What to Serve With Shrimp Cocktail: Best Foods

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What To Serve With Shrimp Cocktail

When I went to my cousin’s wedding, we were served a shrimp cocktail and it tasted so good. I decided I wanted to make this delicious seafood dish at home, however, it left me wondering what goes with shrimp cocktail?

Today I’ll be sharing some delicious recipes and pairings that go well with the perfect shrimp cocktail. Whether it’s a light and fresh salad, healthy veggies, or another side dish with unique flavors, we have a suggestion I’m sure you’ll love.

Before I share these fantastic recipes and pairings let’s look at how shrimp cocktails are made.

what goes with shrimp cocktail

What’s in a Shrimp Cocktail Recipe?

The great thing about shrimp cocktails is that they’re relatively easy to make. All you need is some fresh or frozen shrimp, cocktail flavored sauce, and some ice to keep everything chilled.

If you want to get fancy, you can also add some fresh lemon juice, diced avocado, or even some chopped cilantro. But really, the shrimp and sauce are all you need for a delicious appetizer.

What’s in Cocktail Sauce?

The classic sauce recipe for shrimp cocktails is made with ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. You can also add a little hot sauce to give it some extra spice.

Of course, you can always buy pre-made sauce at the store. But if you have the time, I highly recommend making your own. It’s so much fresher and tastier that way.

Do You Use Cooked Shrimp in Shrimp Cocktail?

Typically, yes. Most recipes for shrimp cocktail call for cooked shrimp. This is because the shrimp only needs to be in the sauce long enough to heat up and absorb some of the flavors.

If you use raw shrimp, you’ll need to cook it first before adding it to the sauce. Otherwise, it will be tough and rubbery.

You can cook the shrimp in a few different ways. You can cook them in boiling water, use grilled shrimp, or even bake them. Just make sure they’re cooked through before adding them to the sauce.

How to Poach Shrimp

Poaching is one of the best ways to cook shrimp. It’s quick and easy and it keeps the shrimp nice and moist.

To poach shrimp, simply bring a pot of water to a boil and then add the shrimp to the boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until they’re pink and opaque. Then remove them from the pot.

You can then use your favorite dressings and ingredients to create the best shrimp cocktail.

Poaching is a healthy way to cook seafood. It doesn’t require any oil or butter, so it’s a great option if you’re watching your fat intake.

You can poach in plain water or a chicken broth or poach in a vinegar and water mixture.

How Do You Eat Shrimp Cocktail?

There are a few different ways you can eat your cocktail. The most popular way is to just eat it served in only sauce.

You can also use the shrimp to create little skewers with vegetables or fruits. Another option is to put the shrimp on top of crackers or bread. That makes a great side dish!

I love to eat shrimp cocktails in a small bowl with some chopped lettuce, diced avocado, and diced tomatoes. It’s the perfect light meal or appetizer.

Do You Eat Shrimp Cocktail Hot or Cold?

Shrimp cocktail is typically served cold. This is because the shrimp are cooked and then cooled before they’re added to the sauce.

If you want to eat this as a hot side dish, you can simply heat the sauce in a pot on the stove. Or, you can cook the shrimp in the sauce until they’re heated through.

A shrimp cocktail makes a great side dish whether cold or warm.

What to Serve With Shrimp Cocktail?

Now let’s move on to the good stuff and take a look at some of the best side dishes to serve with shrimp cocktail.

Salads to Pair With Your Shrimp Dish

A light and refreshing salad is the perfect pairing for a shrimp cocktail. The acidity in the dressing will help to balance out the richness of the shrimp.

Try pairing your shrimp cocktail with a simple green salad or a more unique option like this Watermelon Feta Salad or an Orange Beet Salad. You could also try the following:

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is a flavorful salad that goes great with a shrimp cocktail. The creamy dressing and pasta make it a heartier option that is perfect for a party or potluck.

