~ Want an impressive yet easy Thanksgiving appetizer? Quick-cooking shrimp is a perfect choice that definitely makes a statement. From dips to skewers to innovative riffs on shrimp cocktail, you’ve got lots of crowd-pleasing options! ~
I know when most people think “Thanksgiving” they also think “turkey.”
But when I was growing up, we often had at least two back-to-back days of Thanksgiving dinner parties. To avoid boring us with turkey two days in a row, my mom ingeniously delighted us by making one of the days a seafood feast instead.
So, for me, shrimp appetizers for Thanksgiving make total sense. Start the meal with a little seafood … and you can still have turkey for the main event!
Plus, most everyone loves shrimp.
And shrimp recipes definitely feel special and a little elegant. A perfect, impressive appetizer idea to kick off your holiday feast with style!
This retro Shrimp Dip is a bit of nostalgia, perfect for sharing with family at the holidays. It's so rich and creamy with a hint of spice! Even better? It offers updated options (like subbing in some Greek yogurt or using reduced-fat cream cheese) to lighten it up for today's healthier appetites!
A delicious twist on a classic that turns deviled eggs into a holiday-worthy appetizer! The recipe uses just a bit of mayo, but also offers tips for replacing it with Greek yogurt or even a mixture of yogurt with mashed avocado. Irresistible, whatever you choose! (And for a spicy twist, try these Cajun Shrimp Deviled Eggs, too.)
Simple and elegant – always a big hit! But what I love here is that the recipe calls for leaner center-cut bacon, and the article says you can even lighten the recipe further by using turkey bacon. All the bacon-y, shrimp-y flavors you love ... made leaner so you've got plenty of room left for the rest of the Thanksgiving feast!
Cranberries add to the Thanksgiving vibes, both in the flavorful sauce, and also as an optional garnish if you'd like. And for a kick? That sweet-tart cranberry flavor gets a lift from jalapeño, fresh ginger, lime, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Festive and unique!
Everybody loves the classic shrimp cocktail appetizer, but you can breathe new life and LOTS of wow factor into it with some kicky flavorings and ultra-festive "Bloody Mary" garnishes! What makes this especially terrific for your busy Thanksgiving Day starter is that you can make the sauce a few days in advance and prep all those fun garnishes ahead of time, too! (Wanna go classic? This Shrimp Cocktail with Homemade Cocktail Sauce is for you!)
This is a great choice if you've got guests on special diets. Although it channels the iconic spinach-artichoke dip everybody loves at the holidays, this clever version is paleo, dairy free, gluten free, low carb, Whole30, and keto. Soooo ... yeah ... it'll definitely meet the needs of lots of different guests, and you'll look like a total hero for thinking of their preferences!
You won't believe something this easy tastes so good! In just 5 minutes, you can toss together a last-minute appetizer that'll keep your guests happy, even if the dinner's running behind or the last guests are straggling in late.
How clever to transform the beloved flavors of shrimp scampi into bite-sized meatballs that are just perfect for nibbling before the main dinner event! Made from fresh shrimp with lemon, garlic, herbs, and buttery white wine sauce. Offer some pretty party picks or tiny cocktail forks, and watch these disappear in no time!
Wishing you could serve up restaurant-style fried shrimp ... but without the grease and mess? Then this appetizer idea's for you! Succulent jumbo shrimp are coated in seasonings and two types of breadcrumbs, then air fried to crispy perfection. It's an easy way to enjoy the taste of fried shrimp with less fat and calories!
Such a unique fusion appetizer! Marinated shrimp is baked inside pretty kataifi dough (common in Greek and Turkish cuisines) and offered with French-inspired aioli and apricot dipping sauces. Easier than it looks, especially with the suggestions of handy (and healthy!) purchased sauces to save the time of making your own.
Delightfully balanced flavor and textures with buttery avocado, crunchy cucumber and melt-in-your-mouth shrimp ... plus some kicky heat from jalapeno and brightness from fresh cilantro and lime juice. If your Thanksgiving celebration involves watching football, this recipe is even more ideal!
Tender baked shrimp is nestled in a savory tomato sauce and topped with flavorful feta cheese. It's a traditional Greek appetizer that feels cozy and warming enough to be perfect at Thanksgiving, too. Terrific with pita wedges, or you could offer mini toasts or appetizer breads.
