13 Shrimp Substitutes [Plus Vegan & Non-Shellfish]

I am sad to say that I am allergic to shrimp. That is one of the reasons why I know so much about great shrimp substitutes!

There are a surprising number of ways to replace shrimp in recipes to make them delicious and allergy free. 

Maybe you don’t have a shellfish allergy but just need a shrimp substitute because you are all out of shrimp. Or maybe you aren’t a huge fan of the fishy shrimp taste. I know many people are not! 

Between my years of searching for shrimp substitutes for myself and cooking professionally for others who don’t particularly like shrimp, I have come up with a lot of alternatives.

There are some great shrimp based recipes out there and, with these shrimp substitutes, you don’t have to miss out on a great dish! 

The best substitute for shrimp is langostino tail. It has a very similar taste and texture. It is also less expensive than shrimp. Prawns are another perfect shrimp substitute. They have an almost identical taste, size and texture. Prawns are simple freshwater shrimp! If you’d like a vegetarian shrimp substitute, use chopped king oyster mushrooms. White fish is also a good replacement if you need a shellfish-free option.

If you have a shellfish allergy, want a vegan shrimp substitute or just ran out of shrimp at home, I can help!

Take a look at these tasty shrimp substitutes and see which one will work best for you. 

Seafood Shrimp Substitutes

1. Crayfish

They are often called freshwater shrimp or spiny lobster. Crayfish is another name for crawfish. 

Crayfish look like mini lobsters or slightly larger fish. Rather than living in saltwater oceans, crayfish live in streams, rivers and swamps. 

Crayfish have a similar taste and texture of shrimp when cooked. They are also small and bite-sized like shrimp.

They are a great substitute for whole shrimp in recipes like shrimp cocktails or shrimp pasta (this recipe from Self Proclaimed Foodie is divine!). 

Use the same quantity of crayfish to replace shrimp in any recipe.

Crayfish has about the same number of calories but only 96 mg of cholesterol. It is a great low cholesterol substitute for shrimp. 


2. Langostino

Langostino is the meat from a long-tailed crustacean that looks like a mix of lobster and crab.

The tails of the langostino are the best substitute for shrimp. It has a similar taste and texture. Langostino tails even look exactly like shrimp when cut into pieces and cooked. 

Langostino is best when cut. The smaller pieces of the shellfish look like chopped shrimp. Not many people will be able to tell the difference! 

Replace shrimp with the exact same volume of chopped langostino. Cook the langostino exactly as directed in your recipe. It will cook the same as shrimp.

A three-ounce portion of langostino has about 51 calories, zero fat, and 16 grams of protein.

It is slightly lower in protein when compared to shrimp. It also only has 115 mg of cholesterol which is less than shrimp as well. 


3. Lobster

Lobster tail is often used in place of shrimp. It is much more tender and soft than shrimp. The buttery, sweet taste is close to the taste of shrimp, maybe even better. 

Lobster is a shellfish so this substitute will not work for those with seafood allergies. It can also be much more expensive than shrimp.

However, if you happen to have a lobster tail and a great shrimp recipe, chop up the lobster and use it in place of the shrimp for a seamless substitute. 

Lobster has about the same calories, fats and carbs as shrimp. It can be used to replace shrimp with the same 1 to 1 ratio. 

Lobster dish

4. Prawns

Prawns are almost identical to shrimp. They tend to be a little larger than shrimp but are mostly the same size. Prawns are found in freshwater rather than saltwater. 

Prawns have a flavor and texture that is almost identical to shrimp. You can cook prawns the exact same way you would cook shrimp. They are perfect in gumbo and are nutritionally identical to shrimp. 

5. Crab

Crab meat is a great shellfish substitution for shrimp. It can be a little tougher than shrimp meat. However, the salty and fishy taste is the same as shrimp which makes it a great substitute.

Use chopped or flaked crab to replace shrimp in your favorite shrimp recipes. Crab meat works best to replace shopped shrimp rather than whole shrimp. 

Crab meat has about the same calories as shrimp. It also has the same quantity of protein and is a little lower in cholesterol. 


