Quick, Easy Shrimp Dip


Spontaneous entertaining is fun but it can catch you with your appetizers down. A while ago, I figured I had the bases covered if I kept some Kalamata olives, toasted almonds, and cream cheese on hand. I could always make little balls of cream cheese and roll them in cracked pepper, or flatten them with a dollop of chutney on top, or blend in chives, parsley and garlic, add a few crackers to the plate and that usually worked just fine.

Then Sharon Frost from Calais obliged me with this Shrimp Dip. “This is an old favorite I’ve been making for years,” she wrote, “Quick, easy, and tasty.” And it is. And it’s made from ingredients we are likely to have on hand like mayonnaise, cream cheese, horseradish, chili sauce, and lemon juice, or lemons to squeeze. Just make sure you also have a small can of shrimp in the pantry, which is itself pretty handy stuff. Just the other day I saw tiny shrimp added to deviled egg filling and thought how delicious that would be.

I didn’t have chili sauce, but I sprinkled in some chili powder; if I had cocktail sauce I would have used that. I also doubled up on the horseradish because we like it very much. Canned shrimp (and tuna fish) cans are getting smaller by the minute. Pretty soon they will all be single serving size. So I decided I would mix together all the ingredients except the shrimp, then add the mix to the shrimp in a separate bowl until I thought I had a dense enough proportion of shrimp. Or you could scant the cream cheese and mayo a little. Or maybe you’d like the result just as it is. “Serve on your favorite crackers,” said Sharon. Or scoop it up with celery or carrots. Or your finger.

Shrimp Dip
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chili sauce, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 can tiny shrimp, drained
  1. Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, chili sauce, and lemon juice.
  2. Fold in the shrimp to mix evenly
  3. Chill and serve.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.