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11 Most Suitable Substitutes for Shrimp

Some of the most suitable substitutes for shrimp are lobster tails and langostinos. They have a similar texture and a delicate seafood flavor that resembles shrimp. Other options include crayfish, whitefish, or vegan options like tofu, konjac shrimp, and king oyster mushrooms.

This article will explore these substitutes for shrimp, focusing on their similarities and differences, their nutritional values, and how to incorporate them into your food. 

Several raw shrimp on a small plate

1. Lobster Tail

Lobster tail is an excellent shellfish replacement for shrimp in many dishes. It provides a similarly sweet and buttery seafood flavor. Although lobster tail has a similar texture to shrimp, its price tag is way more expensive. 

Lobster is a valued addition to any seafood recipe. It has an authentic, tender taste that enriches the dishes. In addition, it is rich in proteins and low in fat. 

You can use other parts of the lobster to replace shrimp. However, the tail has the most similar texture to shrimp. It is softer and more buttery than the other parts. 

You can cook lobster tails in any recipe that includes shrimp, replacing them with a 1:1 ratio. But please don’t overcook them, as they quickly lose the juicy, soft texture. 

Use lobster tails as shrimp substitutes in pasta, sauces, salads, scampi, and risotto. 

2. Langostino

Langostino is an almost perfect shellfish substitute for shrimp. It has the light seafood taste that characterizes shrimp and a similar texture and appearance. It isn’t easy to distinguish between the two at first glance. The price tag is also similar. 

Langostino is the Spanish name for crustaceans that resemble a mix of squat lobsters, prawns, and crabs. It is smaller and has a different color than lobster. Langostinos are nutrient-rich and have lower cholesterol levels even compared to shrimp. 

Their delicate and tender tails taste and look like large shrimp. You can use the same amount of Langostinos when replacing shrimp. 

Langostinos can be used instead of shrimp in any recipe. They are especially good in sushi rolls, salads, ceviche, and salsas. 

3. Crayfish

Crayfish is a good crustacean substitute for shrimp and has a buttery flavor. However, it tastes slightly saltier and more mineral-like, and the texture is meatier. Crayfish are usually more difficult to find and more expensive than shrimp. 

If you switch shrimp to crayfish, most recipes will still look and taste great. The flavor will be slightly different, as crayfish are less sweet than shrimp. In addition, crayfish’s texture is meatier, similar to crab

Several crayfish in a bowl

The only problem with using crayfish instead of shrimp is that the former is more difficult to find. You can find shrimp in most stores, but you will find crawfish in dedicated fish markets. 

To substitute for shrimp, use the same amount of crayfish. You can use it in many recipes, especially shrimp cocktails, risotto, and pasta. 

4. Whitefish

Whitefish can replace shrimp in many dishes because of its similar seafood taste. However, white fish has a different texture, color, appearance, and nutritional value. The result will be different, even though most dishes will still be tasty. 

Some of the best whitefish substitutes for shrimp are:

  • Halibut: for its sweet delicate seafood taste, similar to shrimp’s
  • Catfish: for its delicate and mild flavor that can integrate into any dish
  • Pollock: for its creamy texture, similar to the buttery taste of shrimp

However, you can use other kinds of whitefish, according to your preferences. 

Whitefish is lower in cholesterol and higher in potassium than shrimp. However, it has lower levels of calcium, zinc, and magnesium

Remember to use an equal amount of sliced (preferably cooked) whitefish when replacing shrimp. It is a good replacement for shrimp in salads and pasta.

5. Mussels

Mussels can be a suitable mollusk substitute for shrimp if shrimp is not the main dish ingredient. They are mollusks that resemble shrimp with their delicate sea flavor. However, they have a different texture and saltier taste. 

Mussels have high levels of nutrients and a delicate and distinctive flavor that makes them suitable for many seafood recipes. They can be used instead of shrimp in many recipes but will taste differently. So you should only use them if shrimp is not the main ingredient in your recipe. 

You can replace shrimp with mussels in salads, risotto, pasta, or other recipes with a large number of mixed ingredients.  

6. Chicken

Chicken is a suitable non-seafood substitute for shrimp. It has a similar texture (especially chicken breast). Moreover, it is relatively light and does not have an overwhelming flavor. Like shrimp, it is an ingredient that is safely used in most recipes. 

Chicken is high in protein. It is an excellent option for non-vegetarians who are allergic to or are not keen on shellfish. They can still enjoy their favorite shrimp recipes without taking risks and with a slight twist in taste. 

You can use any part of the chicken to replace shrimp. However, the chicken breast is more similar. You can also add spices and other ingredients to make the difference in taste less notable. 

