Classic Shrimp Cocktail

5 from 5 votes

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Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

I love this classic shrimp cocktail recipe and this just screams refreshing to me! Great for entertaining, or a refreshing, crunchy appetizer/dinner idea with shrimp cocktail sauce. It’s easy and the sauce is just OH SO addicting. It starts with a blanch and ice bath for the shrimp in salt, sugar and lemon juice.

From there, you’ll make your zingy, spicy and delicious cocktail sauce, served over ice and lemon wedges! I absolutely love a shrimp cocktail for any occasion, it looks really fancy, too, but takes no effort at all.

If you’re looking for shrimp recipes, be sure to check out our:

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

What ingredients do you need for shrimp cocktail?

  • deveined shrimp
  • sugar
  • kosher salt
  • water
  • lemon juice/peel/zest/lemon wedges
  • sweet chili sauce and ketchup
  • lemon juice, lime juice works too
  • prepared horseradish sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • hot sauce
  • black pepper

Instructions to make the best shrimp cocktail

Cook your shrimp

Start by boiling water in a large pot of 6 cups of water with sugar, salt, lemon juice and lemon peel. While boiling, set aside an ice bath (ice and water) in a large bowl.

Once it comes to a boil, turn off and remove from heat. Add your shrimp (cleaned and deveined), cover your large pot, until fully cooked, about 4 minutes until you have your poached shrimp!

Cool your shrimp

Drain your shrimp and transfer to your ice bath to cool and chill throughout.

Make your shrimp cocktail sauce 

In the meantime, make your cocktail sauce in a small bowl by mixing sweet chili sauce, ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, pepper and lemon zest. Stir until combined.

Serve your shrimp cocktail over ice on a platter and your sauce, as well as lemon wedges or lemon halves.

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Tips, Tricks and Substitutions

Do I really need to put my shrimp in an ice bath? YES! This helps stop the cooking process, keep the shrimp crunchy and not dry, or soggy, it also helps get it cold faster for serving.

Do I need to serve shrimp cocktail over ice? No, as long as you cool completely in ice beforehand, you can serve without ice, however, it’s a great way to present it, and it also stays really cold this way, which is what I prefer for my shrimp cocktail!

I don’t like it spicy, what can I sub with? Remove the horseradish and hot sauce if you don’t want your sauce as spicy!

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Some ideas & inspiration to serve with this dish:

Looking for more appetizer ideas? Check Out The Below Recipes!

If you do make this Shrimp Cocktail recipe (first of all, thank you!!), be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram and through social media so I can be sure to see what you’re making! If you’d like to stay in touch and get the latest to your inbox, sign up for our Newsletter here as well!

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Updated from June 2021

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

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Classic Shrimp Cocktail
5 from 5 votes

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

I love this classic shrimp cocktail recipe. Great for entertaining, or a refreshing, crunchy appetizer/dinner idea with shrimp cocktail sauce.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

For The Shrimp

  • 1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 1/4th cup sugar
  • 1/4th cup salt
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 lemon juice and peels

For The Cocktail Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sweet ketchili, or do half ketchup and half chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, adjust with more if preferred
  • pinch of black pepper
  • lemon wedges to serve

Instructions 

  • Start by boiling water in a large pot of 6 cups of water with sugar, salt, lemon juice and lemon peel. While boiling, set aside an ice bath (ice and water) in a large bowl.
  • Once it comes to a boil, turn off and remove from heat. Add your shrimp (cleaned and deveined), cover your large pot, until fully cooked, about 4 minutes until you have your poached shrimp!
  • Drain your shrimp and transfer to your ice bath to cool and chill throughout.
  • In the meantime, make your cocktail sauce in a small bowl by mixing sweet chili sauce, ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, pepper and lemon zest. Stir until combined.
  • Serve your shrimp cocktail over ice on a platter and your sauce, as well as lemon wedges or lemon halves.
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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe Lindsey! I think there is a small error in the receipe you wrote “start by boiling 6 cups of sugar” ???????????? thanks so much for this recipe btw!!!

    1. Hi Lauren! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe, so good, right?! And HAHA we just updated that error, thanks for pointing that out.