Prawn Cocktail is a classic for a reason. The perfect appetiser or light meal, it is so simple to throw together and can be easily customised to your tastes.
Easy Prawn Cocktail
It may be considered a ‘retro’ dish, but I absolutely love a good prawn cocktail. We serve this every year at Christmas as our festive appetiser and I never get tired of it.
Shrimp Cocktail is not just for Christmas though – this dish can be served year round and is easy to customise to your tastes and depending on the occasion.
Homemade Marie Rose Sauce
Marie Rose sauce is also know as Thousand Island, Cocktail sauce or Seafood Sauce. It is typically made from mayonnaise, ketchup and lemon juice with additional seasonings. It was made popular in the UK in the 1960s by Fanny Cradock – one of the original ‘celebrity chefs’.
I like to use double or heavy cream in the place of mayonnaise for my Marie Rose sauce, especially for Festive occasions as it feels a lot more decadent. Feel free to use whichever suits when making at home – and see below for some ideas on how to customise the cocktail sauce to suit you.
Prawn Cocktail Ingredients
- Prawns or Shrimp – I prefer cold water prawns as I think they have more flavour, but any variety will work. Use a shell-on king prawn as a garnish for a fancy occasion if you like. Frozen cooked prawns are ideal – just defrost them overnight in the fridge before serving. You could also add or swap in smoked salmon or crayfish. Just make sure any seafood you use is from a sustainable source.
- Lettuce – I prefer romaine lettuce but whatever you enjoy will work. You could also use a mixture of leafy greens like spinach and rocket.
- Tomatoes – sweet cherry or plum tomatoes sliced in half.
- Cocktail Sauce – see below for full ingredients and substitutions.
- Paprika or Cayenne – optional, to garnish.
- Lemon Wedge – optional, to garnish.
- Optional Upgrades – sliced avocado, cucumber or red pepper in addition to the tomatoes. I have also tried it with some chunks of fresh grapefruit which adds a lovely fresh zing.
Cocktail Sauce Ingredients
- Double cream/Heavy Cream – my base of choice for this recipe is cream, but mayonnaise works just as well as is the best choice if you need the recipe to be dairy free. Creme Fraiche is also a good substitute and you can use yoghurt for a lighter sauce.
- Ketchup – I use regular Heinz as that is what I typically have to hand, but feel free to use whichever brand you prefer (this Homemade Ketchup is an excellent one to try). You could substitute some tomato passata in a pinch.
- Tabasco – or your favourite hot sauce. You only need a few drops for flavour, the sauce is not spicy (unless you want it to be, in which case feel free to add extra hot sauce). You can also use Worstershire sauce.
- Dry Sherry – Brandy or vodka can also be used. Simply omit if you do not consume alcohol.
- Lemon Juice – freshly squeezed.
- Salt and Pepper
How to Serve Prawn Cocktail
I like this dish served best as is – it is my favourite dinner party appetiser. The cocktail sauce is at its best a few hours after it has been prepared, meaning this shrimp cocktail can easily be prepared ahead of time and assembled quickly when ready to serve. You can serve on a plate as I have in the pictures, or in a dessert or large coupe glass.
Make this prawn cocktail into a meal by serving on a warm crusty baguette, as a sourdough sandwich or tossed with cooked pasta or grains for a hearty salad.
The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. It is not suitable for freezing.
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do! Please leave a comment or tag me on Instagram @carrieskitchen_ if you make it!
More Recipe Ideas for Fuss Free Entertaining:
Easy Prawn Cocktail with Homemade Sauce (Shrimp Cocktail)
- Sharp Knife
- Medium Bowl
- 4 plates or glasses, to serve
- 400 grams cooked and peeled prawns
- 16 cherry tomatoes
- 2 Romaine lettuce hearts
- paprika to garnish
- 4 lemon wedges to garnish
- 4 tbsp double cream (heavy cream) or mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 4 drops Tabasco
- 1 tsp dry sherry
- juice of ½ a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and slice the lettuce. Slice the tomatoes in half.
- Prepare the cocktail sauce by mixing the ingredients together in a bowl until fully combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus extra tabasco and/or lemon juice as desired.
- To assemble, divide the lettuce and tomatoes between four plates or glasses. Top with the prawns plus a generous spoonful of cocktail sauce.
- To serve, dust with paprika and serve with a lemon wedge.
This recipe has been linked to CookBlogShare hosted by Midge at The Peachicks’ Bakery