//Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail is a classic party appetizer that needs to be at your next gathering! This party favorite is easy to throw together and can be made in advance. 

Every holiday party needs Shrimp Cocktail! It’s a simple and delicious appetizer that everyone know and loves. For more yummy appetizers at your party, try Easy Italian Pinwheels, Avocado Egg Rolls, and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms.

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail is a classic that no one can pass up. The good news is that it is so quick and easy to make. I just love that it can be made ahead of time so I’m not making a mess of the kitchen right before guests arrive.

shrimp dipped in cocktail sauce

shrimp dipped in cocktail sauce

How to make Shrimp Cocktail?

  • Fill a large pot with water and add half an onion, lemon, bay leaves, a little sugar, and salt. Bring it to a boil.
  • Place ice and water in a large bowl and keep it close by the large pot.
  • Add 1 pound of shrimp to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes just until the shrimp is pink and begins to float. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately place in the ice water.
  • Repeat with the remaining shrimp and then drain the shrimp and refrigerate.

Shrimp in an ice bath

Shrimp in an ice bath

How to make Cocktail Sauce?

  • Mix together ketchup, lemon juice, lemon zest, horseradish, Tabasco sauce (add more or less to your liking), and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

How to serve Shrimp Cocktail?

For a large party: Place cocktail sauce in a medium bowl on top of a platter. Surround the sauce with the shrimp.

For an intimate gathering: Place cocktail sauce in cocktail glasses and hang the shrimp around the edge of the glass.

shrimp cocktail

shrimp cocktail

How far in advance to make Shrimp?

This appetizer can be made right before serving or up to 2 days in advance. Just store covered in the refrigerator.

What kind of shrimp should I buy?

You can buy fresh or frozen.

I prefer to buy shrimp that has already been peeled and vein removed to save myself some time but you can definitely do that yourself if you want to save money.

Medium size shrimp work best for shrimp cocktail. That is about 21-25 shrimp per pound.

shrimp being dipped in cocktail sauce

shrimp being dipped in cocktail sauce

Can I halve or double the recipe?

Yes! If you halve the recipe just halve the shrimp (not the other ingredients in the pot) and the sauce.

If doubling the recipe be sure to work in batches and boil one pound of shrimp at a time.

shrimp cocktail sauce

shrimp cocktail sauce

Looking for more shrimp recipes? Enjoy these:

shrimp cocktail sauce

shrimp cocktail sauce

Shrimp Cocktail

Prep Time 10 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Author Melanie Dueck

Servings 10

Shrimp Cocktail is a classic party appetizer that needs to be at your next gathering! This party favorite is easy to throw together and can be made in advance. 

For the Shrimp:

  • 2 pounds medium RAW shrimp peeled, tail on
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt

For the Cocktail Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

For the Shrimp:

  1. Fill a large stock pot with water. Squeeze the lemons into the pot and then drop them in. Add in the onion, bay leaved, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil.

  2. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set near the stove.

  3. Add half the shrimp to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until pink and float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the ice water. Repeat with remaining shrimp. Drain once cooled and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Cocktail Sauce:

  1. Mix together all the sauce ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For Serving:

  1. Place cocktail sauce in a medium bowl on a large platter and surround it with the shrimp. Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh pa

Nutrition Facts

Shrimp Cocktail

Amount Per Serving

Calories 134 Calories from Fat 9

% Daily Value*

Fat 1g2%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Cholesterol 229mg76%

Sodium 1648mg69%

Potassium 175mg5%

Carbohydrates 11g4%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 8g9%

Protein 19g38%

Vitamin A 123IU2%

Vitamin C 13mg16%

Calcium 148mg15%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.