Shrimp Cocktail — Shrimp cocktail is a quintessential appetizer that’s so easy to make and is ready in minutes. You’ll never buy ore-made shrimp cocktail again! 

Easy Shrimp Cocktail - Goodbye overpriced deli trays. Learn the secrets to make your own perfect shrimp cocktail in 15 minutes!! Juicy, sweet and sooo much more flavor!!

Shrimp Cocktail Recipe

Shrimp cocktail. A quintessential appetizer that’s so easy to make and is ready in minutes. After making it yourself you’ll wonder why you ever bought those overpriced pre-made deli trays.

When you make it yourself it tastes better, fresher, and you can select the size of shrimp used. I think bigger is better when it comes to shrimp cocktail and most deli trays use dinky shrimp. I want big plump shrimp.

The secret to imparting flavor to the shrimp is to add lemon, a bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the pot of boiling water you’re going to cook the shrimp in before adding the shrimp. This allows time for the flavors to develop and bloom.

There are so many recipes for homemade cocktail sauce, but I love Trader Joe’s cocktail sauce because it’s heavy-handed with horseradish and it’s as easy as opening a jar. But if you have ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice, salt and pepper on hand it’s a cinch to make. Shrimp smothered in cocktail sauce is the best.

The shrimp are sweet with just the right amount of savory brine and irresistible.

Easy Shrimp Cocktail - Goodbye overpriced deli trays. Learn the secrets to make your own perfect shrimp cocktail in 15 minutes!! Juicy, sweet and sooo much more flavor!!

What’s in Shrimp Cocktail? 

To make this easy shrimp cocktail recipe, you’ll need: 

  • Water 
  • Lemon 
  • Bay leaves
  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • Raw shrimp
  • Cocktail sauce

Easy Shrimp Cocktail - Goodbye overpriced deli trays. Learn the secrets to make your own perfect shrimp cocktail in 15 minutes!! Juicy, sweet and sooo much more flavor!!

How to Cook Shrimp for Shrimp Cocktail 

Fill a large pot with water and add the lemon, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Bring the water to a boil, then let it boil for 5 to 10 minutes while you peel the shrimp. 

Once you add the shrimp, they cook very quickly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pull them when they’ve firmed up and just turned pink and place them in an icebath to stop the cooking. Overcooked shrimp are rubbery, tough, and not good.

Serve the shrimp immediately with cocktail sauce. 

What Size Shrimp Should I Use? 

I prefer to use 12 to 15 count shrimp, meaning there’s 12 to 15 shrimp per pound. If my grocery store doesn’t have that size on a particular day, I’ll go for 16 to 20 count.

Can I Prep Shrimp Cocktail in Advance? 

Yes, the shrimp can be cooked and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours before serving them and cocktail sauce stays good for a few days in the fridge. 

Easy Shrimp Cocktail - Goodbye overpriced deli trays. Learn the secrets to make your own perfect shrimp cocktail in 15 minutes!! Juicy, sweet and sooo much more flavor!!

Tips for Making Shrimp Cocktail 

Note that you must use raw shrimp for this recipe, not pre-cooked. If you buy frozen shrimp, make sure they’re raw. If you try to make this recipe with pre-cooked shrimp, you’ll wind up with rubbery shrimp cocktail. 

For cooking the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 pound of shrimp cooked in 2 quarts of water is a good ratio to keep in mind. 

The ice bath is a must when cooking the shrimp. If you don’t plunge the shrimp immediately into cold water, you run the risk of over cooking them. 

Easy Shrimp Cocktail
Yield: 6

Easy Shrimp Cocktail

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes

Shrimp cocktail is a quintessential appetizer that’s so easy to make and is ready in minutes. You'll never buy ore-made shrimp cocktail again! 

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 10 to 15 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste (1 tablespoon salt to 1 pound of shrimp cooked in 2 quarts of water is a good ratio)
  • one pound of 12-15 count raw shrimp, deveined and peeled with tails left on (16-20 count okay)
  • ice bath
  • cocktail sauce, for serving (storebought or homemade, see blog post for recipe links)

Instructions

    1. Fill a large pot with water (about 2 quarts for 1 pound shrimp) and add the lemon, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
    2. Allow water to boil for 5 to 10 minutes (while you’re cleaning the shrimp) to allow the flavors to develop.
    3. Add the shrimp to the water (no need to remove lemon, bay leaves, or peppercorns) and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until done. Pull shrimp when they’ve firmed up and just turned pink. Overcooked shrimp are rubbery, tough, and not good.
    4. Add shrimp to an ice bath to stop the cooking and allow to remain in icebath for about 5 minutes, or until chilled.
    5. Serve immediately with cocktail sauce or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 24 hours before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 42Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 1255mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

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