Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 8 mins

This is a good basic recipe to prepare shrimp for cocktail sauce.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a double or triple thickness of cheesecloth, combine all the spices (first 11 ingredients).
  2. Secure the packet with a piece of string.
  3. Combine water, lemon, garlic, and spice bag together in a dutch oven.
  4. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and return to a boil.
  6. Boil shrimp for 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Drain thoroughly and chill.
  8. Serve with cocktail sauce.


Most Helpful

Wonderful, our guests commented that they had never had boiled shrimp come out so moist before, and all enjoyed the mild flavor imparted to the shrimp, as a few did without cocktail sauce altogether. Note: I found inexpensive cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and whole cloves at our nearby Indian market. As a hostess gift, I put the spice mixture for 1 batch in an empty spice jar, and tape the cooking instructions to the outside of the bottle (I also give a printout of the full recipe).

KateL December 26, 2014

Excellent and easy. I substituted allspice berries for fennel seed, because I was out of fennel, and boiled the shrimp in their shells (more flavor that way). This is a good way to work a well-stocked spice rack!

PamC April 07, 2010

Awesome. Much better than the store bought stuff. We have a big get together at the beach and boil shrimp for 40-50 and this was a big help. I make my own Cocktail sauce using only Ketchup and Horseradish and a bit of lemon juice. I usually make it medium and leave the horseradish out for people to add more. Also I freeze fresh lemon juice in Ice trays and then put the cubes in ziplock bags. This is a great way to get fresh lemon juice anytime.

Bill Butler August 19, 2009

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