6. Scallops

Scallops are not shellfish but are technically mollusk. Those with shellfish allergies may be able to enjoy this delicious shrimp substitute. Scallops have a wonderful, buttery, and sweet taste that you will love!

Scallops have a much chewier texture than shrimp. They are meaty and thick so they are best when chopped to replace shrimp in a recipe. 

Scallops are very versatile. They can be sauteed, fried, baked or chopped and stirred into a sauce. Use the same quantity of scallops to replace shrimp in any recipe.

Scallops are slightly higher in calories and fats but they make up for it with their smooth, sweet taste. 

seared scallops

7. Surimi

Surimi is a type of fish paste that can be shaped into many different forms. It can be made to look exactly like shrimp! Surimi tastes very similar to shrimp but has a thicker texture closer to crab. 

Surimi is often made solely with fish but can occasionally include shellfish. Check the label to ensure the surimi has no shellfish if you need a allergy-free shrimp substitute.

Surimi can also be a good kosher substitute for shrimp as long as it is made with pure fish. 

Surimi has about 84 calories per 3-ounce serving. It has about 25 mg of cholesterol and 6 grams of carbs. 


8. Sweet Potatoes

You may be surprised to find that sweet potato are a fantastic shrimp substitute.

They are perfect for those looking to replace shrimp with a vegetarian or vegan option. Here is how to make a shrimp substitute using sweet potatoes. 

Puree cooked sweet potato with some flour, garlic powder, paprika, and a bit of olive oil. Make a dough that is similar to bread dough then roll the dough and cut it into pieces about 2 inches long. 

Boil 8 cups of water with two tablespoons of salt then boil the sweet potato “shrimp” pieces for about 5 minutes.

Use your sweet potato shrimp in pasta dishes, vegan shrimp cocktails, or bread and deep fry. 

Grilled sweet potatoes
        Sweet Potatoes Served with Tomato Sauce

9. Tofu

Tofu is a good shrimp substitute for vegetarians and vegans. It has a similar texture to shrimp and a fairly neutral flavor. It will absorb the taste of anything it is cooked with. 

Use soft tofu rather than firm. The softer tofu has a closer texture to shrimp. Tofu is best for replacing sauteed, cooked shrimp. 

Cut the tofu into strips to be similar to shrimp. Use the same volume of tofu as shrimp in any recipe. 

Tofu has about 70 calories per three-ounce serving and 4 grams of fat. While it is higher in fat than shrimp, it has 0 mg of cholesterol. Tofu is also a wonderful source of plant-based protein with 8 grams per serving.


10. King Oyster Mushrooms

King oyster mushrooms are super thick, a delicious mushroom that has a similar texture to shrimp.

Slice the mushroom into strips and use it to replace shrimp in any stir fry or soup! The mushroom will pick up the flavors it is cooked with and also add a nice, earthy taste to your food. 

King oyster mushrooms are pretty healthy. They are much lower in calories than shrimp with only 28 calories per 3 ounce serving.

They are completely fat-free and still have a small amount of protein with 3 grams per serving. 

11. Fake Shrimp or Imitation Shrimp

Fake shrimp, also called imitation shrimp, is a shrimp alternative made from algae. It is completely vegan but looks and tastes exactly like real shrimp. It is pretty amazing food! 

Use fake shrimp to replace shrimp in any recipe using the same quantity of fake shrimp. Fake shrimp can be cooked like real shrimp in pasta dishes, stir-fries, soups, or used for shrimp cocktails

Imitation shrimp has 86 calories per three-ounce serving. It has about 10 grams of protein and one gram of fat. It is pretty comparable nutritionally to real shrimp.


12. Chicken

The chicken definitely has a different flavor when compared to shrimp but the texture is very similar.

Many shrimp dishes are made with spices and herbs that also work well with chicken. Chicken can be a perfect substitute for shrimp for those with seafood allergies. 

Replace shrimp with the same quantity of shrimp in any cooked recipe. Cut the chicken into strips so it is similar to the size of the shrimp.

Chicken needs to cook completely to be safe to eat and it may take a little longer to cook the chicken than shrimp. 

Chicken is also a very healthy protein. A three-ounce serving of chicken breast has 128 calories and 26 grams of protein.

