Cold Shrimp and Buttermilk Soup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

This is a soup my grandmother used to make on those hot days when she didn’t want to go anywhere near the stove. At that time, the only shrimp she had available were canned, which were fine (and certainly better than no shrimp at all).

If the red onion is very sweet, then you can omit the soaking step. Otherwise, soaking helps remove some of the “hot,” sulfury notes that older onions often have.

This is a very simple recipe, and it can be delicious or it can be bland. Follow the directions, but then use your own tastebuds to guide the final seasoning. You can add more mustard, Tabasco, salt, sugar, or herbs, as you please.


  • 1 quart good quality buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard, such as Colman’s
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • ½ pound cooked bay shrimp, or any chopped cooked shrimp
  • 2 cups peeled, seeded, and finely diced cucumber
  • cup finely diced red onion, soaked for a few minutes in ice water then drained
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill


Whisk the Buttermilk, mustard, salt, sugar, and hot pepper sauce together in a bowl. Add the shrimp, cucumber, red onion, chives, and dill, and chill covered for at least 2 hours for the flavors to develop. When food is cold, flavors become more muted, so before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, hot pepper sauce, and sugar, if you think it needs it. Garnish with slices of cucumber and avocado, if desired.


If you like with thin slices of cucumber and ripe avocado