This cold Shrimp Dip recipe is an easy appetizer with just a few ingredients. It’s thick and creamy, and full of clean shrimp flavor. The recipe comes from my mom – it’s a Christmas Eve tradition for our family!
Mom’s Shrimp Dip is an Annual Tradition
My parents hosted Christmas Eve for my mom’s side of the family for many, many years. And my mom’s Shrimp Dip quickly became an annual tradition, right alongside the oyster stew, hand-cranked vanilla ice cream, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cookies.
Some of the best memories I own are Christmas Eve memories. As a kid, our house was filled with energetic cousins, all of whom could also be called friends. Along with our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, we played games for hours: Spoons, Farkle, and a variety of marbles, dominoes, and card games. We filled the house with so. much. awesome. laughter.
This recipe is one of the easiest and best appetizers you’ll ever make. And you can prepare it ahead of time, leaving it to rest its merry little self in the refrigerator until your guests arrive. It’s thick and creamy, and full of clean shrimp flavor. We enjoy this dip on Christmas Eve and all year ’round!
Ingredients List, with Cream Cheese and Canned Tiny Shrimp
I’ve often thought, “What can I add to this recipe to improve it?” Because it feels just too simple. But it really needs nothing more.
You just can’t go wrong with shrimp dip with cream cheese. Right?!
I keep cans of tiny shrimp in our pantry at all times. They’re key for this shrimp dip. AND my mom’s Macaroni Salad – as I sometimes swap out the ham for shrimp. :)
This recipe has only 5 ingredients, plus black pepper if you like.
- canned tiny shrimp
- cream cheese
- mayo – Absolutely do NOT use Miracle Whip!
- fresh green onions – I love the fresh, bright flavor this adds.
- garlic salt
- black pepper – I like to grind some over the top, but it’s totally not necessary.
A few more favorite dip recipes: Baked Reuben Dip has all the flavors of the famous Reuben sandwich that we love, deconstructed into a dip. Dill Pickle Dip is super fun with cream cheese and dill pickles. And my aunt’s Layered Creamy Chili Shrimp Dip is festive and fantastically delicious!
How to Make This Dip
Don’t laugh at how easy this recipe is. Embrace its simplicity!
- Chop shrimp and green onion. First set aside a few of the nicer looking shrimp, then finely chop the rest. Chop the green part of the green onions.
- Blend cream cheese and mayo. In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until well blended. An electric blender works best, to get the mixture super smooth.
- Stir in shrimp, green onion, and garlic salt.
- Serve. Transfer dip to a small serving bowl and top with reserved shrimp and additional green onion. Sprinkle a bit of freshly ground black pepper over the top if you like. Serve with crackers and/or veggies.
FAQ’s and Tips for the Best Shrimp Dip
Can I make this in advance? This questions deserves a great big YES! Go ahead and make this dip several hours to a day ahead of time. Just store it in a container with a lid in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Can I use Miracle Whip? And this question is coming back at you with a great big NO! Miracle Whip has corn syrup and spices added to it – it is not mayo. Just use mayonnaise!
Can I use fresh or frozen shrimp? If you prefer to not use canned shrimp, substitute fresh or frozen. Just be sure to use shrimp that has been cooked – do not use raw shrimp! But my preference will always be canned tiny shrimp, as it gives me the traditional flavor that I grew up with.
Tip 1: Prep the cream cheese. And by that I mean, simply let it come to room temperature before making this recipe. This will ensure that it blends smoothly and doesn’t leave you with chunks of cream cheese.
Tip 2: Blend until smooth. I believe that the best way to blend cream cheese is to use an electric mixer. But if you’re an expert at hand-blending it with a wooden spoon or spatula, go right ahead. Just make sure that when you blend the cream cheese with the mayo, that the combination is completely smooth before adding in the remaining ingredients.
How to Serve This Dip
This dip is great with a variety of crackers, but we mostly serve it with Ritz Original Crackers or Keebler Original Club Crackers. Their buttery, flaky goodness is wonderful with the dip.
I also like to offer some fresh veggies for dipping – like mini carrots and sliced cucumbers and bell peppers.
And as far as when to serve this dip, well the possibilities are truly endless!
Make this for game day, girls night, New Years Eve, or any special gathering. It makes a great appetizer for backyard get-togethers and is a fun addition to a cheese board.
And if you enjoy this on Christmas Eve, it’ll be just like we’re celebrating together. You. Me. And my mom’s shrimp dip. Cheers!
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A few more dip recipes from my friends!
- Skillet Buffalo Cauliflower Dip from Heartbeet Kitchen
- Warm Brie, Crab, and Artichoke Dip from Noble Pig
- Easy Jalapeno Popper Dip from Saving Room for Dessert
Mom’s Shrimp Dip
This dip is one of the easiest and best appetizers you'll ever make. It's thick and creamy, and full of clean shrimp flavor. It's a Christmas Eve tradition for my family!
- 1 can (4 oz.) tiny shrimp, drained and rinsed
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise (Do not use Miracle Whip!)
- 1/3 c. finely chopped green onion, plus a bit more for sprinkling over the top
- 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Set aside a few of the nicer looking shrimp, then chop up the rest.
- In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until well blended. A blender works best, to get the mixture nice and smooth. Then stir in the chopped shrimp, green onion, and garlic salt.
- Transfer dip to a small serving bowl and top with reserved whole shrimp and additional green onion. Sprinkle a bit of freshly ground black pepper over the top. Serve with crackers and fresh veggies for dipping. For crackers, we mostly serve this dip with Ritz Original Crackers or Keebler Original Club Crackers.
This can be prepared several hours to a day ahead of time and then stored in a container with a lid in the refrigerator.
from Mom's recipe box
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 184mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
This post was previously published in 2012. Photographs and some of the text were updated in 2018.
Our family recipe is very similar, but we use fresh garlic instead. Two cloves, pushed through a garlic press. The difference is a rounder garlic flavor and a more floral garlic aroma. We let it refrigerate for at least 6 hours before consuming. Highly addicting!
I will try that, thanks!
Making this for Christmas Eve with the neighbors. Super easy to make ahead!
Thank you for sharing your yummy shrimp dip recipe! I’ve made it twice now and my family and extended family gobbled it up both times. I am making the shrimp dip to take to a Christmas party tonight and I know it will for sure be enjoyed by all once again. Thanks again! Merry Christmas to you and your family and have a Happy New Year!
Wonderful! Thank you for coming back to share this with me! I hope you had a very merry Christmas – and Happy New Year!
I’ve had this recipe for years but mine calls for 2 cups shredded cheddar. And I NEVER use canned shrimp. I get cooked shrimp and cut in small pieces.
Mayo and sour cream, not cream cheese. It’s very good
Can’t wait to make this for Christmas Eve and surprise my brothers. Mom used to make this when we were growing up. This recipe sounds like how my mom used to make it.
Could I use low fat cream cheese and light mayo? This sounds yummy but I need a low cal version. Thanks!
We always ate this dip with large fritos – excellent!
Canned shrimp? Gnarly!
How long would you say this should safely keep refrigerated?
Hi Elizabeth – this keeps very well in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 4 days.
I delete garlic salt and use powder. Add capers and a bit of lemon juice to brighten it up. The nice salty capers popping in your mouth is wonderful!! I grew up with my mom making this for bridge night. She’s been gone over 20 years and it still makes me feel close to her when I make this.
Ooooo, capers! I will try that. Thanks for sharing about your mom, too. :)