Cajun shrimp that’s delicious, packed with flavor, and only takes 15 minutes to make is the perfect dinner. The shrimp is pan fried after marinating in cajun seasoning then it’s served with a spicy homemade cocktail sauce and fresh lemon juice.Jump to Recipe
Why You’ll Love this Cajun Shrimp Cocktail
- Don’t have a lot of time to make dinner on a weeknight? Don’t worry this recipe only takes 15 minutes.
- The cajun style shrimp and cocktail sauce are completely homemade. Don’t worry about added ingredients or spending extra money for pre-made items.
- It’s the perfect finger food to be served as an appetizer at a party. Serve this at your next creole dinner party.
- Just because it’s cajun doesn’t mean it has to be spicy. If you have kids you can easily adjust the spiciness in this dish by reducing the amount of cayenne, hot sauce, and horseradish.
What is Cajun Seasoning?
Cajun style seasoning is a delicious seasoning that comes from Louisiana and is commonly used in New Orleans. There are so many ways to make it but the most common ingredients you’ll find are paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano.
Some versions of cajun seasoning are incredibly spicy while others are more mild. Some cajun seasonings include salt while others don’t. This recipe is more on the mild side, however, if you have kids I would consider leaving out or reducing the cayenne.
A good cajun seasoning has the perfect blend of all flavors. If you’re looking to save time with this recipe, use a store-bought pre-made blend instead. Just keep in mind that these can be salty and spicy so do a taste test before covering your shrimp.
The Ingredients to Make Cajun Shrimp Cocktail
Cajun Seasoning Blend
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- black pepper
- hot sauce
- vegetable oil
- fresh lemon
Can I Use Store-bought Cocktail Sauce?
If you’re looking for a quick and convenient way to serve the meal then of course you can use cocktail sauce. But I rarely find that many people have this in their fridge unless they’re just eating seafood a lot. If this is you, then I recommend using up what you already have.
On the other hand, if you don’t have cocktail sauce in your fridge, I think it’s more probable that you have ketchup or hot sauce. That’s most of the ingredients right there. The only other thing you need is prepared horseradish which is an extremely versatile ingredient that can be used for more than just cocktail sauce.
Making it homemade is more affordable and it tastes absolutely delicious. You won’t be able to tell between this one and a store-bought variety. Say no to artificial flavors and ingredients and make this instead! It’s only three ingredients.
Choosing The Best Shrimp for Cajun Shrimp Cocktail
If you’re not used to buying shrimp you may be overwhelmed by all the different types you can buy. There are many different sizes to choose from, cooked, raw, shell on, peeled, the list goes on. If you’re looking for the best shrimp to use for cajun shrimp cocktail, I’m here to help!
For this recipe I recommend going with a medium or large shrimp. As shrimp cooks it reduces in size. If you look at the shrimp and think it’s small in its raw state, it’s only going to get smaller so consider sizing up.
I like to go with shrimp with the peel on but this is personal preference. I peel the shrimp myself and leave the tail on. If you’re looking to save time, there’s no problem with going for the peeled shrimp. You may find that peeled shrimp are a tad more expensive. The only other thing you may run into is that some peeled shrimp may be mangled or broken.
Whether you want to go with fresh or frozen is up to you. I have made this recipe with both and find that they both work great. If you choose frozen, be sure to let the shrimp thaw completely before peeling and adding the cajun seasoning. Stay away from cooked shrimp. You can’t season and cook cooked shrimp without completely overcooking it and making it taste like rubber.
How to Make Cajun Shrimp Cocktail
Step 1: Rinse the shrimp with water to remove any excess fish flavor. Let any excess water drip off and add to a mixing bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl add all of the cajun spices and mix well until fully combined. Pour the cajun seasoning over the shrimp and stir until all shrimp are covered. Set aside and let marinate while you prepare the cocktail sauce.
Step 2: In a small bowl add ketchup, horseradish, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Stir until well combined. Give it a taste test to make sure it’s how you like it. Want more spice? Add more horseradish and or hot sauce. Place in the refrigerator until the shrimp is done.
Step 3: In a skillet heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium to medium high heat. I like to cook at a higher heat so the spices blacken and caramelize as the shrimp cooks. Once the oil is heated add the shrimp. Cook for about 1-2 minutes per side or until the entire shrimp is firm and pink. Once done, remove the shrimp from the skillet and serve with the cocktail sauce. Top with parsley and fresh lemon juice or lemon wedges (optional).
Storing the Cajun Shrimp Cocktail
The cooked cajun shrimp can be stored in a sealed container in a refrigerator for about 3-4 days. Store the cocktail sauce in a sealed container for up to a week in the refrigerator. If you have extra cajun cocktail sauce, you can store in the freezer in an air tight container for up to 6 months.
The Best Cajun Shrimp Cocktail
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 lb raw medium shrimp peeled with the tails left on
- Parsley and green onion for garnish
- Lemon slices
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 3-4 dashes of hot sauce
- In a small bowl combine all the ingredients for the cajun seasoning and mix until fully combined. Coat the shrimp with the cajun seasoning and stir well making sure all shrimp are equally covered.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat with the vegetable oil. Once the oil is heated add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is fully cooked and pink. This will take about 4-5 minutes. As the shrimp cooks stir occasionally so all shrimp cook evenly. Remove from heat set aside.
- Prepare the cocktail sauce by adding ketchup, horseradish, and hot sauce to a small bowl. Stir until fully combined.
- Serve the shrimp with the cocktail sauce, parsley and/or green onion, and lemon slices