Shrimp Burgers with Tartar Sauce
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 7-8 Burgers
Tired of the same old burger routine? Here’s a super-simple idea to add to your burger repertoire. Just a few simple additions changes shrimp into an irresistible supper. The burgers are rich with shrimp, thick, and juicy, with just a touch of lemon and green onion. After they come off the stove, they get slathered with a homemade tartar sauce to jazz up the whole works. Add the bun of your choice, a fresh tomato, and go to town. I wish I could take total credit for the burgers, but in large part the recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen ( As per usual, I changed the process and some of the ingredients to better suit my palate and basically lazy cooking style. If you haven’t checked out their website, please do so – it’s a treasure trove of excellent recipes and ideas.
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (Note: it’s important to use fresh crumbs, not dried crumbs like Panko. Fresh crumbs will do a better job of absorbing any liquid from the shrimp and hold your burgers together better).
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and patted dry – it doesn’t matter what size of shrimp you use.
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour low-fat or full-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped capers
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • ½ -1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ - 1 tablespoon brine from the jar of capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste (start with about ½ teaspoon of salt)
  2. In a food processor, pulse the fresh bread until crumbs form. (Note: I usually buy a loaf of something like Italian Bread from the supermarket, then cut off the crust and make crumbs out of the whole thing. I freeze what I don’t need at the moment, so always have a supply of crumbs handy when the need arises).
  3. Add the green onion and lemon zest and pulse a couple of more times until everything is well mixed.
  4. Remove the crumb mixture from the food processor and place in a medium bowl.
  5. Put the shrimp in the food processor and pulse only until roughly chopped. Some pieces will be bigger than others, and that’s just fine.
  6. Remove shrimp from processor and place in the bowl with the bread crumbs.
  7. Add the mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and stir gently until just blended together.
  8. Form the mixture into patties. I usually put the patties on foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Allow to set up in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but you can also form these the day ahead – just be sure you cover them with plastic wrap.
  9. Note: This recipe makes between 7-8 burgers, each taking about ½ cup of the shrimp mixture. I use an ice cream scoop to measure it out since that seems easiest for me but do what works best for you.
  10. When ready to cook: A nonstick skillet works best for these guys. I add some oil just as a double precaution though. Heat the skillet to medium high, and add the burgers, usually four at a time. Keep your eyes open and cook on one side until crispy and lightly browned, then flip them over and finish cooking. Shrimp just takes a few minutes, so don’t walk away too far. You can tell when they’re done by gently pushing down on the top of the burger. If it feels firm to the touch, it’s probably done. I like to let them sit, covered, in the skillet for a few minutes just to set up and finish cooking.
  11. You can also cook these guys on the grill over medium high heat.
  13. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and sour cream.
  14. Stir in the capers, dill pickle, green onion, lemon zest, and fresh dill, salt and pepper.
  15. NOTE: Here’s where it gets interesting – you will want to rely on your own sense of taste to finish this sauce off. I like tartar sauce to be, well, tart. If you don’t, start slowly. Try ½ tablespoon lemon juice – now tastes it. OK? Then quit right where you are. I also really like the briny taste of caper brine. Feel daring? Add half a tablespoon. Taste again. OK? Then stop right there. It’s really a matter of trusting your own likes and sense of taste at this point, so go for what you want. Need more heat? Try some sriracha or other hot sauce. Play with it until it becomes YOUR sauce. Don’t forget to write down what you did at the end so you can repeat it any time you please.
Recipe by Bird's Nest Bites at