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5 from 2 votes

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail with homemade cocktail sauce and colossal shrimp boiled in water seasoned with onion, lemon juice, and Old Bay.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time7 minutes
Brining time20 minutes
Total Time27 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4


For the cocktail sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • sea salt to taste

For the shrimp

  • 1.5 pounds colossal shrimp u12-15 - see notes below
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the poaching liquid

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 medium onion skin removed and cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt


Boiling the shrimp

  • Mix the shrimp with the baking soda and salt and set aside. Wait 20 minutes until boiling. While the shrimp are sitting in the brine, mix the cocktail sauce.
  • Prepare a large bowl of ice water for shocking the shrimp and set aside.
  • Add all of the boiling ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they turn slightly opaque. Drain the shrimp and place them immediately into the ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

For the cocktail sauce

  • Mix together all of the ingredients and taste test. Adjust salt and pepper if required.

Serving the shrimp cocktail

  • Serve the shrimp on a large platter (over crushed ice is great but not required) with the cocktail sauce and lemon wedges. Enjoy!


  • For convenience, cleaned and deveined U12-15 shrimp were used.  Feel free to use shell on shrimp if you desire and peel right after shocking in the ice water bath.
  • Any size shrimp can be used.  Smaller shrimp will take less time so keep an eye on them.  Once they are opaque, they are done and should be drained and shocked in ice water immediately.
  • Shrimp cocktail can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.5g | Protein: 39.9g | Fat: 3.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.9g | Cholesterol: 358mg | Sodium: 450mg | Potassium: 536mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 14.3g | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 1mg