A store bought shrimp cocktail platter is a timeless appetizer—but I’ve certainly also eaten one for dinner, set right there on the coffee table, paired with a Martini. It’s so simple—boiled or steamed shrimp, usually arranged in a circle around a dish of cocktail sauce with a couple of lemon wedges. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be great. As long as the shrimp is firm and the sauce is zesty, I’m pretty happy. But some brands of shrimp cocktail are better than others—and, if you have that knowledge, shouldn’t you only choose the best shrimp cocktail platter to serve guests or yourself?
We tasted six different brands of shrimp cocktail available at grocery stores—including the much beloved shrimp cocktail at Costco—and found that only two were worth recommending. We were looking for high quality shrimp that not only have a good, firm texture but also taste like shrimp (but not too much like shrimp); flavorful, horseradishy cocktail sauce; and an aesthetically pleasing display. If you can just thaw a shrimp tray, remove the top, and set it out, all the better. Here’s the best shrimp cocktail to buy at the grocery store.
- Sam’s Choice Cocktail Shrimp with Sauce
I’ll say this for the Sam’s Choice shrimp cocktail appetizer: You certainly get a lot of shrimp! For under $10, you get 38 shrimp, nestled together in a lovely circle around some pretty darn good cocktail sauce. It’s tangy and bright and zingy and very horseradishy without any spice, so even the spice-averse can enjoy it. And you get a lot of sauce, too. The shrimp are small but firm, and they have just a hint of shrimp flavor so you’re not just tasting the cocktail sauce. This is a good, basic shrimp cocktail. And it’s the best shrimp cocktail platter to buy if you don’t have a Costco membership, which brings us to the number one best shrimp cocktail to buy.
Credit: Merc / Walmart
- Kirkland Signature Shrimp Cocktail
In the search for the best shrimp cocktail, Costco ran away with the win. The $15 shrimp cocktail at Costco includes over a pound of big, plump shrimp, plus a big cup of cocktail sauce and even a couple of lemon slices. The shrimp cocktail at Costco is fresh—not frozen and thawed. Perhaps that gives it an unfair advantage, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still the best shrimp cocktail platter to buy at a grocery store. It tastes like shrimp that you made yourself—it’s that fresh. The cocktail sauce is tangy and very light on the horseradish (but sometimes that’s good for a crowd). The only negative is that the shrimp are perfectly arranged in a circle. You’ll have to do that yourself if you want that classic shrimp cocktail platter presentation. I will definitely be serving this shrimp cocktail appetizer at parties going forward—and buying it to eat at home. The leftovers are great on salads.
Credit: Merc / Costco
Best of the Best
Other store bought shrimp cocktail brands we tried: Waterfront Bistro Cocktail Shrimp with Sauce, Kroger Cocktail Shrimp with Sauce, Good & Gather Cooked Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce, Sun Harvest Cocktail Shrimp with Sauce