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Quick-Pickled Shrimp

Quick-Pickled Shrimp

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Serve the shrimp on toast to soak up the delicious pickling liquid.


  • 1 pound shell-on medium shrimp
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, thinly sliced, seeded
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fennel fronds
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 loaf ciabatta or country-style bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick, toasted
  • Mayonnaise (for serving; optional)

Recipe Preparation

  • Cook shrimp in a large pot of boiling salted water until just opaque in the center, about 2 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold running water to cool. Peel and devein, leaving tails intact, if desired.

  • Combine shrimp, fennel bulb, onion, garlic, chile, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, and fennel fronds in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Let sit, tossing occasionally, at least 20 minutes.

  • Serve shrimp with toast and mayonnaise, if using.

  • DO AHEAD: Pickled shrimp can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

,Photos by Hirsheimer Hamilton

Nutritional Content

4 servings, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 420 Fat (g) 18 Saturated Fat (g) 2.5 Cholesterol (mg) 170 Carbohydrates (g) 35 Dietary Fiber (g) 4 Total Sugars (g) 5 Protein (g) 30 Sodium (mg) 500Reviews Section

Quick Pickled Shrimp

Quick Pickled Shrimp is an easy appetizer recipe that you will go to again and again if you are shrimp lover.

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law who is a fabulous cook and hostess. So.. of course I needed the recipe!

If you use pre-cooked and peeled, deveined shrimp it only takes a couple of minutes to combined the brine ingredients. It does need a couple of hours to marinate though so start early.

So why the ‘Quick Pickled Shrimp’ title? It is quick to prep the marinade and shrimp and compared to traditional pickling this is a cinch. So it is quick as far as hands on time goes…you just need to prep it ahead so it has time to marinate.

You don’t want to leave the shrimp in the brine more than 6 hours though or it risks getting rubbery. Lemon and lime juice will actually denature the proteins in fish or seafood in the same way cooking does so the meat will turn opaque and have the texture of cooked seafood. This recipe has enough vegetable oil to reduce the acidic effect of ‘cooking’ but you still don’t want rubbery shrimp.

Having said all that….. If you drain the brine off after a few hours the effect is lessened significantly. We did have just a few of these shrimp left over from a very generous appetizer platter and they were fine the next day (because the brine had been drained off).

So if it is too hot to cook, or you want an easy appetizer – look no further!

This recipe is similar to this Lemon Dill Shrimp Appetizer but the Pickled Shrimp recipe is a bit more savoury.

For the Pickled Shrimp recipe I decided I wanted to make it rather late in the day and the shrimp I had on hand were raw and unpeeled.

So in order to limit the fussing around I decided to cook the shrimp from frozen. It worked great! Shrimp cooked with the peel on are more flavourful than peeled and it is easier to peel cooked shrimp than raw/semi-frozen shrimp. So – win/win!

You can see how I layered the red onion slices and shrimp in this photo.

Shrimp and red onion in brine

The recipe as written makes about 4 appetizer servings, depending on the size of shrimp you use. I used 25-40 size and had 28 shrimp. If there are other appetizers in the mix there will be enough for a few more people. You can easily double the recipe.

And … full disclosure.. because there is a generous amount of brine I decided to throw in some salad shrimp to marinade at the same time. I will serve the large shrimp as the appetizer as intended and save the salad shrimp after I have drained the brine to go with a salad for tomorrow.

Quick Pickled Shrimp

Summer meals in my house contain a lot of fresh, local seafood. Fresh local shrimp tops our list and is a favorite of every member of my family. Since we are hosting some summer barbecues this year with friends and family, we wanted to start early in getting our recipes together. This one is a no-brainer since it can be prepared up to a couple of days in advance and the flavors only get better as they have time to meld so it&rsquos the perfect go-to dish for a busy host(ess).

What I really like about this Quick Pickled Shrimp is the brightness of the lemon and parsley and how perfectly it pairs with the fennel, onions, and corn. The peppers lend a little bit of heat but it&rsquos not overpowering. In fact, if you&rsquod like a spicier version, I recommend increasing the number of hot peppers, to taste.

Remember that if you do choose to serve Quick Pickled Shrimp, or any seafood, at your next barbecue or beach party, make sure you keep it chilled until serving time as it still can spoil in the hot summer sun.

Quick Pickled Shrimp Recipe

For the shrimp’s poaching liquid, I used a Belgian tripel. I like the powerful flavor that carries through into the poached shrimp, and it works well with the pickling spices.

Here’s a simple dish you can prepare up to 2 days ahead, and actually, the longer it chills, the better it tastes. Pay attention to the directions for cooking the shrimp because this method is a surefire way to achieve perfectly cooked shrimp every time. For the poaching liquid, I used a Belgian tripel. I like the powerful flavor that carries through into the poached shrimp, and it works well with the pickling spices.

Active preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 8 hours
Serves: 2–3

2 cup (473 ml) Belgian tripel
2 cup (473 ml) water
¾ cup (177 ml) apple cider vinegar, divided
1 tsp fennel seed
2 bay leaves
½ tsp celery seed
1 Tbs coriander seed
8 oz (227 g) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 head fennel, julienned
2 Tbs garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced crosswise
2 lemons, zested and juiced
¼ cup (59 ml) olive oil

In a large pot, combine the beer, water, ½ cup (118 ml) apple cider vinegar, fennel seed, bay leaves, celery seed, coriander seed, and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the shrimp and turn off the heat. Allow the shrimp to remain in the pot as it cools to room temperature.

