It has been years since I’ve thought about Macaroni Shrimp Salad. It’s one of those salads that reminds me of summer reunions and potlucks. My mom didn’t make many seafood recipes, and to be honest, for a long time I thought shrimp only came in cans or deep-fried at Sizzler. I recently saw the cans of shrimp on a display at the grocery store and decided to make Macaroni Shrimp Salad for our next BBQ.
My mom usually put celery, tomato, olives, onion, and cucumber in her Macaroni Shrimp Salad. You actually don’t have to add anything more than celery and a little onion, but I like to add very tiny diced veggies that complement each other. This time I went with celery, peas, red onion, red pepper, and a grated carrot.
This salad tastes best served fresh. If you make it the night before, you may want to make an additional 1/3 of the sauce recipe to add before serving, as it is likely that the sauce will absorb into the macaroni overnight and the salad won’t be as creamy. I heard a tip that might help with that, but I haven’t tried it myself. The tip is: toss/coat the macaroni in a little olive oil before adding the other ingredients and sauce. Supposedly, the olive oil coating on the noodles will keep the sauce from absorbing into the pasta.
This is definitely a nostalgic salad that takes me back. It was so fun to introduce it to my family and to see which kids were fans. I like that you can keep the canned shrimp and pasta on hand for when you need to whip up something quick for a last-minute picnic or potluck. The sauce ingredients and veggies are things I usually always have on hand. Give this a try this summer and let me know how you like it.
More Seafood Recipes
- Easy Salmon Quiche Recipe
- Baked Butter Garlic Shrimp
- Honey Garlic Salmon
- Easy Baked Lemon Pepper Tilapia
- Oven Baked Blackened Salmon
- Albacore Tuna Salad with Apples, Celery and Red Onion
STEP-BY-STEP pictures on how to make macaroni shrimp salad
Frequently Asked Questions & Tips about how to make Macaroni Shrimp Salad
What type of pasta works best?
Elbow and shell pasta. Mini shells are extra fun. That’s what my mom used.
Can this be made with other meat besides shrimp?
Yes. You can substitute diced ham or even canned chicken.
can I make this salad in advance?
This salad is best served fresh. If made too far in advance, the pasta will absorb the sauce, making the salad a little dry. If you decide to make it the night before, make an extra 1/3 of the sauce recipe and reserve it to mix it in the salad just before serving.
- You can use freshly cooked shrimp if desired. Just chop it into bite-sized pieces and make sure you have two cups’ worth.
- Make sure to cook the pasta al dente. Overcooked pasta will result in a mushy salad.
- If you don’t have white vinegar, you can use red wine or apple cider vinegar in its place.
- 1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked al dente (Make sure to salt the water.)
- 2 (6 ounce) cans of tiny shrimp, drained
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- ¼ cup diced red onion or sweet onion
- ½ cup diced bell pepper (red or yellow)
- ¼-1/2 cup grated carrot (optional)
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp yellow mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- ½-1 tsp hot sauce
- ½ tsp ground black pepper, scant
- When the macaroni is done cooking, rinse it with cold water to cool it off quickly and to stop it from cooking further.
- Add the cooled pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- Next, add the drained shrimp, finely diced celery, onion, red pepper, the grated carrot, and peas. Once all of that is in the bowl make the sauce.
- Make the sauce by whisking together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, granulated sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, hot sauce, and ground black pepper.
- When the sauce is mixed pour it onto the ingredients in the salad bowl and mix well.
- Serve and enjoy!