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Grilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

Grilled shrimp cocktail with lemon and homemade cocktail sauce

Shrimp cocktail is an easy appetizer that’s perfect to serve when you have last-minute guests. But let’s be honest, even though Shrimp is the star, the best part of a shrimp cocktail appetizer is the cocktail sauce. Without the sauce, all you’re left with is flavourless shrimp.

This recipe for Grilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce takes shrimp cocktail to the next level. The shrimp is flavoured with lemon, grilled until lightly charred, seasoned generously with salt and pepper, and then served with homemade cocktail sauce.

Yes, the cocktail sauce could be bought from the store, but after you make it once, you’ll never want to buy it again. It’s so easy and it’s made using ingredients you probably have in your fridge. My favourite part about this easy grilled shrimp recipe is the lemon, pepper, and salt left on your fingers when you’re done – finger-licking deliciousness!

Grilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

Grilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce


Grilled Shrimp
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 pound raw jumbo shrimp (16/20 count) peeled, tails left on, patted dry
Cocktail Sauce
½ cup ketchup (or chili sauce)
1 tablespooon lemon juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce


  1. Preheat BBQ to high heat (475°F to 500°F). Brush the grill grates clean.
  2. While the BBQ heats, mix together olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon zest, and shrimp in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. While the shrimp marinates make the cocktail sauce. Mix together ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Place in a pretty bowl and set aside.
  4. Remove shrimp from marinade (discard marinade) and place on hot grill, cover and grill shrimp for 1 minute. Flip shrimp, cover and grill for 1 minute longer.
  5. Transfer grilled shrimp to a clean plate, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, a good pinch of salt and pepper. Serve with cocktail sauce.

Grilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce Tips:

  • When it comes to the shrimp, what does a “16/20 count” mean?  It means there are 16 to 20 shrimps per pound.
  • Thaw frozen shrimp in a bowl in the fridge overnight.  If you’re in a hurry, place shrimp in a colander under cold running water until thawed.
  • Shrimp cooks VERY quickly. Keep a watchful eye on the shrimp and be sure to have everything you need when you go to the grill – a clean plate and tongs for flipping.
  • You want to put the shrimp on the BBQ fast, turn them fast, and take them off fast.
  • Shrimp is cooked when it goes from translucent to opaque and pink. Take the shrimp off the heat a few seconds before you think they are done so they don’t over cook. As they’re taken off the grill and are resting, they’ll continue to cook.
  • To save time, use store-bought cocktail sauce.
  • If you want to use smaller shrimp, cook them on a skewer or on a grill pan. If you don’t, you could lose a few shrimp through the grill of the BBQ.