If you’re looking for a macaroni salad recipe, I recommend the tropical flavor of this Macaroni Salad recipe.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Greek Salad

A greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, and olives is another excellent choice as a side dish.

The bold flavors in the salad will help to complement a grilled shrimp cocktail and bring more flavor to the meal.

Greek salad is a great side dish and can be eaten as part of the Mediterranean diet.

greek salad

Tabouli Salad

This healthy salad is made with bulgur wheat, chopped vegetables, and herbs. It’s a light and flavorful salad that goes well with shrimp.

Tabouli is super healthy and is a great way to add more goodness to your meal.

Potato Salad

Try pairing your cold shrimp with a tasty potato salad. Potato salad is a classic dish that is perfect for a summer BBQ or picnic.

There are so many different ways to make potato salad, so it’s easy to find recipes that you’ll love. If you’re looking for some inspiration, I recommend trying this Instant Potato Salad recipe.


Broccoli Salad

A broccoli salad is another excellent option to serve with a shrimp cocktail. The crunchy broccoli pairs well with the soft shrimp.

The salad is made with broccoli, bacon, cheese, and a creamy dressing. It’s the perfect dish to bring to a potluck or picnic.

Fried broccoli and shrimp

Cauliflower Salad

This Cauliflower Salad is a delicious side dish and healthy option that goes great with a shrimp cocktail.

Make your salad with roasted cauliflower, kale, and quinoa. This is one of those side dishes you will truly love!

Caesar Salad

A delicious green salad is another great option to serve with a shrimp cocktail.

The crisp romaine lettuce, croutons, and parmesan cheese make it a flavorful and satisfying dish. The extra flavor will pair well with your dish and make a tasty lunch or appetizer meal.

close up photo spring vitamin fresh salad healthy food with vegatables

Kale Caesar Salad

Kale caesar salad is a healthier twist on the classic that I think you’ll love. Make some in a large bowl and it will be delicious as a light and refreshing side dish.

keto salad with roasted eggplant kale 1

Dragon Fruit Salad

This Dragon Fruit Salad is a beautiful and unique salad that goes great with shrimp.

The combination of dragon fruit, mango, and avocado is simply irresistible and makes an easy and delicious side dish.

Beetroot And Feta Salad

Try a roasted beetroot and feta salad. Paired with walnuts and a tangy dressing this tasty beet feta salad will go great with shrimp cocktail.

Pair Vegetables With Shrimp Cocktail

Green produce always goes well with shrimp cocktail from fresh cabbage to roasted asparagus sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Pairing a shrimp cocktail with vegetables is a great idea if you’re hosting a dinner party or want to create a main dish with unique flavors for your seafood appetizer.

Crispy Veggies

The crispness of the veggies will contrast nicely with the sweet flavor of your best shrimp cocktail.

Roasted Vegetables

You could try pairing your grilled shrimp cocktail with roasted vegetables, a flavorful vegetable soup, or even a simple vegetable platter with dipping sauce.

Whatever veggie side dish you choose be sure to have a variety of colors and textures to create an appealing presentation.

Try roasted veggies such as:

  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • sweet potatoes
  • beets
  • brussels sprouts
  • onions
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • bell pepper

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted asparagus is a fantastic side dish that pairs well with a shrimp cocktail.

The asparagus is roasted in the oven until it’s tender and then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese or even better feta cheese! It makes a quick meal and is great for a dinner party.


Bell Pepper and Nachos

One fantastic way to enjoy the creamy texture of a shrimp cocktail is to serve it with nachos and bell peppers.

Nachos or tortilla chips make the perfect vessel for the cocktail sauce and shrimp. Serve side dishes of nachos and small dipping sauces to add flavor to this fantastic meal idea.

Bell Peppers Make It Pop!

The bell peppers add a beautiful pop of color and their crunchy texture.

This dish is easy to make and can be served as an appetizer or main course and might just become a favorite recipe to enjoy!

