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Chilled Marinated Shrimp Appetizer

Zesty and simple to make, this chilled marinated shrimp appetizer gets a boost of flavor from a combination of lemon juice, herbs and onion! It’s an easy crowd-pleasing dish that you can prepare ahead of time!

Cold Marinated Shrimp Appetizer

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Guests coming over soon? If you need a show-stopping appetizer that’s easy yet looks elegant, then this zesty marinated shrimp recipe is your winner! This is my Aunt Bonnie’s marinated shrimp recipe, and it’s been a family favorite for decades.

This is a light and refreshing cold marinated shrimp that would be perfect for enjoying on a hot summer day when you don’t want to turn on the oven!

Shrimp Marinade Ingredients

  • Cooked Shrimp
  • Onion
  • Oregano
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Thyme
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Water
  • Lemon Juice
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt & Black Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Dry Mustard
  • Thyme

It plates up gorgeous with a garnish of extra lemon and herbs like thyme and basil. You could even skewer these shrimp to make marinated shrimp skewers too! If you are a shrimp lover, you will LOVE this cold shrimp appetizer!

Chilled Shrimp Marinade

How to Marinate Shrimp

  1. Cook shrimp (sautéed or boiled). Make sure they’re peeled and deveined.
  2. Whisk together marinade ingredients (found below).
  3. Pour marinade over shrimp and stir to coat. Place shrimp and marinade in a large ziplock bag.
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Discard extra marinade and serve shrimp!
Easy Cold Marinated Shrimp  Recipe

Marinated Shrimp Recipe Tips

Shrimp – You can substitute a small shrimp, large shrimp or even jumbo shrimp if you prefer. Also, tail-off shrimp will also work just fine. Be sure not to overcook your shrimp, that will lead to rubbery shrimp. Raw shrimp only take a few minutes to cook. You can use any cooking method, I like to sauté or boil shrimp.

Oil – My Aunt’s original recipe calls for vegetable oil but feel free to swap this out for olive oil if you prefer!

Seasonings & Herbs – You can absolutely add in additional seasoning or herbs. A pinch of red pepper flakes would give this shrimp a delicious kick too!

Onion – The shrimp marinate along with the sliced onion rings, and you can discard these before serving or include them! Also, you can substitute red onion or shallots instead.

Additions: My Aunt also loves to add diced avocado before serving, a delicious addition! You can also add more lemon juice before serving along with a garnish of herbs. For more flavor, add lemon zest or minced garlic to the marinade.

Double it for a crowd! – The recipe calls for 1 pound of shrimp but my family usually doubles that for 2 pounds of shrimp. Trust me, these juicy marinated shrimp are DELISH!

Easy Chilled Marinated Shrimp Appetizer Recipe

Serving Cold Marinated Shrimp

  • I suggest using a wide platter or large bowl to serve your shrimp. I always like to add a pinch or two of extra herbs, salt and black pepper.
  • Add in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, I added in basil leaves and thyme sprigs. Fresh parsley is perfect for chopping and sprinkling on top for a pop of green color. A few squeezes of a lemon wedge and add that in for a pretty boost of color and serve these up!
  • You can serve these shrimp alongside shrimp forks or toothpicks. Or you can skewer several shrimp on wooden skewers for easy grabbing!
  • My family loves this shrimp we actually often serve it as the main course alongside grilled vegetables! We love fresh seafood so it’s a popular recipe at our house. Plus, it makes the perfect party food.

How long can you keep marinated shrimp in the refrigerator?

One common question is just how long you can keep these marinated shrimp in the fridge. The answer is 3 days, in an airtight container! So this means you can prep this shrimp appetizer in advance of your party and have on less thing to worry about!

The next time you want an alternative to shrimp with cocktail sauce, I hope you’ll give this zesty shrimp marinade recipe a try! Plus, it’s a healthy and low carb appetizer or main dish so that’s an extra plus!

If you want another seafood appetizer to try, check out my easy crab cheese ball recipe and mini shrimp po’ boy sandwiches!

Check out these other easy party appetizers you’ll love!

Cold Marinated Shrimp Appetizer

Cold Marinated Shrimp

Author: Courtney
A chilled shrimp appetizer marinated in a zesty blend of herbs, lemon and onion!
3.99 from 165 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 5 people
Calories 290 kcal


  • 1 lb cooked medium shrimp (peeled and deveined )
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • Slice onion into rings. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients (chopped bell pepper, white wine vinegar, water, lemon juice, vegetable oil, oregano, thyme, salt, black pepper, ground mustard and sugar) until combined.
  • In a large ziplock bag, pour in marinade. Add onions and shrimp. Toss back and forth to coat shrimp. Place bag in a mixing bowl or dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Flip bag back and forth periodically to coat shrimp evenly.
  • Serve cold and garnish with extra lemon juice, black pepper or herbs. Enjoy!
Keyword cold marinated shrimp, shrimp
Calories: 290kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 19gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 146mgSodium: 809mgPotassium: 305mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 243IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. 5 stars
    Many compliments and requests for recipe. I used finely chopped scallions instead of onion. Next time I will try finely chopped jalapeno in place of bell pepper if I know my guests can handle some heat.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe was a big hit at a recent party. I followed the recipe, but like the idea of using scallions instead of sliced onion – just for a different look. Everyone wanted the recipe and I have shared it. Thanks a lot!

  3. 5 stars
    So very tasty, making it for the second time in a week and will be making another batch on Sunday?

  4. 4 stars
    Loved the recipe!
    The only thing I didn’t like was the olive oil I used that solidified in the fridge.
    Since I avoid any vegetable oil, what oil do you think would go well, except for the olive, coconut and avocado oil which definitely solidifies in the fridge.
    Thank you!

  5. 4 stars
    Just a little note: you can cut all the liquid ingredients in half, and still have plenty for the marinade. I would still use the suggested amount of the shrimp, onion, peppers and spices.

  6. 5 stars
    It’ is delicious. Made it exactly as the recipe stated. It will be made everytime I need to bring a dish.

3.99 from 165 votes (159 ratings without comment)

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