This tropical shrimp cocktail has a fruit-based sauce that is fresh, sweet, tangy, and mildly spicy.
The tropical cocktail sauce uses frozen pineapple and mango that have been thawed, so it will always be sweet and ripe any time of year. Fresh pineapple and mango can also be used when they are in season. Garlic and fresh jalapeno pepper add in savory notes. It comes together quickly with the help of a food processor.
This cocktail sauce, while thick, is a little “saucier” than a salsa so that it clings well to the shrimp, but it can easily be made to be more like a chunky salsa by either pulsing the ingredients less in the food processor, or by finely dicing the ingredients by hand.
Choosing And Cooking Shrimp
Jumbo-sized shrimp or larger is perfect for shrimp cocktail. One pound of jumbo shrimp will typically yield about 21 to 25 shrimp, so depending on how many you offer to each person, you could easily serve six to eight.
My preferred method for shrimp cocktail is cooking the shrimp straight from frozen. If doing this, make sure you’ve bought peeled and deveined shrimp. I like ones with the tails still on though, because then you’ve got built in little handles.
You can also use pre-cooked shrimp, either frozen or thawed, from the seafood section of the grocery store. If using the pre-cooked shrimp, thaw them first (if frozen), and then sprinkle with a little bit of cold water and a little bit of salt to season the shrimp, which were most likely steamed or poached in plain water before being packaged and will not have any flavor.
Making The Tropical Cocktail Sauce
To make the cocktail sauce, add the thawed mango, pineapple, jalapeno, red onion, tomato, garlic, salt, and cilantro to the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment. Cover and pulse five to seven times, or until the ingredients are well minced and saucy, with some small pieces remaining.
Transfer the cocktail sauce to a medium bowl, then cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. This resting time will allow the salt to draw out some of the moisture in the fruit and vegetables, making it easier to cling to the shrimp when dipping.
The sauce can also be heated and served with warm sauteed shrimp, grilled or baked chicken, pan-fried fish, and even goes well with beef kabobs. It can also be used as a dip for chips or crackers.
Serving Tropical Shrimp Cocktail
The cocktail sauce can be served in a decorative bowl with cooked and cooled shrimp all around, or placed into individual serving cups or glasses with a few shrimp hooked onto the side of the glass. Garnish with finely chopped fresh pineapple and cilantro and enjoy!Print
Tropical Shrimp Cocktail Recipe
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Rest Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6–8 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Mix
- Cuisine: American
This tropical twist on shrimp cocktail is fresh and sweet, with a little heat.
Garnish with finely chopped pineapple and cilantro.
- 2 cups frozen mango chunks, thawed
- 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks, thawed
- ½ small jalapeno, seeded, roughly chopped
- ½ small red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 (2-inch round) tomatoes, seeded, roughly chopped
- 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 lb. cooked, peeled, deveined, jumbo shrimp
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add mango, pineapple, jalapeno, red onion, tomato, garlic, salt, and cilantro.
- Cover and pulse until ingredients are saucy with some small pieces remaining. Mixture will be thick.
- Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes; sauce will thin slightly as salt draws out moisture from ingredients.
- Serve cold with cooked and cooled shrimp.
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