Shrimp cocktail is an all-time favorite of mine dating back to when I was a kid and it was a special Christmas Eve treat. Still by go-to date night or party treat, it’s not surprising that I have a shrimp cocktail sauce recipe or two in my files.
In addition to being tasty, shrimp cocktail is healthy and low in calories. Three ounces of shrimp has just 1 SmartPoint. And most bottled cocktail sauces have about 3 SmartPoints in a generous 1/4 cup serving. By making your own cocktail sauce with less sugar, you can decrease the points even more. Is it any wonder shrimp cocktail has become my go-to appetizer of choice on Weight Watchers?
I’ve gathered several of my favorite shrimp cocktail sauce recipes here for easy access, as well as a tip or two on preparing the shrimp. Enjoy!
More About Shrimp
Shrimp come in several sizes from tiny to colossal and are labeled by the number of shrimp per pound. The best size for cocktails are medium (16 to 25 shrimp per pound).
You can buy frozen raw shrimp either in the shell but not deveined or shelled and deveined. Most frozen cooked shrimp come already shelled and deveined, making them a quick easy option.
Frozen raw shrimp are better when thawed before cooking. Most brands include preferred directions for thawing right on the package so be sure to follow them for best results.
How to Make Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp cocktail is nothing more than cooked shrimp accompanied by a tangy cocktail sauce. So all you need to do to make shrimp cocktail is cook the shrimp and make (or buy) a sauce.
Most of the time to keep things quick and easy, I just thaw and drain already cooked peeled shrimp when making shrimp cocktail, so all I need to do is arrange them on a platter and make a simple cocktail sauce.
If you prefer to cook them yourself, here’s what you need to know.
Boiling is the most popular way to cook shrimp for cocktail. You can shell and devein them either before or after you cook them, it’s totally up to you. To peel them, start at the large end and peel away the thin shell. To devein them, make a a shallow cut down the center back (outer curved side) with a small sharp knife and pull out the dark vein. Rinse away any remaining bits of the vein under cool water.
Here’s a helpful video from Epicurious which shows how to peel and devein the shrimp:
To boil the shrimp, allow 1 quart of water per pound of shrimp, and 2 tablespoons of salt for unshelled shrimp and 1 tablespoon for shelled. Bring the salt and water to a boil in a pot, then add the shrimp, cover the pot and simmer just until the shrimp turn pink. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp. Drain and if still in the shell, shell and devein them, leaving the tails on. Chill them thoroughly.
While the shrimp chill you can make your cocktail sauce any way you like it – it smooth or chunky, spicy, mild, traditional or with the ingredients required to turn it into a Mexican shrimp cocktail. If you don’t know how to make shrimp cocktail sauce, I’ve got several great homemade cocktail sauce recipes here for you to chose from.
When you are ready to serve. Arrange your shrimp attractively on a platter and serve with your sauce and lots of cocktail napkins.
Classic Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe – 3 SmartPoints
- 1 cup ketchup or chili sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2-3 dashes red hot pepper sauce
- Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. It's best to make the sauce at least 30 minutes before serving it to give the flavors a chance to blend.
Creamy Cocktail Sauce Variation: Use ½ cup nonfat Greek Yogurt and ½ cup ketchup or chili sauce, instead of all ketchup and proceed as directed above.
Cranberry Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe – 3 SmartPoints
- 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon celery seeds
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until serving.
Chunky Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe – 0 SmartPoints
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with onions, undrained
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve with chilled shrimp.
Easy Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe – 2 SmartPoints
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chiles, undrained
- 1 small avocado, cut into ½-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Hot pepper sauce to taste
- Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve with chilled shrimp.
*PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT Weight Watchers zero points fruits and vegetables using the WW Recipe Builder.
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