Shrimp Cocktail with Old Bay Mayo

5 from 1 vote

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We turn to this shrimp cocktail with old bay mayo anytime we want to make a delicious appetizer. This shrimp recipe really comes together in no-time, with the only tedious part being cleaning and peeling the shrimp. Sorry, but it’s got to be done! Serve this alongside any party, or holidays coming up and I promise everything will love you!

If you’re looking for a classic shrimp cocktail, be sure to take a look and our Classic Shrimp Cocktail with Horseradish Cocktail Sauce! This sauce is more classic, mixing together ketchup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and prepared horseradish!

Shrimp Cocktail with Old Bay Mayo

What ingredients do you need for this shrimp cocktail recipe?

Cleaned and deveined shrimp: With the shells on! You can either clean your shrimp yourself, or sometimes you can also buy them cleaned and deveined.

We do prefer to purchase them with the shell-on, though, since poaching them this way allows the shrimp to keep their flavor, plumpness and shape.

Poaching liquid: A mix of water, sugar, kosher salt, lemon juice, red onion, peppercorns or black pepper, and fennel seeds! The sweetness from the red onions really come through here, as well as the zesty aroma from the fennel seeds.

Old Bay Mayo: It doesn’t get easier than this! Just toss mayo, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar, and you have the quickest, most delicious mayo to dip your poached shrimp in!

Step-by-step instructions to make the best shrimp cocktail

Make Your Shrimp Cocktail: In a large pot with a tight-fitted lid, add water, sugar, salt, red onion, peppercorns, and fennel seeds. Juice half your lemon into the pot, and add in the peel as well. Reserve the other half of your lemon to serve in wedges. Bring this mixture to a boil on medium-high heat. 

Once boiling, turn off the heat, move the pot off the heat, and add in your cleaned, deveined, and unpeeled shrimp. Cover tightly to cook your shrimp, set a timer for 3 ½ minutes for smaller shrimp, and 4 minutes for larger shrimp. 

While your shrimp are cooking, fill a large bowl of ice water.

After the 4 minutes are up, using a spider tool or slotted spoon, transfer all your shrimp immediately to the ice bath. 

Make your Lemon Old Bay Mayo: While your shrimp are cooling, make your mayo. In a small bowl, toss together mayo, zest, and juice of a lemon, old bay seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper. 

Carefully remove the peels from your shrimp, leaving the tails intact, repeat until all your shrimp are peeled.

Transfer your peeled shrimp to a shallow platter or bowl filled with ice, and serve alongside your mayo and lemon wedges.

Old Bay Mayo

Tips, Tricks and Substitutions

What goes well with shrimp cocktail?

Serve your shrimp cocktail with any main meals like roasted chicken, salads, or other appetizers like dips or crostini.

Is it better to boil or steam shrimp for shrimp cocktail?

It’s up to you! But if you properly boil your shrimp, you’ll allow the flavored water we create to really get into the shrimp to season properly, versus just steaming, it will lack flavor.

How long should you poach shrimp for?

This depends on the size of your shrimp. To make sure you don’t overcook your shrimp, bring your water to a boil, cut the heat, then add in your shrimp, and cover. Then set it off the heat to gently poach, it will vary but between 3 to 5 minutes, pending your shrimp size.

Check out the below fish and seafood recipes for more dinner inspiration!

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Shrimp Cocktail with Old Bay Mayo
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Shrimp Cocktail with Old Bay Mayo
5 from 1 vote

Shrimp Cocktail with Old Bay Mayo

We turn to this shrimp cocktail with old bay mayo anytime we want to make a delicious appetizer.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Shrimp Cocktail

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, deveined, with peels and tails on

Lemon Old Bay Mayo

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

Make Your Shrimp Cocktail

  • In a large pot with a tight-fitted lid, add water, sugar, salt, red onion, peppercorns, and fennel seeds. Juice half your lemon into the pot, and add in the peel as well. Reserve the other half of your lemon to serve in wedges. Bring this mixture to a boil on medium-high heat.
  • Once boiling, turn off the heat, move the pot off the heat, and add in your cleaned, deveined, and unpeeled shrimp. Cover tightly to cook your shrimp, set a timer for 3 ½ minutes for smaller shrimp, and 4 minutes for larger shrimp.
  • While your shrimp are cooking, fill a large bowl of ice water.
  • After the 4 minutes are up, using a spider tool or slotted spoon, transfer all your shrimp immediately to the ice bath.

Make your Lemon Old Bay Mayo

  • While your shrimp are cooling, make your mayo. In a small bowl, toss together mayo, zest, and juice of a lemon, old bay seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Carefully remove the peels from your shrimp, leaving the tails intact, repeat until all your shrimp are peeled.
  • Transfer your peeled shrimp to a shallow platter or bowl filled with ice, and serve alongside your mayo and lemon wedges.

Nutrition

Calories: 332kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 155mg, Sodium: 7912mg, Potassium: 188mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 245IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 96mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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