A Glug of Oil

Easy and delicious recipes including midweek dinner ideas, English and world cuisine.

Prawn Cocktail Sauce

Prawn Cocktail, also known as Shrimp Cocktail in the US

Perfect last-minute starter for Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving. 

Prawn cocktail sauce - known as shrimp in the US

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*Post updated December 2023

You can even make mini ones - good for party food!

Prawn cocktail was around in the '70s and '80s when it was very popular as a starter dish, but with that said it's still served to this day.

Old-fashioned it may be, but I love prawn cocktails, then again, is there much I don't like in the way of food - possibly not! With that said you will still find it on restaurant menus to this day.

What's the difference between prawn cocktail sauce and Marie rose sauce?

Prawn cocktail sauce is also known as Marie Rose Sauce or seafood sauce so they are pretty much the same thing and both are super easy to make.

Thousand Island dressing is different and usually contains finely chopped capers and gherkins. 

Of course, you can use it to make a thousand island-dressing prawn cocktail rather than this.

All you do is mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl - no cooking is involved!

Prawn cocktail sauce - seafood sauce.

Wondering what is prawn cocktail sauce made of?

Here are the ingredients

  • tomato ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cooked prawns (shrimp)
  • iceberg lettuce
  • lemon wedges

Put some prawns on top of the lettuce. There's no need to fuss with exact measurements - just taste as you go and add a bit more of whatever you feel it needs.

So the amounts in my recipe are a guide - you can make any amount you wish.

How long does prawn cocktail sauce keep? 

You can make your prawn cocktail in advance, the sauce will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days if kept in an air-tight food container.

However, to make it in advance, keep the prawns separate from the sauce and mix them together just before serving.

Prawn cocktail - shrimp cocktail.

Oh, and by the way, prawn cocktail is actually rather nice served on top of a jacket potato!

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe card below!

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Yield: 2
Author: Jan Bennett
Prawn Cocktail Sauce

Prawn Cocktail Sauce

Back to the 60's, 70's and 80's good old Prawn Cocktail!
Prep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 Min


For the sauce
  • 4 heaped tablespoons of Hellmann's mayonnaise
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of Heinz tomato ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce - or to taste
  • dash of Tabasco sauce - or to taste
  • fresh lemon juice - to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
To serve
  • 2 handfuls of cooked prawns (shrimp)
  • baby sweet gem leaves - or shredded iceberg lettuce
  • lemon wedges
  • paprika - to sprinkle over before serving
  • freshly ground black pepper - to sprinkle over before serving


  1. In a medium-sized bowl mix the sauce ingredients together. The sauce should be lovely and bright in colour and taste nice and tangy.
  2. You may want to add a little more Worcestershire sauce, ketchup or tabasco sauce.
  3. Serve the sauce on top of the lettuce and prawns, sprinkling with a little more black pepper.
  4. Add a wedge of lemon on the side for squeezing over.
Did you make this recipe?
@aglugofoil # aglugofoil


  1. Great looking prawn cocktail Jan. I can't eat prawns unfortunately. When I first started working as a chef years and years ago,it was as the pastry Chef in the Old Orchard In in Nova Scotia. I was responsible for all the appetizers and desserts. Prawn Cocktail was one of the things I had to make. The Prawns came brined in these huge jars. I used to make the coctail sauce out of ketchup, horseradish and mayo. Not much has changed! I love your addition of chopped gerkins!

  2. The ultimate comfort food - wouldn't be the Christmas season without it! Crispy french bread a neccessity.....

  3. OH, did prawn cocktail go out of style? lol

    I've been eating this starter since you were in the Benny Hill show! ;)

  4. Looks wonderful! A great way to start any meal!

  5. Hi Jan ... I'm getting caught up on all my favorite blogs! I love prawn cocktail, and could eat it on a regular basis! I really like your cocktail sauce ... especially the capers! YUM! Happy New Year!

  6. A tasty way to enjoy shrimp!

    Happy New Year!

  7. I love prawn cocktail, and your sauce sounds super.

    Have a very Happy New Year.

  8. It has been a pleasure to get to know you over the past year Jan. I can't wait for 2009 and all that it will bring..with tasty dishes like this prawn cocktail as well. Have a safe and happy New Year!!

  9. would love to have some! :o) HAPPY NEW YEAR and here's to more lovely creations in 2009!

  10. HNY Jan. Can't go wrong with shrimp cocktail!

  11. Loving the prawn cocktail Jan. It's still a hit with me.
    Looks and sounds delicious.


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