*This post contains affiliate links — please see my disclosure for details*.
Last Updated on August 28, 2020 by Chenée Lewis
Just in time for the summer cookout season! Even though social distancing limits the size of our celebrations this year, this easy spicy shrimp pasta salad is a zesty, delicious way to celebrate with your family.
This spicy pasta salad comes together in just a couple minutes with pasta, cooked shrimp, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, chopped celery and green onions, and Creole seasonings. It’s that easy and it definitely will be your new favorite shrimp macaroni salad!
But I don’t like pasta salad…
You’ll like this one! I used to think I didn’t like pasta salad or macaroni salad but I had a shrimp pasta salad a lot like this one that my uncle Glenn (the best cook I know) made at Thanksgiving. It was so good! I can’t say my version compares to his, but trust me, you’ll love it! Guaranteed or your money back.
This spicy shrimp pasta salad is a fantastic easy summer dish, in part because it only takes a few ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need:
- macaroni or small shell pasta – I like the look of shell pasta, but this is essentially a macaroni salad so you definitely can’t go wrong with elbow macaroni! Feel free to use whole wheat, chickpea, or any alternative type of pasta you like!
- cooked medium shrimp – makes this dish so easy! I bought a bag of frozen medium cooked shrimp, so all I had to do was thaw the shrimp and cut it into chunks!
- chopped celery and green onions – gives your salad a nice crunch! You can also add any other veggies you have on hand — I’ve seen this salad made with broccoli florets, green peppers, and white onions. Feel free to play around with what you’ve got!
- mayonnaise – crucial to give this shrimp pasta salad that creamy consistency!
- ranch dressing – secret weapon! Adds a lot of flavor and more creaminess. I can’t be the only Midwestern girl that grew up putting ranch on everything!
- Cajun or Creole seasoning – I use Tony Chachere’s, but feel free to use any that you prefer!
- fresh lemon juice – just to brighten it up and complement the Cajun seasoning.
- salt & pepper – you can add salt and pepper according to your preference to bring out the already amazing flavors in this shrimp pasta salad.
- hot sauce – this is optional, but for people who love their food spicy (like me), it’s really not optional. If you prefer, serve it on the side so that folks can add a little kick as the wish. I like Crystal hot sauce, but any hot sauce you like would be great!
This spicy shrimp pasta salad doesn’t take any special tools — just a pot to cook your pasta, a big bowl to mix it all up, and some measuring cups and knives. It couldn’t be easier!
Step by Step…
There almost aren’t any steps to this spicy shrimp pasta salad recipe. Once you have your ingredients ready, just toss them in a bowl and stir. It’s that simple! This is one of the easiest summer side dish recipes you’ll try! Here’s what you need to do:
- Cook and drain pasta. Boil your pasta in well-salted water, and make sure you cook your pasta so that it’s al dente. Since it’ll absorb some of the liquid once it’s mixed with everything else, you don’t want it to end up too mushy.
- Chop up your shrimp and veggies. Since we’re using cooked shrimp, getting the rest of the ingredients takes no time at all! I like to cut my shrimp into smaller pieces to distribute them more evenly, and chop my celery and green onions pretty finely.
- Toss all your ingredients in a big bowl. Get everything well coated with the mayo, ranch, lemon juice, and seasonings.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. Give it a taste and add more cajun seasoning if you like. If you’re like me, you’ll also add a little hot sauce for even more of a kick!
If you like the cajun spices in this creamy shrimp pasta salad, you should definitely try my New Orleans-style Barbecue Shrimp recipe! It’s a super quick stovetop recipe that sautés jumbo shrimp in a savory, buttery, Creole-spiced sauce. Perfect with crusty French bread to sop it all up!
Or, for another light pasta salad that’s perfect for a summertime meal, try my spicy peanut noodle salad! It’s gluten-free, thanks to the fantastic swap-in of chickpea noodles, and it’s vegan! But there’s nothing missing in this spicy, crunchy, satisfying cold noodle dish.
- 1 lb small shell or elbow macaroni pasta
- 1 lb cooked medium shrimp – peeled, deveined and tails removed; cut in half
- 3 stalks celery – finely chopped
- 4 whole green onions – chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup buttermilk ranch dressing
- 3 tsp cajun or creole seasoning – plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- salt & pepper – to taste (optional)
- hot sauce – optional
- Cook pasta one minute less than package directions in well salted water. Drain and place in large bowl
- Add all other ingredients to bowl and stir.
- Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired.
- Chill at least 30 minutes until ready to serve.
Pin this recipe for later:
Thanks for checking out this recipe! If you want more like it, SUBSCRIBE BELOW for all my latest updates! PLUS, when you subscribe you’ll get FREE access to Baking Basics: 2020 Holiday Planning Guide!