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Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe is an easy-to-make cocktail sauce that is better than bottled stuff! Simple ingredients make this classic cocktail sauce recipe SO good!

shrimp cocktail sauce recipe

I love a good shrimp cocktail recipe! But, every poached shrimp needs a dipping sauce!

Making your own homemade shrimp cocktail sauce is one of those easy recipes, you won’t believe how quickly it comes together.

First, let’s chat about the main star: shrimp!

I’m sure you’ve seen the shrimp ring they sell in your grocery store’s frozen section. Those are fine, but you can do better!

I love serving Roasted Shrimp Cocktail! Instead of poaching the shrimp, they’re roasted with lemons and garlic and olive oil, and it’s amazing!

Homemade Shrimp Cocktail Recipe

Pick up some fresh shrimp or frozen raw shrimp. I actually prefer for the tails to be off (one less thing to do when eating!), but tails on are just fine. The package might say large shrimp or jumbo shrimp… You want this size! They’re the big, meaty boys, who are substantial for classic shrimp cocktail. This is the size you’ll see draped over martini glasses!

Also, get there is no need to personally devein shrimp when you can buy it that way! I’ve done the whole slice open the back of the shrimp, and pull out all the nasty stuff. And, it’s just plain gross. It doesn’t make me want to eat it later, and I’ll buy it prepped and ready to go for me!

Next, you’ll need a poaching liquid. Get out a large pot and add 6 quarts of cold water along with the following ingredients:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sliced lemons
  • 2 garlic cloves – cut in half
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Bring this liquid to a rolling boil. Turn down to low, and set a timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, you’ll drop your shrimp in and cook until pink! My jumbo ones take 2-3 minutes tops. You really have to watch and keep pulling a couple out to check the color. Shrimp cook at varying times, so it’s hard to give a final time amount! Just make sure they’re opaque, pink, and cooked through. You don’t want rubbery shrimp, that’s for certain!

After they’ve poached you can either drop them into a large ice bath, or spread them out over a sheet pan, and allow them to cool in the fridge.

Now! Let’s chat about the shrimp cocktail sauce recipe!

Making your own cocktail sauce is so much better than the bottled business. You can make it to your personal preference, and create the best shrimp cocktail recipe that you can share with your friends and family!

Ingredients for Homemade Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

Here’s a classic shrimp cocktail sauce recipe:

  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1 TBS Horseradish
  • Fresh Lemon juice
  • A few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • And a few grinds of black pepper
Ketchup with Horseradish in a Bowl

First, combine ketchup with your horseradish in a large bowl.

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The amount of horseradish you use should be less than you think. As this sauce sits, the horseradish intensifies. So, it can get spicy, very quickly. One way to mitigate this is by buying horseradish sauce or horseradish cream. It isn’t quite as spicy as the fresh stuff in the produce aisle! Another way to use this jar is by adding a small spoonful to your bloody marys! YUM!

Zesting a lemon

Next, you’ll zest a lemon into the mixture. Lemon zest is the secret ingredient! You could make it without, but once you’ve had it in there, you’ll notice when it’s not there!

Lemon Cheek

Now, cut off some lemon “cheeks” and juice the lemon into the sauce. Give this a good mix.

Mixing Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and mix everything together again.

Store in an airtight container and pop into the fridge for an hour or so to “marry” everything together.

For a tangy cocktail sauce recipe, I like to drizzle a little bit of pickle juice into the sauce!

If you’re feeling spicy, add a few dashes of hot sauce and swap the ketchup for chili sauce and you have spicy cocktail sauce! I love using Tabasco sauce in my homemade cocktail sauce recipe.

Quick Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe

How to Serve Shrimp Cocktail

After your sauce has chilled for a bit, add everything to a large platter. I am LOVING the new one I got from Golden Rabbit Enamelware!

Pile your shrimp up around your own homemade cocktail sauce, add a few lemon wedges, and serve as an appetizer.

For a super snazzy way to serve your shrimp cocktail appetizer, you can get some crushed ice from your meat section in your grocery. Pile the shrimp on top of the crushed ice to keep them chilled, and nestle in a small bowl of the best cocktail sauce!

Shrimp Cocktail can 100% be the main course! Paired with a light salad, it’s a great summertime dinner recipe idea!

If you need Keto Shrimp Recipes, check out this list!

Save this to your favorite Appetizer Board on Pinterest!

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe
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shrimp cocktail sauce recipe

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe

  • Author: Sweetpea
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: appetizer
  • Method: no-cook
  • Cuisine: american


Homemade Shrimp Cocktail Sauce is way better than anything you’ll buy in the store! You might even have all these pantry staples to make it tonight!


  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1 TBS Horseradish (less if you don’t like it as spicy)
  • 1 Lemon, zested, and juiced
  • 23 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix 1 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon of horseradish, the zest and juice of one lemon, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and a few grinds of black pepper.
  2. Mix this all together until well combined, then transfer to a dish (either your serving dish, or an airtight container) and chill in the fridge for an hour before serving. 
  3. This sauce lasts up to 2 weeks in the fridge, in an airtight container.


For a tangy sauce, add 1 tablespoon of pickle juice.

For a spicy sauce, sub the ketchup for chili sauce, and add a few dashes of hot sauce.

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