16 Best Shrimp Substitutes That You Can Use

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You are a fan of seafood which means you have got to know the best shrimp substitutes. Shrimp is versatile, much-loved seafood that beamingly enhances your sandwiches, stir-fries, salads, or pasta. Who can resist the mouth-watering shrimp capellini? 


Although shrimps are widespread and easily available, you might run out of them at times. You would have wondered (even though you didn’t want to) what shrimp can be replaced with little or no compromise in flavor. Do you want to know, “what are the best substitutes for shrimp?” Some of the best substitutes for shrimp are langostino, prawns, lobster and crayfish, vegan shrimp, and tofu. 

Shrimp is one of the versatile seafood used in various recipes. It is a close relative to crabs and lobsters. It belongs to the category of fishes that can swim backward. It is a popular seafood consumed worldwide. Americans consume about 4 pounds of shrimp annually. That makes shrimp the most highly consumed fish, among other seafood.

If you are an ardent seafood lover or have a loved one with a crazy seafood appetite, you definitely need to read this article. Let us explore shrimp, its uses, and the best substitutes, shall we?

Shrimp In The Culinary World


Shrimp is a crustacean with a translucid, flattened body. They swim backward by bending their flexible abdomen and tail. They have a firm, soft texture with a mild, sweet flavor when cooked.

There are many types of shrimp for us to relish upon. Some are white shrimp, pink shrimp, rock shrimp, brown shrimp, tiger shrimp, spot shrimp, bumblebee shrimp, red cherry shrimp, crystal shrimp, and snowball shrimp.

Shrimp Vs. Prawn | Are they The Same Or Different?

Coming to the million-dollar question, is shrimp the same as prawn? Definitely, no! In many regions, the term prawn is also used to refer to shrimps. Although they share similar nutrient profiles and can be used interchangeably, they aren’t the same.

Prawns and shrimp are anatomically different (I will not bore you with that). Prawns are larger than shrimp in size. They are found in different types of water. They taste sweeter than shrimp with a meaty texture.

Uses of Shrimp

Shrimps have versatile applications when it comes to cooking. They can be used in soups, pasta, stir-fries, tacos, or salads. Garlic shrimp stir-fry, grilled shrimp, shrimp taco salad, and shrimp skewers are some of the very popular recipes.

Shrimp On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Shrimp is also a healthy seafood option with low calories and high nutritional content. It is a rich source of iodine, omega-6, and omega-3 fatty acids. Consumption of shrimp boosts the functioning of the brain and heart. It improves bone strength as well as protects the skin from damage.

Why Should We Substitute Shrimp?

Shrimp is tasty, versatile, and nutritious. But you know why there is a need to substitute for shrimp? It is notorious for its high cholesterol content. If you watch your cholesterol levels, you might have to remove shrimp from your menu. 

Another reason is that Farm-raised shrimps are loaded with antibiotics which are detrimental to health. Also, some of us are extremely allergic to shrimp, making it imperative for us to seek the best shrimp substitutes. Let us discuss them right away. 

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

16 Best Shrimp Substitutes

Now that you know everything you need to know about shrimp, let us discuss the sixteen best substitutes for shrimp, inclusive of both seafood, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian substitutes.

Seafood Substitutes For Shrimp

1. Langostino Tails

Langostino, in the US, is a term used to refer to the meat of squat lobster. It is neither a lobster nor a prawn but can be deemed a blend of these two. Langostino tails are perfect substitutes for shrimp.

Langostino tails have a sweet flavor with a meaty texture similar to shrimp, making them one of the best shrimp substitutes. They can also beat you with a similar look as that of shrimp.

2. Prawn

Prawn is an aquatic crustacean with a long tail and tiny legs. It tastes sweeter than shrimp with a chunky, meaty texture. Prawn almost looks similar to shrimp, but it usually has a large size with low-fat content. Shrimps can be easily replaced with prawns considering the similarities in their flavor as well as nutritional profiles. Prawns are a good source of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants. 

