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Simple Shrimp Roll Recipe

Shrimp may be the poor man’s lobster, but this simple grilled shrimp roll recipe with dressed-up plump juicy morsels of shrimp in a buttery toasted roll feels decadent.

I love our old fashioned lobster rolls, but they are expensive and take quite a bit of effort to extract the lobster meat from the shell. So I created a pretty darn close alternative – our version anyway (there are lots of recipes out there).

3 shrimp salad rolls on white plate sprinkled with parsley

Shrimp rolls are simply shrimp salad stuffed into rolls, typically hot dog buns that are buttered and grilled or toasted.

I grill the shrimp and the rolls for this recipe, but of course there are other options.

The ingredients are simple – shrimp, celery, mayonnaise, lemon, Dijon mustard, green onion, parsley, salt and pepper. You won’t find the shrimp swimming in mayo. I like them to be the main star.

The recipe is pretty simple, but If you’re in a rush and need to throw something together really quickly for company, scroll down to Shortcuts to see two even easier ways to make shrimp rolls.

Basic Steps

  1. Mix together the mayonnaise dressing
  2. Grill the shrimp coated with 1/2 the dressing (3-4 minutes)
  3. Make the shrimp salad with remaining dressing, celery and parsley
  4. Grill some buttered rolls
  5. Stuff the rolls with shrimp salad

In under half an hour (or less if you use shortcuts), you have a fantastic summer meal.

Tips

Grilling

  • Buy large or jumbo shrimp for this recipe if grilling (16-25/pound or 450 grams). This will help ensure they do not over cook when grilling. If boiling or baking the shrimp, medium size is fine.
  • To get a better char when grilling, pat them dry with a paper towel and use full fat mayonnaise for the coating (although light mayo works too).
  • The easiest way to grill shrimp is on a skewer. With one flip you are turning 5-7 shrimp at a time. Plus, keeping the shrimp close together helps keep them from drying out.
  • Don’t overcook the shrimp. I can’t overstate this enough. If you only listen to one tip this is it. Overcooked shrimp turn rubbery. They should still have a touch of translucence. See FAQ for how to tell if shrimp are cooked.

Rolls

  • If the hot dog buns have crust on the sides, cut off a thin slice – the butter will soak in better and turn the sides a nice golden brown.
  • Top loading buns are the easiest to use for this recipe if you can find them. I never can where I live 🙁

Tailor To Your Taste

Check out some variations and substitutions you can try.

  • Add-ins: You can stretch the shrimp salad to make more by adding avocado chunks, chopped red pepper or chopped seeded cucumber.
  • Herbs and seasoning: Herbs that pair well with shrimp are parsley, basil, tarragon, oregano, dill, chives, cilantro. Other seasoning options include a dash of horseradish, Old Bay seasoning and/or Worcestershire sauce.
  • Presentation: Line the buns with Boston or butter lettuce before adding the shrimp salad.
  • Rolls or buns: Instead of hot dog buns (traditional), serve them in tacos, pita, wraps, croissants, brioche buns or slider buns.

Shortcuts

Easy (this recipe)EasierEasiest
Grill shrimp on skewersPoach shrimp Buy cooked shrimp
Toast buttered rolls on grillToast rolls in oven, then butter themUse untoasted rolls or warm in microwave)
~ 25 min~15 min~10 min

The shortcut alternatives for cooking the shrimp and preparing the rolls are in the recipe notes.

Step by step instructions for grilled shrimp rolls

raw shrimp in bowl, mayo, Dijon, salt, pepper, celery, lemon, green onion, 4 hot dog rolls
Ingredients: shrimp, rolls, lemon, celery, mayonnaise, Dijon, salt, pepper, butter, green onion
shrimp salad dressing in a small bowl
Make the dressing. Part will be used for grilling the shrimp, the other part to make the shrimp salad.
chopped shrimp, celery, mayo dressing, parsley in white bowl
Chop cooked shrimp into small pieces. Add mayonnaise mixture, parsley and celery.
shrimp salad in a white bowl
Combine everything to make a shrimp salad.
4 buttered hot dog rolls on grill with grill marks
Slice a thin layer off the sides of the buns if needed and butter the exposed sides. Grill for 10 seconds, do a quarter turn and grill another 10 seconds for nice char marks. Repeat on the other side.
3 shrimp rolls with one in forefront
Fill the toasted buns…
3 shrimp rolls lined up on plate 1

What to serve with shrimp rolls

Here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve with this recipe as a main dish.

You can also serve this shrimp roll recipe as a appetizer. I just cut the shrimp rolls in half like this.

Make ahead

  • Make the shrimp salad a few hours or a day ahead, then prepare the buns and stuff them just before serving.
  • Keep leftover shrimp salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

FAQ about shrimp

What is the best way to thaw frozen shrimp?

Put them in a colander or strainer and run cold water over them until defrosted. This is the quickest way – only a few minutes. Instead, you can put them into a bowl of cold water to defrost. This will take a little longer. In both cases, dry them well once defrosted.

Are shrimp healthy?

Yes, they are low in calories and an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B12, and iron. They do contain higher cholesterol, but this is outweighed by the many other healthy benefits. Source: Healthline. One shrimp without sauce contains 7 calories, almost no fat and 1 gram of protein.

How can I tell when shrimp are cooked?

