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partial overhead view of peel and eat shrimp with cocktail sauce and lemons in a white bowl
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5 from 67 votes

Restaurant Style Peel and Eat Shrimp

When it comes to preparing legendary restaurant-style peel and eat shrimp you won't find a better recipe than mine. I also share my cocktail sauce recipe.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time4 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 196kcal


Peel and Eat Shrimp

  • 1 lb 21-25 count (per pound) shrimp shell on
  • 12 ounces beer your favorite brand
  • 2 tbsp old bay seasoning for cooking
  • 1 tbsp pickling spice for cooking
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • tbsp old bay seasoning for seasoning cooked shrimp
  • lemon slices garnish

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


Peel and Eat Shrimp

  • Use a 3- 4 quart saucepan to cook the shrimp. Fill the pan halfway with water then add the beer, Old Bay, pickling spice and the lemon halves with the juice squeezed into the water.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then add the shrimp.
  • Cook the shrimp for 2-4 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 and discard the lemon.
    If you enjoy eating peel and eat shrimp hot you can serve them before they cool. Peel and eat shrimp can also be served cool which will allow you to prepare them ahead of time.
  • Serve with lemon slices and cocktail sauce

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.


If you live in the part of the world that doesn't have Old Bay Seasoning, you can make your own. It won't be quite as good as the original but it will let you enjoy the seasoning that most East Coast Americans love (even on french fries).
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground celery seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground mace
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice


Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 286mg | Sodium: 1389mg | Potassium: 337mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 301IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 217mg | Iron: 4mg