Very Best Shrimp Macaroni Salad (2024)

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If you want to be the most popular person at the picnic, make my Grandma's Shrimp Macaroni Salad! While the ingredients are fresh and delicious, the dressing is the true MVP and will have everyone running back for seconds!

Very Best Shrimp Macaroni Salad (1)
Jump to:
  • Why You’ll Love This Macaroni Salad with Shrimp
  • Ingredient Information And Substitutions:
  • How To Make This Shrimp Macaroni Salad Recipe
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Tips For Making Macaroni Shrimp Salad:
  • Make it a meal
  • Other Awesome Mac Salad Recipes:
  • Shrimp Macaroni Salad Recipe

Why You’ll Love This Macaroni Salad with Shrimp

Macaroni salad is the quintessential summer side dish. It's one of those things I will make and then go back to all day, every day to nibble on until it’s gone.

And this macaroni salad recipe is a sure winner! It's my Grandma Eve's recipe, so you know it's going to be awesome (aren't Grandma recipes always awesome? You should try her Shrimp Dip- it's legendary in our family!). I can remember so many meals that include this shrimp pasta salad and everyone raving over it.

There is so much to love about this particular shrimp pasta salad- the meaty shrimp, crispy veggies and tender pasta. But the start of the show is the dressing which packs a flavorful punch. Here’s why you should make it:

  • Very easy to make
  • Common ingredients we all have
  • Great to make ahead
  • Easily customizable to your taste
  • A real crowd pleaser
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Ingredient Information And Substitutions:

  • Macaroni- My family has always used medium-size shell pasta for this (so not the huge ones you might use for stuffed shells but not the tiny ones that would go into a soup- the in-between size). But if you have a smaller pasta that you prefer, you can totally use that.
  • Vegetables- Diced celery and onion add a satisfying crunch. You can also substitute diced carrot or bell pepper if you prefer.If the onion flavor is too strong, you can take the edge off by soaking the diced onion in cold water for 10 minutes and draining well before adding to the salad. I also use fresh parsley in this salad for a nice fresh flavor and a pop of green.
  • Wet ingredients- The dressing is king here! It’s a mayonnaise-based dressing. Lemon juice, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce bring the flavor to the next level. My hot sauce of choice is Frank’s Red Hot, but use what you have.
  • Seasonings- Kosher salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder and a generous pinch of sugar round out the flavors.
Very Best Shrimp Macaroni Salad (3)

How To Make This Shrimp Macaroni Salad Recipe

Step 1: Boil pasta

Boil your macaroni in salted water until al dente. Drain and run under cold water to cool completely.

Very Best Shrimp Macaroni Salad (4)

Step 2: Make the dressing

Whisk together all dressing ingredients and taste. Adjust the seasonings and ingredients to your taste.

Very Best Shrimp Macaroni Salad (5)

Step 3:Mix the salad

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate and serve.

Very Best Shrimp Macaroni Salad (6)

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can this pasta salad sit out at room temperature?

Since it contains shrimp and mayonnaise, I encourage you to leave out for an hour max. You can also fill a foil pan or larger bowl with ice and place your bowl of shrimp mac salad into that.

How long will shrimp pasta salad last in the fridge?

Although this doesn’t freeze well, it will last 3-4 days covered in the refrigerator.

Can I prep shrimp pasta salad in advance?

Yes, you can make it the day before. I’d encourage you to make a little extra dressing to bring with you as the pasta can sometimes suck up the dressing.

Can I use canned shrimp instead of frozen shrimp?

You sure can, the shrimp won’t be as meaty, but it will still be delicious! Substitute with 3-4 seven ounce cans and be sure to drain and rinse them well.

How do you keep it from getting watery?

Drain the shrimp, pasta and veggies really well and stir before serving.

