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Party Ideas: 10 Cocktail Sauce and Seafood Recipes

Updated on April 24, 2012
Check out these party ideas and party foods!
Check out these party ideas and party foods!

Party Ideas and Party Foods: Seafood Sauce - Cocktail Sauce

My family eats lots of shrimp, blue crab, snow crab, stone crab claws, oysters, scallops, lobster, and fish, so I use many, many seafood recipes. In many cases, seafood recipes need a great sauce recipe to accompany the main dish. Think about it: What would a shrimp cocktail be without cocktail sauce or some other type of dipping sauce? A great seafood sauce recipe can liven up just about any type of seafood, and I’m always coming up with new sauces to serve with my seafood recipes. Any of the following sauce recipes can be served with boiled shrimp, as a shrimp cocktail sauce. Several of my sauce recipes are also good with other types of shrimp or seafood recipes. Sometimes, you just have to think outside the box to discover delicious new taste combinations. Try these shrimp sauces with more than just shrimp!

Party Ideas – Party Foods

The following sauce recipes and seafood recipes make great party foods. They’re great party ideas for cookouts, fish fries, Lowcountry boils, oyster roasts, and dinner parties. An important element of party foods is the presentation – how the dishes are served. Using some unique or even whimsical serving pieces makes your party foods more appealing. Get some great party ideas for serving from strolling the aisles of your local dollar store. Check out the margarita glasses, the wine glasses, the martini glasses, and the hurricane glasses. I’ve found that small sundae glasses can be wonderful party ideas for serving appetizers at dinner parties, especially for serving a shrimp cocktail. The sundae glasses I purchased have a scalloped edge, with six “dips” around the rim – perfect for holding six shrimp!

Try one of my shrimp sauces with grilled shrimp.
Try one of my shrimp sauces with grilled shrimp.
Cocktail sauce is great with blue crabs, too.
Cocktail sauce is great with blue crabs, too.

Classic Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

This is my go-to seafood sauce recipe. When we’re invited to oyster roasts and Lowcountry boils, I’m always asked to bring this sauce. My youngest daughter likes to eat this sauce with stone crab claws and steamed blue crabs. You might want to adjust the amount of grated horseradish in my recipe, in order to make your seafood sauce milder or hotter.

Classic Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe


½ cup Heinz ketchup

2 tablespoons grated horseradish

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions: Combine all ingredients, making sure sugar has dissolved. Store covered in fridge.

grilled redfish
grilled redfish

Cajun Seafood Sauce

This can serve as a general seafood sauce or as a shrimp cocktail sauce. We think it’s especially tasty eaten with grilled redfish. If you don’t have access to redfish, try it with any mild, lean fish. Also, try dipping blue crab meat in it. If you’re serving your seafood recipes with rice, you’ll be surprised at how good this is over rice.

Cajun Seafood Sauce Recipe


1 cup Heinz ketchup

2 tablespoons grated horseradish

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon dried basil

Directions: Blend together all ingredients. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator.


Southern Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

This shrimp cocktail sauce recipe combines traditional cocktail sauce with barbecue sauce. The Texas Pete and cayenne give it a kick, and the molasses adds sweetness to the combination of sauces. This is hubby’s fave of all my shrimp sauces, but he uses more horseradish. He likes his shrimp sauces to be HOT! This isn’t just good with shrimp, by the way. Try it with fried, roasted, or raw oysters, too.

Southern Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe


1 cup Heinz ketchup

¼ cup bottled barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons Texas Pete Hot Sauce

2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke

1 teaspoon cayenne

Directions: Combine all ingredients. Cover sauce and store in fridge until ready to use.

Orange – Bourbon Seafood Dipping Sauce

This is the perfect dipping sauce for coconut shrimp and grilled scallops - especially if you wrap bacon around the scallops before grilling. It’s also a tasty accompaniment to boiled shrimp, grilled shrimp, fried shrimp, fried scallops, and grouper or flounder fingers. The next time you broil a tilapia fillet, brush it with this dipping sauce to take the flavor up a notch.


Orange – Bourbon Seafood Dipping Sauce Recipe


½ cup orange marmalade

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon bourbon

1 tablespoon melted butter

Directions: Place orange marmalade in a microwave-safe dish and cook until marmalade is very soft. Blend in lemon juice, bourbon, and melted butter. Serve warm or at room temperature with seafood. Try it with chicken, too!

Spicy Mustard Cocktail Sauce

This is a wonderful cocktail sauce for stone crab claws, but we sometimes use it with roasted oysters, too. I think it would also be good with any baked, broiled, or grilled fish – especially lean fish like grouper, flounder, or tilapia. Actually, I tried it today as a shrimp cocktail sauce, and it earned a big thumbs up!

