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Blackened Shrimp Burgers with Lime Tartar Sauce

Riley Wofford
Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

Grilling season is just around the corner, and nothing says summer quite like a juicy burger. This shrimp burger is guaranteed to become a favorite among both the meat and seafood lovers in your life. It’s loaded with lots of spicy and smoky flavor, served with a zesty lime tartar sauce and piled onto buns with all the fixings.

The burgers are easy to make, too — all you need is a food processor. Pulse the shrimp together with sautéed peppers, onions and garlic, blackening spice mix and a bit of lime zest. From there, form the mixture into patties just like any other burger. You can throw them on the grill if the weather is cooperating, or you can simply cook them in a nonstick or cast-iron skillet. Blackening spice goes into the shrimp patty mixture, but even more of the spice rub is sprinkled over the surface area of each patty before they're cooked. This creates a slightly spicy outer layer on the burgers, which pairs perfectly with the make-ahead tartar sauce. 

The recipe is fairly standard, including the likes of mayonnaise, onion and capers, but  it has a little something special — fresh lime juice. The lime juice adds a bright and unique acidic flavor that perfectly contrasts the fattiness of the burgers and the heat from the blackening spice rub.

And no burger would be complete without potatoes in one form or another. I like to serve them alongside a handful of salty potato chips. Ruffles are my go-to but choose your favorite variety. Old Bay chips would go hand-in-hand with the shrimp flavor, and you could even pile the chips into the burgers for added crunch. 

Technique Tip: If the shrimp mixture is sticking to your hands, dab your palms with some water.

Swap Option: The blackened rub adds a decent amount of spice, but if you want to add even more heat, swap the sweet bell pepper for poblano.


For the Tartar Sauce
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Burgers
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion, plus more sliced into rings for serving
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon blackening seasoning, divided
  • pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 brioche or potato buns, split and toasted
  • lettuce leaves, for serving
  • sliced tomatoes, for serving
  • sliced avocado, for serving (optional)
  • potato chips, for serving (optional)
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Make the tartar sauce

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, red onion, capers, lime juice, salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, or up to 2 days.

Make the burgers


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of blackening spice and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, about 10 minutes.


In the bowl of a food processor, add the sautéed vegetables, shrimp, lime zest, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times until the mixture is coarsely chopped and well incorporated.


Divide the shrimp mixture into 4 equal portions and form each into an approximate 4-inch round patty. Sprinkle the remaining blackening spice evenly over both sides of each shrimp patty (¼ teaspoon per side).


Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat (or preheat a grill for direct heat cooking). Add the shrimp burgers and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on the outside and cooked through on the inside, about 4 minutes per side.


Spread the cut sides of each burger bun with some aioli and layer the lettuce, shrimp burgers, sliced onions, tomatoes and avocado (if using) on top. Serve with potato chips, if desired.