Easy Shrimp Cocktail (with Homemade Cocktail Sauce!)

This shrimp cocktail platter with my favorite 5-ingredient homemade cocktail sauce is one of my secrets for a quick and easy appetizer to throw together on the fly.

This recipe is brought to you by Kroger

Easy Shrimp Cocktail Platter

One of my favorite memories of going to Las Vegas and hitting the casinos wasn’t gambling, showgirls, or watching the synchronized fountains become performers all upon themselves. Nope. My Las Vegas goal was always to find at least one old school casino $1 shrimp cocktail to snack and savor. Today’s Las Vegas makes them harder to find, but that doesn’t mean I am willing to go without.

Those vacation shrimp cocktails are the inspiration for one of my favorite shrimp appetizers that fits any season and every appetite. They also make a healthy, low-fat snack or paired with a simple salad they’re the perfect take-to-work lunch or fast supper.

But whether I’m making this shrimp cocktail as a before dinner bite from my list of favorite appetizer recipes or an impressive addition to the potluck party, my platter presentation is simple but elegant, without all the fuss.

Kroger Simple Truth Shrimp | foodiecrush.com

Homemade Shrimp Cocktail Ingredients

Having a few staple ingredients on hand is the secret to making quick and easy appetizers, fast healthful dinners, and on the fly lunches.

All you need for this recipe is:

  • Frozen shrimp
  • My homemade cocktail sauce
  • Lemon
  • Crushed ice

Nothing makes a fast appetizer even faster than having a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer.

What’s the Best Shrimp for Shrimp Cocktail?

This shrimp cocktail recipe starts with a bag of Kroger’s extra large frozen Simple Truth Organic Peeled and Deveined Cooked Large Shrimp that you’ll find in my freezer at all times. The shrimp are cooked in their shells to seal in their flavor, then peeled and deveined making them easy to serve.

The Simple Truth line of organic products are all USDA certified organic, meaning they are:

  • Produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, genetic engineering, sewage sludge or irradiation.
  • No artificial preservatives, antibiotics, and no added hormones.
  • Produced by organic growers and handlers that are certified by third-party agencies, state or private, or other organizations that are accredited by the USDA.

For these organic shrimp, all the work has been done to make the low-fat, high protein shrimp easy to serve. There’s no peeling or slicing, and they’re flash frozen at harvest to ensure freshness.

Frozen shrimp thawed for shrimp cocktail | foodiecrush.com

How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp

I use the same method to thaw frozen cooked shrimp as for frozen uncooked shrimp. The best way to thaw shrimp is to thaw the bag of frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight or for about 8-10 hours. I usually place mine in a bowl to catch any drips if they occur. Then, rinse with cold water and chill until ready to serve.

To quick thaw your shrimp, dump the shrimp from the package into a bowl and submerge in cool water for 15-20 minutes, changing the water once or twice and breaking the shrimp apart as they thaw. Drain the water and refrigerate until ready to use.

How to Cook Frozen Shrimp for Shrimp Cocktail

If you only have uncooked shrimp on hand, you can quickly cook before serving. Private Selection’s Wild Caught Key West Pink Jumbo Pink Shrimp are one of my favorites for uncooked shrimp. You can quickly cook in boiling water or use my cooking method below for adding a touch more flavor to the little crustaceans.

To cook frozen shrimp for shrimp cocktail:

  1. Thaw the shrimp as directed above then fill a large pot with water.
  2. Add a bay leaf, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns and bring to a boil then reduce to a rolling simmer.
  3. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink, about 3-4 minutes, then drain the shrimp and run cold water over the shrimp to cool. Chill until ready to serve.

see more: 15 Holiday Appetizers with 5 Ingredients or Less

Frozen shrimp thawed | foodiecrush.com

How to Make Shrimp Cocktail

For shrimp cocktail, it’s all about the presentation, and my favorite way to share this app is simple and straightforward so they’re easy to nibble and nosh while sipping and socializing.

