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Kalyn's Kitchen

Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce

Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce is wonderful for an appetizer or game-day eats, and when you make your own cocktail sauce you can control the carbs. Use Appetizers to find more recipes like this one.

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Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce top photo

I’m a huge fan of shrimp cocktail, and it’s something I’d never get tired of eating whether it was for an appetizer or as something to nibble on at a party. But traditional cocktail sauce has a fair amount of sugar for anyone who’s trying to pay attention the amount of carbs they are eating. That’s why I was happy when Reduced-Sugar Ketchup started showing up in grocery stores about 10 years ago. And now sugar-free ketchup (affiliate link) and reduced-sugar ketchup are both easy to find.

And using ketchup with less sugar to make your own cocktail sauce couldn’t be easier and you can control what goes into it so you know exactly how many carbs you’re consuming. And of course shrimp has barely any carbs, making Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce a treat you can enjoy often!


Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce original photo

What Are the Options for Sugar-Free and Low-Sugar Ketchup?

Traditional Ketchup has 5 carbs per tablespoon, so you definitely don’t want to eat that if you’re watching your carbs. I love the tomatoey flavor in G. Hughes Sugar-Free Ketchup (affiliate link) which has only 1 carb in a tablespoon, and that’s what I used for this recipe. Many grocery stores carry Heinz Reduced-Sugar Ketchup or Heinz No Sugar Added Ketchup (affiliate link) both of which also have only 1 carb per tablespoon. However, both G. Hughes and Heinz Reduced Sugar  and No Sugar Added ketchups (and others this low in carbs) contain Splenda.

I did find several options for low-sugar ketchups without artificial sweetener (affiliate link) if you’d prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners and don’t mind one (or sometimes two) more carbs per tablespoon. I also found a variety of natural ketchups without added sugar (affiliate link) which were also slightly higher in carbs. Any of these products will let you make cocktail sauce with considerably less sugar than if you used a traditional ketchup.

Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce process shots collage

How to Make Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Thaw shrimp over night in the refrigerator, (or inside the bag in lukewarm water will work in a pinch.)
  2. When they are thawed, let shrimp drain well, then pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Mix together ketchup and tomato paste. (Tomato paste is the highest carb ingredient, so use half the amount if you prefer.)
  4. Add lemon juice and horseradish, stir to combine, then taste to see if you want to add more lemon or horseradish. (I like it pretty sour and spicy, but some people may think the amount in the recipe is tangy enough.)
  5. Serve shrimp and cocktail sauce chilled.

Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce close-up photo

More Tasty Appetizers with Shrimp:

Low-Carb Shrimp Salad Cabbage Cups
Easy Low-Carb Shrimp Ceviche
Sheila’s Low-Carb Shrimp Dip
Shrimp Cocktail Lettuce Cups
Shrimp Cocktail with Creamy Sriracha Cocktail Sauce

(This recipe was first posted in 2008; latest update was in January 2020)

Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce

Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce is wonderful for game-day eats or as an appetizer for a nice meal, and when you make your own cocktail sauce you can control the amount of sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound frozen cooked shrimp, thawed (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (see notes)
  • 2 T tomato paste (see notes)
  • 1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tsp. cream-style horseradish (or more, to taste)

Instructions

  1. Do yourself a favor and buy large pre-cooked frozen shrimp for this recipe. (The ones at Costco are great.)
  2. Thaw shrimp over night in the refrigerator, (or inside the bag in lukewarm water will work in a pinch.)
  3. When they are thawed let shrimp drain well, then pat dry with paper towels.
  4. To make the easy low-sugar cocktail sauce, first mix together ketchup and tomato paste. (Tomato paste is the highest carb ingredient, so use half the amount if you don't mind a paler sauce with slightly less tomato flavor.)
  5. Add smaller amounts of lemon juice and horseradish, stir to combine, then taste to see if you want to add more lemon or horseradish. (I like it pretty sour and spicy, but some people may think the amount in the recipe is tangy enough.)
  6. Serve shrimp and cocktail sauce chilled.
  7. You can also make a traditional shrimp cocktail by layering chopped lettuce under diced shrimp mixed with cocktail sauce.

