Homemade Cocktail Sauce

5 from 2 votes

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You only need 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to make this easy homemade cocktail sauce! Serve with shrimp cocktail, seafood, or mozzarella sticks!

A platter of cocktail shrimp with a cup of cocktail sauce

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

I’m telling you, this is the best cocktail sauce recipe out there. It tastes WAY better than anything you can buy at the grocery store AND it is just SO EASY. With just a few, easy ingredients, you can be enjoying shrimp cocktail or any of your other favorite seafood dishes with this delicious, zesty sauce.

Ingredients to make cocktail sauce including ketchup, horseradish, tabasco, lemon, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley

Cocktail Sauce Ingredients

Ketchup – Ketchup makes for the perfect tomato base for cocktail sauce. It is sweet, savory, and has the perfect consistency. Ketchup is difficult to substitute because it is such a unique ingredient. I will not taste the same if you try to use something else such as tomato paste or tomato sauce. The good news is, ketchup is super easy to find in just about any grocery store.

Prepared Horseradish – This is not the same as straight up horseradish root. You want to make sure it is “prepared.” Prepared horseradish is blended with other ingredients to make it more palatable. It is also not the same as “creamy horseradish sauce,” which is too mild and will give your sauce a creamy consistency. 

Fresh Lemon Juice – Add a nice squeeze of lemon juice to give your sauce a touch of acidity. If you want to really give it some “zing”, add some lemon zest as well!

Worcestershire Sauce – This brings a nice, bright flavor to the sauce and helps meld all of the flavors together. It helps to cut the sweetness of the ketchup without overpowering the other flavors. 

Tabasco Sauce – The tabasco sauce brings extra heat but also adds a nice flavor profile. It doesn’t have to be Tabasco, you can also use your favorite hot sauce!

Close up of a small bowl of cocktail sauce

What Is Cocktail Sauce Good on Besides Shrimp?

We use this sauce mostly as a shrimp cocktail sauce, but it can be served many different ways! Cocktail sauce is a great all-around seafood sauce. Try serving it with crab, crab cakes, oysters, lobster, breaded fish, etc. Serve it with your favorite appetizers like coconut shrimp, onion rings, or even mozzarella sticks. You can also stir it in to tomato juice to make a virgin bloody mary.

A shrimp being dipped into cocktail sauce

Storing the Leftovers

Store cocktail sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze it and it will stay good for up to 6 months. Simply thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. 

More Tasty Condiments and Dips

A shrimp being dipped into homemade cocktail sauce

Homemade Cocktail Sauce

5 from 2 votes
You only need 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to make this easy homemade cocktail sauce! Serve with shrimp cocktail, seafood, or mozzarella sticks!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings



  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Use a small whisk to mix well.
    Ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and tabasco sauce in a small mixing bowl
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The longer you let the sauce rest, the better the flavors will meld (I like to let it rest at least 2-3 hours, ideally overnight).
    A small mixing bowl of cocktail sauce with a whisk
  • Serve with shrimp or your favorite seafood dish. Also great with mozzarella sticks!
    A shrimp being dipped into cocktail sauce

Nutrition Information

Calories: 44kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 369mgPotassium: 128mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 207IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

More about Erica Walker

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  1. 5 stars
    So easy and so delicious! Had great flavor and tasted way better than the store bought version. Will definitely only make homemade from now on!

  2. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! I love being able to adjust the kick it has to fit our tastes. Much better than any store bought sauce I’ve tried.