Use the mustard sauce for stone crab claws. Yummy!
Use the mustard sauce for stone crab claws. Yummy!

Spicy Mustard Cocktail Sauce Recipe


2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons sugar

½ cup prepared spicy brown mustard

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Pour lime juice into a small bowl. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Whisk in remaining ingredients.

Southwestern Cocktail Sauce

If you like Southwestern recipes, try this one! This cocktail sauce is bright and refreshing, with just a little smoky heat. It’s great with just about all seafood recipes. Sometimes I combine peeled, deveined, tails-removed boiled shrimp directly with the sauce to make sort of a Mexican shrimp cocktail. You might want to add some fresh chopped cilantro to my cocktail sauce recipe.


Southwestern Cocktail Sauce Recipe


½ cup Heinz ketchup

1 small tomato – peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chipotle powder

½ teaspoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon cayenne

¼ teaspoon cumin

Directions: Gently combine all ingredients. Serve as is or chilled.

Margarita Shrimp Cocktail

This is a great way to serve a shrimp appetizer! I use margarita glasses from the dollar store. If you like, you can add salt to the glass rims. When I have time, I sometimes place the glasses in the freezer for a few minutes to get them nice and cold before adding the shrimp cocktail. I’m not sure why, but I really like eating this shrimp cocktail by the pool in the summer.

Margarita Shrimp Cocktail Recipe


1 pound steamed or boiled shrimp

½ cup lime juice

½ cup orange juice

3 tablespoons corn oil

3 tablespoons tequila

2 teaspoons sugar

Salt, to taste

Lime slices for garnish

Chipotle powder, chili powder, or cayenne

Directions: Chill shrimp. Remove shells from shrimp, including tails. Split shrimp down back to remove veins. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Toss shrimp with fruit juices, oil, tequila, sugar, and salt. Place shrimp in margarita glasses and garnish with sliced lime. Sprinkle shrimp with chipotle, cayenne, or chili powder.

Seafood Parfait

This is a fun way to serve boiled shrimp and crab spread, and it's a big hit with kids who like seafood recipes. Depending on the size of the parfait glasses you use, this jazzed-up shrimp cocktail could serve as an appetizer or as light meal. If you prefer, you can add a few broiled scallops to the mix.

Seafood Parfait Recipe


4 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 ounces crab meat

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon seafood seasoning

Torn lettuce

Cocktail sauce

Boiled shrimp, peeled, shells and tails removed

Prepared horseradish sauce (mayonnaise type)

Sour cream

Grape or cherry tomatoes

Directions: Combine cream cheese, crabmeat, lemon juice, and seafood seasoning until well blended. Line the bottom of tall parfait glasses with lettuce. Add a layer of the crab spread. Add cocktail sauce. Add a layer of boiled shrimp and more cocktail sauce.

For topping, combine equal amounts of horseradish sauce and sour cream. Spoon a dollop on top of each parfait, and add a tiny tomato.

Shrimp Martini

Martinis are are-so-chic these days, so why not serve a shrimp martini – in a martini glass? Yes, they have a small amount of alcohol, so if you’re serving kids or teetotalers, you can leave out the vodka and add a little more citrus juice.

Martini Shrimp Cocktail Recipe


1/2 pound shrimp

2 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons sliced stuffed green olives

2 tablespoons vodka

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice (plus more for glass rim)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Old Bay seafood seasoning

Whole olives


Directions: Boil, peel, and devein shrimp. Toss with onion, olives, vodka, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Place shrimp in fridge to chill.

Dip rims of martini glasses in lemon juice, then into Old Bay seasoning. Spoon chilled shrimp into glasses and garnish with whole olives on toothpicks.

Dirty Martini Shrimp Spread

This is a great way to serve shrimp dip or shrimp spread at a party – in a martini glass! Of all the party ideas I’ve explored over the years, serving foods at different heights is one of my favorites. It makes the table and party foods look much more appealing. If you already have a good recipe for martini spread or for dirty martini spread, just add some chopped shrimp. To turn this into martini dip or dirty martini dip, just thin the recipe by adding more mayonnaise, more vodka, some lemon juice, and/or some vermouth.

Dirty Martini Shrimp Spread Recipe


6-8 ounces cooked shrimp

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons chopped stuffed green olives

1 tablespoon vodka

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne

Salt and pepper, to taste

Whole olives


Directions: Peel and devein shrimp. Chop finely. Combine chopped shrimp with cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, chopped olives, vodka, garlic, paprika, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Place spread into a martini glass and garnish with whole olives on picks. You might want to add a shrimp to the pick, too, in case you have guests who are allergic to shellfish. The shrimp will let them know to avoid the dish. Place the glass on tray or plate and surround base with crackers.

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