How to Cook Frozen Shrimp for Shrimp Cocktails

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Shrimp in a champagne glass minus the cocktail sauce.
Shrimp in a champagne glass minus the cocktail sauce. (Image: shrimp cocktail image by Paolo Frangiolli from Fotolia.com)

For those who do not live near the coast where shrimp are sold fresh, frozen shrimp are the only choice when making shrimp cocktails. Shrimp cocktails add an elegant touch to any meal and are especially popular for dinner parties and romantic dinners at home. Frozen shrimp are available in most supermarkets and may be whole, sold shelled and deveined, sold with the shell on or may be pre-cooked. The choice of which to buy depends on how much work the cook wants to do before preparing the shrimp.

Things You'll Need

  • Large saucepan or stockpot
  • Shrimp boil seasonings
  • Large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Colander
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Shrimp cocktail glasses

Fill a large saucepan or small stockpot half full of water.

Add pre-packaged shrimp boil seasoning according to the label instructions to the water and bring to a boil. Boil the water for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also create your own shrimp boil by adding 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp. crushed red pepper and 1 tbsp. mixed Italian herbs.

Turn the heat down on the water until the water is simmering and not a fast boil.

Add the peeled and deveined shrimp to the water and cook for three to five minutes or until the shrimp turn a bright pink and the inner flesh turns a milky white.

Strain the shrimp in a colander and either place on ice to chill or place in the refrigerator immediately.

Fill each shrimp cocktail glass with seafood cocktail sauce. Place shrimp around the rim of the glass, tail side down on the outside, and serve.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose shrimp labeled large, jumbo or tiger for shrimp cocktail. Smaller shrimp will work, but larger shrimp are preferred by most.
  • If shrimp cocktail glasses are not available, you can use a large festive bowl. Place the cocktail sauce in the bowl and rim the outside with the cooked and chilled shrimp. You can also use stemmed wine or champagne glasses for the dish.
  • In general, 1 pound of shrimp will make four traditional shrimp cocktails.

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