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shrimp cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail

Ditch the store-bought shrimp cocktail platter you typically go for and try your hand at making your own shrimp cocktail and homemade cocktail sauce.
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Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3
Author: Jeri Mobley-Arias


Cocktail Sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish or ground horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Poaching Liquid

  • 15 jumbo shrimp, deveined, shells on
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, Diamond Crystal brand
  • 1 lemon
  • Ice bath

To Serve

  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Flat-leaf parsley for garnish
  • Ice for platter


Cocktail Sauce - Best if prepared 2-3 hours or night before

  • In a bowl, add ketchup, prepared or ground horseradish, worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice and mix well. Leave in the refrigerator until ready to plate.


  • Devein shrimp, but do not remove shells. Shells help retain flavor and will be removed after poaching.
  • Prepare an ice bath. Set aside
  • In a dutch oven, add water, kosher salt, bay leaf, juice of lemon + squeezed lemon halves. When poaching liquid comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and add shrimp. Cook shrimp for four minutes. Test one to make sure it is cooked through.
  • Once shrimp are cooked, add to ice bath for 6 minutes. Once shrimp are completely cooled, remove shells until you reach the tails. Leave tail on, as it serves as a good handle and keeps fingers mess-free when dipping.
  • Place shrimp in a bowl, cover and leave in refrigerator until ready to plate.

To Plate

  • Place cocktail sauce in a small bowl and center on platter. Layer platter with ice and top with shrimp. Garnish with lemon wedges and flat-leaf parsley. Enjoy!