Learn How to Make Cocktail Shrimp and impress your guests! It’s not as hard seems, and it definitely saves money when you make it yourself.
A good price for decent cocktail shrimp is upwards of $12-$15/lb… which 1 pound of shrimp doesn’t go way far when you are entertaining a lot of people. Well, I have a secret for you… it doesn’t HAVE to be that expensive. You can make your own cocktail shrimp of literally HALF of the cost AND it tastes way better because you are making it fresh. You don’t get weird smelling, bouncy 3-day-old shrimp that has been sitting in the store’s refrigerated deli counter. Trust me, you are going to be impressed with how good this tastes… and how cheap and easy it is to make! No one will have to know you spent as much on the shrimp as others may have spent on chips and dip.
Before we get started, here’s a little tip for you – the “fresh” shrimp that you see in your store’s meat department isn’t really fresh (ok, maybe if you live in Alaska or Maine or wherever and it was fresh caught that morning). I can guarantee you that shrimp you are seeing behind the glass was frozen and has just been thawed out. It wasn’t fresh caught that day, or the day before, or probably even in the last week. If you want to eat shrimp that actually tastes fresh, cut out a step and ask for it frozen. If you want it to taste even better, ask for the “wild caught” shrimp unpeeled, raw, and preferably de-veined unless you don’t mind doing the de-veining yourself. I have found shrimp like this on sale for $5 a pound. You can take it home and keep it frozen until you want to use it (if you get it thawed from behind the counter and freeze it, you will be freezing it for a second time and it won’t taste as good).
Want to save even more cash? Make your own homemade cocktail sauce, too (with stuff I bet you have in your fridge right now)! I have provided the recipe below and it is wonderful. You will never buy the bottled stuff again.
How to Make Cocktail Shrimp
- Put water in a large stock-pot. Add onion, garlic, lemon (lightly squeeze lemon into the water and then throw the entire lemon halves into the water as well), thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes before adding shrimp.
- Add shrimp and simmer about 2-3 minutes (depending on the size of the shrimp) or until the shrimp curls up and turns pink and is no longer transparent.
- Quickly drain (discarding everything but the shrimp) and place the shrimp in a bowl to cool to room temperature.
- Peel the shrimp (leaving the tail on if desired) and serve. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until ready to serve and remove 15-20 minutes prior to serving to allow shrimp to get to room temperature.
For the Cocktail Sauce:
- Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.