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+ servings

Shrimp Cocktail

With a quick and easy cocktail sauce for plenty of dipping, this appetizer is easy to throw together and perfect for entertaining, dinner parties, and holidays!
Course Appetizers, Entertaining, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword christmas, new year's, party food
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 39kcal


For the Cocktail Sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup chili sauce
  • 4 tablespoons horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the Shrimp

  • 3 quarts cold water
  • ½ of one onion sliced
  • 1 lemon halved, for shrimp boil
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and bruised
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh tarragon optional, or parsley
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning such as Old Bay®
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp shell on, deveined
  • ice bath for cooling shrimp
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges, for garnish


For the Cocktail Sauce

  • Whisk ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate at least 15 minutes, until chilled.
    Ketchup, horseradish, and other ingredients for shrimp cocktail sauce in a white bowl on a marble countertop

For the Shrimp

  • In large pot, stir cold water, onion, garlic, tarragon, seafood seasoning, peppercorns, and bay leaf together. Squeeze in juice of lemon, then add lemon. Simmer and cook until flavors blend, about 15 minutes.
    Large pot of water, lemon, onion, and spices for a shrimp boil
  • Bring liquid to rapid boil, then add shrimp. Cook until shrimp are bright pink outside and no longer transparent in the center, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Transfer shrimp to ice bath and immerse until cold. Drain water.
    Ice bath of cooked shrimp
  • Arrange cold shrimp on platter and serve with chilled sauce and lemon wedge garnish.
    Black platter with boiled shrimp, shrimp cocktail sauce, ice, and lemon.


  • The cocktail sauce can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Boiled shrimp can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Refrigerate within 2 hours of boiling.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 39kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 415mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbs: 7g