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Last updated on June 6th, 2024 at 04:04 pm

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Shrimp Cakes – 30 Minutes Only! [VIDEO]

Shrimp Cakes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They’re spiked with fresh dill and lemon and served with the most fantastic lemon aioli. 

Seasoned with smoked paprika and filled with chunks of juicy shrimp, they are the perfect finger food. The kids love them as much as the adults, and they are pretty healthy. The creamy lemon dill mayo dipping sauce is perfect for these cakes, and you can even make little sandwiches out of them with the dipping sauce as a filling in between.

These shrimp cakes can be served for an appetizer, snack, side dish, or even a main dish. Make a whole bunch of them and serve them on a bed of rice with some side dishes for a hearty dinner or with your favorite dips for game day. These delicious shrimp patties are a bit crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, with a burst of flavor in every bite.

I started making these for the family after having them at a party while visiting friends in Beijing. The crispy little cakes were so delicious that I ate about six of them and then asked for the recipe, which I usually never do. But, even with the recipe, I had to make it with my special additions and substitutions. I used smoked paprika instead of regular and added fresh dill and chopped green onions. 

I added sour cream, green onions, and fresh dill for the dipping sauce. My recipe is more American than the one I had in Beijing, but everyone who has ever had it, including my friends from China, like it a lot!

Why you will love this recipe

  • Fast and easy: With hardly any work, finished in 30 minutes.
  • Lost of flavor: Even without a bunch of ingredients, it has many flavors.
  • The kids love it too: You may need to make an extra batch so everyone can have seconds.
  • The sauce is fantastic: Also, make extra sauce for later or other recipes.

What you’ll need to make shrimp cakes recipe

Special items:

  • Skillet – For frying the shrimp cakes.
  • Ice cream scoop – To scoop the patties.
  • Bowls – For making the batter and the sauce.
  • Spatula – To flip the patties.

The ingredients for shrimp cakes

  • Shrimp – I use fresh, wild-caught shrimp, shelled and deveined.
  • Breadcrumbs – Panko breadcrumbs are best for this recipe.
  • Eggs – Large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten.
  • Hot sauce – You can use your favorite hot sauce.
  • Green onions – Freshly chopped green onions.
  • Dill – Finely chopped fresh dill.
  • Lemon zest – For the best flavor, zest your lemon just before juicing it. 
  • Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice will give your shrimp cakes an excellent lemony taste.
  • Onion powder – Adds a nice oniony flavor that is deep and rich with a bit of a bite.
  • Salt – Kosher salt is what I use for the freshest, cleanest taste.
  • Pepper – Freshly ground whole peppercorns give the best flavor with a bit of tingle on your tongue.
  • Vegetable oil – You could also use canola or olive oil, just for frying your cakes.
  • Lemon wedges – For serving.

For the dipping sauce:

  • Mayonnaise—I use my favorite mayonnaise, and you can use yours. For a sweeter dip, use Miracle Whip.
  • Sour cream – Full-fat sour cream will make the richest and creamiest dip.
  • Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed from half of a lemon.
  • Green onions – Freshly chopped for lots of flavor.
  • Dill – Also freshly chopped and mixed in for an extra taste.
  • Salt – Kosher salt to taste. 

How to make shrimp cakes?

  1. Make the shrimp batter: Chop the shrimp into small cubes. Add it to a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to combine.
  2. Shape the patties: Now, use an ice cream scoop or your hands to make 8 to 10 evenly-sized patties.
  3. Cook the cakes: Next, heat the oil in the skillet until hot over medium-high. Then, add the shrimp patties in a single layer and cook for three to five minutes until golden brown. Gently flip and cook for three to four more minutes.
  4. Serve with dipping sauce: Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. Serve with the warm shrimp cakes and lemon wedges on the side.

Expert tip

Choosing the best shrimp for shrimp cakes

The most essential ingredient in shrimp cakes is the shrimp, of course. However, sometimes it is hard to find the best ones. Being a professional food blogger, I believe the best shrimp is fresh, wild caught shrimp. It will have the best flavor and texture, and you should not worry about chemicals, antibiotics, or any farming issues. You want to look for brightly colored shrimp that is pink or gray with a firm tail, bright red gills, a full belly, and all its parts.

Do not choose anything with a strong fishy odor or ammonia scent. The shell should not be slimy, and it should not have any black or gray spots. It is also not a good sign if the flesh is white or pale. Another bad sign is an empty belly. This means the shrimp was not eating and likely had some illness.   

Some people prefer to buy their shrimp frozen if they do not feel that the fresh shrimp is fresh enough. In addition, the “fresh” shrimp has likely been frozen at the grocery stores before, anyway, on its way to the store. Then, it was defrosted when it got to the store. Frozen shrimp is just fine to buy as well. Just ensure it is not freezer-burned and thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Other herbs: You can use other herbs and spices like garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and basil.
  • Spicy cakes: To make these cakes spicy, add cayenne pepper to the batter and sriracha to the sauce.
  • Sweet and savory: The kids love it when I make these a bit sweet. I add some brown sugar to the batter and honey to the sauce.
  • Ranch sauce: Another way to change the flavor is to add ranch seasoning to the batter and ranch dressing to the dip.
  • Cheesy shrimp cakes: Everyone loves it with cheese. I usually use mozzarella or cheddar to mine.
  • Mexican shrimp: To make Mexican shrimp cakes, add taco seasoning to the batter and a bit of salsa to the sauce.

