Scott Varnedoe's Pickled Shrimp

Main Course
Side Dish

Recipe courtesy of Scott Varnedoe for Louisiana Kitchen & Culture 

Serves 12

  • 3 pounds fresh headless Louisiana shrimp 
  • 3 lemons
  • salt, black pepper and crab boil
  • 3 cups cane vinegar
  • ¾  cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
  • 4 teaspoons ground celery seed
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced 
  • 3 bell peppers, large dice (red, yellow &/or green)
  • 4 jalapeño peppers, sliced 
  • 2 small cucumbers, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 10 pickled pearl onions, in juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 4 fresh bay leaves

Scott Varnedoe's Pickled Shrimp

Scott Varnedoe's Pickled Shrimp

Click image to enlarge



Peel shrimp, leaving tails intact. Devein, if desired; set aside. Zest 1 lemon; juice and set aside together. Thinly slice remaining lemons; set aside. 

Pour 1 gallon of water into a large pot. Add 3 tablespoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 3 tablespoons crab boil; stir well. Taste; adjust seasoning to your preference. Bring to a boil. Add peeled shrimp; simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add 4 cups ice and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain well. Chill until needed.

In a large non-aluminum bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, parsley, basil and celery seed. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour oil in a slow and steady stream and whisk until emulsified. Add reserved lemon juice and zest, lemon slices and boiled shrimp. Add onion, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, jalapeño, cucumber, garlic, pearl onions, capers, allspice berries, and bay leaves; set aside 30 minutes to allow flavors to absorb. Taste; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Add additional oil to mellow vinegar, if too acidic.

In as many Mason jars as needed, layer shrimp and vegetables, leaving ½-inch open at the top of jar. Add equal amounts of remaining brine to each jar. Cover tightly with lids; chill up to 3 days refrigerated (after the first night, the shrimp will get tougher and stronger in flavor as they have time to absorb the vinegar.) If desired, drain most vinaigrette from pickled shrimp and vegetables before tossing with greens, chilled cooked pasta or chilled cooked rice and add it back in small additions, if needed after tasting. Will fill about 10 pint jars or about 5 quarts. 

Chef’s Note: This bright, beautiful dish is perfect for a hot summer day. Serve as an appetizer or lunch entrée or toss with lettuce for a quick salad. Serve appetizer portions in half-pint Mason jars. 


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<p>Is this recipe to be refrigerated after for storage and/or how long will it last off of refrigeration at room temp</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>Yes, it's best if refrigerated overnight before serving. Chef Varnedoe tells me he leaves his in the refrigerator for up to a week, as long as the shrimp are fully submerged.</p>

Best Regards,

Susan Ford, Publisher

Louisiana Kitchen & Culture