In the market for the best shrimp roll? You’ve come to the right place. Every element of this shrimp roll recipe has been considered and elevated to new heights. From poaching the shrimp in a white wine-infused ‘court-bouillon’ to dressing the tender shrimp in a creamy herb-packed dressing. This shrimp roll recipe is truly the best out there. So when you’re in need of a summer seafood sandwich but also crave an elevated version—turn to this recipe.
The Secrets to Making the Best Shrimp Rolls
There are a few key steps in creating the best shrimp rolls. The first is poaching the shrimp in a flavorful liquid known as a ‘court-bouillon.’ Traditionally, a court-bouillon is a broth infused with vegetables (onion, carrots, celery) and a bouquet garni. The broth is simmered for about 30 minutes before it cools to room temperature, the veggies are pulled out and the liquid is then ready for poaching seafood.
To cut down on prep time, we skip the vegetables and rely on the heavy hitters like fresh herbs, wine and lemon juice. It’s a quick yet impactful poaching method.
The second secret to this shrimp roll recipe is using large shell-on shrimp. The shells protect the shrimp from cooking too quickly (which can easily lead to over-cooking). Plus, the shells themselves are quite flavorful, so leaving them intact actually makes the shrimp more flavorful.
And finally, instead of dressing the shrimp in Old Bay seasoning and butter, we’re opting for a creamy mayo-based dressing loaded with herbs. We find it far more delicious and crave-worthy.
Shrimp Roll Ingredients
Herbs: this shrimp roll recipe is absolutely packed with herbs. And it may seem like a lot of herbs to buy for a shrimp roll, but trust us when we say it’s worth it. Plus, we’ve got tons of other recipes that you can make to use up these herbs. Use up leftover thyme to make our Mushroom Sauce for Steak (perfect for Steak Frites), this Peach Galette, and our Cauliflower Gratin.
Use fresh chives in this Steamed Mussels recipe or finish this Blue Cheese Steak Salad with them. Fresh dill can be used in Salmon Salad, Dill Pickle Pasta Salad, Lemon Dill Salmon, Orzo Salad, Butter Lettuce Salad, and many more recipes. And finally, use fresh tarragon to make a creamy sauce for Filet Mignon.
Lemons: lemon juice is used in the poaching liquid as well as the dressing—you’ll need 1 ½ lemons in total.
Dry white wine: a half a cup of dry white wine is used in the poaching liquid. No need to use something really nice—you just need that flavorful acidity in the poaching liquid. Plus, you can serve the rest of the bottle with the sandwiches.
Mayo and Sour Cream: these two ingredients are the base of the dressing for these shrimp rolls. You can substitute the small amount of sour cream with Greek yogurt.
Shrimp: the star of the show! You’ll need large (21/25 or 16/20) shrimp with their shells still intact. Look for shrimp that are shell-on but deveined so you don’t have to mess with that. And, if you don’t live on the coast, seek out frozen wild-caught.
Dijon mustard: a dash of Dijon adds tang and depth of flavor to the dressing.
Veggies: to round out the salad, you’ll need some sliced celery and minced red onion. To wash away some of the potency of red onion, we recommend soaking it in cold water prior to adding it to the salad.
Brioche Hot Dog Buns: the buttery sweetness of brioche pairs perfectly with the mild sweetness of shrimp. Look for top-split buns (makes for easier stuffing). Toast the buns in a skillet with some butter to warm them through and give them a golden-brown crust.
How to Make This Shrimp Roll Recipe
- Prepare the Poaching Liquid
- Chill the Shrimp Quickly
- Peel and Dice the Shrimp
- Whisk Together the Dressing
- Toast the Buns
Make the ‘court-bouillon’ by combining water, wine, thyme, bay leaves, salt and lemon juice in a large pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer then add the shrimp and gently poach until cooked through. You’ll know they’re done when they are just firm to touch and pink in color. This should take just 2 to 3 minutes.
Immediately transfer the cooked shrimp to an ice bath (made with some of that poaching liquid) and allow the shrimp to cool fully.
Once the shrimp is completely cool, peel and dice the shrimp into bite-size pieces. You should get 3 to 4 bites per shrimp.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, Dijon, and herbs; season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp, celery and red onion and mix to combine. Season the shrimp salad with salt and pepper to taste then chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day).
Melt some butter in a skillet then place the buns, cut side down (you’ll need to peel them open a bit) in the skillet. Toast the buns until they’re warmed through and golden brown.