For presentation, I always serve the shrimp on my platter with the tails on. Set a small dish to the side for discarding the tails.

Crushed ice makes the base of the platter. I get mine from the meat and seafood department at my Smith’s aka Kroger where the butcher bags it up for me. Or, if you have an ice crusher, you can always do it yourself at home. Don’t crush the ice too fine as it melts really quickly.

My favorite homemade cocktail sauce and a few wedges of lemon are all that’s needed to finish this easy app.

see more: 31 Healthy Shrimp Recipes To Make Now

Shrimp Cocktail Recipe | foodiecrush #easy #appetizers #sauce #presentation

My Favorite Homemade Cocktail Sauce

With just 5 ingredients, this cocktail sauce is super easy to make and serve on the side for the classic spicy tomato bite.

Here’s what makes this cocktail sauce rock:

  • Instead of ketchup, I use Kroger’s Chili Sauce for a milder tomato taste with a bit of extra spice.
  • The chili sauce is doctored with horseradish and dry mustard for that classic bite of cocktail sauce heat
  • A dash of Worcestershire sauce adds that savory umami flavor.
  • And a squeeze of lemon juice adds fresh citrus note that seals the saucy deal.

And with that, all that’s left is the dipping.

Shrimp Cocktail Recipe | foodiecrush #easy #appetizers #sauce #presentation

Can I Prep Shrimp Cocktail in Advance?

You can make the homemade shrimp cocktail sauce up to 3 days in advance. However, you should wait to cook the shrimp until the day you’ll be serving them.

Should I Use Fresh or Frozen Shrimp?

I prefer using cooked, frozen shrimp, but use whichever you prefer.

Cocktail Sauce Recipe | foodiecrush.com #easy #homemade #cocktailsauce #recipes

Tips for Making the Best Shrimp Cocktail

If your shrimp will be sitting out at a buffet or party for a while, consider serving them by filling a bowl with the ice then submerging another bowl on top of the ice so the ice insulates and chills the bowl filled with shrimp. No mess, no fuss, all yum.

Cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp make serving homemade shrimp cocktail much easier. But any type of shrimp will do.

Leftover shrimp doesn’t keep fresh for long, so be sure to eat this shrimp cocktail platter within a day of making it.

More Easy Shrimp Appetizer Ideas

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Bookmark this recipe and leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats

Shrimp Cocktail Recipe | foodiecrush #easy #appetizers #sauce #presentation


Shrimp Cocktail

Peeled and deveined shrimp make this fast appetizer even faster to prepare for dipping in my 5-ingredient homemade cocktail sauce. 

Course Appetizer

Cuisine American

Keyword shrimp

Prep Time 10 minutes

thawing time 15 minutes

Total Time 26 minutes

Servings 5

Calories 188kcal


  • Thaw the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight and rinse with cold water, then set aside. Or, quick thaw the shrimp by placing them in a bowl then rinsing with cold water for 15-20 minutes, and drain. Chill until ready to serve.

  • In a small bowl, mix the chili sauce with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, the horseradish, worcestershire sauce and ground mustard. Slice the rest of the lemon into wedges. 

  • Top a platter with crushed ice cubes and top with the shrimp and lemon wedges. Serve cold with the cocktail sauce on the side. 


  • The cocktail sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of serving.
  • If you only have uncooked shrimp on hand, you can quickly cook before serving. Please see the blog post above for instructions on how to cook frozen, raw shrimp for shrimp cocktail. 


Serving: 6shrimp | Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 228mg | Sodium: 1825mg | Potassium: 429mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 555IU | Vitamin C: 31.8mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 2.8mg

Shrimp Cocktail Recipe | foodiecrush #easy #appetizers #sauce #presentation

More Healthy Shrimp Recipes You’ll Want to Make Too

This recipe is sponsored by Kroger. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. There are affiliate links in this post of which I receive a small commission. All opinions are always my own.

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