3. Lobster

Lobster is a type of large crustacean with a long body, hard shells, and two claws. It is the proud host of juicy, succulent meat with a rich, sweet, and gratifying flavor. Once cooked, it has a soft and tender texture. Lobster tail has a sweet, buttery flavor which makes it a perfect substitute for shrimps in any recipe that calls for it. But it might not be a favorable option as a shrimp substitute if you are allergic to seafood.

4. Crayfish

Crayfish, also known as crawfish or crawdad, is a freshwater crustacean that resembles lobster. It tastes sweet with mild undertones of salty flavor. It helps you with weight loss, the development of strong bones, and beautiful, healthy skin! The soft, tender texture and salty flavor of crayfish make it a good substitute for shrimp in seafood recipes, pasta, or stir-fries. The only disadvantage would be its cost and non-availability.

5. Crab

A crab is a crustacean with a circular body enclosed by a hard shell. It has five pairs of legs with large claws on the front pair. It has a mild salty taste which is different from shrimp. Crab has a chewy texture, unlike shrimp, and a savory flavor when cooked. Never mind the difference in texture. With added seasoning, crab is a worthy alternative for shrimp in seafood or other recipes.

6. Scallop

Scallop refers to a type of bivalve mollusk related to clams, oysters, and mussels. It has a sweet, salty, and butter flavor with a soft and tender texture. It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. It helps mitigate the risk of heart diseases and balances your cholesterol levels. Scallop makes a good substitute for shrimp in most recipes that call for shrimp. Make sure you don’t overcook scallops to not interfere with their delicate texture.

7. Mussels


Mussels are a kind of bivalve mollusks that have a dark, elongated shells. These are similar to clams and oysters. Mussels are one of the easiest seafood to prepare – steamed mussels with garlic and white wine is a popular, classic recipe. 

Mussels have a mild salty flavor with a firm, crunchy texture, close to mushrooms. Mussels are good substitutes for shrimp mainly for their crunchy, meaty texture. Their subtle flavor makes them a great alternative since they easily blend in with other ingredients.

8. Clams


Another type of mollusk, clams, are seafood with oval-shaped shells. There are about 150 varieties of edible clams, but only very few of them are available commercially. Clams provide a lot of Vitamin B12 and iron. They help in regulating blood pressure and are packed with proteins.

Clams have a salty, fishy flavor and a fine, chewy texture making them considerable substitutes for shrimps. They can be used in appetizers, dips, sauces, and chowders. 

9. Squid


Squid refers to a group of cephalopods with long bodies and tentacles. They are not fishes but invertebrate animals. They have a mild, meaty flavor very similar to lobsters and shrimps and a firm texture.

Squids can work as worthy substitutes for shrimp due to their mild, not-so-dominant flavor. Both their bodies and tentacles can be used for the purpose. They can be added to stir-fries, sautéed dishes, soups, stews, or grilled recipes.   

10. Whitefish


Whitefish is not a fish – the term whitefish refers to white-colored fishes which come in two varieties. There are round ones such as cod and sea bass and flat ones such as halibut. Consumption of white fish helps you fight against inflammation and boosts the immune system. These are good sources of low-fat protein.

Whitefishes have a very mild, sweet flavor making them a versatile substitute for shrimp. They have a firm, moist texture, and this helps us use them easily in any recipe that calls for shrimp. 

11. Surimi

Surimi is a kind of paste made from fish or other meat. It is deemed as ‘imitation seafood’ as it is used to emulate the flavor of shrimps, lobsters, crabs, or other seafood. Surimi can be a considerable alternative for shrimp due to the similarities in texture. If you are allergic to seafood, you should check the contents of the surumi you use before consumption.

Vegetarian/Vegan Shrimp Substitutes

1. Vegan Shrimp

Time to give the vegetarians and vegans their cup of choice. Vegan shrimp or fake shrimp is made using vegan seasoning ingredients such as konjac and fenugreek. It can also include ingredients such as algae, soy, vegetable oils, and yeast. 

Vegan shrimp or fake shrimp can emulate the flavor of shrimp to a great extent and is your perfect choice if you are vegan or allergic to seafood. Using protein powder, algae, and vegan shrimp gives you tasty results for sure!

