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Kalyn's Kitchen

Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups

Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups are a delicious low-carb and gluten-free treat for dinner or game-day snacking. Use Lettuce Wraps to see more recipes like this one!

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Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups found on KalynsKitchen.com

I grew up with a wonderful dad who thought shrimp was about the best possible food, which might explain my own fondness for all things shrimp.  Another flavor I love is horseradish, the ingredient that gives that spicy kick to my low-sugar cocktail sauce.  This fun new recipe for Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups combines those ingredients in lettuce cups that would be a treat for a healthy low-carb dinner or game-day snack.When I tested out this recipe with Jake, we first mixed the cocktail sauce with the shrimp, celery, and green onion, but that watered down the sauce and we liked the lettuce wraps best with a dollop of sauce on top.  I know shrimp isn’t a very budget-friendly ingredient, but I can’t say enough about how delicious this was, so I hope you’ll splurge on it sometime when you’re in need of a low-carb treat!

But first, let’s talk a minute about the low-sugar cocktail sauce that makes this a low-carb recipe.  I was excited back on 2009 when I discovered Heinz Low-Sugar Ketchup (affiliate link). But that product contains Splenda and fast forward five years and now I’m trying to avoid artificial sweeteners. If you want low-sugar cocktail sauce with no artificial sweetener, you may have to visit a health food store to find a natural “no sugar added” ketchup for this recipe, but there are quite a few good brands. And I promise you, once you taste these lettuce wraps, that trip to another store will seem worth it!

(And if you don’t mind Splenda, go ahead and use the Heinz Low-Sugar Ketchup (affiliate link) with no judgements from me.  And no “foodie police” comments on this topic  please.)

Edit: Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups was featured in the Top Ten New Recipes of 2015 (plus Honorable Mentions).

Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups Recipe found on KalynsKitchen.com

Whisk together the low-sugar ketchup (affiliate link), mayo, lemon juice, and horseradish to make the cocktail sauce.  Cut up one pound of cooked shrimp into pieces.  Slice celery and chop green onions; then combine them with the shrimp in a bowl.  Cut a head of iceberg lettuce in half and make “cups” by peeling off 2-3 pieces of lettuce.  (I confess, I trim the edges with kitchen scissors to make nice-looking cups.

Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups Recipe found on KalynsKitchen.com

Fill the lettuce cup with desired amount of the shrimp/celery/onion mixture and top with a generous spoonful of sauce.

Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups found on KalynsKitchen.com

Seriously, I could eat this at least once a week and I’d never get tired of it!

More Lettuce Wraps or Cups:

Delicious Low-Carb and Keto Wraps with Lettuce, Collards, and Cabbage ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
The BEST Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Lettuce Wraps ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Turkey Picadillo Lettuce Wraps ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
The BEST Instant Pot Lettuce Wraps ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
King Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps ~ Iowa Girl Eats
Quick Sriracha-Beef Lettuce Wraps ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups

Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups would be delicious for dinner or game-day snacking.


Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup low-sugar ketchup or natural “no-sugar added” ketchup (get the ketchup with the least sugar you can find; see notes)
  • 1-2 T mayo
  • 1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (see notes)
  • 2-3 teaspoons cream-style horseradish, or more (start with a smaller amount and taste to see how hot you want it)

Lettuce Cup Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. frozen cooked shrimp, thawed overnight in the fridge and drained well
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1-2 heads iceberg lettuce


  1. Remove shrimp from the refrigerator and let drain in a colander placed in the sink.
  2. Whisk together the ketchup, 1 T mayo, lemon juice, and 2 tsp. horseradish; then taste the cocktail sauce to see if you want more mayo (to make it creamier) or more horseradish (to make it spicier.)
  3. Add more as desired until it’s as creamy/spicy as you like it.
  4. When shrimp have drained well, pat them dry with paper towels.
  5. Depending on what size shrimp you use, cut them into pieces as desired.  (I used 31-40 size shrimp and cut each one into three pieces.)
  6. Slice the celery into thin pieces and thinly chop enough green onion to make about 1/4 cup.
  7. Combine the shrimp, celery, and green onion in a bowl.
  8. Cut the iceberg lettuce in half, cut out the core, and discard any wilted or damaged outer leaves.
  9. Then peel off 2-3 pieces of lettuce at a time to form a “cup.”  (I sometimes use kitchen scissors to trim the lettuce if I can’t get a nicely-shaped cup.)
  10. You may have to use two heads of lettuce to get enough cups to eat this much shrimp because sometimes the inner parts of the lettuce are too compact to make cups; just save those parts for salad.
  11. Scoop desired amount of the shrimp mixture into each lettuce cup and top with a couple of spoonfuls of the cocktail sauce.
  12. Eat right away.
  13. You can keep the ingredients refrigerated separately if this makes more than you’ll eat at one time.


I used this low-sugar ketchup (affiliate link), but there are a few good brands. I love having fresh-frozen lemon juice for recipes like this.

This recipe created by Kalyn to satisfy her addiction to shrimp with cocktail sauce.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
It’s important to use low-sugar or no-sugar added ketchup if you’re making Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups for the South Beach Diet or you want it to be a Low-Carb dish. With that caution, this would be approved for any phase of South Beach or any other type of low-carb eating plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

Pinterest image of Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups

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    8 Comments on “Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups”

  1. Looks good Kalyn. Love horseradish-A wonderful way o kick up the flavor.


  2. Yes, I could eat this once a week, too. I love anything with shrimp!

  3. My mouth is watering just looking at this. Another great idea yet again!

    – Anne

  4. Thanks, hope you enjoy!

  5. This looks great! Thanks for sharing!