Marinated Shrimp with Onions and Lemon (Shrimp Yassa) (Tested)

Serves     About 20 pieces


I use large shrimp for this recipe, the kind that are referred to as 16-20. That means there should be 16 to 20 shrimp in one pound. If you use smaller shrimp, they will take no time at all to cook, so watch carefully. You can use already peeled and deveined shrimp for convenience, but I think you have a nicer end product, and I like the way it looks better, if you cook the prawns in their shell.


You’ll need to make this one day ahead of time because the shrimp need to marinate overnight in the fridge. At the very least, make early in the day for same day serving.


1 lb. large shrimp, shell on
½ medium red or yellow onion, sliced thin
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 large cloves of garlic, smashed
½ jalapeño pepper, minced
½ tsp. kosher salt
several sprigs of fresh thyme
a couple of bay leaves


Bring a large pot of water to a simmer, large enough to hold the shrimp and give them plenty of room to cook. You want to choose a pot large enough so that when you add the shrimp they don’t cool the water down significantly. Add the shrimp to the simmering water and turn the heat to low. When the shrimp turn pink and look cooked all the way through, they are done. This took me exactly 1 ½ minutes. Remove the shrimp from the water with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl of cold water to cool down quickly. Take care not to overcook the shrimp. If anything, you can undercook them. When they marinate overnight with all that lemon juice that will take care of any remaining “underdoneness.”

Using the same pot of water that you cooked the shrimp in, with the heat turned off, add the onions to the pot and let them soften in the hot water for 30 seconds. Remove and spread out to cool.

Peel and devein the shrimp. You can leave the tails on – I think it looks pretty that way, but then sometimes it’s easier just to pull the whole thing off. Do what pleases you.

Add all the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl and give it a stir. For extra added color and flavor, you can slice up part of the lemon that you juiced and add to the marinade. Add the cooled shrimp and onions to the marinade and mix well. You can refrigerate overnight in a container with a tight-fitting lid, or a Ziploc bag, so that you can turn the container or the bag occasionally to redistribute the marinade.


Notes and Instructions

Recipe and photo credit: Linda McElroy