Easy Shrimp Macaroni Salad with Bacon Recipe

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Shrimp Macaroni Salad is a delicious twist on your favorite summer side. With succulent shrimp and smoky bacon, this recipe is perfect for barbecues, potlucks, and parties. In fact, this bacon pasta salad is the perfect summertime dinner too!

titled: bacon shrimp pasta salad


 

This shrimp macaroni salad recipe is a great recipe for dinner!

Made using simple ingredients, you can make this into the perfect side dish or serve this shrimp salad as the main entree.

Each bite packs a little flavor punch, showing that the cooking process is a breeze! 

Fresh shrimp is the key to making this easy macaroni salad, in my opinion.

You can get small shrimp or larger shrimp from the grocery store that is already prepped and ready to cook. This saves you extra time, for sure! 

There’s also another reason why this is one of my favorite salads. Once the shrimp cooks and is added to the tender pasta, it creates a family favorite for even the pickiest eaters! 

There is so much flavor in this creamy shrimp pasta salad – you’re going to be hooked! 

bacon shrimp pasta salad ingredients

Shrimp Macaroni Salad

Cold pasta salad recipes are great for the warmer weather months, and creamy dressings are just so refreshing.

Loaded with vegetables, protein, and fresh herbs, this shrimp and bacon pasta recipe is a flavorful side or satisfying meal.

Pasta salad with shrimp is a salty, sweet, and savory combination that can’t be beat. You’ll love this version that tastes just like a Po’ Boy sandwich!

Craving a hot meal instead? Try Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese or Cajun Shrimp Pasta when you need something to warm you up inside and out.

bowl of unmixed bacon shrimp pasta salad with ingredients for dressing

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Shrimp – As a shortcut, use frozen shrimp that is already peeled, deveined, and cooked. Just thaw and rinse before adding to the bacon pasta salad!
  • Pasta – You don’t have to use elbow macaroni for shrimp macaroni salad — in fact, I prefer large bowtie noodles because they are similar in size to the shrimp. 

    But, any short or small pasta will work. The small pieces just go better with the texture of this shrimp pasta salad recipe. 
  • Bacon – Save your kitchen from splatters and cook bacon in the oven or in the air fryer! Once cooked, let it cool and crisp up before chopping it into smaller pieces.
  • Veggies – Celery, bell pepper, and red onion add plenty of crunch to shrimp and bacon pasta, plus it makes it extra colorful as well!
  • Dressing – This starts with a creamy oil and mayo base, with plenty of tang from Dijon Mustard and lemon juice. 

    Feel free to swap some or all of the mayo with Greek yogurt instead.

    I prefer the creamy dressing of the original recipe, but you can any type of dressing or dressing ingredients that you want. 
bowl of mixed bacon shrimp pasta salad

Tips for Making Pasta Salad with Shrimp

  • Salt the water. This goes for just about any pasta salad recipe! Salted water adds flavor to the pasta and helps enhance the other flavors in the shrimp macaroni salad.
  • Fresh vs frozen shrimp. While I prefer using frozen because it saves time, you can certainly use fresh if you prefer. 

    You’ll need to peel and devein the shellfish (if it doesn’t come that way), then boil until shrimp turn pink and are a loose ‘C’ shape.
  • Add extra veggies. This is an easy way to bulk up bacon shrimp pasta even more. 

    Fresh peas, tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, cucumbers, or broccoli would all be great additions.
shrimp macaroni salad with bacon in a glass serving bowl

Serving Suggestions

Bacon shrimp pasta salad is the fresh and savory dish you didn’t know you needed! 

Enjoy it as an easy weeknight dinner alone or with a side of crusty bread. It’s also easy enough to throw together for last-minute picnics and potlucks.

I think shrimp and bacon pasta would be tasty alongside smoker recipes like chicken wings and pork belly burnt ends too.

Kitchen Tools You’ll Need

  • Large Colander  You will need this to drain both the pasta and shrimp.
  • Sharp Knife  This recipe requires some chopping. A good, sharp knife is always handy to have in the kitchen.
  • Measuring Cup – You want to get the dressing measured and mixed up completely before adding it to the pasta salad.

Bacon Pasta Salad FAQ

How do you keep macaroni salad from absorbing mayonnaise? 

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do once everything is combined. The noodles will soak up any liquid in the bowl, including the mayo.

If you want to make shrimp macaroni salad ahead of time, toss with half of the dressing and store the other half separately. Then, combine and toss just before serving.

Can I replace the shrimp with chicken?

Sure! I know seafood isn’t everyone’s jam. To keep this bacon pasta salad nice and simple, chop up a rotisserie bird and toss in your preference of light and dark meat.

How long does seafood pasta salad last in the refrigerator?

Pasta salad with shrimp will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. Reserve some of the dressing to freshen up leftovers.

closeup of shrimp macaroni salad

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.

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shrimp macaroni salad with bacon on a white plate

Bacon Shrimp Pasta Salad in a bowl

Easy Shrimp Macaroni Salad with Bacon Recipe

Donna Elick
Shrimp Macaroni Salad features succulent shellfish and crispy bacon pieces. Enjoy bacon pasta salad as an easy side or simple meal!
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 8 – 12

Ingredients
 

Salad

  • 16 ounces bow tie pasta – cooked according to package instructions, drained & cooled
  • 16 ounces large cooked frozen shrimp, deveined & peeled – thawed & rinsed
  • 12 ounces cooked bacon , chopped
  • 4 celery stalks , chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper , seeded & chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion , finely chopped

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • handful fresh parsley – chopped

Instructions
 

  • In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.
  • Whisk together all dressing ingredients until fully combined.
  • Pour dressing over pasta salad. Gently toss until salad ingredients are evenly coated with dressing.
  • For best results, refrigerate 2+ hours before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 614cal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 1283mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): bacon shrimp pasta salad

Originally published July 2018, updated and republished July 2024

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a fresh incredibly flavorful pasta. At the last minute I added 2 avocados I had that were ripe. Grazie for sharing your recipes. I’ve tried quite a few and all of them were great. Blessings, Robin in Houston.

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