Easy Classic Shrimp Salad

Classic shrimp salad

 The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
436 Calories
24g Fat
23g Carbs
30g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 436
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 251mg 84%
Sodium 1505mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 170mg 13%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 334mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Once a staple of luncheons and garden parties, the classic shrimp salad is one of those nearly forgotten pleasures. But if you're looking for a simple, refreshing meal that's good for lunch and dinner all year long, this easy classic shrimp salad is worth taking another look at. 

Made with very small flavorful shrimp, this recipe combines just the right amount of high-quality mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Simplicity is the keyword here: the combination of celery, onion, and pickle is just right, and you should avoid the urge to complicate the dish. While it may seem like a good fit, resist the temptation to add bell pepper, as it will dominate the balance of flavors. 

Wondering how to make shrimp salad? Look no further. (Keep in mind that using high-quality, fresh ingredients will really enhance this dish. Ask the grocer in the seafood section of your local supermarket for assistance in picking out the proper shrimp, and see the Kitchen Notes below for more tips.)


  • 1 pound extra small cooked shrimp, peeled, see Kitchen Notes below

  • 1 cup finely chopped celery

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 to 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs, see Kitchen Notes below

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for shrimp salad
    The Spruce
  2. Mix together the shrimp, celery, onion, pickle, black pepper, and cayenne.

    Mix together shrimp, celery, and onion
    The Spruce
  3. Fold in the mayonnaise and lemon juice.

    Fold in mayo and lemon juice
    The Spruce 
  4. Stir in the fresh bread crumbs, starting with half a cup and adding more as needed until most of the excess liquid is absorbed.

    Stir in breadcrumbs
    The Spruce
  5. Serve over greens, with crackers, or in sandwiches.

    Shrimp salad in bowl on plate with crackers
    The Spruce
  6. Enjoy.

Kitchen Notes

  • Extra small shrimp, sometimes called "salad-sized" shrimp, are best for this recipe. The number about 250 or more shrimp per pound. And they're pretty affordable, too! If using a larger size, coarsely chop the shrimp into smaller pieces.
  • Make fresh breadcrumbs using any plain white loaf, such as Italian or French bread. Day-old or slightly stale bread works best. Remove and discard the crust, cut or tear the bread into pieces, and pulse in a food processor or blender until very finely chopped.
  • Use top quality, real mayonnaise and fresh lemon juice for best results. That means no salad dressing is allowed, and you should avoid packaged lemon juice if fresh lemons are available.
  • This recipe makes four servings of classic shrimp salad. If you're not sharing, store leftovers in the fridge for an easy lunch on the go.