Chicken does have 2.7 grams of fat but zero carbs and a lower cholesterol count. 


13. White Fish

Whitefish, like flounder, halibut, or cod, can work well to replace shrimp. Fish is not a shellfish but still has a fishy, ocean-like taste.

This can be great for people with shellfish allergies who still want the taste and flakey texture of shrimp. 

White fish is also a good kosher substitute for shrimp. It has scales and fins which fits the protocol for a kosher seafood. It also has a very similar fish taste that will work in your kosher fish recipes. 

I recommend cooking the fish filet whole before cutting it into strips to resemble shrimp. Whitefish is best to replace shrimp in stir-fries and pasta. Larger cooked dishes work best. 

Fish is high in selenium and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. The calories will vary depending on the fish you choose to replace shrimp.

However, most white fish is fairly low in calories and carbs, just like shrimp. 

What is Shrimp?

Shrimp is a small crustacean that is part of the shellfish family. It is considered to be nutritious seafood and has many essential nutrients. 

Shrimp can be found all over the world but is a very popular food in the United States.

Shrimp cooks quickly and turns from a grayish color to a bright pink when it is done. It has a tender, slightly chewy texture but can get very tough when overcooked. 

Is Shrimp Healthy?

Shrimp is considered to be a pretty healthy food. It has lots of health benefits including some imperative vitamins and minerals.

Here is a quick breakdown of the nutritional content of shrimp. These numbers are based on a three-ounce serving of cooked shrimp. 

Protein20 grams

Shrimp also contains a good amount of iron, potassium, and zinc. 

Shrimp often gets a bad reputation for being high in cholesterol. It does contain a good amount of cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation. I have included several lower cholesterol shrimp substitutes on this list. 

However, shrimp does have many nutritional benefits as well. Take a look at a few of the benefits of adding shrimp to your diet.

  • Shrimp are low in carbs and calories, making them great for people trying to lose weight. 
  • The antioxidants found in shrimp can help protect cells against damage.
  • Shrimp is full of selenium, a mineral shown to prevent certain cancers. 
  • Shrimp is a lean protein. It has lots of healthy proteins without excess fats. 

All in all, shrimp can be part of a healthy diet. There are so many ways to cook shrimp and so many fantastic shrimp recipes that you will never grow tired of this yummy seafood! 

Garlic Shrimp Recipe

Looking for an easy shrimp recipe? Our super simple garlic shrimp is delicious. Place it on top of pasta or enjoy it on it’s own.

All of our shrimp substitutes will also work well to replace shrimp in this recipe. 


1 Tbsp olive oil

1 pound shrimp, cleaned and peeled

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp minced garlic

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp butter

¼ cup chopped parsley


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer. 
  2. Cook the shrimp over medium heat for one minute to sear. 
  3. Add the salt and cook the shrimp for one more minute. 
  4. Stir in the garlic and toss the shrimp with the garlic and salt. Cook for another minute. 
  5. Add the butter and lemon juice and toss the shrimp again. Cook the shrimp for 3 more minutes, tossing the shrimp occasionally to cook evenly. 
  6. Add the parsley and remove the pan from the heat. The shrimp should be completely pink and ready to serve! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about shrimp substitutes? Hopefully these quick questions and answers will help! 

What can you Substitute for Shrimp in Shrimp Scampi?

Langostino, lobster and crab all work well to replace shrimp in shrimp scampi. King oyster mushrooms are a great vegetarian option and white fish is good if you are avoiding shellfish. 

How to Make Shrimp Paste?

Cook one pound of shrimp in ½ stick of butter until pink. Place the cooked shrimp and butter in a food processor.

Add ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp groundblack pepper and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice. Puree until very smooth. Store the shrimp paste in the fridge for up to one week. 

What is a Dried Shrimp Substitute?

Shrimp paste is a good substitute for dried shrimp. Fish sauce is also a good, strong tasting substitute for dried shrimp. Adding fish sauce is how you get that fishy taste for kimchi! 

Use ½ the amount of shrimp paste or fish sauce to replace dried shrimp. 

Final Considerations

I hope you found a fantastic shrimp substitute on this list that will work for you. I know I have used many of them with great success! Enjoy!

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