Grilled Shrimp Cocktail is an easy recipe that’s full of flavor. With just a handful of ingredients this appetizer comes together in no time at all!
Welcome to your new favorite way to eat shrimp cocktail! Beautifully grilled shrimp flavored with garlic and butter are the perfect pair to a tangy, zippy homemade cocktail sauce. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and lemon wedges to brighten up the flavors even more!
Ingredients for Grilled Shrimp Cocktail:
- Raw shrimp (I buy frozen bags and thaw them overnight in the refrigerator)
- Salt & Pepper
- Melted Butter
- Minced Garlic
- Lemon Juice
- Parsley & Lemon Wedges, for serving
How to safely thaw and prepare shrimp:
Being in the middle of Wisconsin, it can be hard to come by fresh seafood. Aside from the fish Seth catches on the local lake, we purchase all other fish and seafood from the grocery store. I always look for sustainably caught, organic, and/or dolphin-safe frozen seafood.
For shrimp cocktail I buy bags of frozen medium-sized raw shrimp. The night before serving, remove the shrimp from the bag, place in a colander set over a mixing bowl and place in the fridge. The shrimp can be covered with plastic wrap, if desired.
When ready to cook, remove the shrimp from the fridge at least 30 minutes before grilling. Discard whatever liquid is in the bottom of the mixing bowl and rinse shrimp well under cold water. Devein and peel the shrimp and rinse again with cold water.
Spread clean shrimp out onto a baking tray and pat dry with a paper towel. Now the shrimp are ready to be grilled!
How do you grill shrimp?
- Soak skewers in water for 10 – 15 minutes. This prevents them from scorching on the grill!
- Peel and devein raw shrimp, leaving only a small piece of the tail on for easy handling.
- Place 4 – 6 shrimp on each skewer (depending on the size of the skewers) and place filled skewers on a baking sheet or large tray.
- Sprinkle both sides of shrimp with salt and pepper before brushing with melted butter and sprinkling with garlic.
- Place on preheated grill and cook for 2 minutes per side. The shrimp are done when they’ve turned pink and the tails have curled in toward the head.
These easy grilled shrimp are basically teeny flavor bombs. They’re seasoned with salt and pepper, brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with lots of minced garlic. So simple, so easy, so dang delicious! Especially when served with homemade cocktail sauce!
For the longest time I wouldn’t touch cocktail sauce. I thought it was gross and weird and had no place alongside shrimp. (I’d also never tried it, obviously.) Boy was I wrong! Cocktail sauce is a bit weird – being a mixture of ketchup, horseradish, and lemon juice. But it just works with cooked shrimp! It’s tangy and spicy and bright and acidic. It adds a ton of flavor to shrimp without being heavy or feeling fattening.
Make ahead meal:
This grilled shrimp cocktail recipe does take a little bit of planning, if using frozen shrimp, but the good news is that it can also be made ahead of time! The cocktail sauce can be made up to two days in advance. Just stir the ingredients together and place in a Tupperware in the fridge until ready to serve. Shrimp cocktail is traditionally served cold and the same can be true for this grilled version, if desired. Simply grill the shrimp as instructed, cool to room temperature, wrap, and refrigerate until ready to eat. Leftover shrimp cocktail and sauce will store for up to two days.
Grilled Shrimp Cocktail Recipe
- Wooden Skewers
For the cocktail sauce:
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 2 TBSP horseradish
- 2 TBSP lemon juice freshly squeezed
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
For the grilled shrimp:
- 1 pound raw shrimp thawed
- 1 TBSP kosher salt
- 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 4 TBSP butter melted and slightly cool
- 2 TBSP minced garlic
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Fresh Parsley for serving
For the cocktail sauce:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the grilled shrimp:
- Preheat a grill to 350 – 400 degrees. Place wooden skewers in water to soak for 10 minutes.
- Rinse thawed shrimp under cold water. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail for easy handling, and rinse again. Spread shrimp out onto a baking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Remove dowels from water and place 4 – 6 shrimp on each skewer (depending on the skewer size) and return to baking sheet.
- Sprinkle shrimp on both sides with salt and pepper before brushing with butter and sprinkling with minced garlic.
- Place seasoned shrimp on preheated grill and cook for ~2 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 2 minutes. Shrimp are cooked through when they are light pink, and the tails have curled toward the head.
- Remove from grill (making sure to turn off gas, if using a propane grill!) and place on serving tray. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedge and prepared cocktail sauce.
Leftover shrimp cocktail can be stored for up to two days.