Tasty Shrimp Pasta Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/total time: 25 min. + chilling
Shrimp pasta salad is creamy, crunchy and packed with tender shrimp. This protein-rich macaroni salad is perfect as a light lunch or a side dish for potlucks and picnics.

Updated: Jun. 20, 2024

Shrimp pasta salad is a light, summery salad that comes together in a flash. Like many of our top macaroni salad recipes, this one features a creamy homemade dressing made with tangy yogurt and rich mayonnaise. The dressing perfectly coats the tender shrimp, chewy macaroni noodles and crunchy vegetables to create the perfect combination of flavors and textures.

Seafood salads (like shrimp salad, tuna macaroni salad or salmon pasta salad) are perfect for summer outings like picnics and backyard barbecues. They give a surf-and-turf vibe to meals served with grilled meats—or provide a protein-rich option for the pescatarians in the group.

Shrimp Pasta Salad Ingredients

Shrimp Pasta Salad IngredientsTMB Studio

  • Shrimp: If you need to put this salad together quickly, use precooked shrimp. Or, if you have time, start with raw shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp, then simmer them in salted boiling water for one to three minutes or until they turn pink. Transfer the shrimp to an ice bath until chilled, then drain and pat dry.
  • Elbow macaroni: Small pasta like elbow macaroni are perfect for shrimp pasta salad. Because these small noodles are roughly the same size as the shrimp, you can skewer a bit of everything in a single forkful.
  • Vegetables: Celery, sweet red pepper and onion provide a welcome crunch to the soft, creamy salad. Feel free to experiment with other veggies, like sweet red peppers or peas.
  • Creamy dressing: This dressing gets its richness from mayonnaise and its tangy edge from the yogurt and white vinegar. A little salt and white pepper add the perfect level of seasoning to create a dressing that won’t overpower the shrimp’s delicate flavor.

Directions

Step 1: Cook the pasta

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse the pasta with cold water, and drain again.

Step 2: Assemble the shrimp pasta salad

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, shrimp, celery, pepper and onionTMB Studio

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, shrimp, celery, pepper and onion.

Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, salt and white pepperTMB Studio

Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, salt and white pepper, and stir it into the pasta mixture.

Step 3: Chill

Tasty Shrimp Pasta Salad served on small plates with cutleryTMB Studio

Refrigerate, covered, for at least two hours.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t worry if the dress looks loose. The pasta will soak it up as the salad sits in the fridge.

Recipe Variations

  • Use another type of pasta: Elbow macaroni is one of our top choices when making pasta salad, but any small pasta shape works. Try swapping in spiral pasta, shells, orecchiette or farfalle.
  • Include an egg: Add richness to shrimp pasta salad and mix in a chopped hard-boiled egg.
  • Add more seafood: Turn this recipe into a decadent seafood macaroni salad with smoked salmon, lump crabmeat or imitation crabmeat.
  • Finish with herbs: Give the pasta salad a fresh finish with chopped parsley, dill or chives.

How to Store Shrimp Pasta Salad

Store shrimp pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. If the leftovers look dry, refresh the salad by mixing in a bit of mayonnaise or yogurt just before serving.

Shrimp Pasta Salad Tips

Two plates of Tasty Shrimp Pasta Salad served on small plates with cutleryTMB Studio

What is the best type of shrimp for shrimp pasta salad?

We use medium shrimp (41 to 50 per pound) for pasta salad. They’re small enough to eat in a single bite but substantial enough to have a plump, springy texture. Feel free to use smaller shrimp like salad shrimp. Alternatively, you can chop larger shrimp into bite-sized pieces.

Should you rinse the pasta for shrimp pasta salad?

We always recommend rinsing pasta for cold pasta salad recipes. Rinsing cools down the pasta and prevents it from overcooking, ensuring the noodles keep their perfect al dente texture. The cold water also removes excess starches, making the salad creamy instead of sticky.

How do you serve shrimp pasta salad?

Serve shrimp pasta salad on its own as a light lunch or snack, or bring it as a side dish for parties, potlucks or picnics. To turn shrimp pasta salad into a complete meal, pair it with burgers, sandwiches or barbecue recipes like barbecue chicken, smoked ribs or grilled steak.

Tasty Shrimp Pasta Salad

Prep Time 25 min
Yield about 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined cooked shrimp (41-50 per pound)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cold water and drain again.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pasta, shrimp, celery, pepper and onion. Mix remaining ingredients; stir into pasta mixture. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 243 calories, 15g fat (3g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 263mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 11g protein.

Elbow macaroni, shrimp, and crunchy veggies like celery, sweet red pepper and onion get covered in a creamy dressing made from mayonnaise and yogurt. It's the perfect go-to when you're looking for something light and tasty. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Recipe Creator