AU Gratin Potatoes

These rich and creamy potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to a grilled shrimp cocktail.

The cheesy potatoes pair well with the acidity of the sauce and the sweetness of the shrimp.

This dish is sure to be a hit with your guests! Try pairing au gratin potatoes with your favorite shrimp cocktail recipe. It will be a real hit!

Stuffed Tomatoes

Another fantastic way to enjoy a shrimp cocktail is to stuff tomatoes with the seafood salad. This dish is healthy, flavorful, and easy to make.

The tomatoes can be served as an appetizer or main course and are sure to be a hit with your guests!

Try pairing stuffed tomatoes with your favorite recipe for shrimp. Top with mint leaves and serve at your next party.

Sweet Potato Fries

These crispy and sweet potato fries are a fantastic way to enjoy a shrimp dish. The sweetness of the potatoes pairs perfectly with the shrimp cocktail sauce.

The salty flavor of the shrimp is also a great contrast to the sweetness of the fries.

This dish is easy to make and can be served as an appetizer or main course or as a quick meal.

Serve Seafood With Your Shrimp Cocktail

Another great option is to pair your shrimp cocktail with other seafood dishes.

This is a great idea if you’re having a seafood-themed party or want to create a seafood feast.

Crab or Lobster

Some great seafood options to pair with shrimp cocktail include crab legs, lobster, scallops, or fish tacos. You could even try making a shrimp cocktail platter with a variety of seafood options.

Use ice or cold water to keep the seafood chilled and fresh.

Fruit Side Dishes for Shrimp Cocktail

Fruit is a great option to pair with a shrimp cocktail. The sweetness of the fruit will balance out the savory flavors of the dish.

Fruit can make great side dishes for shrimp and add extra flavor and nutrition to the meal.

Some great fruit options include:


Serve watermelon with your shrimp cocktail for a delicious and refreshing option.

Watermelon salad with basil, mint, red onion, cucumber and cashe


Cantaloupe is a great option to add sweetness and color to your shrimp cocktail.

fresh cantaloupe melon


Pineapple is a delicious and juicy fruit that pairs well with shrimp. The sweetness of the pineapple will balance out the savory flavors of the dish.

fresh pineapple sliced wooden plate


Mango is a great option for a sweet and flavorful side dish. Fruit is a great option if you want your dish to remain gluten free.

fresh golden mango sliced plate


Grapefruit has a distinct flavor that pairs well with shrimp. The juicy fruit will also help to balance out the savory flavors of the dish.

You could even try making a shrimp cocktail salad with your favorite fruits and vegetables. This is a great way to enjoy the flavors of summer in one dish!

Rice Side Dishes for Shrimp Cocktail

A shrimp cocktail is a real crowd pleaser and goes surprisingly well with a rice dish such as Mexican rice or even a jumbo shrimp paella.

Shrimp can pair perfectly with many rice side dishes and is a great way to add some protein to your meal.

instant pot spanish rice

Bread Side Dishes for Shrimp Cocktail

Bread is another fantastic option to serve a large crowd. The bread will help to soak up all of the delicious flavors of your seafood side dishes.

Saltine Crackers

You could also use saltine crackers, which are a classic pairing for shrimp cocktails.

They make a delicious meal and you can pair the saltine crackers with a regular shrimp cocktail or a garlic shrimp or Mexican shrimp cocktail dish.

Garlic Bread

You can’t go wrong with garlic bread. The savory and buttery flavors of garlic bread will pair nicely with the shrimp cocktail. Plus, it’s a great way to soak up any extra sauce.

Monkey Bread

If you’re a fan of bread then why not try a garlic and parmesan cheese monkey bread recipe as a side dish for your recipe. Monkey bread is tasty and will be a hit with your guests.

Garlic and Parmesan Bread

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is a great way to add some vegetables to your meal. Add a plate of Zucchini bread or a variety of bread side dishes to the buffet table to complement your shrimp cocktail dish.

