This article was updated on 28/7/2023 for clarity and freshness.
If you’re wondering what to serve with your shrimp boil, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 48 of the most popular side dishes for shrimp boil.
The best side dishes for shrimp boil are hush puppies, coleslaw, jalapeno cornbread, and mac and cheese. You can also serve baked sweet potato fries, sourdough dinner rolls, or garlic rice pilaf. Try serving watermelon salad, vegetable skewers, or peach salsa for healthier options.
Snacks and sauces
Shrimp boils are joyous occasions, with everyone digging into the massive feast and taking what they want.
I always like to have a range of different smaller food options on the side like hush puppies, as well as a variety of sauces from spicy options to creamy ones.
Hushpuppies are a classic side dish for any southern meal (and shrimp boil is no exception).
You’ll have to bring out a large, deep saucepan to fry them up. But the result – savory, sweet dough balls with a buttery texture – is worth it.
Hushpuppies are sure to be a great hit with any kids you’re feeding too.
Just remember the dipping sauce! Rasa Malaysia pairs them with a tasty (and I mean TASTY) siracha dipping sauce, or you can use the Cajun remoulade below.
Stick with a steakhouse classic with these onion rings.
Thanks to the beer batter coating, they boast a beautiful golden, lightly crisp crust.
And if you’d prefer to skip the beer, don’t worry – seltzer or other carbonated beverages like ginger ale will do the trick too.
Pro-tip: coat the onions with cornstarch first to help the batter stick.
Seafood boiled are usually drizzled in clarified butter, but if you want to shake things up, why not dip them in this Cajun remoulade?
It’s a creamy mayo-based sauce with a spicy kick, courtesy of the horseradish, grainy mustard, and of course, Cajun spices.
Psst… want to go the extra mile? You can use homemade mayo for this sauce.
Shrimp boils are a summer affair, so it’s always a good idea to serve them with a salad. My favorite salads are fresh and juicy, like peach salsa or something loaded with watermelons.
This vibrant peach salsa is the perfect juicy accompaniment for a seafood boil.
It’s got sweet peaches, spicy jalapeños, creamy avocado, and a tangy lime and cilantro dressing that will bring all the flavors together.
Pro-tip: make sure the peaches and avocados aren’t too ripe to avoid a mushy salsa.
Coleslaw is a must-have at potlucks and summer parties.
It’s easy to whip up and will bring some color to your meal. And the crisp shredded cabbage provides a crunchy bite that will complement the soft texture of your shrimp boil.
Traditionally, coleslaw is dressed with a mayonnaise-based dressing. But I prefer to use Greek yogurt. It adds a tangy flavor without compromising the creaminess, plus it’s healthier and lighter.
Watermelon salad is a popular side to serve at barbecues, and it can help brighten up a shrimp boil too.
The fresh, light flavor will act as a palate cleanser and help cool your mouth down after a hit of heat.
The best part? You can prepare this in a matter of minutes, so it’s perfect if you’re short on time.
Roasted potato salad
Like coleslaw, potato salad is a staple at summer parties and barbecue cookouts. It’s a creamy side dish that will add substance without being too heavy or overshadowing the shrimp boil.
And if you’ve never tried it made with roast potatoes, you’re missing out big time.
The Dish On Healthy recipe suggests swapping out full-fat mayo for a lighter avocado oil mayo. I also like adding in some small chopped-up onions or pickles for a bit of extra crunch.
If you’re trying to keep things relatively healthy (I know it’s hard when you’re throwing a party), then serving some tasty veggies is the way to go.
And vegetables don’t have to be boring. You can have veggie fries, veggie mash, or, my personal favorite… veggie skewers.
Vegetable skewers are a fun way to make sure everyone gets one of their 5-a-day.
They’re easy to make ahead of time, and you can make a variety of different options to cater to all the fussy eaters.
They’ll look great on the plate next to your seafood medley too.
Tip: drizzle your skewers with some of the butter you’re using for the shrimp boil before serving (YUM).
Roasted green beans
Are you looking for a healthier alternative to crispy fries?
