Go Back

Citrus Marinated Shrimp Appetizer

A make-ahead appetizer with the bright flavors of citrus and tangy vinegar that’s perfect to pair with heavier foods. Use a time-saving short cut with cooked shrimp from the seafood counter.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time0 mins
marinating time, 4 hours4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: citrus, fennel, lemon, lime, make ahead, marinated, Orange, shrimp
Servings: 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 zests and juices, parsley and thyme.
  • Layer cooked shrimp with fennel and onion in gallon size plastic 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.


  • Use your preferred method to cook your shrimp. I like Ina’s oven roasted method as opposed to boiling them: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-shrimp-cocktail-recipe-1943915
  • Here’s a short cut alternative 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 cooked frozen, peeled, deveined tail-on shrimp at the grocery store. Thaw frozen shrimp according to package directions.
  • Best after 4 – 6 hours. The combination of citrus and vinegar will continue to “cook” the shrimp if left in the marinade longer, making them rubbery. Remove shrimp from marinade after 4 - 6 hours and return to refrigerator if not ready to serve.