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What Goes with Shrimp Cocktail: 21 Best Side Dishes

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.

shrimp cocktail with a variety of side dishes

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.

shrimp cocktail surrounded by lettuce and tomatoes

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!

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:

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges
  • Lime juice
  • Chili sauce
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Fresh parsley
  • Simple red wine vinaigrette
  • Black pepper
  • Feta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Saltine crackers
  • Corn tortillas
  • Tortilla chips

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.

Delicious Desserts

Whether you’re cooking for a family meal or dinner party, it’s always nice to have something sweet to finish it off.

Here are some delightful desserts you’ll enjoy:

3-Ingredient Lemon Bars

Jim Jams (from South Your Mouth)

Pineapple Dump Cake

Please feel free to share!