Whether you're trying to save space in a hectic kitchen ... or you happen to live somewhere that has gorgeous weather on Thanksgiving Day ... grilling part of your meal is a fun addition to the Thanksgiving festivities! We've got lots more Thanksgiving Grilling Ideas for ya, if that's your jam. But don't worry if it's not – this delectable recipe can be made indoors on the stovetop, too!
Restaurant-style Coconut Shrimp (with that crave-able crispy, flavorful crunch!) is actually easy to make at home. This recipe is written for the air fryer but also offers oven directions. And, you can even make it gluten-free, if needed. So good with Chipotle Crema Sauce (although you could serve it alongside any sauce you like)!
Savory … Sweet … Tangy … Crunchy. Mmmmmmm! Succulent, marinated shrimp is accented with a toasted pecan and pineapple coleslaw. Assemble them just before your guests arrive, or let everyone participate in making their own (while you double-check the turkey).
For a bit of southern flair at your Thanksgiving table, start your feast with this zesty appetizer! The article mentions that you can use an indoor grill pan if you don't want to fire up the grill. Either way, these eye-catching nibbles are ready in just 20 minutes. And, if you love the Cajun vibes here, you might also enjoy this gorgeous Cajun Shrimp Cocktail recipe, too!
So vibrantly fresh and flavorful, loaded up with shrimp, crunchy veggies, creamy avocado and bright citrus. Elevate your presentation by serving it in pretty little individual appetizer cups, or simply let guests dig in with tortilla chips.
By now, you know I absolutely adore trendy shishito peppers, so I was super excited to find this unique recipe! Whether you make this indoors on the stove, or venture outside to your grill, this appetizer is sure to win wows. Great with crusty French bread alongside! (And if you'd like a more traditional gremolata without those shishitos, check out this gorgeous, baked version.)
Of course I had to include this one! Everybody loves ordering Bang Bang Shrimp at restaurants, and just think how excited your Thanksgiving guests will be when you treat them to a homemade version! What I especially love about this particular recipe is that the accompanying article gives directions to bake or air fry the shrimp (instead of frying) and mentions you can sub Greek yogurt for some (or all) of the mayo in the scrumptious sauce ... which adds up to a lighter shrimp appetizer before that belt-loosening Thanksgiving feast. Brilliant!
How fun is this?!? Kind of like typical shrimp cocktail took a vacation in Mexico and came back with kicked-up flavors and a gorgeous presentation! So impressive, yet it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and will delight guests on practically any special diet, since it happens to be gluten free, dairy free, keto, low carb, paleo, Whole30 friendly.
Crispy on the outside with tender shrimp and spinach inside. Choose the baked option over frying to keep fat and calories in check. Then serve 'em up with a squeeze of lemon and any dipping sauces you'd normally enjoy with crab cakes. Yum yum yum!
How Do You Thaw Shrimp?
Purchasing frozen shrimp ahead of time – whenever you spot a terrific sale price – is a great move to keep that budget in check. And thawing them is super easy. Whether you’re thawing raw or cooked shrimp, the key is always to thaw them gently. I’ve got all the details on 3 simple methods in my article “How to Thaw Shrimp.” But, in short: you can either thaw them overnight in the fridge, submerge the entire bag in water, or thaw them directly in cold water. Pop over to my article for the full instructions on each method, as well as specific tips on what NOT to do.
What’s That “Size” Number Mean for Shrimp?
You’ll often see numbers on packages of shrimp, like 21-25 or 36-50. Those numbers indicate the size of the shrimp. How? Well, those numbers specify how many shrimp it takes to equal one pound. So, that gives you a rough idea of how big the shrimp will be, based on how many shrimp it takes to equal a pound. For example, 21-25 shrimp should have about 21-25 shrimp in a pound, which means they’ll be bigger than 36-50 shrimp that’ll have about 36-50 in each pound.
More Thanksgiving Seafood Recipes
Shoutout to everyone who’s looking for creative interpretations on the “typical” Thanksgiving menu. I’m always right there with you, searching for unique, fresh ideas!
If you were intrigued by my mom’s creation of a Thanksgiving seafood feast, then you’ve gotta check out our full collection of Seafood Thanksgiving Recipes!