When making this substitution, use a 1:1 ratio or add a little more chicken. Before using it in the recipe, ensure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked and sliced. Be careful not to overcook the chicken as it may lose the tender texture that makes it similar to shrimp. 

You can replace shrimp with chicken in almost all recipes, including soups, salads, pasta, and stews.

7. Surimi

Surimi is a fish paste of Asian origin and a popular replacement for shrimp. It has a similar seafood flavor, can be shaped to look exactly like a shrimp, and is less expensive than seafood. 

Several surimi on a table

Surimi can contain different ingredients, including various fishes, crabs, or other meat. Make sure to read the ingredients if you are allergic to shellfish or other ingredients. 

This fish paste is high in protein and low in calories. It can replace shrimp in many recipes, using the same amount that the recipe requires for shrimp. 

8. Tofu

Tofu is a great vegan substitute for shrimp. It has a similar soft texture and a mild flavor. This simple ingredient is easily used in any dish. You can use it stir-fried for better results. 

Tofu is a soy milk product rich in protein that contains all the amino acids the human body needs. Soft tofu is especially similar to shrimp after it is drained and sliced. It is an excellent substitute for vegans or people with seafood allergies. By using tofu, they can still enjoy some of the most delicious shrimp recipes without using shrimp. 

You can use tofu to replace shrimp in a 1:1 ratio in almost any recipe, including Asian dishes, salads, sauces, or even soups. 

9. Konjac Shrimp

Konjac shrimp is an excellent vegan, plant-based substitute for shrimp, which is made by mixing konjac root powder, starch, seaweed, and spices. It has a similar soft texture and a mild flavor that can absorb any taste in a recipe. 

Konjac is a vegetable of Asian origin with a naturally mild and salty taste. It is popular for its nutritional value, being rich in fiber and very low in calories. Konjac shrimp is made by mixing konjac root powder with spices and starch and slicing it into shrimp-like pieces. 

You can use it in an equal amount instead of shrimp in any recipe, including stir fry shrimp, noodles, pasta, etc. 

10. King Oyster Mushrooms

King oyster mushrooms are an excellent vegan alternative to shrimp. They have a soft, crunchy, and meaty texture. They are simple to prepare and have a mild taste that will not overwhelm any dish. 

They are large, cylindrical, umami-flavored mushrooms that are popular for their mild, authentic taste. They are highly nutritious and rich in vitamins and minerals. Their meaty texture reminds you of shellfish. 

You can replace shrimp with equal amounts of cooked king oyster mushrooms in any recipe, like salads, stews, grilled vegetables, pasta, and soups. Make sure you cut them into slices that resemble shrimp and roast or fry them. 

11. Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is a surprising but convenient vegan substitute for shrimp. You can make it taste similar to shrimp by pureeing it and combining it with the following:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Flour
  • Garlic powder
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

You can cut the dough into strips and fry them. To add more seafood flavor, boil the sweet potato stripes in seaweed broth. You can make the broth by adding seaweed and salt to the water. Boil the sweet potato dough stripes in the seaweed broth for better results. 

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium. You can use this vegan shrimp substitute in many recipes, including pasta, sauces, and cocktails.

What Is the Best Substitute for Shrimp?

The best substitute for shrimp, in general, is the Langostino tail. It is the most similar in flavor and texture. It has a similar delicate and sweet taste and a soft, buttery texture. Langostino tail can replace shrimp in a 1:1 ratio. 

However, Langostino is rare to find in stores and more expensive. Although it is the most similar ingredient to replace shrimp in recipes, it is a costly choice. 

Other less costly excellent substitutes for shrimp include crayfish, whitefish, chicken, konjac shrimp, tofu, etc. 

Which Food Is the Best Substitute In Case of Shrimp Allergy?

If you are allergic to shrimp, you are probably allergic to other shellfish. In this case, avoid shellfish and fish substitutes and opt for those of a completely different origin, like chicken and mushrooms. Carefully read the ingredients to make sure you are not allergic to any of them. 

If you are unsure whether you are allergic to any other food, avoid using them in dishes before getting checked by a doctor. 

What Is the Best Vegan Substitute for Shrimp?

The best vegan substitute for shrimp is Konjac shrimp, a plant-based powder mixed with starch and spices. It is praised for its similarity in texture to shrimp. It can absorb the seafood taste if mixed with seaweed. 

Konjac shrimp can be used in many recipes instead of shrimp. Like tofu, it absorbs the flavors of the other recipe ingredients. It is an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, or people who suffer from shellfish allergies. 

However, konjac shrimp is not always available in stores. If you cannot find this vegan version of shrimp, you can try other options, like tofu, king oyster mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.

For more, check out 8 Best Types of Meat for Dipping in Fondue.