Pickled Shrimp

You can double or triple this recipe as needed as long as you have extra jars!

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Pickling time: 1 to 3 days
  • Yield: 1 quart (or about 6 servings)


  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced into very thin rounds
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound (12-20 count) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails intact
  • 1/2 bulb fresh fennel
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, or more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers and their juices
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed

Special equipment:

  • 1-quart canning jar or crock, or any combination of smaller jars equaling 1 quart


1 Cook the shrimp: In a large saucepan, combine the celery, half the red onion, half the lemon slices, a large pinch of salt, and the water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add then shrimp, and then immediately remove the pan from heat and cover again. Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink.

2 Prepare the fennel: Trim the fronds from the fennel (save a handful). Cut the bulb in half again through the root. Set the pieces cut sides down and slice the fennel as thinly as possible.

3 Pack the shrimp into a jar: In a 1-quart canning jar or crock, layer the cooked shrimp, remaining lemon slices, remaining red onion, sliced fennel and a few fennel fronds, thyme sprigs, garlic, capers, and mustard seed. (Discard the cooking liquid.)


4 Pour in the vinegar and oil. Combine the vinegar and oil in a measuring cup; it's fine if they separate. Pour the vinegar and oil into the jar to cover the shrimp. If the liquid doesn’t quite cover the shrimp, add more olive oil.

5 Cure the shrimp: Cover the jar tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 day or for up to 3 days.

6 To serve the shrimp: Carefully spoon the mixture into a big bowl and serve with toothpicks or in individual stemmed glasses as an appetizer or first course.

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  • Bill verchere

    The recipe didn’t say anything about what happens to the 4 cups of cooking water so I discarded it. Probably the wrong thing to do, as most pickling recipes require water with vinegar.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Bill! Emma here, managing editor. The cooking water is discarded; the shrimp and veggies are pickled in a mix of vinegar and oil. Add extra oil to cover if needed. Enjoy!

  • Deepu Panicker

    Awesome recipe..


  • Mike

    Can I substitute anise for fennel? My store only had anise. :-(

  • Suzy

    Where/when do the red pepper flakes go in? In the cooking pot, or in the preserving jars? I simply omitted so I hope it still turns out good!

    • Suzy

      Update: I took them out of the fridge today and I’m sorry. What a congealed icky mess. The oil and vinegar separated and the oil all congealed. I’m going to let it sit out for a bit and see if it can be salvaged, but at this point, I think it’s all going down the drain. Any idea what I may have done wrong? Thanks.


    THANKS for this!, i am excited to try it soon.

  • Greg

    Can this recipe be water bath canned to preserve it for longer? Thank in advance

  • Lajuana Palmer

    Can you keep these shrimp for an extended amount of time? In the fridge or on the shelf?

  • Carolee W.

    Thanks! I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.

  • Carolee W.

    In Step 3 where you are layering the ingredients in the jar, you include the fennel fronds but nowhere are the slices mentioned. Did you mean the inclusion to be the fennel slices? If not, where are they used in the recipe? Thanks!

    • Elise

      Yes, this was a typo — fixed now. Thank you!