How To Make Cocktail Sauce

how to make cocktail sauce
how to make cocktail sauce

Small jar of homemade cocktail sauce with shrimp in the background

Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe – This 5-minute recipe for zippy, zesty seafood sauce requires only a handful of ingredients and is easily adjustable to your liking. You’ll never buy jarred cocktail sauce again!

Why We Love This Best Cocktail Sauce Recipe

I can honestly say it’s been at least 14 years since I have purchased a jar of cocktail sauce. After all, when the homemade version is so quick, cheap, and easy to make why would I spend the extra cash to buy a lesser-quality product?

By simply combining a handful of simple ingredients you (most likely) already have in your fridge, you can make the most flavorful, tangy, absolute BEST Cocktail Sauce Recipe you have ever tried. I promise that you will definitely not miss the jarred stuff.

And of course, you can adjust it to taste and preferences! I love adding an extra dash of hot sauce to make a spicy dip for my shrimp cocktail, or including a bit more minced garlic for enjoying on a seafood pizza.

Best cocktail sauce in a black serving ramekin surrounded by shrimp on a plate

What Ingredients You Need For Seafood Sauce

  • Ketchup – Essential for the perfect tomato base of a great cocktail sauce, and offers a hint of sweetness.
  • Fresh lemon juice – The acidity needed to brighten all of the ingredients.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Adds a smoky, earthy depth of flavor. Use a vegan version to make this entire recipe vegan-friendly.
  • Prepared horseradish – This gives the cocktail sauce its signature spicy zippiness.
  • Minced garlic – Helps to perfectly balance the spice of the horseradish.
  • Hot sauce (optional) – If you would like to make an even spicier sauce! The best option here is Tabasco sauce!

Horseradish being added to a small bowl of ketchup

How to Make Homemade Cocktail Sauce

In just about 5 minutes, you’ll have this incredibly zesty and versatile condiment ready to enjoy. It is so easy to make; I highly recommend that you always keep a batch on hand in the fridge. You just never know when you’ll get a craving for spicy, tangy cocktail sauce!

Here are my simple steps for making the best cocktail sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and minced garlic.
  2. Mix in prepared horseradish, tasting and adding more if desired. If you like, add a dash or two of hot sauce for an extra spicy kick.
  3. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.

That is seriously it! Feel free to add a pinch of salt if needed at the end!

Hand using a citrus squeezer to squeeze a lemon into the sauce mixing bowl

Serving Suggestions

This easy cocktail sauce recipe can be paired with so many different things! It is a great condiment to pair with all things seafood. But it also goes well with veggies, french fries, or onion rings!

  • With steamed, fried, or roasted shrimp (of course)
  • Any seafood, including crabs, oysters, and crab cakes
  • On burgers or a roast beef sandwich – like these mouthwatering Caribbean Shrimp Burgers
  • With cream cheese and tortilla chips
  • Mixed into tomato juice for an easy Bloody Mary base
  • As a tangy veggie dip
  • On a seafood pizza
  • In a cool, fresh salad

Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce in a small bowl after being mixed together

Tips & Tricks

  • Storage tips: Store your homemade cocktail sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 6 months. If you aren’t going to use it all, you can freeze half for later!
  • Be sure to use prepared horseradish, and not fresh horseradish! Prepared horseradish has salt and vinegar added to make it extra tasty!
  • You can use wasabi in place of the horseradish, if you already have wasabi on hand.

Shrimp cocktail on a plate served with homemade cocktail sauce in a black ramekin

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cocktail sauce?

Cocktail sauce is a cool or room-temperature sauce that is made to enhance the flavors of seafood, most particularly shrimp. It is made of a tomato base and seasoned with horseradish and citrus.

How Long Can You Keep Homemade Cocktail Sauce?

Kept it in an airtight container, in a refrigerator, this sauce will stay fresh for up to 6 months. You can also freeze cocktail sauce for at least 6-12 months.

Is cocktail sauce healthy?

It depends on your definition of healthy. Cocktail sauce is relatively low in calories and fat. Yet depending on how much you eat, it can be high in sodium and carbohydrates. If paired with shrimp or other high-protein seafood, the carbs are definitely balanced out.

Why does my homemade cocktail sauce gel?

Sometimes the combination of ketchup with horseradish causes the cocktail sauce to become a gel-like texture. It is simply a reaction of the two ingredients together! Stir it up well, and it should return to a normal consistency!

Does making homemade cocktail sauce, rather than store-bought, really make a difference?

I 100% believe that making shrimp cocktail sauce at home results in the most flavorful and fresh-tasting sauce. There is no comparison. Store-bought cocktail sauce also has more preservatives to keep on room temperature shelves for longer. Whereas the homemade version will keep in the fridge and taste fresh for a good amount of time.

Hand dipping a shrimp into cocktail sauce

Looking for More Delicious Dip Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:

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