Self-Draining Shrimp Cocktail Party Tray

Self-Draining Shrimp Cocktail Party Tray

When you think about New Year’s Eve, what comes to mind? On a grand scale, I think about fireworks, champagne toasts, the big count down, elaborate evening gowns and everything that sparkles. Have I ever experienced a New Year’s celebration like that? Not a once. But a girl can dream, right?

Honestly, I really don’t need anything that elaborate to ring in the new year. To me, New Year’s Eve is an occasion meant to be spent with friends and family talking about all that’s happened in the last 12 months and looking forward to the new year ahead. It’s a time for renewal, a time for new beginnings and it’s a time for a buffet table full of appetizers.

It always seems to come down to food with me doesn’t it?

Well, today I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to serve up shrimp cocktail at a party. The key to fresh, tasty shrimp is keeping them cold throughout the evening. And while some shrimp over ice on a serving platter may look nice when you first put it out, halfway through the evening after the ice melts, the remaining shrimp start floating belly side up and the whole presentation looks well. . .kind of disgusting.

A couple years ago, I came up with a very simple and easy idea to keep my shrimp chilled throughout the evening and avoid the awful “shrimp float.”

I put one of my trays together for our family’s Christmas Eve gathering this year and took some pictures while we were getting all of the food ready. You’re going to need two aluminum foil containers. One needs to be larger than the other – just large enough that the small container can sit nicely on top of the larger container.

The first thing you’ll want to do is take your smaller container and use a clean screwdriver (or other sharp object) to punch holes in the bottom.
 Self-Draining Shrimp Cocktail Party Tray
I just set the smaller container into the larger container while I poked my holes. My larger container can be seen below. You can kind of see the impressions I made while poking the holes. Don’t worry about that. You won’t see the bottom of either of the containers anyway. If you’d prefer a more “formal” look, you could always use a stoneware type dish for the bottom of your tray.
I’m all about easy clean up at parties so I wasn’t about to bring yet another dish that requires washing.
 Self-Draining Shrimp Cocktail Party Tray
Next, place your smaller container on top of the larger container, leaving enough room between the two for the water to drain. Add a generous layer of crushed ice to the bottom of the top container, place your shrimp on top and garnish with some lemon slices.
If you’d like, you could even put a small dish of cocktail sauce in the middle of the presentation, but I just choose to serve it on the side.
Self-Draining Shrimp Cocktail Party Tray
And, there you have it. A DIY tray that will keep your shrimp cold and fresh throughout the evening. No more floating shrimp. No more unhappy guests. Happy New Year everyone!
Self-Draining Shrimp Cocktail Party Tray


  1. Thanks for posting this on Saturday Night Fever Link Party! Hope to see you again Saturday!

  2. I happened to just stumble across your link party last week and am so glad I found it, Pamela! I definitely will join you again on Saturday. Thank you for stopping by!

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