Before I knew much about food or dining out, I knew that if they brought shrimp cocktails to the table as an appetizer, we were eating at a 'fancy' restaurant. I'm sure I enjoyed the shrimp, but what I really loved was dipping the crackers in the spicy, horseradish-spiked cocktail sauce.

Chef John
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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Poaching Liquid:
Cocktail Sauce:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stir water, onion, lemon, garlic, tarragon, seafood seasoning, peppercorns, and bay leaf together in a large pot; bring to a simmer and cook until flavors blend, about 15 minutes.

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  • Whisk ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt together in a bowl; refrigerate until chilled, at least 15 minutes.

  • Bring poaching liquid to a rapid boil. Cook the shrimp in the boiling liquid until they are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, about 5 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a bowl of ice water and immerse in ice water until cold; drain. Arrange cold shrimp on a platter and serve with chilled sauce.

Nutrition Facts

306 calories; 4.3 g total fat; 345 mg cholesterol; 1415 mg sodium. 18.9 g carbohydrates; 47.7 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (87)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
01/02/2016
This is exactly like you would expect from a high end seafood restaurant. I know, I worked in one for many years and this is EXACTLY like we would serve our customers! The cocktail sauce is spot on and SO much better than the jarred stuff. DON'T change anything. Use the biggest shrimp you can find. Read More
(26)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
01/05/2019
I wasn’t impressed by all the work it took boiling the shrimp as it didn’t seem to change the flavor at all. I loved the cocktail sauce although I would not put as much horseradish next time. Read More
(2)
119 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 115
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
01/02/2016
This is exactly like you would expect from a high end seafood restaurant. I know, I worked in one for many years and this is EXACTLY like we would serve our customers! The cocktail sauce is spot on and SO much better than the jarred stuff. DON'T change anything. Use the biggest shrimp you can find. Read More
(26)
Rating: 5 stars
01/02/2016
This is exactly like you would expect from a high end seafood restaurant. I know, I worked in one for many years and this is EXACTLY like we would serve our customers! The cocktail sauce is spot on and SO much better than the jarred stuff. DON'T change anything. Use the biggest shrimp you can find. Read More
(26)
Rating: 5 stars
06/27/2014
This was a fantastic way to season up shrimp. I've never done this before and now I will always season like this. Perfect flavor and the recipe was right on. Read More
(21)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/26/2014
Thank you so much! Only way I will prepare shrimp cocktail from now on! Only change I made was adding a little dried tarragon instead of fresh. I didn't have fresh. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the sauce is the best ever! So good! Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
01/16/2017
I made it exactly as directed to see if it was worth the "trouble." When cooking the shrimp make it easy on yourself. 5 minutes is perfect and don't measure anything. That's what I did. I also used all dry ingredients and man the shrimp was so good!! Don't change the sauce either. It was just fantastic. I will make this again and again. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
10/27/2019
I made the recipe and loved it. I did make a few modifications. First I cleaned the shrimp itch kitchen shear leaving the tails on. I heated up the broth water and simmer the shells for 10 minutes. I removed the shells and made the broth per the recipe except I substituted dried tarragon (1 tsp) for the fresh tarragon. The shrimp cooked very quickly perhaps 3 minutes. The other modification I made was the Chili Sauce. I didn t want to buy a bottle because I doubt I would use it again. Upon looking up the ingredients online I substituted (more or less) with ingredients I had on hand: 2 Tbsp tomato paste 1 tsp white vinegar and 1 tsp Huy Fong Chile Garlic Sambal. The results were perfect! Read More
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/29/2016
I've always bought shrimp chilled and cooked. Never again! I made these for Thanksgiving appetizers and guests raved over them. Lot's of "these are the best shrimp I've ever eaten!" I bought frozen raw shrimp from Whole Foods (they seemed to have really good frozen seafood). I made the recipe as written with no changes made. This is a keeper. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
02/21/2016
This IS the best way to prep shrimp fpr simple shrimp coctail. Whole family loved it. Even my dauaghter-in-law said it was the best she ever had!! Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
12/27/2014
This was fantastic! I have made shrimp cocktail a few times but it was missing "something". This recipe hit the nail on the head for us and was most like what you order in a restaurant. Only change made was I did not have the tarragon so I subbed oregano. Perfection! Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
04/22/2017
This was awesome. I made one change and used beer instead of water. I have always cooked my shrimp in beer and old bay but the added spices really elevated the taste. Read More
(3)
Rating: 3 stars
01/05/2019
I wasn’t impressed by all the work it took boiling the shrimp as it didn’t seem to change the flavor at all. I loved the cocktail sauce although I would not put as much horseradish next time. Read More
(2)