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.

Lemon Dill Shrimp Appetizers

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.

Jumbo shrimp and red onions marinating
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.

Wine Pairing for Pickled Shrimp

I served my appetizer with this Assyrtiko wine, native to the Greek Island of Santorini. Chances are good if you have visited Santorini then you have had Assyrtiko. Overall expect light bodied, bone dry, high acid with hints of citrus, perhaps some beeswax and some minerality and salinity from the wind swept island vineyards.

Lyrarakis Vóila Assyrtiko 2018    VINTAGES#:  14420 $16.95 Crete, Greece I tasted the Assyrtiko July, 2020. What a treat! Nice balance, overt notes of citrus-y lime and nice subtle notes of herbs and grass. Bone dry with pleasant minerality. Quite an elegant wine overall.

Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chablis would all work as well. Think savoury with crisp acidity. Flintiness would be an added bonus.

On the red spectrum an Italian Primitivo or Chianti would complement the onions and capers.

Jumbo shrimp in juicy marinade with skewers

Quick Pickled Shrimp

Easy, make ahead and delicious.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 mins
4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 1b large shrimp cooked, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced


  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp celery seed
  • 2 Tbsps capers with their juice.


  • Alternate layers of onion and shrimp in a flat sealable container.
  • Mix brine ingredients and pour over shrimp.
  • Marinate in fridge 2-6 hours. Do not exceed 6 hours. Invert container a couple of times during marinading.
  • Drain marinade off and serve.
Quick Pickled Shrimp

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