Easy Appetizer for the Holidays: Marinated Shrimp

I’m not sure what the tradition is at your house, but at ours, the holidays mean lots of shrimp! Today I’m sharing one of our favorite easy appetizers – marinated shrimp.

If you’ve been a Natty Gal reader for a while, you know that do-ahead recipes are one of my tricks for keeping entertaining stress to a minimum. This recipe is simple and you make it up the day before your event. We’ve served it numerous times and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.

Easy Appetizer: Overnight Marinated Shrimp

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Easy Appetizer: Overnight Marinated Shrimp

The original recipe comes from Southern Living magazine – one of my favored “go-to’s” for easy, delicious recipes. I’ve made a couple of minor adjustments as follows:

  • Use the largest shrimp you can find, I typically look for 16-20 size.
  • Poach your shrimp for perfect results every time. To do so: Add water to a large pot.  Stir in any seasonings you like: lemon, bay leaves, etc.  Bring water to a boil.  Remove from heat.   Add 2 pounds of thawed, unpeeled raw shrimp.  Cover and let stand for about 5 minutes (depending upon the size of the shrimp) until shrimp turn fully pink.  Drain and plunge into an ice bath.
  • The red onions at my grocery are quite large and two sliced would be way too much! I probably used slightly less than one full red onion and just gauged the amount by sight.
  • This recipe is very easy to double (or triple) for larger crowds.


  • 7 ½ cups water
  • 3 pounds unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
  • 2 small red onions, sliced 
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind 
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil


  • Bring 7 1/2 cups water to a boil; add shrimp, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain and rinse with cold water. Peel shrimp, and, if desired, devein.
  • Layer shrimp, red onion slices, and bell pepper slices in an airtight container.
  • Whisk together vegetable oil and the next 9 ingredients; pour over the shrimp. Cover and chill for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup chopped basil 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy this at your next bring-a-dish or feature it at your holiday gathering this year!

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At our house, the holidays mean lots of shrimp! Today I'm sharing a favorite easy appetizer - marinated shrimp. Crowd-pleasing and can be made the day before. #easyapp #makeaheadrecipes #marinatedshrimp #holidayappetizers

Author: Betsy Ramsey

Betsy Ramsey is the author of Natty Gal. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, she now lives there with her husband and Bichon-Frise, Dolce. A mindful fashion & capsule wardrobe enthusiast, she travels extensively, visiting 56 countries to date. Betsy is committed to helping others live their most fulfilling life!

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