Kel’s Spicy Pickled Shrimp

Kel's Spicy pickled shrimp, ready to serve!

I love serving shrimp at parties and this year for our Open House I wanted to spice up things, instead of having the same old boiled version with cocktail sauce (which, BTW, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially if you’re a shrimp lover like me!) Since I was making a variety of appetizers, plus some sweets and homemade chili, I decided to make pickled shrimp so I could prepare it the day before and leave it in the fridge, but not worry about keeping it iced down.

I looked online at a number of pickled shrimp recipes and combined several of them to come up with this version. It has just the right amount of spice and heat, and the lemons add a great citrusy freshness to the appetizer. It was a crowd pleaser for sure! The only thing I would do differently is to buy the shrimp already peeled and deveined — to me it is worth the extra money!

Ingredients (makes 3 pounds)

Kel's Spicy Pickled  Shrimp ingredients

  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (2 large lemons should do the trick)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (I used a red onion for the color)
  • 2 Serrano chilies, sliced thin (jalapeños would work, too)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill weed, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay® with Garlic and Herb Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 4-5 bay leaves, broken in half
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (and to taste)
  • 3 pounds of fresh shrimp (medium-sized), peeled and deveined (you can leave on the tails if you want; I did not.)


In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the kosher salt and shrimp. You can add some kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to this pickling mixture as desired.

Pickling liquid for shrimp

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the tablespoon of salt and the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp just turn pink — a few minutes at most (you don’t want to overcook them!)

Shrimp is ready to boil

Shrimp is ready to drain

Drain the shrimp and add them to the pickling mixture, making sure you coat them well with all of the liquid, etc.

Mix the shrimp with the pickling liquid

Refrigerate overnight and take them out right when you are ready to serve them.

This is really an easy, colorful and decidedly delicious way to make shrimp and I promise they won’t last long!

Shrimp is ready to refrigerate overnight

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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2 Responses to Kel’s Spicy Pickled Shrimp

  1. Ira Jackson says:

    Thanks for posting! Cant wait to try this. Also, I have an alternative way of cooking the shrimp that you might like. For this dish, you would have to season the shrimp a little differently because it doesnt involve any liquid in cooking the shrimp. They basically steam in their own juice. Using head-off, unpeeled shrimp, just bring a covered pot to a steaming, hissing point. Remove from heat, stir in salt, tossing the shrimp. Replace, covered, on heat until steaming, hissing recurs. Remove from heat, leave covered for 15 minutes. No peeking. Then open and peel/use. We always use this for peel-your-own shrimp but it works great for other dishes calling for cooked shrimp. They are always perfect! Learned this from an old shrimper in Wilmington.


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