This classic Shrimp Cocktail recipe is a delectable appetizer perfect for parties.

Perfect Shrimp Cocktail Recipe

A couple of weeks ago Randy and I went to celebrate with my father on his birthday. He lives near the coast of South Carolina so we enjoyed fresh seafood for his birthday dinner at a local restaurant run by a captain of shrimp boat and his family. Of course I had to order the shrimp as it was likely caught in recent days. I can’t remember the last time I had shrimp that good. It’s crazy how I had forgotten how much better fresh shrimp is than it’s frozen form. Fresh shrimp in season is most definitely a treat. It’s slightly sweet and succulent. Something to be sought out and enjoyed if you’re traveling the SC and NC coasts.

After getting back home, I kicked myself for not going and buying some locally to bring back. We can still get somewhat fresh shrimp here in upstate SC, but it never seems to compare to what comes right off the boat. Nevertheless, shrimp was on my mind. We found the freshest available locally and boiled it up in a couple of minutes to keep chilled ready to use in a few different recipes, specifically Shrimp Cocktail.

Shrimp, simply boiled, then chilled and served with zesty cocktail sauce is scrumptious. It seems so fancy but it couldn’t be easier to make. And while Shrimp Cocktail is traditionally an appetizer, we enjoyed it for lunch. It was the best lunch of the week!

Shrimp Cocktail is easily prepared ahead of time. The shrimp can be boiled for a couple of minutes, then kept chilled and the cocktail sauce takes only minutes to whip up. No wonder it’s a favorite for entertaining! So easy and so delicious. Enjoy!

Shrimp Cocktail Recipe

More easy appetizers for party time:

Shrimp Cocktail Recipe

Perfect Shrimp Cocktail Recipe

Shrimp Cocktail Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Delicious and easy shrimp cocktail is the perfect appetizer for parties.


  • 1 pound shell-on large shrimp, deveined
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Strain and chill shrimp in ice bath.
  2. Make cocktail sauce by mixing together ketchup, prepared horseradish, fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve with chilled shrimp.


Shrimp may be served will peel on or off. I like to peel all but the tail before serving.
Shrimp and cocktail sauce may be prepared ahead of time and kept covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.
Makes about 1 cup of cocktail sauce.

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Classic Shrimp Cocktail Recipe