When the end of the thicker part of the shrimp (opposite the tail) turns opaque, the shrimp is done. The inside should just lose its translucency. The outside will turn bright pink or white depending on the type of shrimp. Cut off a little piece and check for doneness. Don’t overcook the shrimp or they will turn rubbery.

How much shrimp do you need per person?

For peeled shrimp, allow about 4-6 ounces per person. So one pound will serve about 3 people. Figure a bit more or less depending on the appetites of the people you’re serving and other add-ins in the dish. For example, if the dish includes pasta, rice or veggies, you can get away with less shrimp per serving.

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Recipe

3 shrimp salad rolls on white plate sprinkled with parsley
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5 from 4 votes

Shrimp Roll Recipe (easy, easier, easiest)

Shrimp may be the poor man's lobster, but this grilled shrimp roll recipe with dressed-up plump juicy morsels of shrimp in a buttery toasted roll feels decadent.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time28 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3 (or 4 smaller portions)
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined (450 grams)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped finely (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, Note 1 (or more to taste)

Rolls

  • 3 hot dog rolls, Note 2 (or4 for less full shrimp rolls)
  • softened butter

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup (73 grams/79 ml) mayonnaise (light is fine)
  • 1 lemon (1 tablespoon juice + 1 teaspoon lemon zest)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce or less (optional)

Instructions

  • PREPARE THE DRESSING: (Half will be used to grill shrimp. Half will be used for making the shrimp salad.) Mix all dressing ingredients – mayo, green onions, Dijon, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper – in a large bowl. Set aside 2 1/2 tablespoons in a second medium bowl to dress the grilled shrimp.
  • PREPARE AND GRILL SHRIMP: Heat gas grill to high, brush the grates clean and oil them with a paper towel dipped in oil. Mix shrimp with 2 tablespoons of dressing. Thread onto steel skewers or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for a few minutes. I spray shrimp lightly with oil to further prevent sticking. Grill shrimp for about 2 minutes per side or just until cooked through. Smaller ones will take less time. Do NOT overcook. Note 3 to boil or bake shrimp instead.
  • MAKE SHRIMP SALAD: Remove shrimp from skewers to cutting board, Roughly chop into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl with reserved mayonnaise mixture. Add celery and parsley (or other herbs). Mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings (I add another good squirt of lemon juice and often extra salt and pepper).
  • TOAST ROLLS AND STUFF THEM: If rolls have crust on the sides, cut a thin slice off to allow for golden brown buttered rolls. Place rolls on grill at about medium-high heat. After 10 seconds, turn them 45 degrees for nice hatch marks. Flip and repeat on second side. Note 4 to pan fry or toast rolls instead.
    Add about 3/4 cup shrimp mixture to each roll. Serve with pickles and chips or other sides (see post). For appetizers, cut rolls in half and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Notes

  1. Herb options: Instead of parsley, use other herbs that go well with shrimp such as basil, tarragon, oregano, dill, chives, cilantro. 
  2. Roll options: instead of the traditional hotdog buns, you can put the shrimp salad in tacos, pita, wraps, croissants, brioche buns or slider buns. All of these can be warmed in the oven, grill or microwave. 
  3. Instead of grilling the shrimp:
    • Poached shrimp: Bring water and salt to boil in a medium sauce pan. Add peeled shrimp. Remove pan from heat immediately and let the shrimp sit there, uncovered. How long to cook raw shrimp depends on their size. Bon Appetit suggests: Medium size 26-30/pound/450g – 1.5 minutes. Medium-large 21-25/pound/450g – 2 minutes. Large 13-15/pound/450g – 4 minutes. Jumbo 8-12/pound/450g – 5 minutes. To quickly stop the cooking process, transfer shrimp to a bowl of ice water. Do not coat the shrimp in mayo dressing for this poached option. 
    • Baked shrimp: Coat shrimp with mayo dressing as per recipe. Heat oven to 425F/218C. Place shrimp on line baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes depending on size of shrimp. Do not over cook. They should just turn opaque. 
  4. Toasted buns – options instead of grilling:
    • Pan fry them: Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Generously butter sides of rolls. Place in skillet and toast for a couple minutes on each side until golden brown.
    • Toast them in the oven or toaster oven: Place buttered rolls on a tray. Toast them in a preheated 350F/177C oven for 5-6 minutes or until lightly brown. 
  5. Other variations
    •  Add-ins: You can stretch the shrimp salad to make more by adding avocado chunks, chopped red pepper or chopped seeded cucumber.
    • Herbs and seasoning options: Add a dash of horseradish, cajun seasoniong or Old Bay seasoning to the shrimp salad if you like. And an extra squeeze of lemon juice.
    • Fastest way to make a shrimp roll: Buy cooked shrimp (boiling is the next fastest way). Don’t toast the rolls or just  warm them in a microwave (grilling is the next fastest way). 
    • Presentation: Line the buns with Boston or butter lettuce before adding the shrimp salad.
  6. Make Ahead:
    • Make the shrimp salad a few hours or a day ahead, then prepare the buns and stuff them just before serving.
    • Keep leftover shrimp salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
 
Nutrition information is estimated and will depend on size of rolls and how much shrimp salad you put in each shrimp roll. 

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 1680mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 438IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 160mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

This shrimp roll recipe, originally posted in 2017, has been updated with new information, recipe tweaks and pictures. Same delicious taste.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    very good, added 1 cup coleslaw and a slice of red onion minced, quarter stalk of celery minced. did not use the mayo.