How to Know If Shrimp is Over Cooked or Under Cooked?
There are a few ways you can tell if shrimp are cooked through. First, the shrimp should turn from translucent to opaque. Secondly, according to Bon Appetit, “keep an eye on the crevice in the back of the shrimp where the vein was removed. Stay locked onto the thickest part of the shrimp (the opposite end as the tail), and when the flesh at the base of that crevice turns from translucent to opaque, the shrimp is done.”
But how to tell if shrimp are over-cooked? If the shrimp have curled very tightly into a “c” then they are over-cooked. Over-cooked shrimp are rubbery and tough. Regardless of cooking method, you generally only need about 3 minutes to cook large sized shrimp.
The Best Shrimp for Shrimp Rolls
For the ideal bite-sized pieces of shrimp, we recommend seeking out large shell-on shrimp. Large shrimp will be labeled as 21/25 or 16/20. If you can find 16/20—those are best. As for frozen or fresh, if you aren’t by a coast, we recommend seeking out frozen. Look for wild-caught American shrimp for the best quality.
Make Ahead Tips
- Prep the dressing up to 1 day ahead of time and store in a glass airtight container in the refrigerator.
- You can also poach the shrimp up to 2 days ahead of time. Peel and dice the poached shrimp then store in a glass airtight container in the refrigerator.
- The salad itself can be made up to 1 day ahead of time, but we do not recommend prepping it any further in advance. Store the salad in a glass airtight container in the refrigerator.
What to Serve with Shrimp Rolls
Kettle cooked potato chips are a classic with shrimp rolls. Jenni recommends salt and vinegar potato chips for an extra punch of flavor and that offsets the creaminess of the shrimp salad.
Salads in general work well with shrimp rolls. We like something crisp and crunchy like a Wedge Salad, Garden Salad or a Caesar Salad. Our Tomato and Watermelon Salad would also be a lovely refreshing side for shrimp rolls.
Shrimp Roll Recipe Variations
- Instead of loading the dressing up with a trio of herbs, use just one herb (chives or dill) and add a dash of Old Bay or your favorite Cajun Seasoning.
- Lean into the bright citrus flavors and add some grated lemon zest to the dressing.
- If you’ve got some fresh or prepared horseradish on hand—grate or dollop some of that on top of the rolls.
- For a lighter meal, swap the brioche buns out in favor of lettuce wraps.
More Shrimp Recipes
- This modern take on Shrimp Fra Diavolo is absolutely delicious. Topped with dollops of chili crisp and fresh cilantro, it’s unlike any fra diavolo you’ve had and in the best possible way!
- Looking for another shrimp sandwich? Try these Shrimp Burgers complete with an herby tartar sauce.
- Shrimp tacos are also a must—check out these Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos as well as these Tacos Gobernador which feature shrimp poached in a fresh tomato sauce then piled onto crisp cheesy tortillas with avocado and romaine.
- Creamy Shrimp Bisque is the perfect date-night dinner while Peel ‘n Eat Shrimp are a go-to party appetizer or holiday starter.
- Our Cajun Shrimp is the perfect 15-minute weeknight dinner or go-to appetizer when guests drop by.
Shrimp Roll Recipe
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 ½ lemons
- 1 pound large 21/25 or 16/20 shell-on wild American shrimp
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or whole milk Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
- ½ cup thinly sliced celery
- ¼ cup minced red onion soaked in cold water for 10 minutes then drained
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 split-top brioche hot dog buns
- To make the court-bouillon, combine 2 quarts water, ½ cup white wine, 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs thyme, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup) into pot and add spent lemon halves. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and ladle 1 cup of court bouillon into it.
- When water has reached a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low to a very gentle bubble. Add 1 pound shrimp and poach just until cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Transfer immediately to prepared ice bath. Once completely cool, peel shrimp and devein if necessary. Cut each shrimp into 3–4 bite-sized pieces. You should have about 2 cups of prepared shrimp.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon chives, 1 tablespoon dill, 1 tablespoon tarragon and 1 teaspoon salt. Fold in prepared shrimp, ½ sliced celery and ¼ cup minced (and soaked) red onion. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Cover and chill mixture until ready to serve. *
- When ready to serve, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Toast buns split-side-down until golden brown and warmed through.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop ½ cup of shrimp salad mixture onto each roll. Garnish with black pepper, sea salt, and more chives. Serve immediately.