The Best Shrimp Cocktail Recipe to Make at Home

The Best Shrimp Cocktail Recipe to Make at Home

A shrimp cocktail may seem a bit old-fashioned, but it's still a popular choice for parties for a good reason. You might feel like buying it from the store, but believe me—making it from scratch makes a big difference. It's ready in under an hour and so simple to make, which makes it a great last-minute appetizer for adding a touch of elegance to any party. With our homemade sauce and perfectly cooked shrimp cocktail, this dish will elevate your holiday dinner from good to great. Here's how to make it just right.

Table Of Content

    Understanding Shrimp Cocktail

    Shrimp Cocktail is a tasty starter with big-cooked shrimp served with a tangy tomato-based sauce. You can find it in the supermarket as a "shrimp ring" in the fridge or freezer.

    You can make this shrimp cocktail at home quickly, and it tastes even better than the one from a fancy restaurant. Roasted shrimp have more flavor than boiled ones from the store, and homemade sauce is unbeatable.

    Why You Will Love This Homemade Dish

    Everything about a shrimp cocktail is pure love when served with homemade cocktail sauce.

    Quick and simple - From start to finish, you can have this shrimp ready in less than 15 minutes.

    Perfect for gatherings - Because it's so easy to make, you'll have it ready to go in no time for a party.

    Everyone likes it - A traditional dish like this is sure to please just about everyone.

    Why shrimp cocktail is loved by many

    Selecting the Right Shrimp for your Dish

    The big shrimp (16-20 per pound) are perfect for a shrimp cocktail. You can also use the large shrimp (18-25 per pound) as well. You should get 2 pounds of shrimp for a big group. Make sure to look for fresh or frozen shrimp with a tail-on.

    If looking to buy fresh shrimp on the spot, pick up your phone and search “seafood near me”. Here you will find numerous options on the seafood menu where you can get your hands on the freshest shrimp you want.


    Ingredients for shrimp cocktail

    Shrimp. The finest shrimp are fresh medium-sized shrimp (21/25 count per pound) that have been peeled and deveined with the tails still attached. Easy-peel is easy to work with while keeping the tail attached. Frozen can also be utilized, although it will not taste as wonderful. You may make it larger or smaller, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted correspondingly.

    Lemon. While boiling the shrimp, both the juice and the real fruit are added to the water. This imparts a great taste and the acidity aids in the tenderization of the shrimp.

    Parsley. A handful of fresh parsley will be enough. You can opt for both curly and flat leaves.

    Sugar with salt. You should utilize both for the best balance.

    Cocktail Sauce. You can make a quick sauce with ketchup, horseradish, and Tabasco in just 5 minutes.

    Ice Bath

    To make sure your shrimp doesn't get rubbery, quickly cool them down. Transfer the shrimp to a big bowl of ice water. Let them sit for 10 minutes until they're cold. If you're not eating them now, keep the shrimp in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

    Steps to Make Homemade Shrimp Cocktail

    Peeling the Shrimps

    If you can't find already peeled and deveined shrimp at the store, you'll need to do some extra prep. Look for the kind that's easy to peel as the next best option.

    To keep the tail on, just hold the shrimp's tail and pull off the peel next to it. Pinch the bottom of the shell where the legs are to slide it off easily. Do the same for the rest of the shrimp.

    Boiling and Cooking

    Shrimps can be a bit tricky to cook, and you don't want them to turn all tough and chewy. So instead of boiling them, we're going to do things a little differently.

    Preparation steps

    First, put some water, lemon, parsley, and any other extra stuff you like into a pot and let it start boiling. To give the shrimp an extra tasty kick, you can also throw in some chopped onion, celery, bay leaves, or even garlic.

    When the water is bubbling away, switch off the heat and gently drop in the shrimp. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes until their tails start to curl up and they're not see-through anymore. Then just scoop them out with a slotted spoon.

    Making Homemade Cocktail Sauce

    You can always get the sauce for your shrimp cocktail from the store, but it's really easy and tastes much better when you make it at home!

    Just mix ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce with a whisk. Use less hot sauce if you want it mild, or add the full 2 teaspoons for a nice kick.

    Preparing and Storage

    To prepare ahead of time: Shrimp cocktail is one of the simplest appetizers to make up to 24 hours in advance. Boil within one hour of serving for the greatest texture. Cook and refrigerate the shrimp while you prepare the sauce. Refrigerate all of the ingredients until ready to serve.

    To keep: Refrigerate the shrimp and sauce in separate airtight containers. The shrimp is best eaten within 24 hours, but it can be stored for up to two days. You can store the cocktail sauce in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. To Freeze: Freeze the shrimp in an airtight jar in the freezer for up to 3 months. The sauce should not be frozen since the texture may alter.

    Preparing and storing shrimp cocktail

    Tips for your Homemade Dish

    The tail is crucial. Look for shrimp that still have their tails on to make it easier to dip them into the sauce.

    Increase the taste. To increase the flavor of the shrimp, season the water with lemon and herbs.

    Adjust the temperature. You may make your cocktail sauce more or less spicy by combining your own.

    Cooking time should not be exceeded. If cooked for too long, shrimp can develop a rubbery feel, so it's preferable to immerse them in hot water before transferring them to icy water.

    Save yourself some time. Make this appetizer ahead of time so it's ready to serve.

    Serving Portion of Shrimps

    How much shrimp you make depends on a few things. Consider what else you're serving with the meal and the size of the shrimp.

    For a sit-down meal with big shrimp, plan for 4-5 per person. If you're throwing a buffet-style party, aim for 2-3 ounces of shrimp per person. It's also a good idea to use smaller shrimp.

    Serving portion of shrimp cocktail

    Frequently Asked Questions

    There are many side dishes that you can serve with a seafood boil. It includes sourdough bread, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and popovers. You can serve deviled eggs, coleslaw, baked beans, and a green salad if you want something healthy.


    As we wrap up our cooking adventure, let's review the important steps and tips. Have fun making your shrimp cocktail at home. Your kitchen is a place for lots of fun. I'd love to hear about your experiences and favorite ingredients.

    Mehdi Hussain

    Mehdi Hussain

    I'm an enthusiastic content writer who truly enjoys the power of storytelling with words. I have a natural talent for research and a deep passion for creativity. My main focus is on creating informative content that not only captivates readers but also provides valuable insights.