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overhead view of shrimp cocktail and cocktail sauce on an iced plate with a lemon wedge
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5 from 58 votes

Restaurant Style Shrimp Cocktail

See how easy it is to make perfect Restaurant-Style Shrimp Cocktail in your kitchen with all my cooking and shrimp buying tips.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 mins
Course: Appetiser, Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 198kcal


Shrimp Cocktail

  • 1 pound 16-20 count shrimp shell on
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay
  • 1 tbsp pickling seasoning optional
  • ½ lemon

Cocktail Sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup Heinz chili sauce
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3-4 tsp prepared horseradish more or less depending upon how spicy you like cocktail sauce
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


Shrimp Cocktail

  • Use a 3- 4 quart saucepan to cook the shrimp. Add the Old Bay, pickling spice and a half a lemon with the juice squeezed into the water.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then add the shrimp.
    Always cook the shrimp with the shells on and not deveined.
  • Cook the shrimp for 3-4 minutes depending upon their size. I cooked my shrimp for 3 minutes and they were perfectly done.
    If the pan is overcrowded it could take longer. I usually let the water come back to a boil and let the shrimp cook for 1-2 minutes longer. A cooked shrimp should feel firm, not soft.
  • When the shrimp have finished cooking, drain them into a colander. 
    DO NOT cool them in ice water! Ice water may chill them quickly, but it will also negatively affect the flavor.
  • Add ice to a large bowl and toss the shrimp in the ice, allowing them to chill for 5-7 minutes. 
    You can also use the colander for this process if it’s large enough, that way the melted water will drain out.
  • After the shrimp have chilled, peel and devein the shrimp.
    Cooking and preparing the shrimp can be done ahead of time leaving the shrimp to continue chilling in the fridge. Don't cook the shrimp more than 8 hours ahead of time.
  • Serve the Shrimp Cocktail on crushed ice with cocktail sauce and a lemon wedge.

Cocktail Sauce

  • Mix the ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce in a small bowl.
    Depending upon how spicy you like cocktail sauce adjust the amount of horseradish. Remember you can always add more.
  • Chill until needed.


Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 286mg | Sodium: 1657mg | Potassium: 388mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 426IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 4mg