This shrimp cocktail produces the most delicious, succulent shrimp. Ever. You definitely will not be able to share!

This shrimp cocktail? It renders me speechless. I have never, ever in my life had such delicious, succulent shrimp. Ever.

In fact, I am laughing that I actually went ahead and put that this recipe serves 6 to 8 because honestly, I will not admit to you that I ate all but 7 shrimp before my husband got home from work. Ok, so I just admitted it.

A white platter of cooked shrimp.

But in my defense, the inhale occurred over several hours and in addition, shrimp is lowfat and healthy-ish, right?

Either way, I feel no guilt because I want to weep with joy at how delicious this shrimp cocktail is. And that’s just the shrimp! The cocktail sauce? Drinkable. And so easy, you’ll wonder why you would need to buy it ever again.

To be fair, shrimp cocktail has not been on my bucket list of things to make. We hardly ever buy it from the store (probably because it’s pretty nasty – limp, mushy shrimp and mysterious cocktail sauce).

But when I spied this in Cook’s Country, it looked so appealing (and so fabulously simple) that I made it that same day.

Really…if you are even thinking about serving shrimp cocktail in the remainder of your lifetime, do me a favor and make this instead of buying something questionable at the store.

You’ll be so amazed by the deliciousness, you’ll probably want to call and offer me your firstborn child or millions of dollars, but please, refrain. I already have plenty of my own children and I can’t ethically take your money because the recipe isn’t my own creation.

All you need to do is simply email and say you had a hard time not eating every last shrimp, also, and I will feel justified and happy.

This lovely shrimp cocktail is headed to the Best Recipe section immediately.

A white platter with cooked shrimp with a goblet of cocktail sauce behind them.

What To Serve With This:

Chewy Italian Rolls
Little Quinoa Patties
A fruit smoothie (like this Watermelon Frosty or this Peach-Orange Smoothie)

One Year Ago: Fresh Fruit with Honey-Yogurt Dip {Sugar Rush Reinvented: #8}
Two Years Ago: Pecan Buttercrunch and a Fun Packaging Idea {Sugar Rush #10}
Three Years Ago: Tutorial: Shaping Perfect Rolls


The Best Shrimp Cocktail

4.59 stars (12 ratings)



  • 2 pounds deveined shell-on jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 8 2-inch strips lemon peel plus 1/4 cup juice, from 2 lemons (reserve the lemon halves that have been juiced)
  • 8 cups ice

Cocktail Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Combine the shrimp, 4 cups cold water, salt, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves and celery seeds in a large pot. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring every so often, until the water registers 170 degrees and the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon peels, juice and lemon halves that have already been juiced. Cover the pot and let the mixture sit until the shrimp are completely pink and firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the ice into the pot and let the shrimp cool completely, about 5 minutes. Drain the water and peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Refrigerate the shrimp up to 24 hours until ready to serve.
  • For the cocktail sauce, whisk all the ingredients together until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve with the shrimp.


Make Ahead: the shrimp and sauce may be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate. If you can’t find shrimp that are deveined, simply cut through the top of the shell along the vein line (leaving the shell on the shrimp), and remove and discard the vein.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 190kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 243mg, Sodium: 3518mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 10g

Recipe Source: from Cook’s Country Dec/Jan 2013