Serving suggestions:

  • These shrimp cakes make a complete meal with peas, corn, roasted broccoli, and carrots.
  • Another way these taste great is on top of a mound of creamy mashed potatoes.
  • If you want these as a snack, serve them with a glass of iced tea or a hot mug of Earl Grey.
  • Try these with any kind of dip, from sweet to savory. They go great with tzatziki sauce or Thousand island dressing.
  • They go hand in hand with a bowl of zucchini pasta, its a fantastic combo.

Frequently asked questions

Is wild or farmed shrimp better?

Wild-caught shrimp is always the better choice. It feeds on small marine creatures and plankton, so it has a different taste and texture than farmed shrimp. Also, wild shrimp is high quality because its natural habitat has less exposure to chemicals and antibiotics. In many places, farm shrimp are in other countries and are not regulated well. They are full of feces, insecticides, and other chemicals.

How to peel and devein shrimp?

  1. To peel raw shrimp, start underneath, where their legs are attached.
  2. Use a paring knife to devein by making a shallow slit down the middle of the back to expose the black strip intestine.
  3. Gently remove the black strip of the intestines and wipe it off on a paper towel.
  4. In order to remove the shrimp tail, just squeeze the shrimp out from the tail segment, discard the tail.

Do you cook your shrimp before making shrimp cakes?

No. You are supposed to use raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, for shrimp cakes. Then, you chop it up on a cutting board or with a food processor and mix it with the other ingredients, including panko breadcrumbs, eggs, hot sauce, green onions, lemon, and seasonings. After that, you make them into patties and fry them in oil until they are brown. 

Why is my shrimp rubbery?

The number one reason shrimp turn rubbery is that they are overcooked. If you buy precooked shrimp or cook it before you make your shrimp cakes, they will be overcooked. Your shrimp have to be raw before you start cooking them. However, it is possible to overcook them after you make them into cakes. Make sure you only cook them for a few minutes on each side.

Why won’t my shrimp cakes stick together?

There are several reasons this may happen. It may be that the mixture is too warm. If it sticks to your hands while trying to shape them, put it in the fridge for a few minutes to let it cool off. Then, keep a bowl of cool water next to you and dip your hands into the water to keep the mixture from sticking. It may also be too dry. Add a little more egg to your mixture and remix it. If it seems too wet, add just a tiny bit more breadcrumbs. 

How to store leftovers:

  • Refrigerate: Wrap these in plastic wrap and place them in a sealed container in the fridge, where they will stay fresh for up to three days.   
  • Freezing: You can also freeze them wrapped in plastic and placed in a heavy-duty freezer bag for up to three months.   
  • Defrost: Thaw in the fridge overnight for the best texture and taste.
  • Reheating: You can reheat in the microwave for one to two minutes.   

More recipes with shrimp:

Recipe tips:

  • You want a brightly colored shellfish with a full belly. Do not buy fresh shrimp with an empty stomach or black spots.
  • Always wash and dry your shrimp before using them.
  • Do not cook your shrimp before chopping it to make the shrimp cakes, or it will be overcooked.
  • If the shrimp cakes stick to your hands, chill the batter and keep your hands wet when shaping them.
  • Wild shrimp is always better than farmed shrimp because they do not have the chemicals in them.
  • You can use a food processor to chop your shrimp fast and easily.

Easy Shrimp Cakes

Shrimp Cakes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They're spiked with fresh dill and lemon and served with the most fantastic lemon aioli. 

  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time15 MIN
  • Servings 9 servings


  • 1 pound shrimp shelled and deveined
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 lemon juiced and zested
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable, canola oil or olive oil for frying
  • lemon wedges for serving

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • juice of half lemon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • salt to taste


  • Using a sharp knife, cut the shrimp into small cube-like pieces.
  • Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients: Panko bread crumbs, beaten egg, hot sauce, green onion, dill, lemon juice, lemon zest, paprika, onion powder, and salt. Stir gently to combine.
  • Form the shrimp mixture into 8-10 patties. You can use an ice cream scoop to make each-sized portion.
  • Next, heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the shrimp patties in a single layer and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Gently flip on the other side so as not to break the patties.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. Serve with the shrimp cakes with lemon wedges on the side.

Nutrition Facts

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Barbara Hallett Wegner

Barbara Hallett Wegner

Hi, I have a ton of cooked shrimp can I use that? Looks yummy.

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Yes, it will work great

Jennifer Theriot

Jennifer Theriot

Made these tonight & followed the recipe, only variation was to put my shrimp in the chopper for a few seconds. Total HOME RUN. Plated them with twice baked potatoes and green beans. FIVE STAR meal!

Charlene Sweetman

Charlene Sweetman

Would cooked tiny cocktail shrimp be ok to use?

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet




Have these ready to go in the freezer...uncooked. Do I thaw before cooking or cook frozen? I made one before freezing the rest for Easter & it was fantastic. Followed recipe with an added bit of old bay.

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

You can bake them unthawed, but if you want to cook them in the skillet, I recommend thawing first.

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