While the shrimp are cooling, in a separate bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup (59 ml) apple cider vinegar, fennel, garlic, Fresno chiles, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt. Drain the liquid from the shrimp, then add the shrimp to this bowl and mix well. Chill overnight in a large container or mason jars. When you’re ready to serve, remix well before serving. This recipe is delicious served with crusty bread.

Beer Suggestions: Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet (Belgium), Allagash Tripel (Portland, Maine), Smuttynose Tripel (Hampton, New Hampshire), and New Belgium Tripel (Fort Collins, Colorado).

Whip up the white taco sauce in a jiffy for these shrimp tacos

Schuering blogs all day, writing about food and creating an online community, but there comes a point in the day — usually around dinner time — when she needs a break and will do anything to get dinner on the table faster. She's all for using "store-bought cheats," as she calls them, but rather than grab a bottled taco sauce, she makes this super-fast white sauce instead.

We love "gah-lic," as Emeril Lagasse used to say, and if four cloves of raw garlic is too overpowering, feel free to cut it back by a clove or two. Once you've minced the garlic for your shrimp tacos, you mix it together with some mayo and sour cream, and voilá, it's done in less than a minute! "You could make this a dairy-free sauce," Schuering suggested, "by using vegan mayo and vegan sour cream instead." And now, heat up your sauté pan, because the shrimp and jalapeños are next.

Quick Pickled Shrimp with Pickling Cucumbers Three Ways

Photo by Beth Kirby

6 servings

from Chef Erik Niel of Easy Bistro & Bar, Chattanooga, Tennessee


2 pounds large Gulf brown shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left on

Your favorite good-quality crackers, broken into pieces

Poaching Liquid

3 tablespoons kosher salt

Pickling Mix

1½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon celery seed, toasted

1 teaspoon mustard seed, toasted

Pinch whole black peppercorns

Quick Pickles

1 tablespoon mustard seed

1½ pounds picking cucumbers, ½ pound cut into slices, ½ pound peeled with peeler into ribbons, and ½ pound peeled, halved, and seeded, then cut into half moons

Recipe Summary

  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave tails intact, if desired)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

In a medium pot, bring 2 quarts water, Old Bay, bay leaf, and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Reduce heat simmer 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until just pink and opaque, 30 seconds drain.

Stir together shrimp and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Transfer mixture to a container. Cover tightly shake to distribute. Chill at least 5 hours and up to 2 days before serving.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chile peppers, ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired
  • 3 strips lemon zest (each 2 inches long), plus 1/2 cup fresh juice (from 3 to 4 lemons)
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pound large shrimp (18 to 24 count), preferably wild Gulf, peeled and deveined

Stir together scallions, thyme, chiles, lemon zest and juice, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add bay leaves, sugar, and 2 tablespoons salt, stirring until sugar and salt have dissolved. Stir in shrimp, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 3 minutes. Strain shrimp and bay leaves immediately transfer to a nonreactive container. Pour in scallion mixture let cool completely. Cover and shake vigorously to ensure shrimp are evenly coated. Refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 5 days. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

Chili Marinated Shrimp

This shrimp dish has an amazing smoky flavor due to the charring of the chili in the marinade. It takes ordinary to extraordinary.

Technique tips: To skewer the shrimp, place all of the shrimp side by side "spooning" each other, and then skewer. It's a very simple technique that allows the shrimp to cook evenly. Shrimp are best grilled on high heat to get good texture on the outside while leaving the inside just cooked and luscious.

Swap option: This marinade also works great with chicken breasts.

Special equipment: Skewers


I thought they were delicious but NOBODY else did. Ate then all myself. Stick to regular seasoned shrimp with a couple cold sauces that people expect.

Huge hit with friends at outdoor summer party. Easy make-ahead dish with big impact. Still thinking about it the next day.

Truly a 2.5. The flavor wasn't great. They were kind of an oily mess, the host was not pleased.

Wow--these are delicious and my guests love them! I have made them twice now and they have become a new party standard, since people have begun to look forward to them. I do increase the number of bay leaves (inspired by a John Martin Taylor recipe that I have made before) and substantially increase the coriander and mustard seeds. Before I add the coarse spices, I whirl the marinade with my hand blender so the emulsion doesn't separate during storage. I also find that I can make these further in advance than the recipe recommends--they seem to only improve. I wouldn't describe these as unpleasantly tough--they have some texture to them,but that is vastly preferable to soggy limp shrimp, which I've encountered. Don't let your worry over this prevent you from trying pickled shrimp! I scale the recipe for those 2-lb bags of peeled, medium-sized shrimp for parties. This recipe. Is a keeper!

I've made this dish numerous times and it has always been a success. I do find that the shrimp are a bit tougher after marinating, but frankly, I've never had anyone complain the taste more than makes up for the small difference in texture.

Thought these would be perfect for a cocktail party - make ahead, savory & a nice presentation etc. What a disappointment! Followed other reviewer's tips and used 2 lbs of cooked, peeled & deveined shrimp. Nibbled on a few before adding them to the marinade - they were tender. After marinating for 4 hours I decided to sneak a taste - much to my dismay the shrimp had become tough and chewy! I hoped they would be Ok since I needed them for the following afternoon but alas they ended up being oily, tasteless AND still tough! What a waste of 2 lbs. of perfect shrimp! This is the second time (2 different recipes) that I've marinated shrimp in an acidic base and both times I ended up with tough shrimp! Think I'll stick to sauteeing or grilling. Has anyone had this happen too? Any suggestions?