Very Best Shrimp Macaroni Salad (7)

Tips For Making Macaroni Shrimp Salad:

  • Buy shrimp that's already cooked, it's one less step for you. Frozen is best but canned will work.
  • Cook the pasta to al dente. As it sits, it will absorb the dressing and soften up a little more.
  • Make it ahead. Letting it sit in the dressing a little bit helps it all meld together and deepens the flavor.
  • Taste the dressing as you go. This is pretty much the case for any cooking recipe (not so much baking) but take the measurements as a starting point and make this to your taste.
  • Make a little extra dressing. Sometimes as it sits, the pasta sucks up the dressing, so it’s not a bad idea to make a half batch of the dressing to add if needed before serving (and if not, it tastes awesome on a green salad!). This is especially applicable if you’re making this a day ahead.
  • This recipe makes a pretty large amount. If you're not serving a crowd, or you don't want as many left overs, half it.
  • Leftovers and storage: This will last up to 4 days covered in the refrigerator.
Very Best Shrimp Macaroni Salad (8)

Make it a meal

Here are some great recipes to serve alongside your Shrimp Mac Salad:

  • Maple Dijon Grilled Pork Chops
  • Easy Tomato Salad
  • Balsamic Grilled Asparagus
  • Blueberry Dump Cake

Other Awesome Mac Salad Recipes:

  • Tuna Macaroni Salad
  • Crab Pasta Salad
  • Pesto Tortellini Salad
  • Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5 star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below ⬇️ and/or a review in the comment section further down. Check out my Amazon Store for all my favorite tools, including those used in this recipe. And follow @thelifejolie onInstagramandTikTok!

Very Best Shrimp Macaroni Salad (13)

Shrimp Macaroni Salad Recipe

Jessy Freimann

If you want to be the most popular person at the picnic, make my Grandma's Shrimp Macaroni Salad! While the ingredients are fresh and delicious, the dressing is the true MVP and will have everyone running back for seconds!

4.99 from 81 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 10 minutes mins

Total Time 20 minutes mins

Course Side Dish

Cuisine American

Servings 10 servings

Calories 155 kcal

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 pound medium shell pasta cooked per package directions to al dente
  • cup finely diced onion
  • 1 ¼ cups finely diced celery
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 ½ pounds cooked large shrimp peeled, deveined and roughly chopped into large chunks

Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1-2 generous pinch sugar
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

Salad:

  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

  • Add dressing and mix well to combine.

  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until you're ready to serve.

Dressing:

  • Whisk all ingredients until well combined.

  • Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste.

  • Pour over the salad. Refrigerate until serving.

Video

Notes

  • Buy shrimp that's already cooked, it's one less step for you. Frozen is best but canned will work.
  • Cook the pasta to al dente. As it sits, it will absorb the dressing and soften up a little more.
  • Make it ahead. Letting it sit in the dressing a little bit helps it all meld together and deepens the flavor.
  • Taste the dressing as you go. This is pretty much the case for any cooking recipe (not so much baking) but take the measurements as a starting point and make this to your taste.
  • Make a little extra dressing. Sometimes as it sits, the pasta sucks up the dressing, so it’s not a bad idea to make a half batch of the dressing to add if needed before serving (and if not, it tastes awesome on a green salad!). This is especially applicable if you’re making this a day ahead.
  • This recipe makes a pretty large amount. If you're not serving a crowd, or you don't want as many left overs, half it.
  • Leftovers and storage: This will last up to 4 days covered in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cupCalories: 155kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 0.3gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 394mgPotassium: 18mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 16IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 0.1mg

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Bec says

    This is great timing! I just bought some of the tiny shrimp on sale at the grocery store. This will make a great side dish this week!

    Reply

  2. Tara Teaspoon says

    I understand the "going back to the fridge for tastes!" thing. I'm sure I'll be doing that on this salad! Thank you!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      It gets me every time! Enjoy :)

      Reply

  3. Kat Jeter says

    I can see why this makes you so popular! What an amazing pasta salad. Looking forward to making it for my summer potlucks!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Thanks Kat- I hope you enjoy it!

      Reply

  4. Megan @ Megunprocessed says

    Celery and onion just make a pasta salad pop! Love those flavors together!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      I totally agree- the flavors and especially the crunch!!

      Reply

  5. Carolyn says

    This sounds incredible! I can't wait to try making this!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Thanks Carolyn!

      Reply

  6. Denise says

    I made this salad a couple of days ago and everyone enjoyed it! What a delicious sauce....! A keeper for me. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Thanks Denise- I'm so glad you loved it as much as we do!

