These light and bright shrimp burgers are a summery alternative to a traditional beef burger. The patty is a simple blend of aromatics and shrimp—no egg or breadcrumb filler—so be sure to use the best quality, freshest shrimp available and let it shine.
We purée half of the shrimp to act as a binder, while the other half gets chopped small to provide texture. The rest of this shrimp sandwich is about complementing the sweet, fresh shrimp; sautéed green onions and jalapeños for punch, a splash of Worcestershire for depth, and lemon, basil, and dill for brightness.
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works
Because this recipe doesn’t use any binders—egg or breadcrumbs—we needed to find a way to hold the burgers together while also maintaining the unique texture of shrimp. To do this, we divide the shrimp in half—one half gets pulsed into a paste while the other half is chopped fine. Once combined, the paste holds everything together while the diced shrimp adds texture.
We then mix in sautéed jalapeño and scallions and a bit of lemon which adds freshness without stealing the show.
The burgers are then sandwiched on a whole-wheat bun with our homemade tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato and avocado. The recipe for the tartar sauce is included in this recipe, but for more info and substitutions check out our full article on how to make tartar sauce.
Test Kitchen Tips
- The burgers can be prepped, formed and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead of time. Because they are so easy to bring together, we don’t recommend forming them any further in advance.
- The tartar sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Unsalted butter, olive oil and mayonnaise
These shrimp burgers use a variety of fats. Butter is for sautéeing the jalapeño and scallions and enhances the flavor of the shrimp. It’s also used for toasting the buns. Olive oil and butter are used to cook the shrimp burgers while the mayonnaise is the base for our homemade tartar sauce.
Aromatics & Herbs
Scallions, aka green onions, and jalapeño are briefly sautéed then mixed into the shrimp burgers along with a bit of grated lemon zest. This simple combination adds just enough flavor and brightness without overtaking the main ingredient—shrimp. Fresh dill and basil are used to make an herby tartar sauce. If you don’t want to purchase two types of herbs, feel free to double up on the dill and skip the basil.
The star of the show! We like to use wild-caught shrimp from the US. Any size will work here since we’re pulsing half of the shrimp into a paste and dicing the rest (though we wouldn’t go for itty bitty shrimp).
If you aren’t near a coast and don’t have the luxury of quality fresh seafood, opt for frozen peeled and deveined shrimp. Seek out a product that lists “shrimp” as the only ingredient.
Just a dash of this umami-rich sauce adds a nice depth of flavor. Look for it in the grocery store near the steak sauce.
A dash of Tabasco adds a nice undertone of heat to the tartar sauce. We only call for ¼ teaspoon, so add more to your liking.
Every good tartar sauce needs something briny and salty. For this recipe we like to use minced cornichons and capers. Feel free to use minced dill pickle in place of cornichons. Both capers and cornichons can be found near the jarred pickles and olives.
To bring it all together, we assemble each sandwich with a slice or two of ripe tomato, a couple leaves of Bibb lettuce (also called Boston or butter lettuce), and a few slices of avocado.
There are a few ways you can grill these. First, set a cast-iron skillet on your grill grate (gas or charcoal) and cook the burgers in the skillet. You can also cook the burgers on a piece of foil placed on top of the grill grates.
If you want to cook them right on the grill gate (you rebel, you), brush the grates clean really well. Then oil the grates using an oil-soaked bunch of paper towels and a pair of tongs. Spritz the surface of the burgers lightly with nonstick spray before placing them on the grill.
And finally, don’t flip them until they readily release on their own from the grill grate. Together, these steps should keep the burgers from sticking to the grate.
The burgers themselves are gluten-free. To keep the entire sandwich gluten-free, serve on a gluten-free bun or a bed of lettuce.
Serve shrimp sandwiches with…
- We love how vibrant this Green Goddess Salad is, it’ll pair perfectly with these light and fresh shrimp burgers.
- Gotta love a good potato salad, this Herby Sour Cream Potato Salad is the perfect pairing for dining al fresco.
- Keep it simple with this Celery Salad—the freshness and crunch are ideal with these burgers.
- This Simple Peach and Sweet Corn Salad is a fun summer salad that’s both sweet and savory.
Shrimp Burgers with Herby Tartar Sauce
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
- 1 small jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
- 1 ½ pounds wild-caught shrimp, peeled and deveined*
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons chopped cornichons or dill pickle
- 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
- ¼ teaspoon Tabasco + more to taste
To Cook & Assemble
- 4 soft hamburger buns, such as potato rolls or whole-wheat burger buns, gluten-free if needed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small head Bibb lettuce (also called Boston or Butter)
- 1 heirloom tomato, sliced ¼-inch thick
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add green onions and jalapeño and cook until softened, about 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Finely dice half the shrimp into ¼-inch pieces. Place remaining shrimp in bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.
- Combine puréed and chopped shrimp in a medium bowl. Add cooled scallions and jalapeños, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix thoroughly with clean hands or rubber spatula.
- Divide mixture into four 5-ounce patties about ¾-inch thick. Arrange on a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together tartar sauce ingredients in a small bowl; season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet. Add buns cut-side down and toast until golden brown, 1–2 minutes; wipe out skillet.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil to now-empty skillet; melt over medium heat. Once foam subsides, add shrimp patties, increase heat to medium-high and cook until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in centers register 145ºF (63ºC); about 5 minutes per side.
- To assemble: spread 1 tablespoon tartar sauce over cut side of bottom bun, top with a piece of lettuce, shrimp patty, a slice of tomato, and a couple avocado slices. Spread 1 tablespoon tartar sauce on cut side of top bun and place on top.
- Serve immediately with extra sauce on side.