Thai Shrimp Salad


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Packed with fresh herbs and tossed in a tangy, savory dressing, Thai Shrimp Salad is a fresh (and quick!) way to enjoy delicious Thai flavors. 

shrimp salad over rice in a black bowl

One of the first…possibly the first Thai dish that Frank and I learned to make when we lived in Thailand was Thai Shrimp Salad. I still remember it as the first time that I fully understood the full range of flavors found in many beloved Thai dishes – sour, sweet, spicy, savory. But this dish has even more – so many fresh herbs. It’s absolutely bursting with color and flavor and best of all, it’s easy to make. Prep the ingredients and the shrimp cooks in just a couple minutes. 

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Here’s how to make it!

First, Make the Dressing 

The dressing used for this salad is a variation on the classic. My go-to is this Simple Dressing for Thai Salads, but for shrimp salad it gets an extra boost of flavor from Nam Prik Pao. 

Nam Prik Pao - Vegetarian Thai Chili Paste in a glass jar

What is Nam Prik Pao?

Let’s talk Nam Prik Pao (Roasted Thai Chili Paste). This smoky, sweet and savory chili paste or jam is an absolute powerhouse of flavor used in Thai cooking. It is the key ingredient in Tom Yum Goong. Many versions have a balanced, not super spicy, flavor so they’re a great option to add flavor without lots of spice. It includes shrimp, so be aware of this if you cannot eat seafood. 

Look for Nam Prik Pao at an international market (I always like Mae Pranom brand). I’ve also seen the Thai Kitchen brand in the international aisle at my local grocery store. Like most American-made brands of Thai condiments, it’s not as flavorful as Thai brands but I love that it’s widely available. It’s also not at all spicy, so a great option if you don’t want spice. 

If you’re looking for a vegetarian, shrimp-free version, I’ve got you covered here.

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overhead image of herbs on a grey countertop
overhead image of lemongrass on a grey cutting board
cutting lemongrass on a grey cutting board

Next, Chop the Fresh Herbs

After the dressing, the key to the bright flavor of Thai Shrimp Salad is fresh herbs! Cilantro, shallots, and mint are straightforward to prep, but the authentic flavor of this salad also comes from lemongrass and makrut lime leaves. It’s worth noting that the salad is still delicious even without the lemongrass and lime leaves, but they’re absolutely worth tracking down if you can. Both ingredients are available at many well-stocked grocery stores (Whole Foods carries both) and any international market. 

For tips on how to prep lemongrass, I always like this guide by TheKitchn.

rinsing shrimp in a black colander

Finally, Cook the Shrimp

The last step to this delicious salad is to boil the shrimp just until cooked through. Shrimp cooks fast, within a couple of minutes, so keep an eye on it and drain it as soon as it turns pink and opaque. Toss it with the dressing while it’s still warm so that it has a chance to soak up the dressing. Then toss it with the fresh herbs. Serve right away while the herbs are still bright and fresh.

stirring shrimp and herbs in a clear glass bowl

You’re going to love this one!

If you try it, be sure to leave me a note in the comments or tag me on Instagram. I love seeing everything you’re cooking!

More Shrimp Recipes

overhead image of shrimp salad over rice in a black bowl

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thai shrimp salad
4.50 from 4 votes

Thai Shrimp Salad

Packed with fresh herbs and tossed in a tangy, savory dressing, Thai Shrimp Salad is a fresh (and quick!) way to enjoy delicious Thai flavors.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Saucepan



  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Roasted Thai Chili Paste (see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Palm Sugar (substitute brown sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 finely chopped Thai Bird’s Eye Chili (optional, can substitute red pepper flakes)


  • 1 pound Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced Shallots
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced Lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup small Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 6 Makrut Lime Leaves, stems removed, leaves very thinly sliced
  • Jasmine Rice, for serving


  • Combine all ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Add shrimp and simmer just until opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Drain shrimp well.
  • Toss warm shrimp with dressing. Add cilantro leaves, shallots, lemongrass, mint, and lime leaves and fold everything together until evenly combined.
  • Serve over rice.



Lemongrass – Slice off and discard the lower bulb and upper stalks of the lemongrass, using just the portion with a purple interior (typically about 2-3 inches). Also remove the tough, woody outer leaves of the lemongrass stalk. Be sure to slice the lemongrass very thin so that it easily mixes with the other ingredients of the salad. 
Makrut Lime Leaves – These firm, dark green leaves give the salad a unique, authentic flavor. Look for them at Asian grocery stores and Whole Foods. Remove the stem and slice them very thinly before adding them to the salad as the leaves can be a bit tough.
Roasted Thai Chili Paste (Nam Prik Pao)This thick red paste is smoky, sweet, savory, and a bit spicy. Look for Mae Pranom which is sold at most international / Asian grocery stores or Thai Kitchen brand in the international aisle at many grocery stores. 


Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 371mg | Potassium: 164mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 286IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00
Calories: 51
Keyword: easy dinner, easy Thai recipe, easy, weeknight-friendly, seafood, shrimp recipe
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

4.50 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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