Pasta Primavera

This light and refreshing pasta dish is the perfect accompaniment to a shrimp cocktail.

The bright flavors of the vegetables pair perfectly with the sweetness of the shrimp.

Side dishes such as pasta primavera are a great option if you’re looking for a healthier option. Try pairing pasta primavera with your favorite shrimp cocktail recipe.

Condiments to Go With Shrimp Cocktail

If you wish to add some condiments, flavors, or spices to create the perfect shrimp cocktail, maybe serve them with some of these great options:

  • Lemon wedges
  • Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, mint leaves, or cilantro
  • Spices such as Old Bay seasoning or paprika
  • Horseradish
  • Lime Juice
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Lime juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Chili powder
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Hot sauce

Best Fish Taco Toppings

More Side Dishes for Shrimp

If you haven’t found a flavorful dish that tickles your fancy then maybe try one of the following. These delicious food options are fantastic when paired with your seafood cocktail dish.

  • Coleslaw
  • Fried okra
  • Green beans
  • Sweet corn
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Baked potato
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Sauteed spinach
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers
  • Eggplant Parmesan
  • Squash casserole
  • Zucchini
  • Green Fried Tomatoes

What Can I Serve With Shrimp Besides Cocktail Sauce?

There are many other options for sauces to accompany your shrimp cocktail other than the classic cocktail sauce.

Sriracha mayo, ketchup, chili garlic sauce, horseradish, and barbecue sauce are all great options. You could even try making your sauces with different combinations of these ingredients.

Another great option is to serve the shrimp with a dipping sauce on the side. This way, everyone can choose their favorite flavor sauce to use.

Many different sauces would be great for dipping, such as ranch dressing, honey mustard, and Thousand Island dressing.

Check out these Shrimp Cucumber Appetizers

What Is Thousand Island Dressing?

Thousand Island dressing is a salad dressing that is made with mayonnaise, ketchup, and relish. It’s a great option for those who are looking for a healthier sauce to accompany their seafood dish.

If you’re looking for an even healthier option, try using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise with your Thousand Island dressing.

What Is Thousand Island Dressing

What to Drink With Shrimp Cocktail?

There are so many great drinks that go well with a shrimp cocktail. The acidity in the cocktail sauce pairs nicely with a light and refreshing white wine.

Try serving with a Riesling, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc.

If you prefer red wine, a Beaujolais or Pinot Noir would be a good choice.

For those who don’t drink alcohol, try serving your shrimp cocktail with sparkling water or fruity juice. Cranberry juice or grapefruit juice are both excellent options.

what to drink with shrimp cocktail delicious cranberry juice in a glass

What Does Seafood Pair Well With?

If you’re looking for more seafood pairing ideas, check out this list of some of the most popular seafood dishes and their matching side dishes.

Baked Salmon – Rice, potatoes, vegetables

Grilled shrimp – Salad, rice, potatoes, vegetables

Crab legs – potatoes, corn on the cob, salad

Lobster – potatoes, vegetables, salad

Clams – pasta, potatoes, corn on the cob

Scallops – rice, potatoes, vegetables

Mussels – pasta, potatoes, corn on the cob

As you can see, there are a variety of delicious options to choose from when it comes to what to serve with seafood.

seafood and salad

Best Time to Serve Shrimp?

If you’re looking to serve shrimp, the best time to do so is within two hours of cooking. This will ensure that the shrimp are fresh and at their peak flavor.

You can store them in the refrigerator for up to three days. If you need to store them for longer than that, it’s best to freeze them.

What to Serve With Shrimp Cocktail

When it comes to deciding what to serve with a shrimp cocktail dish, there are endless possibilities and many foods to choose from.

Grab a large bowl, get the lime juice and dressings out of the fridge and go to town creating a tasty side dish and recipe.

Whether serving to a large crowd or as a family meal, the most important thing is to choose dishes that you know everyone will love.

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