Posted in Recipes

Recipe: My Father’s Shrimp Cocktail

In my ‘Foodstuffs’ featuring Heinz Salad Cream , I promised I would post two family recipes that use the product. The first, which I posted a little while ago, was a Potato Salad I learned from my mother and the second, which I will be sharing with you here, is for my father’s Shrimp Cocktail. Actually, although the way I now make potato salad is pretty much exactly the way my mother does, I have changed my father’s recipe slightly over the years. It is still very tasty though, and very easy to make…

The Ingredients

  • 200g Tiny cocktail Shrimp (canned or frozen)
  • 5-6 leaves of lettuce
  • 1/3 cup Heinz Salad Cream
  • 2 tbsp. Ketchup
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Prepared Horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. Hot Pepper Sauce
  • Pinch of dried Parsley for garnishing

The amount of shrimp I have used here is intended for just my wife and me but my father would normally use this amount for four people since he typically served the cocktail as an appetizer to start a meal with several courses. He also used Heinz Chili Sauce as part of his recipe but I have never done so, as I don’t think it adds a lot to the end result.  Also, where he would use Tabasco sauce, I have used a similar product (Frank’s Hot Sauce) that I like better. You can use any equivalent you like but just make sure that it is a basic chili sauce without a lot of other flavoring ingredients.

As for the cocktail sauce ingredients, the amounts I have given are approximations. Indeed, I actually had a bit of a hard time deciding on what quantities to specify as I have never ever measured the amounts before. Rather, I have always just added the individual ingredients one by one, testing it as I go along, until the mixture looks and tastes just right. Just use my amounts as a basic guideline and then adjust the various flavorings as you see fit. For the hot sauce, I would recommend adding just a half-teaspoon or so at first and then gradually increasing the amount until you reach the degree of heat you prefer.

The Method

First, shred the lettuce leaves to provide a bed for the shrimp. Next, pour the salad cream into a small bowl. Add the ketchup, then the horseradish, and finally the hot sauce, tasting as you go along and adjusting the various ingredients to suit your taste. Most seafood cocktail sauces use quite a lot of horseradish to achieve their characteristic taste and you can increase the amount I have used if you like.

Next, lay a bed of lettuce in appropriate dishes or other receptacles (my father always used wineglasses) and divide the shrimp evenly amongst them, distributing them attractively over the lettuce. Finally spoon over the cocktail sauce, garnish with a little sprinkle of parsley and… Voila, there you have it!

The Verdict

Well, there were no surprises here… The amounts I used resulted in pretty much the same basic taste I usually expect and it was as good as ever. I like the sauce quite spicy hot and you may wish to tone it down a little but I think you will enjoy playing around with the basic recipe and I would love to hear how you make out…


I am a lawyer by profession and my practice is Criminal... I mean, I specialize in Criminal law. My work involves travelling on Court circuits to remote Arctic communities. In between my travels I write a Food blog at

9 thoughts on “Recipe: My Father’s Shrimp Cocktail

  1. I remember visiting family in Britain when I was younger and falling in love with Heinz Salad Cream and being so sad that I couldn’t buy it in the US at the time. Fortunately, I can usually find it here in the Netherlands now and I think I might just make this for dinner tonight! Now if only I had the shrimp that my grandfather used to catch in Florida. 🙂

  2. A few years ago when we had our French restaurant, a close friend brought her elderly Father in for dinner. For him fine dining started out with shrimp cocktail. It wasn’t on our menu but I made a quick run to a convenience store for Heinz ketchup. Then using a similar recipe to yours whipped up some seafood sauce, poached the shrimp and served him up his special shrimp cocktail. Virginia

    1. Good save! I usually have the makings on hand… I especially like the very tiny shrimp for this cocktail. They are really sweet. Also, although I forgot to mention it in my post, I often use the ‘liquor’ thrown off by the frozen shrimp to dilute the sauce to the correct consistency… it adds extra flavour!

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