ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Perfect Prawn Cocktail Recipe: An Easy Prawn Starter with An Extra Special Kick

Updated on January 4, 2016
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Prawn Cocktail PicturesPrepare PrawnsPrawns are cooked when floating and pinkBuild your cocktailLayer lettuce, sauce, prawns, sauceAdd lemon
Prawn Cocktail Pictures
Prawn Cocktail Pictures | Source
Prepare Prawns
Prepare Prawns | Source
Prawns are cooked when floating and pink
Prawns are cooked when floating and pink | Source
Build your cocktail
Build your cocktail | Source
Layer lettuce, sauce, prawns, sauce
Layer lettuce, sauce, prawns, sauce | Source
Add lemon
Add lemon | Source

Make and Rate

4 stars from 2 ratings of Prawn Cocktail

The Prawns

The prawns you choose for this starter makes the difference between a good prawn cocktail and a perfect prawn cocktail. Generally frozen prawns are better quality from the fish counter in your local supermarket chain rather than the frozen food section. Your local fishmonger is an even better choice if you're lucky enough to have one.

Making Your Prawn Cocktail:


  • Frozen prawns
  • Sea salt
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 small red chili
  • A handful of fresh parsley
  • A crushed garlic clove


  • Bring 500 ml of water to the boil in a deep bottomed pan.
  • Add in a good pinch of sea salt.
  • Add in the lime juice, chili and crushed garlic.
  • Lastly add the parsley and the prawns.
  • Slow simmer for 10 minutes.
  • The prawns will turn a blushing pink and float on the surface when cooked through.

Cook's Tip:

  • Medium sized (40/60) frozen prawns in their shell are the best prawns for this dish. Don't go for really small prawns they get lost among the salad leaf and sauce. Allow 8 to 10 prawns per person for a decent starter portion.
  • Remove the black line ie digestive tract; it is easier to remove when the prawns are slighlty thawed rather than frozen or defrosted because the digestive tract is not soft like it is when the prawn is defrosted. Gently pull the head forward: you will see the tip of the line; using a tweezers grip the line and slowly pull it out. Of course if you have a prawn deveiner or a shrimp knife use that. A deveiner is a great tool and well worth the investment. A shrimp knife is an excellent tool to. When using either the deveiner or the knife tool the prawns are better defrosted.

A Shrimp Knife is a Cool Tool: this shrimp knife takes the hassle out of deveining prawns

The Cocktail Sauce

While your prawns are simmering get on with the sauce. Your ingredients must be precise. The following will serve two portions:


  • 3 tbs of good quality full fat mayonnaise (low fat is a no, no)
  • A dash of tabasco sauce
  • The juice of one large lime (add more or less to your taste)
  • 1 tbs thick tomato ketchup
  • 10 ml of a good quality brandy (do not be tempted to use a cheap brandy, it will ruin this sauce)
  • 10 ml of double cream, lightly whipped
  • Paprika to dust
  • Lime or lemon wedge to garnish


  • Mix all the ingredients as listed, (except the paprika and lime) to a smooth even paste.
  • Take care when adding in the cream, fold rather than mix.
  • You want a nice shiny, thick substantial cocktail sauce: cover the mixture with cling film and leave in the fridge till required.
  • This mix can also be altered to your taste, for example adding a little more tabasco if you like more of a kick or more brandy if you fancy more of a punch.

Back to The Prawns

Be careful not to overcook the prawns. Over cooked prawns are rubbery, dry and lack flavor. Pay attention as they will cook quite quickly, even slightly over cooked prawns will lose texture.

You want juicy mouth watering prawns for the perfect prawn cocktail. Remember: cook on a slow simmer and once the prawns turn a blushing pink and begin to float they are cooked.

  • Strain the prawns, cover and leave to sit for a further 5 minutes.
  • Peel the prawns; remove the head first and work your way carefully down the body of the prawn till all the shell is removed.
  • Give the prawns a quick rinse under a tepid running tap.
  • Gently pat dry with kitchen paper or a t-towel.
  • Squeeze over a little lime juice.

Layer your ingredients
Layer your ingredients
Dust with paprika
Dust with paprika

Assembling The Cocktail

  • Use a glass to serve your prawn cocktail; make sure it's wide enough to access the prawns. Long handled spoons are a great buy and really work well with this starter.
  • Wash and shred fresh crisp lettuce, cos lettuce works well.
  • Put the prawns in a bowl, add a dollop of the sauce, and mix to lightly coat the prawns.
  • Put a little lettuce in the glass add a couple of prawns and spoon over some sauce, continue layering.
  • Make sure the last layer is cocktail sauce.
  • Sprinkle over a dusting of paprika.
  • Serve with a lime or lemon wedge.

Prawn Cocktail Low Down

  • A prawn cocktail makes an excellent starter for all occasions.
  • A larger portion served with buttered brown bread makes a fabulous light supper.
  • Don't be tempted to use low fat mayonnaise, it is not the same.
  • This cocktail sauce mix can be altered to suit individuals tastes: adding more or less of each ingredient to make it your own.
  • Serving the prawn cocktails in a glass adds a little glamour and turns a simple starter into something of show stopper.

Calorie Count for The Perfect Prawn Cocktail Recipe:

  • 1 tbs of mayo = 90 calories
  • 1/2 a tbs of ketchup = 30 calories
  • 5 ml of double cream = 15 calories
  • 5 ml of brandy (has an average) = 10 calories
  • Your cocktail sauce based on half the mix = 145 calories
  • The average prawn = 6 to 8 calories
  • Based on 10 prawns at 7 calories each, this starter = 215 calories

Cook's Tip:

  • You can assemble the prawn cocktails and leave covered in the fridge for up to 30 minutes before serving (longer than this and they get too cold for my preference). When you take them from the fridge leave for 5 mins before serving.
  • Choose a dry but fruity chilled white wine to accompany this dish. A sparkling Cava works very well too, especially at Christmas.

© 2011 Gabriel Wilson


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      5 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      The best thing about good food is sharing :) hope you enjoy.

    • Easy-tasty-recipe profile image


      5 years ago

      Oh my myyy...Sound great.

      thanks for sharing :)

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      8 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hope you enjoy :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      8 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Yummy!!! I'll have to try this. Bookmark for later use. Thanks for sharing.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      It sounds fabulously yummy! Why oh why did I have to read this in the wee hours when the good shops are closed!

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      9 years ago

      Boy does this sound yummy!

    • tnderhrt23 profile image


      9 years ago

      This sounds absolutely fabulous!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)