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Shrimp Cocktail: the classic recipe for an old-fashioned seafood appetizer

Total time: 40 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist


shrimp, deveined
500 g (1 pound)
220 g
2 tbsp
1 tbsp
Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp
1 small glass
Pink pepper

The shrimp cocktail is a classic, old-fashioned seafood appetizer recipe you can make during a special occasion or holiday dinners. It was very popular in the 1980s and still is today as it's an easy, flavorful recipe to make both at home or in restaurants.

For this recipe choose juicy, plump, tender shrimps. Poach them and then seasoned with a Marie Rose sauce, prepared by mixing the mayonnaise with ketchup, mustard and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce. Once placed in small cups or small glasses, this dish is served like a real cocktail, hence the name of this old-fashioned recipe.

The strong characteristic of this dish is the cocktail sauce that gives the shrimps an unmistakable flavor and a creamy texture. So let’s find out how to perfectly make a shrimp cocktail, following our recipe step by step, and serve it as a cold fish appetizer at a party buffet or as an appetizer.

What are the best shrimp for Shrimp Cocktail?

To make a great shrimp cocktail, it's important to choose the right shrimp. Prefer big, plum, juicy ones and use about 16-20 per pound.

If you prefer another size, remember to change the cooking time. For 25-30 you need a minute and a half to cook, for 10-15 cook 4 minutes and for 6-10 cook 5 minutes.

For a shortcut, you can also use frozen cooked shrimp.

Tips for the Best Shrimp Cocktail

For Mexican shrimp cocktail, use a tomato and clam juice cocktail such as Clamato.

For the excellent success of this dish, the quality of the raw materials is fundamental. The shrimp must be very fresh.

In case there are children at the table and you want to make a more delicate cocktail sauce suitable for them, you can omit the liqueur and the Worcestershire sauce; just mix the mayonnaise with the ketchup and mustard.

If you have little time available, you can use store-bought mayonnaise or you can prepare it at home with our quick recipe, even without eggs for a lighter variant. The same goes for ketchup; if you want to make a homemade version, follow all our instructions.

How to store Shrimp Cocktail

The shrimp cocktail can be stored in the refrigerator, covered on the surface with a sheet of cling film, for a maximum of 1 day.

How to make Shrimp Cocktail

Blanch the shrimp in boiling water for a few minutes. As soon as they have taken on a slightly pink color 1, drain and set aside.

Collect the mayonnaise in a bowl, add the ketchup 2 and mustard, then mix.

Pour the Worcestershire sauce 3 and then the cognac, then mix until you get a smooth and fairly fluid sauce.

Choose the smallest and most intact lettuce leaves, rinse them, dry them and arrange them in 4 single-portion cups 4.

Season the shrimps with the sauce and then distribute them inside the small glasses 5.

Complete with a grind of pink pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve 6.

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