Nearly every public social event or family gather will have a tray of shrimp cocktail. It is the easiest option to serve seafood because the cleaned shrimp’s meat can be picked from the tail section in just one bite. You don’t need to be a master chef to prepare a shrimp cocktail. The process is straight forward and does not require a lot of time. How do you cook a shrimp cocktail?

One of the first steps is buying the shrimp. In general, each person will consume, on average, about six shrimp. They can be purchased fresh or frozen. The bags are listed with how many shrimp are in the bag per pound, for example, 16 to 25. 

Where can you buy fresh or frozen shrimp?

-Grocery stores will sell both fresh and frozen shrimp.

-Local seafood markets primarily sell fresh shrimp, both shelled and unshelled. 

-If you’re in a coastal area, search shrimp in the Facebook Marketplace.

In addition to buying fresh or frozen, they come cooked or raw. To save time and effort, select the tail on cooked shrimp. However, using raw shrimp will allow you to add taste to the shrimp through the cooking process.

Ultimately, fresh, never frozen are ideal for maximizing flavor and avoiding them from being soft and mushy. 

What will you need to cook raw shrimp?

-Large pot


-Cutting board and knife

How do you cook shrimp for shrimp cocktail?

One of the most important steps is making sure the shrimp are adequately cleaned. They should be deveined before cooking. Deveining is removing the vein on the top and bottom side from front to back on the shrimp. During the process, keep the tails in place.

Fill up a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Squeeze the juice from three lemons into the water while straining out the seeds. Once the water comes to a boil, drop in the shrimp and boil for five to seven minutes.

Once the time expires, pour the pot of shrimp and water into a strainer. Top the shrimp with cubed ice to lower the temperature rapidly. Pat them dry and store them in the refrigerator until it is time to serve them up. 

How to make shrimp cocktail sauce as the dip?

Shrimp cocktail should not be served without cocktail sauce. The combination of the two is real treat for the taste buds. 

What do you need to shrimp cocktail sauce?

-A mixing bowl

-Measuring spoons and cup


-A limited number of ingredients

The process of making the sauce is simple and can be completed in just a matter of minutes. Measure and pour a half cup of ketchup into a mixing bowl. On top of the ketchup, add two or more tablespoons of horseradish, a teaspoon of Worchester sauce, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and mix well until thoroughly blended. Place the mixture in the fridge until well cooled. 

How do you serve shrimp cocktail?

Shrimp cocktail can be made into a display as the centerpiece of a table for a holiday seafood option, baby showers, weddings, work functions, and more. 

A straightforward way to serve up a shrimp cocktail is to lay the shrimp on a serving platter with a bowl of cocktail sauce in the center.

To make it a little fancier, fill the center of a martini glass with cocktail sauce. After the glass has been filled, line the shrimp along the rim’s edge with the tails outside the glass. 

Remember to have a place to drop the tails so they don’t end up back on the serving dish.


Shrimp cocktail is one of the most versatile appetizers or starter to a full course meal. The process is simple and will make your guests think you’re a pro in the kitchen. The fresh flavor of the ingredients will be hard to resist for the next social gathering.  

Looking for other great ways to prepare shrimp, check out our guide here.