How to make Shrimp Burgers

When I did my review of The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, one of the recipes I made were these Shrimp Burgers.

Unfortunately, I took only one (not-so-good at that!) photo, and we all know I can hardly bear to share a recipe without some photos.

However! I made them for dinner again last night and I’m here with the requisite photos.

(note: If raw shrimp grosses you out, you should stop reading right here. I apologize. There’s just no way to make raw shrimp look really delicious.)

I’d never had shrimp burgers before I tried the ATK recipe, but they appealed to me because they seemed sort of like a crab cake, and I do love a good crab cake. They remind me of a cross between a crab cake and a fish sandwich (especially if you top the burger with tartar sauce), and I think they’re really tasty.

Of course, a recipe calling for a pound of shrimp isn’t exactly frugal, but since a lot of you wanted the recipe, I’m just going to post it anyway. And hey, if you compare the cost of this recipe to the cost of prepared, frozen seafood, though, or to the cost of takeout, it does seem downright frugal (you can practically eat lobster at home every night for the same cost as restaurant food!).

Ok! To start off, whisk together the mayo (the recipe calls for light, but I just used regular), green onions, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Process a slice or two of whole wheat bread in the food processor to form crumbs. You’ll need 3/4 cup of crumbs, but the number of slices needed to produce this amount will vary depending on the type of bread you use. You could use white bread to make your crumbs too.

Shake the crumbs out of the food processor bowl and process the shrimp until there’s a mixture of finely chopped pieces and larger chunks.

Gently fold the bread crumbs and shrimp into the mayo mixture.

Gently form the mixture into patties. ATK recommends making four, but when I did that, I had a harder time getting the insides of the patties cooked through without burning the outside. So this time I made more burgers and made them a little thinner, which worked a lot better when it came time to cook them.

Cover the patties and refrigerate them for 30 minutes. You can refrigerate them longer, but don’t refrigerate them less. They need time to firm up and become a little easier to handle…otherwise, they fall apart super easily.

I made mine mid-afternoon and put them in the fridge while I headed to the gym. I was pleased with myself for being that organized and ahead of the game (cooking when I get home from the gym is uninspiring to me!), but that all quickly faded when I got to the gym and realized I’d left my shorts at home. Rats.

I briefly considered working out in my jeans, but trashed that plan after about 2 seconds.

So, I ran some errands, and came back home to cook my burgers.

A nonstick pan is really useful for this recipe. You can use a regular pan, but you’ll need more oil or butter, and your burgers might stick even then.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat (the recipes calls for canola oil, but I prefer butter, thankyouverymuch).

Gently place the shrimp patties into the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. The cooking time will depend on how thick your patties are, of course.

Serve as-is, with lemon wedges on the side, or on buns with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce.

Shrimp Burgers
Serves 4
Printable Shrimp Burger Recipe, courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen
It is best to buy shell-on shrimp and peel them yourself. Prepeeled shrimp are often treated with a
sodium solution, which affects their flavor and gives them a rubbery texture. (Kristen’s note: totally agree! Raw, unpeeled shrimp taste the best.)

1 slice high-quality whole-wheat sandwich bread, torn into 1 inch pieces
1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined (I used 51-60 shrimp…way cheaper, and the burgers were still very tasty)
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 scallions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil (um, or butter)
Lemon wedges (for serving)

1. Pulse the bread in a food processor to coarse crumbs, about 4 pulses, and transfer to a bowl (you
should have about 3/4 cup crumbs). Wipe the food processor clean, and pulse the shrimp until there is an
even mix of finely minced and coarsely chopped pieces, about 7 pulses.

2. Whisk the mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and cayenne together in a large bowl
until uniform. Gently fold into the processed shrimp and breadcrumbs until just combined.

3. Scrape the shrimp mixture onto a small baking sheet, divide it into 4 equal portions, and loosely pack each into a 1 inch-thick patty. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Heat the oil in a 12ıinch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Gently lay the
shrimp burgers in the skillet and cook until crisp and browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Gently
transfer the burgers to a platter and serve with the lemon wedges.

Per serving: Cal 190; Fat 7g; Sat Fat 1g; Chol 175mg; Carb 5g; Protein 24g; Fiber 1g; Sodium 370mg

Today’s 365 post: Zoe’s socks, though Joshua’s lens and mine

Joshua’s 365 post: All new! Socks with ventilation!



  1. says

    Ooo…you finally made them! These look absolutely delicious – I’m so excited to try making them. Thanks for sharing!

    Also a frugal note – at Safeway stores they often have a sale on their Waterfront Bistro frozen seafood, and usually offer a coupon in their ads. I got two pounds of frozen shrimp for $6, which I don’t think is too bad! (And they can be tricky – the butcher told me that the “fresh” shrimp in their cases is the exact same thing as the Waterfront Bistro shrimp – they just open up a couple bags and thaw them out.)

    • Kristen says

      Yes! That’s exactly what they do at Weis too, so there’s no point in buying the “fresh” ones. Better to buy the frozen bags and just thaw them when you’re ready to use them.

