This shrimp Caesar salad takes the classic salad recipe and adds a spicy kick with a hint of sriracha in the dressing. It’s an easy, light meal with a fun twist that you can make from scratch in minutes.

A bowl of Caesar salad topped with shrimp, croutons, shaved parmesan, and dressing, with utensils, salt and pepper shakers, and extra cheese slices nearby.
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I recently reshot the photos for this shrimp Caesar salad recipe that I originally showcased in mason jars as an easy portable salad option. While you can still do that of course, I’ve never been super fond of mason jar salads — you just can’t fit enough in them! So this time around, it’s getting served like a normal salad.

When I originally posted this recipe (almost 10 years ago), I went on and on about how Caesar salad was my husband’s go-to order at any restaurant. This was not a lie, but it was (thankfully) a phase. For a solid three years, the man would order Caesar salad everywhere we went, sometimes not even bothering to look at the rest of the menu. It infuriated me.

I don’t know what eventually snapped him out of that, but I’m glad it’s over. Caesar salads have their time and place, but most don’t live up to one like this. The typical restaurant Caesar salad features goopy dressing (and usually far too much of it), subpar croutons and pre-shredded Parmesan cheese.

If you’re going to have a Caesar salad, let it be a good one, right? This shrimp Caesar is exactly that. With fresh plump shrimp and a spicy twist to the homemade Caesar dressing, it beats any restaurant version.

Recipe Highlights

I’m pretty confident you’ll love this simple salad recipe and here’s why:

  • It’s a healthy, quick meal you can make in minutes.
  • The homemade Caesar dressing is the real deal featuring egg yolk and anchovy. It puts the bottled stuff to shame.
  • The spicy sriracha twist adds lots of flavor to the shrimp and the creamy dressing for something a little different.
  • It’s such an easy way to get in your greens!
Ingredients for Caesar salad including a bowl of romaine lettuce, shrimp, croutons, grated cheese, anchovies, garlic, mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, oil, a raw egg, salt, and pepper.

What You’ll Need

It’s a Caesar salad at the end of the day so it’s not complicated, but here’s what you’ll need.

  • Shrimp — Use fresh or frozen. Tails on is prettier, but tails off (and certainly deveined) makes your life a lot easier when shoveling this salad into your mouth.
  • Parmesan cheese — I have major issues with pre-shredded cheese. Please use a fresh block of real Parmesan cheese and shave off slices using a vegetable peeler. Pre-shredded cheese has additives and non-caking agents and it’s just not the same.
  • Croutons — No Caesar is complete without croutons. If you have some leftover stale bread, chop it up into cubes and toast it or bake it off. Otherwise, store-bought croutons are fine. You can make any Caesar salad gluten-free friendly by using gluten-free bread or croutons.
  • Sriracha — This is optional if you don’t want too much spice, but cooking the shrimp in a touch of sriracha brings a nice added punch of heat.
  • Caesar dressing — What makes a homemade Caesar salad so much better is the ability to make your own dressing. This one uses an anchovy filet, garlic, salt, egg yolk, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, black pepper and sriracha. If you don’t want a spicy Caesar dressing, simply omit the sriracha.

My Pro Tip

Recipe Tip

I like to keep anchovy paste on hand in a tube. It’s great for recipes like lamb bolognese or if you’re making a kale Caesar salad and then you don’t have to find a use for the other anchovy filets in an open can.

A bowl of lettuce, peeled shrimp in another bowl, a small bowl with croutons, a bowl of sriracha Caesar dressing, and a whisk on a white marble surface.

How to Make the Spicy Caesar Dressing

Mince and mash the anchovy, garlic and salt together using a sharp knife. Place the mixture in a small bowl then add the remaining dressing ingredients except the olive oil. Whisk until smooth and creamy while pouring the olive oil in slowly.

Alternatively, you can add everything to a blender and blend until smooth.

How to Cook the Shrimp

For spicy shrimp, toss the shrimp with sriracha in a bowl. Add the coated shrimp to a hot skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes per side until the shrimp become opaque and curl up.

You can also grill the shrimp on skewers if preferred and get a nice smoky charred flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients in this shrimp Caesar salad.

A bowl of shrimp Caesar salad with lettuce, grilled shrimp, shaved Parmesan cheese, and lemon wedges. A cutting board with Parmesan cheese and another bowl of lemon wedges are in the background.

Our Best Tips

No Caesar salad is super complicated to make, but I’ve got a few tips up my sleeve that takes this recipe from good to great:

  1. Make sure the Romaine lettuce is very dry after washing. This keeps it nice and crunchy instead of soggy and one of the best features of a proper Caesar salad is super fresh and crunchy Romaine. A good salad spinner like this Oxo one I have and love is a must for a recipe like this or my Caesar salad stuffed sweet potatoes.
  2. Don’t overcook the shrimp. A minute or two on each side is all they need. Overcooking leads to rubbery shrimp and the shrimp in this salad should have plenty of “bite” to them.
  3. For the best crouton experience, leave bread out on the counter overnight and toast it off while assembling the salad. Fresh bread doesn’t make for as crunchy a crouton as bread that’s allowed to go a bit stale.
A salad with shrimp, croutons, shaved parmesan, and a creamy Caesar dressing on a bed of lettuce.

