16-20 shrimp

Peel n’ Eat Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce

Nothing says summer like Peel n’ Eat Shrimp. I like to make it Maryland-style, simmered in beer and Old Bay with homemade cocktail sauce on the side. At my son’s request, it’s on our menu for Memorial Day, along with Crab Cakes with Tartar SauceCornbread Muffins and Buttered Corn on the Cob. What can I say? The kid’s got good taste.


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Peel n’ Eat Shrimp are as easy to make as they are fun to eat. Honestly, if you can boil water, you can make this dish. There’s very little prep work, and the only way to mess it up is to cook the shrimp too long.

Peel and eat shrimp 4

To minimize the amount of work, be sure to buy frozen shrimp marked “Shell Split and Deveined.” Then all you have to do is defrost it and you’re ready to go. Cooking the shrimp with the peel on keeps them nice and tender (plus, it’s less work for the cook).

Peel and eat shrimp 8

Begin by combining the beer, water, butter and Old Bay in a large pan. Bring to a boil.

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Add the shrimp, turn the heat down and cover. Cook for 3-6 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and still tender.

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Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a platter. Serve with beer, cocktail sauce and plenty of napkins.

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Peel n’ Eat Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce
Printable Recipe


2½ tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup beer
1 cup water
2 pounds extra large shrimp (26-30 per pound), shell split and deveined


Combine Old Bay, butter, beer and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and turn heat down to medium. Cover and cook, stirring once, for 3-6 minutes or until shrimp are pink. Keep an eye on it; if you overcook the shrimp, they’ll be tough. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to serving platter. Serve hot or cold with cocktail sauce.

Homemade Cocktail Sauce


6 tablespoons ketchup
½ tablespoon prepared horseradish (best quality, such as Boar’s Head or Ba-Tampte)*
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and add more of any ingredient if desired.

*Prepared horseradish can be found in the refrigerator aisle at your supermarket.


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