18 Succulent Shrimp Appetizers

Barbecue Shrimp Bagna Cauda with Crudités
Photo: © Cedric Angeles

Grilled, fried, sautéed, or poached, shrimp can be a classic and elegant first course for casual and fancy occasions alike. From spicy shrimp and chorizo kebabs to amazing shrimp toast, these shrimp appetizers will fit perfectly into your next dinner party menu.

01 of 18

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with Fresh Tomato Cocktail Sauce

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with Fresh Tomato Cocktail Sauce
Photo by Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

Give shrimp cocktail a seasonal, smoky upgrade with this recipe, an ideal appetizer for summer dinner parties and cookouts. The shrimp are marinated in a bright lemon-garlic mixture that gets a kick from crushed red pepper. The cocktail sauce echoes the lemony notes from the shrimp and features a combination of fresh tomato and smoked sun-dried tomatoes.

02 of 18

Shrimp Cakes

Shrimp Cakes
© Con Poulos

These chunky little shrimp cakes from F&W culinary director at large Justin Chapple are spiked with scallions, lemon, and smoked paprika, and served with an almost-instant spicy mayo.

03 of 18

Shrimp Hot Pockets

Asian Shrimp Rolls
© John Kernick

Wrap a quick shrimp filling in white sandwich bread, then fry them up into adorable, crispy little rolls that are perfect for serving with cocktails.

04 of 18

Barbecue Shrimp Bagna Cauda with Crudités

Barbecue Shrimp Bagna Cauda with Crudités
© Cedric Angeles

New Orleans-style "barbecue" shrimp is made with Creole seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, beer, and butter, but this recipe switches out those flavors for a garlicky Italian anchovy sauce known as bagna cauda. No actual barbecuing is involved in either version.

05 of 18

Spicy Shrimp and Chorizo Kebabs

Spicy Shrimp and Chorizo Kebabs
© Tina Rupp

The super-fast, super-tasty marinade for this shrimp, flavored with caraway seeds and ancho powder, would also be delicious with chicken, pork tenderloin, and any kind of steak.

06 of 18

Shrimp and Jicama Rolls with Chile-Peanut Sauce

Shrimp and Jicama Rolls with Chili-Peanut Sauce
© Dana Gallagher

At school in Vietnam, chef Charles Phan and his classmates would buy these chewy rice-paper rolls, filled with crunchy jicama and sweet shrimp, from enterprising street vendors who set up their stalls in the playground at dismissal time. Phan loves the neatness of including the sauce in the roll rather than serving it alongside, but he often makes extra for those who insist on dipping.

07 of 18

Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

Diana Chistruga

Based on a popular Spanish tapa, this dish is delicious enough to serve as a main course. Simply sauté the shrimp in garlicky, spicy olive oil and then toss them with sherry, lemon juice, and a handful of parsley. The shrimp are equally good hot or at room temperature.

08 of 18

Thai-Style Shrimp Cocktail

Thai-Style Shrimp Cocktail
Aubrie Pick

Chef Kris Yenbamroong of Night + Market invites a quick garlic aïoli and super-spicy fish sauce–based dip to the shrimp cocktail party. Serve the shrimp alongside ramekins of aïoli and nam jim seafood sauce for dipping, or arrange the shrimp around the rim of a coupe glass filled with nam jim for more intense flavor. 

09 of 18

Spicy Shrimp Toast

Shrimp Toast
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall

Shrimp toast has become a staple in American Chinese restaurants and is a fun snack to make at home. Here, 2011 F&W Best New Chef Stephanie Izard makes a shrimp mousse flavored with spicy sambal oelek; bright, tangy preserved lemon; and Shaoxing rice wine, and spreads it on white bread. 

10 of 18

Shrimp Pakora Sliders with Coconut-Cilantro Chutney

Shrimp Pakora Sliders
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Prop Styling by Julia Bayless / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn

These sandwiches inspired by Indian street food feature crunchy fried shrimp topped with a smear of herbal coconut chutney on a soft bun. The shrimp are seasoned with mildly spicy Kashmiri chile powder; they get their crunch from a batter of besan (chickpea flour) and cornstarch. The tangy chaat masala sprinkled on top of the fried shrimp and the coconut-cilantro chutney adds even more bright flavor to these burgers.

11 of 18

Zucchini, Corn, and Shrimp Flatbread

Zucchini, Corn, and Shrimp Flatbread
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Store-bought naan flatbreads get toasty on the grill, layered with mascarpone cheese, sweet shrimp, juicy corn, and tender ribbons of fresh zucchini. Don't skimp on the garnish of smoked paprika — it adds a dash of vibrant color and enhances the smoky flavor.

12 of 18

Cracked Shrimp with Pineapple-Habanero Relish

Cracked Shrimp
Greg DuPree

TV chef Carla Hall’s take on Bahamian cracked conch yields tender, extra-crispy shrimp with the help of a rolling pin to flatten and tenderize the flesh. Hold the shrimp by the tail when “cracking” them to make sure the tail doesn’t separate from the rest of the meat.

13 of 18

Pork Belly, Shrimp, and Pickled Tomato Pintxos

Pork Belly, Shrimp and Pickled Tomato Pintxos Recipe
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

These simple, one-bite snacks are quick to assemble and grill just as your guests arrive. Sticky-sweet pork belly; tender, meaty shrimp; and bright, quick-pickled tomato variations offer something for everyone at the cookout.

14 of 18

Crispy Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Crêpes) with Shrimp, Pork, and Bean Sprouts

Crispy Vietnamese Crêpes with Shrimp, Pork and Bean Sprouts
© Quentin Bacon

When Vietnamese chef Charles Phan samples bánh xèo (aka "happy pancakes") at restaurants, he often finds that they aren't crisp enough. Phan thinks the perfect savory crêpe should be lacy thin and crackly crisp. After years of dedicated experimentation, he recommends refrigerating the batter overnight, so the starches have time to relax, then cooking the crêpes in a nonstick skillet.

15 of 18

Honey-Pepper Coconut Shrimp

Honey Pepper Coconut Shrimp Recipe
Photo by Greg DuPree / Prop Styling by Christine Keely / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer

Although his breading technique at Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack in Asheville, North Carolina, is top secret, chef Rich Cundiff was kind enough to create this special riff on his coconut shrimp exclusively for us. A drizzle of syrupy honey glaze, infused with black pepper and lemon, adds a tart-sweet bite.

16 of 18

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder
Greg DuPree

Chef, culinary historian, and author Maricel Presilla shared this recipe for a coastal Ecuadoran shrimp soup when we asked her for an example of classic Ecuadoran food. Key to this recipe is the grated unripe plantain, which gives the soup a wonderfully light and creamy body.

17 of 18

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail with Saffron

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail with Saffron
Jen Causey

In this coctél de camarón recipe, saffron is mixed with charred bell pepper, tomato, onion, and garlic to build an umami-filled stock. Combined with the saucy shrimp and all the cucumber, tomato, onion, cilantro, and avocado, this dish is suitable for a complete lunch. Eat it with some good tostadas or saltine crackers. 

18 of 18

Shrimp Quesadillas

Shrimp Quesadillas
© Todd Porter & Diane Cu

Seafood lovers will dive right into these simple and delicious shrimp quesadillas. Serve with all your standard quesadilla accouterments: salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles