Citrus Marinated Shrimp Appetizer

Citrus Marinated Shrimp hits all the right notes. . .tangy from the vinegar, bright from the citrus, with a slightly sweet licorice flavor from fennel, for a light and bright appetizer to tantalize your taste buds.


Merry Christmas Week! Citrus Marinated Shrimp is a merry and bright appetizer, ideal for holiday entertaining and celebrating over New Year!

We enjoyed this marinated shrimp appetizer over Christmas. It’s a nice appetizer to pair with heavier foods, with its light and bright flavors of citrus and tangy vinegar. The marinade pickles the red onion and fennel, making them sweet and mild. And as it’s marinated, it’s a make-ahead recipe.

Use your preferred method to cook your shrimp. I like to use Ina’s oven roasted method for shrimp as opposed to boiling them.

Here’s a short cut and tip for the busy holiday season: Purchase shrimp that have already been cooked—in a bag from the freezer section, by the pound at the seafood counter, or even in the form of a cocktail shrimp ring. I purchased a frozen 2 lb. bag of cooked, peeled, deveined, tail-on shrimp at the grocery store. Thaw frozen shrimp according to package directions.

Citrus Marinated Shrimp, recipe adapted from Louisiana Seafood

Serves 6 – 8


2 lbs. cooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on (I used 26 – 30 count)

1 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar (may substitute apple cider vinegar)

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2  cup canola oil

Zest and juice from 1 large orange

Zest and juice from 1 large lemon

Zest and juice from 1 lime

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulbs

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Serve with:

1 -2 navel oranges, peeled and thinly sliced

1 lemon and or 1 lime, peeled and thinly sliced

Garnish with fennel fronds


In bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring until dissolved. Stir in oil, citrus zest and juices, parsley and thyme.


Layer shrimp with fennel and onion in gallon size ziptop bag. Pour marinade ingredients over shrimp and seal bag, placing in refrigerator to marinate 4 hours, massaging and turning bag occasionally.

After 4 hours strain shrimp, fennel and onion from marinade. Serve on platter or in bowl with peeled orange, lemon and lime slices. Garnish with fennel fronds.


Note: Best after 4 – 6  hours. The combination of citrus and vinegar will continue to “cook” the shrimp if left in the marinade, making them rubbery. Remove shrimp from marinade after 4 – 6 hours and return to refrigerator if not ready to serve.

Printable Recipe

Merry Christmas Week!

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  23 comments for “Citrus Marinated Shrimp Appetizer

  1. Nan, Odessa, DE
    December 27, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Sounds great? What is your source for all you neat tooth picks with tops? See I don’t even know what they are called! Educate me on this! Thanks.

    • December 27, 2018 at 8:28 am

      Hi Nan, they’re cupcake picks. I found them at HomeGoods 🎄😀

    • Naomie Moore
      December 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Also known as cocktail picks. Home Goods or similar type stores have the best prices. Better stocked liquor stores carry them too, but at a much higher price. I always manage to find holiday picks at odd times of the year and scoop them up and save for the appropriate occasion. I just found some pretty red stars, which would work for any of the patriotic holidays, not just Christmas.

  2. Rita C.
    December 27, 2018 at 8:22 am

    That looks great! My daughter always thaws the shrimp for me at the last minute on Christmas Eve (“hey Google, set the timer 5 min”). This would work ahead of time…..wonder if my daughter would come over sooner, hehe.

  3. December 27, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Looks yummy..just hubs and I this New perfect for us two!! ❤️🍤🍤🍤

  4. December 27, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Love this, all my favorite flavors, you have me craving all my citrus I ignored this year! Your pics are stellar, as brilliant as the recipe!

  5. Marie in AZ
    December 27, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Yummy! Your displays, as always, are simply stunning!

  6. Cyndi Raines
    December 27, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Sounds delish! Shrimp anytime will work for me! Thanks for another great recipe! 😉

  7. Karen
    December 27, 2018 at 10:35 am


  8. Naomie Moore
    December 27, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Refreshing recipe! And your presentation is just beautiful. Just scored some luscious fresh colossal shrimp and am going to grill first, should be good! Thanks for sharing! 🎉

  9. anne
    December 27, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    This sounds delicious and looks scrumptious. I will definitely try your recipe. The little LED wire lights glowing around it looks beautiful, too. I’m in love with those tiny wire lights. I have them everywhere! What did we ever do without them?!
    Happy New Year, Mary

  10. December 27, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Mary, I’m enjoying a shrimp salad for lunch as I’m reading some favorite blogs. This recipe definitely hits the high notes. I’ve just printed if off and plan to make it soon. Your presentation is beautiful and festive. I’m pinning a photo! I eat boiled shrimp weekly. It’s a habit from growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast. Mother kept boiled shrimp in the refrigerator, and it was an easy, healthy snack.
    Happy New Year to you, your hubby, and your sweet girls!

  11. Lynn@HappierThanAPigInMud
    December 27, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Perfect party food Mary! Merry Christmas Week-enjoy:@)

  12. December 27, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Yummm! This sounds delicious! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes all year. Your presentations are always perfect. Happy new year to you, your hubby and the little paws:)

  13. December 27, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    I love shrimp and this recipe is sure to be a hit. Thanks

  14. December 28, 2018 at 10:24 am

    What a wonderful appetizer you’ve shared with us, Mary! I’m like you, and always roast my shrimp, just like Ina. Your pictures make everything so festive! xx

  15. Donna B Oliphint
    December 28, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    This looks wonderful. One question, though, will it still be good without the fennel? Or is there a substitute for those of us who don’t care for the licorice flavor?

    • December 28, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Donna, yes just skip the fennel, it’ll still be good 😀🎄

  16. December 29, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Looks and sounds scrumptious! I have the glasses with the red swirl just like yours! had 4 one broke during last June’s earthquakes… Happy New Year, Mary!

    January 1, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    I made this for a new Year’s Eve party( without the fennel) and it was a hit!!! Thanks for a great recipe. It is a keeper.

    • January 1, 2019 at 1:23 pm

      Glad it was a hit Patricia and thanks for letting me know! We had some too and are enjoying the leftovers today. Happy New Year!

  18. January 26, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Yummy!! Great job with the decor 😊

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