      Reply

  7. Kelly Mathieu says

    Thank you for the recipe my family loved it just made it today as a side for fried catfish nuggets. I made an extra batch of the dressing and we dipped the nuggets in it mmmmgood!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Awwww thank you Kelly- I'm so glad you loved it and BRILLIANT idea with the dressing! On a side note, catfish nuggets sound delicious- where can I find that recipe? Yum!

      Reply

      • Kelly Mathieu says

        Oh I'm chagrined to say there is no recipe... I buy the fresh catfish nuggets prepackaged from the grocery and fry them in canola oil using a prepackaged fish fry batter. The directions are on the package of batter 😇

        Reply

        • Jessy Freimann says

          I love it - work smarter, not harder! I am definitely going to have to make some. I haven't had catfish in ages and I miss it! Thank you for sharing!

          Reply

  8. Mary Oczkowski says

    I made this today and it is delicious. I'm thinkiing next time, I might try it with smoked salmon instead of shrimp. Can't wait to try the dressing as a dip like Kelly Mathieu did!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      I'm so glad you liked it! Smoked Salmon sounds like a seriously delicious addition- please let me know how you like it with that :)

      Reply

  9. Rena says

    OMG! This will be my go to from now on till infinity! Did what you instructed and kept tasting, thought it needed a little more zing so added about a quarter cup Miracle Whip. Perfection for my family’s tastes! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      I'm so glad you love it as much as we doo! It sounds like you made a tasty addition!- thanks for sharing!

      Reply

  10. Karen says

    Can I use a spring onion instead of a regular onion

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      You can totally use spring onions. The flavor may be a little stronger, but if you like onions this will be a good swap. Enjoy!

      Reply

  11. Diana says

    I made this for my family for Nochebuena - absolutely DELICIOUS! I wanted to incorporate seafood somewhere in our dinner, and this is perfect. We haven't even had dinner yet but I had to get a bowl for myself because it was that good. I'm in love with the dressing too! I added some carrots for some more crunch and color. I can tell I'll be making this over and over! Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      I'm so happy you loved it and will be making it again! The carrots sound like an awesome addition :)

      Reply

  12. Verne says

    Can I leave out the hot sauce

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Hi Verne- you totally can. But maybe add a tiny bit extra of the other ingredients to balance it out (taste it as you go). Enjoy!

      Reply

  13. Lorraine says

    I've made this three times now, first time exactly as written (an excellent base recipe!), the second time swapping scallions for the onion and adding finely grated lemon zest (I loved it, but my hubby thought it was too strong), and now a third time. Today I went a little wild on the changes/additions: scallions again, extra 2T lemon juice, about 1/4 - 1/3 cup sour cream, 2T dried dill, swapped cayenne (1/8 t) for the hot sauce, and added a diced red pepper. YUM.

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Lorraine, your additions sound SO delicious! Great job! Thanks so much for sharing- I'm glad you love it <3

      Reply

    • Lisa says

      Everyone loved it, got tired of making my famous tuna macaroni salad so I tried this instead for my brother’s barbecue, the only thing I did different was adding a little miracle whip and hard boiled eggs to give it a little boost, now this is my go to dish for barbecues

      Reply

      • Jessy Freimann says

        Yay- thanks for sharing Lisa! So glad you loved it!

        Reply

  14. Justin says

    First attempt and folks were asking for 2nds and 3rds!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Yaaaassssss! So glad to hear it!

      Reply

  15. Eric says

    Family loved it......excellent recipe thanks.

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      So glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  16. Maria says

    Love this! My only change was to add some OLD BAY seasoning since I’m from Maryland and we put that on everything. Such a great recipe - thanks!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Yum- I bet it's great with Old Bay! So glad you loved it!

      Reply

  17. Jenny says

    I’m from Maryland too. I added Old Bay. It’s delicious. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      So awesome Jenny- it's so much fun hearing the different ways people make these recipes their own <3

      Reply

  18. Beverly says

    I. Would have to add some Old Bay seasoning

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      You should try it with that addition- I've had several readers add it with great success :) I always encourage people to adapt my recipes to make them their own (which is very easy here since it's not baking). Give it a try!

