We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Prawn Cocktail?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Prawn cocktail is a type of hor d'hoeurve, or appetizer, that is very similar to shrimp cocktail. This seafood dish is made with prawns, however, instead of shrimp. These are usually mixed in with a side of sauce made from mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. This mixture is traditionally served on a bed of lettuce. Some modern chefs, however, also serve this shrimp dish over avocado chunks.

Technically, prawns are a type of shrimp, but their anatomies are somewhat different. Although prawns and shrimp are often thought to be the same, they are a little different. Prawns, for example, are usually larger than shrimp.

Prawn cocktail is a small seafood dish usually served before the start of a meal, as an appetizer or hor d'hoeurve. While shrimp cocktail sauce is usually served alongside the shrimp, prawn cocktail sauce is usually mixed in with the prawns. This mixture is then usually served in an attractive glass or bowl.

Fresh or frozen prawns can be used to make prawn cocktail. If the prawns are frozen, they should be thawed first, either in a refrigerator or in a large bowl of cold water. Uncooked prawns need to be cooked first, but pre-cooked prawns can simply be thawed.

Cooked prawns should be chilled in ice water or the refrigerator. The legs and shells of the pawns should then be removed. Any dark veins that run along the back and underside of the prawns are also removed. Some cooks prefer to leave the shells on a few of the chilled prawns, so they can be used as garnishes.

Mayonnaise is generally the base for prawn cocktail sauce. It is usually stirred together with ketchup, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Other ingredients, like lemon juice, garlic, pepper, or wine can also be added to the sauce.

Once the sauce is mixed thoroughly, it is usually poured over the prawns to coat them. A few lettuce leaves are then placed on the bottom or a glass bowl or goblet, and the prawns are served over the lettuce. Some cooks also cut an avocado into chunks and layer it between the lettuce and the prawns. The dish should be served chilled, and a lemon wedge or a plain prawn in its shell, with no sauce, can be added as a garnish.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.