The Best Shrimp Salad

Meeghan Aimone
by Meeghan Aimone
4-6 servings
20 min


Succulent fresh shrimp combined with briny green olives and crisp celery in a cool, creamy, and savory sauce makes this the best shrimp salad you’ll ever try. It’s the perfect addition to any spring or summer menu. Serve it for brunch, lunch, or dinner. It’s delicious over a bed of lettuce. You can also add some pasta with it to make it a heartier meal. I promise you will want a second serving of this outstanding shrimp salad no matter how or when you have it.

Find the full recipe at the end of this post.

Another Recipe Passed Down From Grandma

Y’all loved my Grandma’s Potato Casserole so much, that I thought I’d share another one of her recipes with you.

Back when my grandma used to make shrimp salad, she was living in Minnesota. As you can imagine, it was difficult to find fresh shrimp there. Therefore, she would make shrimp salad with canned shrimp. I know, I know, fresh shrimp are so much better. I agree, but back then they weren’t really an affordable option. My grandma and my mom both used to make this salad with canned shrimp. Even with canned shrimp, I STILL loved this salad growing up!

When we lived in California (by the coast), my mom continued to make shrimp salad with canned shrimp despite the ease of finding fresh shrimp there. I often wondered why, but as I got older it was because I realized it was because she remembered her mom making it that way and it was just the way she liked it.

From the Midwest to the Coast

Once I was living on my own and cooking for myself, I remember calling my mom and asking her for my favorite shrimp salad recipe. I made it the way the recipe was written by my grandma (as every recipe should be before you try to alter it on your own). I even used the canned shrimp. It was just as delicious as I remembered it!

It wasn’t until I met my husband that I tried making my grandma’s shrimp salad with real shrimp. One summer day, I invited him over and offered to make him dinner. In an effort to impress him, I decided to make him my favorite shrimp salad with fresh shrimp for the first time. It was the best!

Since that day, I have always made my grandma’s shrimp salad with fresh shrimp. It was delicious when she and my mom made it, but the fresh shrimp makes it virtually irresistible.

What’s in The Best Shrimp Salad?

The ingredients in this salad are affordable and simple pantry staples. The shrimp is the most expensive ingredient in this recipe. There are two parts to this recipe: the salad and the sauce.

The salad:

  • Freshly cooked shrimp (frozen or canned also work)
  • Celery
  • Pimento-stuffed green olives
  • Fresh dill and fresh parsley for garnish

The Sauce:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic salt
  • Dry mustard
  • Paprika

How to Make The Best Shrimp Salad

For the salad:

Prepare the shrimp: You can use fresh or frozen cooked shrimp from the grocery store or local fish market. Or, you can cook raw shrimp yourself. Buying the shrimp from the store already cooked is a great way to save time! Be sure the shrimp are cooked, deveined, peeled, and the tails are removed before putting them in your salad. If you are using frozen cooked shrimp, be sure to also thaw them first.

Next, chop the celery and slice the green olives and add them to the bowl with the shrimp.

Now It’s time to make the sauce. In a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic salt, dry mustard, and paprika. Whisk to combine.

Add the sauce to the shrimp, celery, and green olives and stir gently but thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate to allow the salad to chill a bit before serving.

Serve the shrimp salad over a bed of fresh lettuce and garnish it with some fresh chopped parsley and fresh sprigs of dill on top. I like to put a bowl of lemon wedges for the salad out on the table too.

Shrimp salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Some Shrimp Salad Suggestions

Cooking the shrimp:

When I’m making this salad during the week for the family, I typically use frozen cooked shrimp. It’s much easier and quicker. Although cooking (boiling) the shrimp at home does require more time, I must admit the shrimp are more flavorful because of the method I use. When I make this shrimp salad for guests at the farm or when I bring it to a party, I always cook the shrimp myself. Here is my method:

To cook your own shrimp, bring 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning, and 2 tablespoons of butter to a boil in a large pot. Add the shrimp, turn the heat down to medium, and cover the pot with a lid. Cook the shrimp for about 5 minutes or until they turn pink, stirring the pot once during that time. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the broth and place them in a large bowl.

A heartier version:

Growing up, my grandma and my mom always made shrimp salad with cooked pasta in it.

Add 1-2 cups of cooked pasta to the shrimp salad for a heartier version. Traditionally, my grandma and mom used elbow macaroni, but you could use the pasta of your choice including rotini or bow ties.

Add some onion:

Although my grandma’s recipe doesn’t call for onions in her original recipe, I love them. If you love them too, they are delicious in this shrimp salad. My favorite onion to use is green onion, but red and yellow are delicious too.

I typically add about 1/3 of a cup of chopped onions when I add them.

This salad pairs perfectly with a crisp white wine and biscuits or garlic bread. I hope you love it as much as we do here on the farm. It’s the perfect way to celebrate summer.

If you enjoy seafood and fresh summer salads, you may also love my recipe for Salmon, Asparagus, and Dill Orzo Salad with Lemon Pepper Vinaigrette. It’s always a crowd-pleaser!

I invite you to join me on Pinterest and Instagram too. I look forward to sharing more with you there.

Recipe details
  • 4-6  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 5 Minutes Total time: 20 min
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  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of fresh, frozen, or canned cooked shrimp
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1-2 cups cooked pasta (optional)
  • Fresh leaves of lettuce
  • Lemon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Fresh dill sprigs (garnish)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)

Place cooked shrimp in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the olives and the celery to the shrimp. (If you are adding onion to the salad you can do that at this time too.)
In a small mixing bowl add the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic salt, dry mustard, and paprika. Whisk the ingredients until combined and a creamy sauce is created.
Pour the sauce over the shrimp, olives, and celery. Mix the salad gently and thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Refrigerate to chill a bit before serving.
Layer the lettuce leaves on a large plate or small platter and spoon the shrimp salad on top. Garnish the salad with fresh chopped parsley, small springs of fresh dill, and lemon wedges.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Meeghan Aimone
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  • Suzette Stout McGowen Suzette Stout McGowen on Jun 09, 2022

    Do you adjust the amount of sauce you prepare if adding pasta?

    • Meeghan Aimone Meeghan Aimone on Jun 09, 2022

      I do not adjust the amount of sauce, Suzette. The amounts listed for the sauce in the recipe are based on my grandma's version with pasta in it. Therefore, if anything, you have a bit of extra sauce when making it with only shrimp. I usually put the extra sauce on the table in a bowl if anyone wants to drizzle more over their shrimp.

  • Hro42623504 Hro42623504 on Jun 18, 2022

    I’m making this tonight, the sauce is amazing