Roasted green beans are the perfect dish to serve up when you want something crunchy to contrast with the tender texture of the shrimp. Jazz ’em up with a healthy dose of parmesan cheese and garlic, and you’re good to go.
Not a fan of green beans? Try asparagus or sugar snap peas instead.
Bread or carbs
I think the most delicious part of a shrimp boil is the leftover pot licker…. So it’s very important I have something to mop it up with.
And that’s where carbs come in. An easy garlic bread is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, but fries or pasta are great options too.
Cornbread is great all on its own, but it’s even better once you’ve used it to mop up the broth from a shrimp boil.
The quickbread has a delightful sweetness that complements the spicy and buttery flavors of your shrimp.
Sounds good, right? But Will Cook For Smiles takes it a step further and adds cheddar cheese and jalapenos to amp up the cornbread’s flavors.
Baked sweet potato fries
Sweet potato fries are naturally sweeter than regular potato fries, and I think they pair better with the flavors of shrimp boil.
However, one problem with sweet potato fries is that sometimes they can be soggy.
But this recipe from Gimme Some Oven’s will help you solve this issue. It has lots of great tips on how you can get crispy sweet potato fries every time.
Be warned: they’re super moreish, so make sure you cook enough.
Sourdough dinner rolls
Shrimp boil is typically drizzled with warm, melted, seasoned butter. The butter adds decadence and flavor to the whole dish, so you don’t want to leave any behind on the plate.
And that’s where sourdough dinner rolls come in. They’re the perfect side for soaking up the butter sauce, and they’ll fill everyone up so no one will leave hungry.
Bread by Elise that uses the tangzhong technique to make unbelievably soft, melt-in-your-mouth dinner rolls. I highly recommend using it too — you won’t regret it.
Garlic rice pilaf
Shrimp boil could be considered a full meal already.
But if you want a side dish to help fill you up, a nice bowl of rice should do the trick.
And rice doesn’t have to be boring. Instead of cooking it in plain water, cook it in a broth with some additional flavors (like garlic) and you have a simple, but super tasty side.
Sprinkles and Sprouts uses vegetable broth, but you can also use chicken or beef broth if you want a more savory taste.
Mac and cheese
Shrimp boil is all about indulgence, and what’s more indulgent than a bowl of creamy, cheesy mac and cheese?
It’s a crowd-pleasing dish, so don’t bank on having any leftovers.
And to marry the two dishes together, why not add a sprinkle of old bay seasoning to the cheese sauce, or one of these substitutes for old bay seasoning?
Any basic mac and cheese recipe will work great with your shrimp boil, but I like this recipe from Damn Delicious.
The addition of broccoli somehow makes you feel better about indulging in these decadent dishes.
Lavender & honey sparkling lemonade
Why not introduce a vibrant beverage to your seafood boil spread like this sparkling Lemonade?
This Springtime-inspired drink balances the subtle sweetness of golden honey with tart lemon zest, and introduces gentle floral notes from the lavender.
With a sparkling effervescence that keeps it light and refreshing, this not-too-sweet mocktail works wonderfully alongside the spicy, savory shrimp.
Plus, i’s as visually appealing as it is delicious, making it a delightful addition to any shrimp boil gathering.
Millionaire rice krispy treats
For an unexpected but utterly delightful sweet ending to your savory shrimp boil, consider serving these Millionaire’s Rice Krispy Treats.
These aren’t your typical childhood snacks – they’re elevated with a delectable layer of homemade caramel and a topping of marbled milk and white chocolate.
Jane swears by using condensed milk (not evaporated or the light condensed version) to make the caramel and I highly suggest you do the same. The flavor is out of this world.
What To Serve With Shrimp Boil – Peach Salsa
- 1 peaches ripe but still firm
- 1 avocado ripe but firm
- 3/4 cup corn
- 1 tbsp red onion finely diced
- 1 jalapeno diced and seeded
- 2 tbsp cilantro minced
- 1 lime juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Finely chop all the ingredients into similar sized pieces.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and toss until well combined.
- Let the salsa rest for 20-30 minutes before serving so the flavors can meld.
- Serve and enjoy.