Forget about the bottled stuff, this homemade Cocktail Sauce recipe is so much better than anything you can buy at the store. A short list of easy to stock ingredients creates this zingy condiment in about 5 minutes!
My Homemade Tartar Sauce recipe is another easy seafood sauce that rivals store-bought.
I recently bought some gorgeous shrimp for shrimp cocktail and was positive I had a bottle of cocktail sauce (or fish ketchup, as my boys have always called it) in my pantry. Well, nope! No sauce.
I had two choices. Mix up a homemade cocktail sauce or skip the shrimp cocktail. I went with the former and oh my!
I was shocked at how easy it is to create a super fresh, super delicious cocktail sauce with ingredients I always have on hand. Why in the heck did it take me so long to do this?
I will now and forever make Cocktail Sauce from scratch. No more store-bought sauce for me.
Table of contents
Cocktail Sauce Ingredients
- Ketchup – Sweet and tomato-based – ketchup is the foundation for a good classic Cocktail Sauce.
- Horseradish– I have made this recipe with both cream-style horseradish and extra hot horseradish and they were both great.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Adds a bit of umami flavor.
- Lemon – Fresh lemon juice is a must. It really wakes up the flavor and helps balance it out.
- Freshly ground black pepper – Just a pinch for flavor.
- Tabasco Sauce – Add a little or a lot or leave it out altogether for a delicious, but milder sauce.
A big bonus to making your own Cocktail Sauce is that the heat can easily be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the horseradish and Tabasco. Make a super mild, kid-friendly sauce or spice it up as much as you’d like.
How to Make Cocktail Sauce
- In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and 1 tablespoon of the horseradish.
- Add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and Tabasco.
- Taste and add additional horseradish and/or hot sauce, if needed.
The sinus clearing zing in cocktail sauce comes from horseradish. I recommend starting with a small amount and working your way up to the flavor you’re after.
If you plan to use the Cocktail Sauce within a day or two, just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For longer storage, transfer the sauce to an airtight container before refrigerating. The acid in the lemon and ketchup should help it stay fresh and tasty for up to two weeks.
What goes with cocktail sauce? It goes beyond simple shrimp cocktail!
- A triple batch of this recipe can be used to make a stunning Mexican Shrimp Cocktail.
- Serve it as a dipping sauce for Air Fryer Fish Sticks or Crispy Baked Fish.
- Mix a little into a simple meatloaf recipe or spread it over the top before baking.
- Place a small bowl on a platter with homemade Crab Cakes for a delicious appetizer.
- Use cocktail sauce for dipping Everything Bagel Pigs in a Blanket.
Cocktail Sauce Recipe
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, as needed (extra hot or creamed)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- Few drops of Tabasco, to taste
- In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, 1 tablespoon of the horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and Tabasco. Taste and add additional horseradish and/or hot sauce, if needed.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.