      Reply

  19. Rod Miller says

    This recipe is very good but I kicked it up a notch by adding 1 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning which really brought out the flavor of the Shrimp! Even if you added 1 1/2 Tsp of Old Bay Seasoning depends on your taste! You can start with one Tsp and add until you hit your magic level!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Thanks for sharing Rod- it sounds like a delicious addition!

      Reply

  20. Anita Joy says

    Made this tonight for our church share group. Love it!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      So glad you loved it Anita! It's perfect for a crowd!

      Reply

  21. John howard says

    First rating I've ever given,, but this recipe is deserving. I did however add a twist , got shrimp from butcher already seasoned (old bay) and read hot Saudi wrong and put 2 teaspoons in..Wow what a dish, willl definitely make again as original recipe call for because this is excellent!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Thanks John- I'm so glad you loved it! Sounds like delicious changes!

      Reply

  22. Joanne says

    I made this today to take to a Memorial Day barbecue at my brother's. I added a egg, celery salt and celery seed. This is the BEST macaroni salad I have ever made. I will always use this recipe from now on. Thank you for sharing. Delicious 😋😋

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      Hi Joanne- What awesome additions you made- they sound delicious! I'm so glad you loved this!

      Reply

  23. Danielle says

    I was skeptical about this but I gave it a try. Oh my goodness! I’m so very impressed. I did add a bit of pickle juice just because to me it was missing something. We have a big family event coming up next month and this will be on my list for the potluck! Thank you!!!!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      I'm so glad you loved it Danielle- I bet it tasted fantastic with the pickle juice, what a great idea!

      Reply

  24. Ashlee says

    The ingredients seemed so weird to me but I decided to try it anyway. I'm so glad I did! This was a hit with the whole family, even my shrimp hating husband. Will definitely be making this again!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      It's funny you say that, the first time I made it I felt the same way- and ended up loving the flavor combo as well! So glad you loved it!

      Reply

  25. Val says

    Just made this for a holiday salad to bring and was a huge hit..Hostess wanted the recipe the next day…I did add 2 hard boiled chopped eggs and some seasoning salt..thank you..great one to use for large gatherings!

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      I'm so glad to hear that Val- your additions sound delicious!

      Reply

  26. Suzanne says

    Followed the recipe as written and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’ll be making it frequently. Thanks!

    Reply

  27. Dorothy Bollmeier says

    Wondering about the amount of onion. Concerned it might over power other ingredients.

    Reply

    • Jessy Freimann says

      You can totally reduce it if that's your preference.

      Reply

  28. Scott Allen says

    This is a wonderful recipes and super easy to put together

    Reply

  29. Amber says

    I was looking for a savory whole shrimp (chopped) macaroni salad salad for this 4th! I am making this one!! THANKS!

    Reply

  30. Lynda says

    Can you keep the dressing in the fridge for later uses

    Reply

  31. Melanie Blair says

    Wow!!!! Awesome flavor!! I actually cubed the shrimp in small pieces, added peas and red peppers!! Made it for mother's day tomorrow!! Tu so much for the recipe!! Adding it to my "go to" sides or just a great meal!!😋😋😊😊❤️

    Reply

  32. Ashley says

    I made this pasta salad on 4th July with hopes it would remind of my nana’s shrimp macaroni salad she used to make for bbq’s and it definitely tasted like hers brought back some wonderful memories for my family ! Thank you for this recipe! I’m now making a some without shrimp for my husband (he’s allergic) but he loved the portion I set aside for him that now he wants it with his sandwiches to take to work. Thanks again!!

    Reply

  33. THOMAS ONEILL says

    I HAD THE OPPOURTUNITY TO ASSEMBLE YOUR SHRIMP AND MACARONI SALAD FOR THIS PAST 4TH OF JULY GET TOGETHER AT MY SONS HOME , YOUR SALAD WAS A HIT ! THANK YOU . I WILL BE USING THIS RECEIPE MANY TIMES IN THE FUTURE .

    Reply

  34. Marie S. says

    This salad is AMAZING

    Reply

  35. Mary Walters says

    The recipe was halved since I knew the full amount would be too much. I added 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped large sautéed shrimp, sweet pickle relish, apple cider vinegar and Old Bay seasoning. Waiting for the salad to chill was the most difficult thing about it.

    Reply

4.99 from 81 votes (56 ratings without comment)

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