What Goes with Shrimp Cocktail: 21 Best Side Dishes
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Figuring out what goes with shrimp cocktail or any other dish you want to showcase doesn’t have to be difficult. There are so many different foods to consider when making this decision.
Whether you’re throwing a shrimp cocktail party or just whipping up a few cocktails for yourself and some friends, it’s important to know what goes well with shrimp.
In some parts of the world, shrimp are called prawns. So if this is what you call shrimp, I hope you decide to try prawn cocktails soon.
I’m happy to give you some ideas for delicious accompaniments that will elevate your shrimp cocktail experience. Enjoy!
Best Shrimp Cocktail Recipe
If you’re looking for something to serve with your shrimp cocktail, you have a lot of options. But first, start with the shrimp cocktail itself.
First, determine what kind of shrimp you’ll be using. Are you using rock shrimp, large shrimp, jumbo shrimp, or small shrimp?
You can purchase fresh shrimp or precooked shrimp. Or you can even pick up a shrimp ring that has the cocktail sauce in the middle. It really doesn’t matter which type of shrimp you choose.
It’s an easy appetizer that can also be served as a main dish. It adds next level goodness to any meal.
For shrimp cocktails, I typically use small salad shrimp and make this delicious but easy homemade shrimp cocktail sauce. Or if you want, you can purchase a jar of cocktail sauce.
I usually add a bay leaf … or two or three bay leaves, along with some Old Bay Seasoning for flavor. Then I drop the shrimp and spices into a pot of boiling water.
You might want to try a Mexican shrimp cocktail. Instead of the seasonings listed above, add taco seasoning or chili powder to the water. Then garnish the shrimp with tomatoes, avocado slices, cilantro, and other South-of-the-Border foods.
Shrimp cook very quickly, so if you’re starting with raw shrimp, keep an eye on them as they cook.
Follow the directions on the package or from the person behind the seafood counter at the grocery store. This is important to know because shrimp take much less time to cook than you might think.
Cooling the Shrimp
After the shrimp are done, cool them quickly to stop the cooking process. The best way to do this is to submerge them in a bowl of ice water.
This ice bath cools them down quickly so the shrimp won’t wind up being mushy, grainy, or rubbery.
I sometimes change out the water and ice cubes to cool them down even more. But that’s because I like cold shrimp in my shrimp cocktails, and the best way to do this is to freshen up the cold water.
I put about 6 cups of water and ice straight from the ice cube tray into a large bowl. Then I drain the shrimp and pour them right into the ice water.
You can serve individual shrimp cocktails in little cups with the shrimp submerged in the sauce. Or you can place the shrimp on a bed of lettuce.
In fact, you can get as creative as you want with the way you make it. I like a lot of color on a plate, so I try to balance the redness of the cocktail sauce with something green.
What to Serve with Shrimp Cocktail
You can go with a simple salad, or try one of these recipes that are perfect for parties. Whether you're serving a few people or a large crowd, there's something here for everyone!
My mother’s recipe for potato salad is one of the classic recipes from the South. It was always the most popular dish at family reunions and potlucks when I was growing up. That’s why I continue to follow the same recipe to this day.
These Jiffy cornbread hush puppies deliver a delightful blend of sweet and savory crunch that takes your meal to a level of perfection. They’re wonderful when eaten with a shrimp cocktail and side salad.
This corn salad from Southern Bite brings some of your favorite ingredients together for a salad you’ll want to serve often. Stacey is a great cook, so check out some of the other offerings while you’re on his site.
Lots of color on the plate is a good indication that there are all kinds of nutrients and a great pop of flavor! Satisfy your cravings on a lot of levels when you serve this salad with your next shrimp cocktail.
Sometimes all you need to complete a meal is a side of bread. These jalapeño corn muffins deliver exactly the perfect touch. There are so many things to love about these spicy corn muffins. After all, how can you go wrong with the combination of tender cornbread with tangy little peppers suspended in each and every muffin?
Whether you’ve never had grits or they’re a standard side for breakfast at your house, you need to try these delicious cheesy baked grits. Cooked in a casserole, it’s easy to have a heaping helping … and maybe even seconds.
Light and fluffy, this cloud bread won’t disappoint anyone who enjoys a little bread and butter on the side. Oh, and no one will ever guess that this doesn’t have a speck of flour. Yes, they’re gluten-free!
Condiments and Presentation
Don’t forget to serve some great condiments and extra goodies to make the shrimp cocktail experience even more enjoyable. Include things that are flavorful but attractive.
Here are some I like to offer when I serve shrimp cocktails:
Simple red wine vinaigrette
How Long Can You Keep Cooked Shrimp?
Place the shrimp in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container, and it should be good in the refrigerator for about 3 days. After that, eating it might be risky.
If the shrimp has a slimy texture or a sour smell, toss it. Don’t take a chance by eating something that might make you sick.
Whether you’re cooking for a family meal or dinner party, it’s always nice to have something sweet to finish it off.