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Shrimp Macaroni Salad is a summertime staple for any bbq or gathering and comes together quickly with a perfectly seasoned creamy dressing and chunks of shrimp and macaroni pasta.
If you want another tasty shrimp recipe then be sure and try my Honey Garlic Shrimp.
Shrimp Macaroni Salad Recipe
Today I am sharing another pasta salad recipe! I am a firm believer in that you can never have too many creamy cold pasta salads for the summertime cookouts.
This version is similar to a classic Creamy Macaroni Salad but with a seafood twist! So if you’re a seafood lover then you will definitely want to make this macaroni salad.
Why We Love Shrimp Macaroni Pasta Salad
- Cold & Creamy! : Two combinations that are a must have for a side dish at a bbq or cookout.
- Seafood Favorite : If you love seafood, especially shrimp, then you will love the bright fresh flavors of shrimp paired with the dill + lemon in this pasta salad.
- Simple To Make Homemade Creamy Dressing : The best part of any pasta salad, or macaroni salad, is the creamy dressing. This dressing has a delicious creamy combination of mayo and sour cream, paired with bright fresh lemon and dried seasonings.
- Macaroni Salad Ingredients
- Elbow Macaroni – This is the ideal pasta shape for this macaroni salad. They are usually labeled as ‘elbow’ pasta shaped noodles at the store.
- Red & Green Bell Pepper – Provide color and a crisp texture in contrast to the softer macaroni and shrimp.
- Celery – More crunch. You can never have too much in a pasta salad.
- Extra Small Frozen Cooked Shrimp – I think the easiest way to use shrimp for this salad. Allow time for it to thaw before making this recipe. Whatever shrimp you use, you want to make sure that it’s already cooked.
- Creamy Dressing Ingredients
- Mayonnaise – For the best rich and creamy flavor & texture, I highly suggest using full-fat mayo.
- Sour Cream – Provides a creamy tangy flavor that pairs perfectly with the other ingredients.
- Fresh Lemon Juice – Seafood of any kind always needs some fresh citrus.
- Dijon Mustard
- Fresh Dill – Dried dill can also be used in place of fresh. Reduce to 1 teaspoon dried dill if using.
- Onion Powder
- Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
How to Make Shrimp Macaroni Salad (Step-by-Step Directions with Pictures)
- Cook the elbow macaroni according to the instructions on the box. Cook to your preference, al dente or softer. Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water when it’d done cooking. Transfer the cold pasta to a large serving bowl or mixing bowl.
- Prepare the creamy dressing by combining all the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Whisk together until well blended.
- Add the bell pepper, celery, and thawed & cooked shrimp to the elbow macaroni in the bowl. Cover with the dressing and toss to coat.
- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours, before serving.
FAQ’s + Tips For Success
- Because this recipe contain mayo and sour cream, it’s important that it not sit out at room temperature for longer than 1-2 hours. I personally think this salad is best served chilled so I suggest placing it on some ice if serving it on a hot day .
- Pasta Tip : Be sure and drain the pasta well and run it under cold water. This will stop the pasta from cooking further, but it also washed off all the extra starch and helps the creamy dressing adhere to the macaroni noodles. It also makes the pasta chilled/colder so you don’t end up with a warm pasta salad.
- How To Store Leftovers : This shrimp pasta salad can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days. You may want to remoisten leftovers by adding additional mayo or a splash of milk. Give it a good stir it will be good to go.
- Can I Make Substitutions? : Feel free to use any similar shaped and sized pasta as the elbow macaroni. Rotini noodles, medium shells or penne are all great choices if you want to mix it up. Dried dill weed can easily be used in place of fresh dill weed (reduce to 1 teaspoon dried dill). Add a splash of hot sauce to the dressing for a little kick.
- Can I Lighten This Salad Up? : Yes you can. Use a reduced-fat lite mayo, olive oil mayo, avocado oil mayo. Use plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream for some added protein. Use any variety of pasta that you prefer; gluten-free, chickpea, etc. Please note, that if making some of these changes, the final taste and texture of the shrimp salad will be different depending on how far you veer from the original recipe and the items you use.
Shrimp Macaroni Salad
Shrimp Macaroni Salad
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 12 ounces extra small cooked shrimp (peeled & deveined)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped small)
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt OR kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the elbow macaroni pasta according to the instructions on the box. Cook to al dente, or softer, depending on preference. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it in a colander and then rinse it under cold water. Transfer the pasta to a larger mixing bowl or serving bowl. Set aside.8 ounces elbow macaroni
- While the pasta is cooking prepare the creamy dressing. Add all the dressing ingredient into a small mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined.1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon fresh dill, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon sea salt OR kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the diced bell peppers, celery, and cooked extra small shrimp into the larger mixing bowl with the macaroni pasta.1/2 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper, 2 stalks celery, 12 ounces extra small cooked shrimp
- Pour the creamy dressing over top and toss everything together until all the ingredients are coated in the creamy dressing.
- Cover the bowl with a lid, or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.* If refrigerating overnight you may want to moisten up the salad with additional mayo or a splash of milk, give it a good stir, and then serve. * I think this salad tastes best after it has been in the fridge for 1-2 hours. You could also serve it right away after making it, although the short fridge time does chill the salad and allows the flavors to intensify.