Easy Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with Sriracha Cocktail Sauce

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This Grilled Shrimp Cocktail Recipe features a Spicy Sriracha Cocktail Sauce that is easily adaptable. Perfect for cookouts, tailgating, parties, and holidays!

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail served with a Spicy Sriracha Cocktail Sauce
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Forget those store-bought ready-made shrimp cocktails. This one is jam packed with flavor, and super easy to make on the grill. This grilled shrimp cocktail is ready in minutes and the homemade cocktail sauce will make your friends demand the recipe.


  • Shrimp – We like our grilled shrimp cocktail to be larger in size. Buy 16/20 or 21/25 shrimp (or larger). This can also work with prawns. Save yourself time and buy them pre-cleaned and deveined (but not cooked).
  • Seasoning – You can use any seasoning you like on seafood. We are using our ultimate homemade dry rub which is sugar, salt, and spices. Our seafood seasoning is equally delicious and has no added sugar.
  • Lime – We like to grill a half a lime for the earthy flavored juice and add to the cocktail sauce.
  • Ketchup – The base of the cocktail sauce is a good ketchup.
  • Sriracha – The spicy flavor and acidity balance well with the sweeter ketchup.
  • Horseradish – Adds a spicy kick and texture. We recommend extra hot versus the cream.

A Note On Shrimp Sizing: Shrimp is going to come in many sizes. The size of the shrimp will dictate how many shrimp per pound you will get. When you see a number like 26/30 shrimp, that refers to getting 26 – 30 shrimp per pound on average.


How to peel and devein shrimp

  1. Rinse shrimp.
  2. Hold shrimp by tail and remove the legs and shell. Holding the tail will keep the tail on.
  3. Using a sharp knife, slice down the backside of the shrimp.
  4. Look for a white or black vein, and lift with your knife.
  5. Slowly pull the entire vein out of shrimp
  6. Rinse again and be sure dry before adding to the grill.
How to peel and devein shrimp in four photos.

Do I have to peel and devein shrimp?

No, you do not have to peel and devein shrimp, it is a preference. You can also cook the shrimp with shells on or off. We like to remove the shell in order to get the dry rub flavor on the shrimp for maximum flavor.

Cocktail Sauce

Mix ketchup with horseradish and sriracha and a squeeze of grilled lime juice. If it’s too spicy then add more ketchup.

You can also adapt it by adding your favorite hot sauce instead of sriracha. Most store-bought ketchups are too sweet for my palate, so I like to balance them with something spicy and finish with citrus (like grilled lime).

Another key item to cocktail sauce is using horseradish, not the creamy kind, specifically the extra hot horseradish. This sauce is very easy to adjust and adapt to your flavor preferences.

Chefs Tip

Shrimp needs to be dry before seasoning or grilling. Be sure the shrimp is thawed, rinsed, cleaned and completely dry before seasoning and grilling.

How to Grill Shrimp

  1. Preheat Grill: Prepare your grill for direct grilling targeting 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure the grill grates are hot before grilling.
  2. Prep Shrimp: Skewer prepared shrimp with metal skewers. This is the quickest way to grill them, and also ensure none of the shrimp sneak through the grill grates. Season shrimp with dry rub on both sides.
  3. Grill: Place your shrimp over direct heat on the grill grates for up to 3 – 4 minutes per side. Remove and serve with the cocktail sauce immediately.

Optional: While the shrimp grills, add your lime halves (to be used in the cocktail sauce).

Wine Pairing for Grilled Shrimp Cocktail

You want something sweet or refreshing to balance out the spicy nature of the dish. Avoid red wines with grilled shrimp cocktail, they will present very hot from the spice and mute the flavors of the wine.

This has a big flavor punch from both the dry rub and the cocktail sauce. I recommend sticking with something slightly sweet (and even bubbly) like a semi-dry Riesling,

Grilled Shrimp dipped in a spicy cocktail sauce.

Or stick with a bold fruity rosé from Spain or Washington State. Avoid the sweeter Provençal style.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is shrimp done?

The ideal internal temperature for shrimp is 120 degrees F or just after they turn pink. If the shrimp constricts, that is the sign they are overcooked and can get rubbery. When the shrimp is white and no longer opaque is a good sign visibly that it is done. The USDA recommends 145 degrees F and if you don’t trust your supplier then cook to the USDA recommended temperature.

How do i thaw frozen shrimp

If the only shrimp you can find is frozen you can thaw within 30 minutes. Remove the frozen shrimp from the bag and place in a colander. Run cold water over the shrimp, occasionally rotate so the water is running over all the shrimp. They should thaw within 30 minutes. Be sure to dry thoroughly.

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail served on a platter with spicy cocktail sauce.


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About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail served with a Spicy Sriracha Cocktail Sauce
5 from 3 votes

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with Sriracha Cocktail Sauce

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail features a Spicy Sriracha Cocktail Sauce that is easily adaptable. Perfect for cookouts, parties, and holidays!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


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  • 1 pound 16/20 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons ultimate dry rub
  • 1 lime, cut in half

Sriracha Cocktail Sauce

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • ½ tablespoon extra hot horseradish
  • ½ grilled lime (from above), juiced


  • Preheat Grill: Prepare grill for direct cooking using lump charcoal. Target 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Prep Shrimp: Rinse and dry peeled and deveined shrimp and place them onto skewers. If wood skewers, be sure to soak them first for at least an hour in water. Season shrimp with dry rub on both sides.
  • Grill Shrimp: Place shrimp on the grill over direct heat when the charcoal is ready, and cook for four minutes per side or until the internal temperature of the shrimp reads 120 degrees Fahrenheit using an instant-read thermometer.
    Concurrently place lime over direct heat, flesh side down, for 8 – 10 minutes or until grill marks appear. Use half of the lime to squeeze over the grilled shrimp when they are finished. Use the other half for the sriracha cocktail sauce.

Sriracha Cocktail Sauce

  • In a small bowl mix ketchup, sriracha, horseradish, and the juice of half of a grilled lime. Adjust flavors to your preferences.


For extra heat to the cocktail sauce, consider using 1 full tablespoon of horseradish. It will add a great kick. For the recipe we recommend starting with 1/2 tablespoon, then taste to adjust. We like the kick, so we typically add a full tablespoon. 


Calories: 28kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 143IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 28
Keyword: Grilled Shrimp Cocktail, grilled shrimp recipes, spicy cocktail sauce, sriracha cocktail sauce
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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. 5 stars
    I’m so glad this recipe calls for extra spicy horseradish because that’s the only kind I had in my fridge! I tried this last night and it’s a new family favorite! Thanks for sharing!