Shrimp Cocktail

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However old-fashioned it may seem, shrimp cocktail is a classic.  It is a great precursor to any meal, or the perfect first course to a multi-course meal such as the Feast of the Seven Fishes that is a Christmas Eve tradition.  I have updated this party standby  with a zesty homemade sauce that packs a flavorful punch thanks to ketchup, chili sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. 

Technically, the shrimp is seasoned twice here: once when the shrimp is boiled and a second time when it hits the sauce right before you bite into it. One taste and you’ll know: this old-timer isn’t going away anytime soon.

Enjoy, Cheers

Shrimp Cocktail

Course: AppetizersCuisine: American, ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • For the shrimp:

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 lemon, quartered, plus wedges for serving

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 pound (about 24) large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact

  • For the cocktail sauce:

  • 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce (such as Heinz)

  • 1/4 cup ketchup

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 2 tablespoons horseradish, drained

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  • Make the cocktail sauce: Combine the chili sauce, ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
  • Make the shrimp: Combine 8 cups water, the bay leaves, quartered lemon, peppercorns, coriander seeds and 2 tablespoons salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and add the shrimp. Simmer until the shrimp curl slightly and are just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Serve with the cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.

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