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Shrimp Cocktail (269 calories per serving)

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Here is a delicious and simple shrimp cocktail recipe that takes little to no effort to prepare.  After trying it, you may wonder why you would ever buy packaged or frozen shrimp cocktail again. We used large shrimp (21-26 shrimp per pound), deveined, with shell on.  We have made this recipe several ways, and the taste does not change if you cook with the shell off; however,  since the completely peeled shrimp is cooks more quickly, you have to cook it about 1-2 minute less.

2 lb of large deveined, shell on shrimp.  Rosemary sprigs, bay leaves, whole peppercorn, celery seed, salt, lemon wedges and lemon peel.

Low Calorie Shrimp Cocktail (269 calories per serving)
Recipe serves 4          Prep time: 15 minutes    Cook time: 15 minutes


Calories Carbs

For the shrimp:

Large shrimp, deveined, 2 lb

960 calories
Water, 4 cups
Salt, 2 tbsp
Lemon juice, ½ lemon (2 tbsp)
Lemon peel, from 1 lemon
Thyme, 8-10 sprigs or 1 tsp
Black peppercorn, whole, 2 tsp
Bay leaves, 3-4 whole leaves
Celery seed, ½ tsp
Ice, 1 pitcher (½ gallon)

For the cocktail sauce:

Ketchup, ½ cup

116 calories

30 g carbs

Horseradish sauce, 2 tbsp
Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp
Lemon juice, ½ tsp
Old Bay seasoning**, a dash (1/8  tsp)
Cayenne pepper, sprinkle as needed
RECIPE SERVES 4 269 calories

8 g carbs

Old Bay seasoning can be substituted by mixing equal portions of celery salt, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Lemon juice and lemon zest helps freshen up seafood and shellfish.  Essentially, it reduces the amine compound that is responsible for the “fishy smell” in seafood (trimethylamine and dimethylamine)


1. In a large pot, pour 4 cups of water and add 2 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp lemon juice, lemon peel, thyme, black peppercorn, bay leaves, celery seed.  Turn the heat to high or medium high.

This mixture smells wonderful

2.  In about 4-5 minutes when the water reaches a gentle boil, add the shrimp and stir every 45-60 seconds, submerging the shrimp.  After 3-5 minutes when the water almost begins to boil with small bubbles rising, all of the shrimp should be a light pink.  Stir again.  Turn off the heat when you see a couple of bubbles rising, before the water boils. Cover the pot and let sit for 5-6 minutes.

You want the shrimp to be just done.  Turn off the heat when the water is almost coming to a boil by watching for small rolling bubbles. If you have a food thermometer, the water temperature should be around 185 degrees F.

3.  Prepare the cocktail sauce by combining the ketchup, horseradish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, & Cayenne pepper. Mix evenly and place in the fridge for serving later.

4.  The shrimp should be thoroughly cooked by now.  You may try one to test. The next step is to add in the 1/2 gallon of ice to the shrimp, stir. Cover with a lid for another 4-5 minutes.

The ice helps cool the water to allow the shrimp to soak up more flavoring without getting overcooked

5.  Have a large colander ready in the sink.  Pour the ice and shrimp into the colander to strain.

Shrimp with shell on

6.  If you cooked deveined, shell-on shrimp, you will need some time to peel them, leaving the tail behind.  Peeling the shrimp should take around 6-10 minutes.

7.  Serve immediately with cocktail sauce, or refrigerate and serve within 3-5 days.


This recipe serves 4, but we won’t say anything if it all goes to one person.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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