Call me old-fashioned, but I love shrimp cocktail. It's a classic appetizer that has stood the test of time. The first time I ever I saw shrimp cocktail was at my first job as a young teen. I worked as a "bus girl" in a lakeside restaurant in my small town in Upstate NY. Besides bussing tables, I had the task of cleaning and deveining loads of shrimp for shrimp cocktails at this semi-upscale restaurant. It took me a bit to muster up the nerves to the shrimp appetizer. Once I finally tried it, I was hooked. Shrimp cocktail was my very first taste of shrimp and I was instantly into it. Shrimp cocktail is so easy to make, you really don't need to order it in a restaurant. You can surprise your loved ones with this roasted shrimp cocktail at home any day of the week!
How to Make Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
This recipe is especially easy for making roasted shrimp cocktail. Some recipes call for boiling the shrimp in a large pot of water, but I prefer baking the shrimp. The baking time is very short and after baking, you just chill the shrimp immediately. I also like baking the shrimp because I feel baking it with olive oil, salt and pepper also allows those flavors to bake into the shrimp making it tastier. Then when you dip it into the quick and easy cocktail sauce and you have a double dose of flavors.
Types of Shrimp/Baking Times
This is a matter of preference for your shrimp cocktail. I usually buy the 21-25 count shrimp which is more of a standard sized Large shrimp. This is the size I make for my family. I would not recommend a smaller size than this for your shrimp cocktail.
If I were to make this roasted shrimp cocktail for a dinner party, I'd probably make this recipe with the Extra Large 16-20 count shrimp. Use this size if you prefer larger shrimp for a more appropriate cocktail appetizer.
Shrimp counts refer to the number of shrimp in a single pound. The smaller the count, the bigger the shrimp.
Shrimp Baking Times for Varying Sizes- ***Watch Shrimp Closely while Baking, don't run off and start a new chore, it's only a few minutes. =) ***
(Please keep in mind baking times many vary slightly due to differing oven and accurate oven temps)
21-25 Count (Large sized shrimp)- 6-7 mins
16-20 Count (X-Large sized shrimp) 7-8 mins
12-15 Count (Jumbo sized shrimp) 8-9 mins
How to Serve Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp Cocktail can be served in simple smallish dessert bowl with cocktail sauce in the middle and the shrimp and lemon wedge hanging off the sides. If you're making shrimp cocktail for a party, putting the shrimp on ice chips can look classy and keep the shrimp cold which is ideal. If you're serving it for just a small dinner party martini glasses filled about ⅓ full of cocktail sauce and a lemon wedge and shrimp hanging off the edge in a row looks great! Don't forget your lemon wedges no matter how you decide to serve your cocktail shrimp. Most everyone likes to drizzle a little lemon over their shrimp before enjoying their shrimp cocktail.
How to Make Quick Cocktail Sauce
Cocktail sauce is one of the easiest sauces you can make in a hurry, of course pending you have all the ingredients on hand. If you don't have chili sauce on hand I'd recommend adding the equivalent amount of ketchup along with about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, teaspoon of brown sugar and a dash of allspice. It won't be quite the same, but it'll be close enough to make due.
Shrimp Cocktail Ingredients
- Shrimp- I use the raw Kirkland 21/25 Ct shrimp for this recipe often. It's just a good size to serve my family, not too big, not too small. I prefer wild caught when it's feasible, but it's not always available and the cost can be quite high. Also, I use the kind without the preservative solution added which Kirkland now sells.
- Olive Oil (Not Pictured)- I just suggest using your best olive oil for flavor and you're only using a Tablespoon so it's not much
- Cooking Oil Spray- I always have my favorite Avocado Oil Cooking spray on and for any non stick spraying needs. It's my Go To. Costco also always sells it less than regular grocery stores.
- Salt & Pepper- You can measure it out or do it freestyle, just sprinkle enough to hit all the shrimp.
- Cocktail Sauce
- Ketchup- I always prefer to use organic Ketchup with minimal ingredients & No HFCS.
- Chili Sauce- Same as ketchup. I try to stay away from the kind with HFCS, so I've found Red Gold Chili Sauce to be a great one to use. Most grocery stores carry it.
- Lemon Juice- fresh squeezed is always ideal if you have lemons on hand, but if not, bottled is great. I love the Organic Lemon Juice that Costco sells. (The link is just to show you the type. It's way cheaper at Costco.)
- Horseradish- I LOVE horseradish! I think it's my Slavic blood...I would love to put horseradish in almost anything if I could. In this case, I like a straight Hot Prepared horseradish like "Meyer's" or "Brucken" that most grocery store carry.
- Worcestershire- This sauce always adds an element of depth and slight complexity to sauces such as this one.
- Hot Sauce- Use your favorite red hot sauce. My kitchen is littered with different hot sauces, but a standard one like Red's or Cholula will do fine.