It turns out that figuring out how to make shrimp cocktail was surprisingly easy. No fancy ingredients boiled into the water and no stress about getting the shrimp cooked just perfectly. It’s so easy!
This Classic Shrimp Cocktail recipe goes back to the basics to result in the best shrimp cocktail. Prepared with just lemon and salt, this classic dish will be the hit appetizer at all celebrations!
Some people overthink shrimp cocktail. Boiling carrots, celery and whole peppercorns for up to 30 minutes, essentially making a brine for a quick dunk. I’ve made shrimp that way and I’ve made them this way and let me tell ya… I can’t tell the difference.
I also think people are intimidated by shrimp cocktail. Either worried about overcooking or undercooking and thus ruining a pricey appetizer or munchie.
It doesn’t take much heat or time to cook shrimp. The shrimp will tell you when they are done. They turn pink and their tails curl.
At that moment, you need to stop the cooking process by removing them from the heat element and cooling them down. Any residual heat will continue the cooking process and risk you having rubbery shrimp. No one wants that! That’s why it’s important to rinse with cold water – don’t skip this step!
If you’re not serving right away, refrigerate the shrimp until you’re ready to serve.
For this Classic Shrimp Cocktail recipe, I went back to the basics. The only ingredients in what I consider to be the best shrimp cocktail recipe are lemon, salt and, of course, cocktail sauce for serving.
Boil the lemon in water, add salt, remove from heat, add the shrimp and stir until they’re perfectly cooked. Don’t forget to rinse with cool water and boom, the best shrimp cocktail you’ve ever made.
This is my go-to shrimp cocktail recipe for any parties I host, especially around the holidays. I mean, is it really a New Year’s Eve party if there’s no shrimp cocktail appetizer? I think not!
If you’ve been nervous to make shrimp cocktail in the past, definitely give it a shot. This shrimp appetizer may be far easier than you think!
Since you like this Classic Shrimp Cocktail Recipe, you may like these other easy shrimp recipes:
If you are looking for even more fabulous appetizers, snag a copy of my Easy Appetizers Beyond Dips Mini-Cookbook. Available here for only $0.99, one of these fun and festive appetizers sure to be the hit of any gathering!
- 3 quarts water
- 1 lemon , cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 2 pounds large shrimp
- Classic Cocktail Sauce
- Bring water and lemon to a rolling boil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Add salt, boil for 1 more minute.
- Add shrimp and remove from heat.
- Stir shrimp until they turn pink and curl.
- Drain well and rinse with cold water.
- Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with Classic Cocktail Sauce.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!