Other Ways to Customize This Salad

If you’re not a purist, you can definitely make a few swaps in this salad.

  • Swap Romaine lettuce for iceberg. It’s got a similar crunchy texture that will still give you that classic Caesar crispness.
  • Sliced ripe avocado makes a wonderful creamy topping and adds a bit of healthy fats to the salad.
  • Counterbalance the spicy kick in this recipe with fresh lemon juice squeezed on top before serving.
  • Swap out the shrimp for salmon, chicken, scallops or a hardboiled egg for different protein options. You can also add cooked crumbled bacon on top.
  • Cherry tomatoes and sliced red onion (or pickled red onion) pair well with any Caesar recipe.
A close-up of a shrimp Caesar salad with croutons, romaine lettuce, shaved Parmesan cheese, and lemon wedges in a white bowl.

What Kind Of Shrimp to Use

When the shrimp are the main feature of the salad, like in this Caesar recipe, I like to use large or extra-large shrimp at minimum. Jumbo shrimp are also great, you’ll just need less of them.

It’s also a lot easier to overcook smaller shrimp so sticking to the large-size helps avoid that. 16-20 count shrimp is what you’re looking for on the bag or sign at the fish market. This means that you’ll get 16-20 shrimp in one pound and that’s typically a decent sized shrimp.

How to Prep Ahead

If you want to get a little ahead with this salad recipe, you can make the Caesar dressing a few days in advance and keep it refrigerated. Give it a good whisk before serving.

The shrimp taste best the day they’re made and since they only take a couple minutes to cook, it’s best to leave the rest of the salad assembly until right before you plan to serve it.

How to Make Shrimp Caesar Salad Without Anchovies

A true Caesar dressing uses anchovies. They give it a wonderful savory and umami flavor that’s hard to otherwise replicate. If needed, however, you can omit them. A dash of Worcestershire sauce can help provide a similar depth of flavor.

Close-up of a fresh shrimp salad with leafy greens, creamy dressing, and pepper seasoning.

More Fresh Salads Like This to Enjoy

There are plenty more fresh and healthy salads like this shrimp Caesar to enjoy if you’re in the mood for something else.

Feeling more exotic? Try our Pad Thai salad that features the classic peanut sauce in dressing form.

This summer barley salad is another way to enjoy shrimp in a hearty salad form.

Craving crunch? This bok choy salad has so much of it, your jaw will get a workout by the time you’re finished. The sesame soy dressing is light and delicious.

Shrimp are a great light and healthy summer salad option and there’s no better recipe to showcase that then this shrimp avocado mango lime salad.

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5 from 6 votes

Shrimp Caesar Salad

Servings: 1 serving
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
A bowl of Caesar salad topped with shrimp, croutons, shaved parmesan, and dressing, with utensils, salt and pepper shakers, and extra cheese slices nearby.
This shrimp Caesar salad features a spicy sriracha Caesar dressing that makes this classic standout in a new way.

Ingredients 

For the Dressing:

  • 1 anchovy filet
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha

For the Salad:

  • 9 large shrimp, deveined and tails removed
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup croutons
  • romaine lettuce

Instructions 

For the Dressing:

  • Chop the anchovy, garlic, and salt together until minced. Use the side of the knife blade to mash the mixture into a paste-like consistency.
  • Place in a small bowl and whisk in the egg yolk, lemon juice, and mustard. Slowly drizzle the olive oil while continuing to whisk. Add Parmesan and season with the black pepper to taste. Lastly, stir in sriracha until fully incorporated. Set aside.

For the Salad:

  • Combine the shrimp and sriracha in a small bowl and toss to coat.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes per side until pink.
  • Assemble the salad by adding the lettuce to a serving bowl first then topping with the shrimp, croutons and Parmesan. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 785kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 57gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 402mgSodium: 2511mgFiber: 16gSugar: 15g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads
Cuisine: American
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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating




9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m a huge caesar salad fan and had to try this version with shrimp- turned out great! We made it last Wednesday and will be making it again next week

  2. 5 stars
    This is the best upgrade to a Caeser salad ever! Love the shrimp, and the addition of a little spice in the dressing makes it amazing!!

  3. Actually it’s even easier than that. You don’t eat the salad from the jar, you dump it out into a bowl when you’re ready to eat so all the dressing and ingredients you added first will then be over the greens.

  4. Not THIS is a lunch! I will gladly shove my fork all the way to the bottom to get that shrimp haha

  5. i like doing pasta salads this way but with greens, im with you about having to shove my fork and all that.