Notes

I used 31-40 size shrimp, so for the 6 servings this recipe makes that's about 5-6 shrimp per person. Use sugar-free ketchup, reduced-sugar ketchup, no-sugar added ketchup, or natural ketchup without artificial sweetener to make a cocktail sauce that's low in sugar. Even though it's used in small amounts, tomato paste (affiliate link) has seven carbs in one tablespoon. You may want to use only one tablespoon in this recipe if you don't mind a cocktail sauce that's slightly lighter in color and not as strongly tomato-flavored.

This recipe is one I came up with many years ago and it's dedicated to the memory of my wonderful father, who loved shrimp more than any other food! I made this regularly for dad when I went to cook for him.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 905mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 18g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

I'd love to see your pictures if you make this recipe. Share on social media with the hashtag #kalynskitchen so I can see how it turned out for you!


Shrimp on a platter with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce thumbnail photo

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce is a great dish for low-carb diet plans, and for any phase of the South Beach Diet. If you’re really limiting carbs, use some portion control on the sauce.

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

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    22 Comments on “Shrimp with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce”

  1. Jeanette, I created this recipe for my dad, who really liked it spicy! Glad you liked it.

  2. This recipe was great…but spicy!! I would use less horseradish next time maybe only 2 tsp. Thanks for the great recipe! Keep 'em coming!

  3. great photo…
    thank you …

  4. Wow, that looks fantastic. Seeing your picture is giving me a serious craving for shrimp.

  5. Anonymous, thanks for the nice feedback. This cocktail sauce is one of my personal favorites too!

  6. Hi Kalyn. Just wanted to say thanks in general for your blog. I’m back on South Beach (did it last year for about 6 months, went off, but have returned!) and this time am even more committed to healthy eating, especially low glycemic eating. I have to say that this cocktail sauce was fantastic, and it will definitely be a staple for my family in the future.

    And knowing your blog was here with so many good recipes and encouraging comments definitely helped me go back to South Beach. Thanks!

  7. Yum Kalyn, that shot makes me want to dive right in! 😉

  8. Wow – just look at those shrimp!! Glorious. And it’s funny how ketchup forms the basis of so many things in the kitchen. Makes sense, then, to keep it low sugar so we can use it in even more things 🙂

  9. You had me with that outstanding first photo! I make my own catsup using Splenda instead of sugar, but I also keep a bottle of the low sugar Heinz in my fridge. I can see shrimp cocktails on the deck … as soon as the sun comes out!

  10. I really enjoy cocktail sauce, heavily spiced with horseradish (fresh or jarred).

    And you’re right about the labeling of the ketchup. I suppose reduced sugar is more appealing. Or maybe perchance, it’s for people who aren’t paying attention to glycemic indices? The Atkins craze is not quite as flush as it once was, so that might be another marketing ploy, too.

  11. looks sooo sooo yummlicious…

  12. Hi Kalyn,

    Is the shrimp cocktail recipe ok for phase 1? Lis and I just started phase 1 three days ago. I guess we better wait a couple weeks for the good stuff. How’s the garden by now? Love ya, Mark

  13. Woo Hoo, a comment from my brother Mark (the one who built the the fabulous grow-boxes earlier this year. The garden is great.

    Yes, this is okay for phase one. I’m doing phase one too!

    Love you too!
    Kalyn

  14. Sue (coffeepot) me too! I could eat it on just about anything I think.

    Lydia, hope you find it. Thanks, it was actually kind of fun.

    Mrs. L. eat all the shrimp cocktail you want.

    Gabi, thanks so much.

    Peter, I would love, love this with freshly grated horseradish. I’m a horseradish freak. Glad you liked the interview!

  15. Kalyn, I’m baaaack! Great podcast interview, nice to put a voice with your photo and blog too!

    Happy cookin’!

  16. Kalyn, great photo…who doesn’y love shrimp cocktail? I make a home version that uses fresh grated horseradish…it’s the clincher.

  17. Wow — I’m going to have to look for this ketchup in my local market! Shrimp cocktail is such a classic summer treat.

  18. Oh man, I so needed this today! I actually had shrimp cocktail today for lunch because I HAD A CRAVING and I used the full sugar stuff. Now I won’t have to feel guilty having shrimp cocktail in the future!

  19. Oh gosh I love cocktail sauce! I even eat it on crackers.

    So glad to see this. Thanks Kalyn!