Shrimp Dip

In the world of party appetizers, there’s a time for fancy, and there’s a time for oh-my-gosh-I-only-have-10-minutes-to-make-something-that-I-wouldn’t-be-ashamed-to-serve-to-guests. Usually I’m in the latter camp, having grossly underestimated the time it takes to get organized. For these times it’s helpful to have a dish like this shrimp dip in one’s back pocket. Some little pink shrimp (they’re sustainable and sweet), some cream cheese, a touch of mayo, a little lemon, some chopped herbs, a dash of hot sauce and presto! A lovely dip—thick, shrimpy, and brightly flavored with the lemon, herbs, and hot sauce. Keep some frozen shrimp around for occasions like this, and some crackers, and you can pull it all together in 10 minutes. (Well maybe 15 if you have to defrost the shrimp.)

Shrimp Dip Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 2 cups of dip.

If using frozen shrimp, defrost safely by placing in a bowl of ice water. When defrosted, strain.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp of lemon juice (2 if regular lemon, 4 if Meyer lemon), more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 pound cooked, shelled, small pink shrimp (salad shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions, including the greens
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco or Crystal hot sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1 In a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until smooth (you may need to use a whisk.)

2 If you have a food processor, pulse together the shrimp and the cream cheese mixture, three 1-second pulses. If not, or if you just don't want to deal with the food processor, chop up the shrimp—fine to medium chop—and mix into the cream cheese.

3 Return to the bowl and stir in the scallions and parsley. Add the hot sauce and black pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice to taste.

Keep chilled. Serve with crackers or crudite.

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12 Comments

  1. Carolee W.

    I got a recipe similar to this from my mom decades ago. For even greater ease, it calls for a small can of shrimp. Also, instead of mayo, it uses Catalina dressing. This is a really yummy combo! Nowadays, I make it with low fat cream cheese and dressing and it still tastes great.

  2. Dawna

    I have fond memories of the grandparents’ version of Shrimp Dip. It contained chunks of diced boiled Gulf shrimp, cream cheese, a bit of sour cream, lemon juice, salt, hot sauce and a can of Campbell’s frozen Cream of Shrimp soup. They would make it a day in advance for the flavors to meld.
    They’d serve it with Triscuits and Ruffles. It was simply heavenly stuff and one of their holiday party stand-bys.
    I haven’t been able to find the frozen soup in years. Using the regular canned soup in its place has disappointing results.
    I’m looking forward to trying this version!

  3. Shorthand

    So cool. My mom had a friend that used to make a shrimp mold, but guess what? This is SO much easier and once it is on the cracker and in your mouth who cares? You must have spent some time in Louisiana. Most people know about Tabasco, but Crystal is a little more obscure.

  4. Peggy Thornton

    I love this recipe! Also good with a little horseradish.

  5. Mike G

    Great recipe! Apps are always a pain. Have you ever thought about Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese? Finally, what’s with the sustainable comment about the shrimp? Are there any unsustainable shrimp?

    Haven’t tried it with Greek yogurt, but that’s certainly worth a try. Regarding sustainability, check out Seafood Watch. ~Elise

  6. Scott

    I use yogurt instead of the mayo & chili sauce or ketchup & horseradish instead fo the hot sauce.

  7. Kari

    Thank goodness you posted this on Friday! It came in handy for a quick dish to share at a holiday gathering that same evening. It was a big hit and didn’t last long at all.

  8. colin nash

    We’ve made a quick and easy shrimp dip in my family for years. It’s really close to the one above, just sub out dill for the parsley and Worcestershire for the hot sauce. quick and easy and so tasty.

  9. Julie

    My mom has made an easy shrimp dip for years. Take a pretty serving plate/small platter – soften a brick of cream cheese and spread it along the bottom. Then pour chili/seafood sauce on top. Then sprinkle the little pink shrimp over that. Serve with crackers and little cheese knives. It’s pretty and fun and festive – and SO easy. I’d like to try this one too!

  10. Luke Baker

    Holy shrimp sauce this was delicious! Never had I tried a shrimp dip before. Utterly satisfying. Looking forward to make this one for Christmas!

  11. jennypenny

    How far in advance can you make this? I know dip in general is great to make ahead, but with the shrimp, I wasn’t sure. Would it taste better the same day, or would it be okay to make it the day before?

    In general, shellfish is something you should eat soon after it is cooked (or in this case defrosted). I have eaten this the next day and it was fine, but I wouldn’t go longer than a day or two. ~Elise

  12. Lisa Chin, HHC

    I may be missing this in the notes but are the frozen shrimp raw in the dip or are they already cooked when you buy them? Thanks!

    Little pink shrimp are already cooked when you buy them frozen or fresh. ~Elise

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