Background The US11 protein of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a small, highly basic phosphoprotein expressed at late times during infection. To date, the function of US11 protein in cell culture and animal models is poorly understood. To further investigate the function of the US11 protein, this study was undertaken to express the US11 protein and raise a polyclonal antibody. Results The US11 gene was cloned into the prokaryotic expression vector pET-32a (+) to express His-tagged US11 protein in Escherichia coli. After purification by nickel affinity chromatography and refolding, the recombinant protein was used to raise the anti-US11 polyclonal antibody. Western blot analysis demonstrated that the US11 protein was specifically recognized by the polyclonal antibody, and immunofluorescent assay also showed that the antibody was able to probe the US11 protein in the cells infected with HSV-1. Conclusions In the present study, we obtained a high-level expression of the recombinant US11 protein as well as high titers of rabbit polyclonal antibody specially against US11 protein in HSV-1 infected cells. This special polyclonal antibody provides a good tool for further studying structural and functional characterization of HSV-1 US11 protein.