Chef John's Shrimp Cocktail

Chef John's Shrimp Cocktail

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Chef John 23760

"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."
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50 m servings 306 cals
Serving size has been adjusted!

Original recipe yields 4 servings



  • Calories:
  • 306 kcal
  • 15%
  • Fat:
  • 4.3 g
  • 7%
  • Carbs:
  • 18.9g
  • 6%
  • Protein:
  • 47.7 g
  • 95%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 345 mg
  • 115%
  • Sodium:
  • 1376 mg
  • 55%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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Nutritional Information

1 Serving
Servings Per Recipe:
Amount Per Serving
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • ** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
  • (-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.


  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  1. 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.
  2. Whisk ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt together in a bowl; refrigerate until chilled, at least 15 minutes.
  3. 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.


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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.

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 per...

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 c...

this was super delicious.. i loved the poaching liquid.. it was something very different than what i'm used to as i normally saute or grill my shrimp.. i used smaller shrimp so it only took 2 mi...

So happy I found this recipe . It gave the shrimp much more flaver.

Best shrimp cocktail I ever had!

This is pure yumminess. I followed it exactly with the exception of one thing, my shrimp was peeled. We have this weekly now, makes a cool light summer meal.

Outstanding! The poaching liquid was very creative Chef John (reminded of a crab boil of sorts) and the cocktail sauce...better than restaurant style because it is homemade. For the poaching liq...

My first time ever bothering to make my own shrimp cocktail and this was amazing! Even with the hijacks of using dried tarragon and ground black pepper. Son and husband loved.

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