The Best Shrimp Cocktail

You might be thinking, do I really need a recipe for shrimp cocktail? Can’t I just buy it already prepared? If you love shrimp and you really love shrimp cocktail, then yes, you need this recipe! It is so simple to make and tastes a thousand times better than any store prepared version. You start with large, fresh shrimp that is poached in what is called a court bouillon, a flavorful liquid used to poach seafood. Mix together a few ingredients for the cocktail sauce and in about 10 minutes, your ready to serve the best shrimp cocktail you’ve ever eaten! Shrimp cocktail is a perfect summer meal. Just pair it with a large salad and some crusty bread. Maybe you’ll even stop thinking of shrimp cocktail as a special occasion dish and start serving it any random night of the week.

The Best Shrimp Cocktail


2 pounds large raw shrimp, shell on, deveined

Court Boullion

2 stalks celery, cut in large pieces

1/2 lemon

1/2 onion

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Fennel stalks and fronds, optional

Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons horseradish

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice


Fill pasta pot 1/2 way with water. Add celery, lemon, onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt and fennel (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the broth to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and poach the shrimp in the liquid for 2-3 minutes or until they are cooked through (don’t overcook). Using slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and place them on a sheet pan to cool.

While the shrimp is cooling, make the cocktail sauce. In a medium glass bowl, add ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Stir until combined.

To assemble, peel the shells from the shrimp, keeping the tails on. Arrange the shrimp around the rim of the glass bowl containing the cocktail sauce. Place this bowl on a large platter and add the extra shrimp and lemon wedges to the platter.

Note: Discard the vegetables from the broth and save the shrimp broth to use for seafood-based pasta sauces, soups and stews. Freeze the broth if not using it within a day or two.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe featured in anewsletter by Alison Roman.

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.