Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Classic Shrimp Cocktail 

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Classic Shrimp Cocktail


Shrimp Cocktail has to be one of the most classic starters I can think of. It’s one of those dishes that almost everyone loves, and is perfect for dinner parties since it’s light, fresh, delicious and elegant. Leaving you plenty of room for the main course. 

I actually love having it for lunch too with some toast on the side. 

You can make the sauce in advance, cook the shrimp in advance and assemble the Shrimp Cocktail just before serving, which is fairly easy.

The sauce is really delicious and that tiny bit of vanilla takes it to the next level.

Use just a small amount of Tarragon, you want a hint in the background without overpowering the Shrimp.


⏰ Prep time : 20 minutes

🍤 Cooking time : 5 minutes

🍴 Serves 4


  • 110 ml. /  1/2 cup  tomato ketchup
  • 100 ml.  /  1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 50 ml. / 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/4 tsp.  Worcestershire sauce
  • A splash of tabasco (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped Tarragon


  • 450 gr. / 1 lb.  cooked shelled prawns
  • 1 iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • Some lime wedges and pomegranate arils for decorating.


Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Classic Shrimp Cocktail


Combine the  ketchup, mayonnaise, crème fraîche,  Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the vanilla and chopped Tarragon

If you’re cooking the shrimp yourself; this is how.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the shrimp all at once, bring back to the boil and lower the heat to a simmer, cook until the shrimp change color to a beautiful coral. Normally for medium sized shrimp this will take about 5 minutes at the most. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Drain and cool. Then peel the shrimp and discard the shells.

Add the shrimp to the sauce and stir to coat, reserving some larger shrimp to decorate and place on top.

Place the shredded lettuce on the bottom of four glasses or glass bowls, followed by the avocado, then a generous spoonful of prawns and sauce.

Decorate with lime wedges and Pomegranate arils.

Serve straight away.


Myra XO

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day. ♥

…and remember sharing is fun!



12 thoughts on “Classic Shrimp Cocktail 

    • The Cooking spoon says:

      Thank you Ronit, I added vanilla because I had it with lobster once in a restaurant and loved it. Works great with shrimp too.

  1. Tracey O'Brien says:

    I’m with you, Myra. Shrimp cocktail is such a perfect thing. I’ve never put vanilla in the sauce before – what a fab idea. Will definitely try your version next time I make it.

    • The Cooking spoon says:

      Thank you so much. I’d love to hear from you if you do try, to hear your thoughts on the vanilla. I never make it without anymore, you don’t actually taste vanilla but it’s so good ☺

  2. carolinehelbig says:

    My parents used to serve these to guests way back in the day. I’d help my mom assemble but always got in trouble for eating more than assembling. Great classic appetizer. Thanks for the reminder to make them again! The sauce sounds awesome.

    • The Cooking spoon says:

      Thank you so much Caroline, yes my parents served this all the time too ☺ it’s a real 80’s thing or 70’s (?). But it’s still always a crowd pleaser and it’s actually one of my favourite appetizers. Hope you make it soon 🖒😍

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