2. Tofu

Behold this bland ingredient made from pressing curdled soy milk; tofu. Being bland puts you at a lot of ease and advantages. It is less in caloric value and is a gluten-free ingredient. Did you know that tofu is an excellent egg replacer?

Tofu has a similar texture as that of shrimp. Once cooked with the right seasoning agents, tofu easily absorbs all the flavors and makes a great substitute for shrimp. Make sure you use tofu with a soft, delicate texture while replacing shrimp in any recipe.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are starchy, tuberous root vegetables. They are a staple food in many parts of the world and are packed with fiber, potassium, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. They have a mild, sweet, starchy flavor and a creamy texture. 

So how can these work as a substitute for shrimp? The mild flavor and creamy texture of sweet potatoes make them fantastic substitutes for shrimps. By adding seasonings such as garlic, paprika, and oil to flour, you can create a dough using sweet potatoes that taste like shrimp.

4. King Oyster Mushrooms

King Oyster Mushroom

Coming from the oyster mushroom family, king oyster mushrooms are large mushrooms with a rich umami flavor and meaty texture. These are also known as king trumpet mushrooms or French horn mushrooms. These have a dense texture making them popular substitutes for meat and seafood. 

King oyster mushrooms are worthy alternatives for shrimps considering their flavor and crunchy texture. Depending on the recipes, these can be stir-fried, roasted, fried, and grilled. These are highly nutritious as well.

Non-Vegetarian Shrimp Substitute

1. Chicken


Chicken is a delicious poultry food known for its versatility, deliciousness, and easy availability. Uncooked chicken has a metallic, salty flavor and a firm but tender texture. With the right seasonings, chicken recipes are a wonderful treat, no doubt!

If you are allergic to seafood and want to relish the flavor of shrimp, chicken is your answer as the perfect shrimp substitute. Although chicken and shrimp differ in taste, adding the right flavor-enhancing agents to chicken can help you get a close flavor to that of shrimp.

Short Recap Of Best Shrimp Substitutes

That must have been an exhaustive read on the best shrimp substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Best Seafood Shrimp Substitutes-

  1.  Langostino tails
  2. Prawns
  3. Lobsters
  4. Crayfish
  5. Crab
  6. Scallops
  7. Mussels
  8. Clams
  9. Squids
  10. White fish
  11. Surimi paste

Best  Vegan/Vegetarian Shrimp Substitutes –

  1. Vegan Shrimp
  2. Tofu
  3. King Oyster Mushrooms
  4. Sweet Potatoes

Best Non-Seafood Shrimp Substitutes

  1. Chicken
  2. Vegan Shrimp
  3. Tofu
  4. King Oyster Mushrooms
  5. Sweet Potatoes

Final Musings

That was all about the best substitutes for shrimp. Choose either a seafood substitute or a vegan alternative, depending on your preferences. I am sure all of these ingredients blend well into your recipes and make your day. Share your experience, and we will meet soon!

How To Use Shrimp Substitutes In A Recipe


Shrimp Substitutes

Planning for a seafood fiesta and out of shrimp? Do not worry. Some of the best substitutes for shrimp are langostino tails, prawns, lobster and crayfish, vegan shrimp, and tofu.
5 from 2 votes


  • Langostino Tails
  • Prawn
  • Lobster
  • Crayfish
  • Crab
  • Scallop
  • Mussels
  • Clam
  • Squid
  • Whitefish
  • Surimi
  • Vegan Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • King Oyster Mushrooms
  • Chicken


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do vegans use instead of shrimp?

Vegans can use sweet potatoes, vegan shrimp, tofu and king oyster mushrooms instead of shrimp.

What can I substitute for shrimp in jambalaya?

Chicken can be used to substitute for shrimp in jambalaya.

What is vegan shrimp made of?

Vegan shrimp is made of vegan seasoning ingredients such as  konjac and fenugreek, algae, soy, vegetable oils, and yeast. 

What are the shrimp substitutes for allergy?

Chicken and white fish are good shrimp substitutes for those suffering from allergies.

What is the vegetarian substitute for dried shrimp?

Shiitake mushroom is a considerable vegetarian substitute for dried shrimp.

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