh, flavorful – and a bit spicy, too. Jalapeno peppers, sweet peppers, fresh herbs (chives, parsley, cilantro) and lime add zing and make this recipe unique!

Why This is the Best Shrimp Salad

Easy to prepare, this scrumptious make ahead Shrimp Salad with Lime-Herb Dressing is fresh, flavorful – and a bit spicy, too. Tender shrimp, spicy jalapeño, sweet red bell pepper and crisp shallots are tossed in a creamy fresh herb-lime dressing. It’s topped off with a surprise garnish of toasted panko breadcrumbs, paprika and fresh thyme. Definitely not your mother’s shrimp salad!

I call this dish the Best Shrimp Salad Recipe, because that’s how Robert and my friends who tested it describe it. Unique, colorful and fresh, this easy to prepare salad is going to be my new go-to recipe for easy lunches or light dinners this summer – and it’ll be yours, too. Plus, it can easily be doubled and is served cold, making it perfect for potlucks!

Dark blue plate holding Shrimp Salad with Lime Herb Dressing, with a serving spoon on the side

Best Shrimp Salad Recipe Ingredients

A few weeks ago I was craving shrimp salad, but was tired of the traditional recipe – you know the one I’m talking about, with a dressing of mayo, lemon juice, dill, and maybe onion or garlic. I wanted a different recipe that was more piquant, spicy, with more depth of flavor.

So, I decided to create a new version, starting with the dressing. Instead of lemon juice, I used lime. Instead of dill, I added a combination of chives, parsley and cilantro. And, I tossed in some hot sauce and cayenne pepper to give the dressing some heat. For more depth, I added chopped shallots and jalapeño peppers to the shrimp, along with red bell peppers that also add color.

Dark blue plate holding Shrimp Salad with Lime Herb Dressing

How to Make Shrimp Salad

Here’s all you have to do to prepare this unique salad:

  1. Prep Lime Herb Dressing.
    In a medium mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice, herbs, hot sauce and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Toss Shrimp Salad; refrigerate.
    In a large mixing bowl, stir together the shrimp, peppers and shallots. Gently toss with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  3. Prep Panko-Thyme Garnish.
    While the salad is chilling, heat butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When hot, stir in breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring constantly, just until beginning to brown – watch carefully, as they can quickly burn! Remove from heat and spoon toasted panko crumbs onto doubled paper towel to drain and cool. Once cool, place crumbs in a small bowl and stir in thyme, paprika and salt.
  4. Plate and serve.
    Line a large serving bowl or platter with lettuce. Mound shrimp on top, leaving a border of lettuce around the edge. Sprinkle panko garnish over top. Serve immediately.

Serving Spicy Cold Shrimp Salad

This shrimp salad recipe is very versatile, and can be served several different ways:

  • In a medium-sized bowl lined with Bibb or other crisp lettuce.
  • On a platter, over Bibb or other crisp lettuce.
  • On top of peeled and pitted ripe avocado halves.
  • As sandwiches – stuffed into pita bread halves or croissants
  • As crostini – finely chop the shrimp, and spoon the finished salad on top of toasted slices of ciabatta bread brushed with olive oil.

What flavors go well with cold shrimp salad?

This shrimp salad would pair well with many different flavors. Here are a few suggestions for what to serve alongside:

Storing this Spicy Shrimp Salad Recipe

Salad can be prepared and tossed up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Dressing can be prepared, covered and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead. Toss salad with dressing and plate just before serving.

How long can you keep shrimp salad in the refrigerator?

This Shrimp Salad recipe, once tossed is best served the day it is prepared. While it will last 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator, it will get watery.

Can you freeze shrimp salad?

I would not recommend freezing this shrimp salad recipe. The mayonnaise will break down and it will become watery.

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blue plate fiilled with Shrimp Salad with Lime Herb Dressing

Other shrimp recipes you might like

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blue plate showing Shrimp Salad with Lime Herb Dressing; a serving spoon on the side

Spicy Cold Shrimp Salad

Easy to prepare, this scrumptious make ahead Shrimp Salad is fresh, flavorful – and a bit spicy, too. Jalapeno peppers, sweet peppers, fresh herbs (chives, parsley, cilantro) and lime add zing and make this recipe unique!

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale

(See gluten-free adaptations in the Notes section at the bottom of the recipe.)

Lime Herb Dressing

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon mixture of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley and fresh cilantro
  • 2 to 3 dashes hot sauce
  • Dash cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Shrimp Salad

  • 1 pound cooked medium (size 41 to 50/pound) shrimp, shelled and placed on paper towel to dry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped Jalapeno, seeded and deveined (around 1 2-inch pepper)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (1 large, cored and seeded)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Panko-Thyme Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

Instructions

Lime Herb Dressing

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice, herbs, hot sauce and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover and refrigerate.

Shrimp Salad

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the shrimp, peppers and shallots. Gently toss with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Panko-Thyme Garnish

  1. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When hot, stir in breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring constantly, just until beginning to brown – watch carefully, as they can quickly burn!
  2. Remove from heat and spoon toasted panko crumbs onto doubled paper towel to drain and cool.
  3. Once cool, place crumbs in a small bowl and stir in thyme, paprika and salt.

Serving (see variations in notes below)

  1. Line a large serving bowl with lettuce.
  2. Mound shrimp on top, leaving a border of lettuce around the edge.
  3. Sprinkle panko garnish over top.
  4. Serve immediately.

Notes

Serving variations:

  1. On a platter, over torn Bibb or baby lettuce.
  2. Place a scoop of salad on top of peeled and pitted ripe avocado halves.
  3. As sandwiches – stuff shrimp salad into pita bread halves or croissants.
  4. As crostini – finely chop the shrimp, and spoon the finished salad on top of toasted slices of ciabatta bread that have been brushed with olive oil.

Tip to keep salad from getting watery: Make sure shrimp and chopped red pepper are very dry before tossing the salad.

Gluten free: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Make ahead: Salad can be prepared and tossed up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Dressing can be prepared, covered and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead. Toss salad with dressing and plate just before serving.

  • Author: (by Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Category: main dish salads, seafood, dairy free
  • Method: mixing

Keywords: shrimp, make ahead, shrimp salad

blue plate showing Shrimp Salad with Lime Herb Dressing; a serving spoon on the side

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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