  2. WilliamB says

    If the burgers still fall apart after chilling, do what the Asians do for dumplings: mix 1-3 teaspoons of cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoons of water, and add to the burgers.

    If you’re mincing shrimp, buy the smallest shrimp. It’s a 100% waste of the extra cost, to put extra fancy big shrimp into the food processor.

  3. says

    These look really good! How do you think they would freeze? It is just the two of us so I was thinking about making a batch and freezing two or three before cooking them and cooking the other two.

    • says

      This seems like a really easy recipe to halve – that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve never thought to make shrimp cakes instead of crab cakes. They look delicious!!! I think I’ll serve mine next to some salad instead of on burgers. Thanks so much for sharing, Kristen. My husband has been asking to mix our dinner recipes up a little, and he will be very impressed with these!

  4. says

    I wonder, can you make these with half shrimp, half whiting? I just bought a 5 pound box of whiting on sale and that would help stretch the shrimp cost.

    And I agree, this would be a very good taco!

    • WilliamB says

      Probably. Mark Bittman has a recipe for Shrimp and White Bean burgers much like this recipe, and fish sticks together as well as beans. You might need more binder (such as cornstarch) because fish doesn’t have as much collagen and shrimp.

  5. Kayla says

    These look really good – I may have to try it sometime. I don’t often think of using seafood to cook because here in the Midwest it’s hard to get good seafood. [The beef however, is amazing! ;) ]

  6. amy says

    I’m making these for dinner tonight! They look so good in your photo. I never would have thought of making somthing like this on my own; thanks for the inspiration!

  7. says

    I have this recipe printed out on my kitchen noticeboard and ready to make WHEN I have enough cash to buy my food processor!
    It’s one kitchen item which I sorely need and don’t have and I’m hoping that next month I can use my personal budget to fund one.
    Then I can make your delicious shrimp burgers which are currently tormenting me every time I look in the kitchen LOL

  8. says

    These were awesome! I made them once then had to make them again a week later. They are great cold; they are great as burgers and they are even nice all by themselves. I added a litle chipotle sauce and paprika to the tarter sauce I made and it kicked the flavor up a notch. Plus, this really, really IS a frugal dish since I only used half a bag of frozen shrimp which I got for half price. We had the burgers for dinner, then I had one as a sandwich and served the remaining 3 patties as appetizers for dinner the next day.

  9. Katherine says

    I’m going to use salmon for this, as we don’t eat shellfish. I also noticed the store bought buns and let me tell you – as a baker of almost everything from scratch now (including hamburger buns) there is sometimes you just gotta buy store bought for the convenience!

  10. Maggi says

    Now that I am able to find a decent gluten-free hamburger bun at the stores, I went on a ‘burger’ kick and this was one of the first recipes I made.

    Delicious! Don’t skip the lemon zest. Essential.

  11. sam says

    This is probably a daft question but…..

    Can you use cooked and peeled prawns to make these? Is it dangerous or will the prawns just go hard?


    • Kristen says

      I wouldn’t as I think the grill would just dry them out. I buy raw shrimp, peel them, season them, and then grill ’em.

      I find that shrimp you cook yourself usually taste better than the sort that are precooked.

  12. Joop says

    Sounds like a great recipe, I can’t wait to try it! I make Shrimp Burgers with a similar recipe which included some lime zest. I pan fried them in a little garlic butter and served them on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and avocado…..what a hit!!

    The good news-bad news is that you have to prepare and eat them in short order. They are good cold and sort of OK when nuked. Best when hot and sizzling.

    While cruising the net, I came across Chef Big Shake’s Original Shrimp Burgers from . They come frozen and have a year shelf life. Pretty easy to prepare and quite good which makes it nice when the spirit moves you.

    After cooking, we squeeze a little fresh lime on them and add the avocado. Voilà!

  13. michelle says

    Oh no. PLEASE reconsider pushing this recipe.

    Shrimp burgers are about 10-14 good sized, lightly breaded, fried shrimp and maybe some lettuce if you want it, on a bun with cocktail or tartar sauce on the side. That’s it. It’s a delightful, simple sandwich.

    You need to get yourself to the beach and eat a real one before you post something like this – it’s really a huge disservice. You cannot live on the East Coast and really serve this sort of stuff as a shrimp burger.

  14. Gabriel Leow says

    In Chinese cruisine, when we need to make shrimp patties, we remove the black intestines and smash the shrimps with the sides of the knife. Cutting the shrimps up actually makes it harder to form into shape.

    Using your hand you knead the shrimp together with the bread crumbs until the mixture attains the correct consistency. Takes about 15 minutes. Try it!

    • says

      Hmm…I usually make these with frozen shrimp that I’ve thawed, so I’d be hesitant to refreeze. Perhaps if you made them with fresh shrimp, it’d be ok to freeze them?

      • Lori says

        I don’t think fresh shrimp are available in most areas of the country. But I will check with a local fish market. The typical grocery stores that have a fish section, the shrimp are thawed that are in the fish case. I buy frozen and then just thaw them myself. But you are correct in that they are previously frozen and I don’t know if you can refreeze them.

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