Cocktail Sauce

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The best and simplest Homemade Cocktail Sauce needs only 3 ingredients. It’s spicy and flavorful, perfect for dipping shrimp and fish!

Bowl of cocktail sauce with steamed shrimp.

We don’t buy cocktail sauce. It’s truly so simple to make at home that there’s no reason to buy it. Plus, the store-bought kind is never as “spicy” as we like it.

You only need a few ingredients to make the best sauce for all your seafood. And the great thing about homemade sauces is you can taste and adjust to your liking.

We keep our cocktail sauce simple, but you can add hot sauce, garlic, or even Worcestershire sauce to add more flavor depending on how you wish to serve it.

Looking for more sauce to enjoy with seafood? Try our bang bang sauce, creole sauce, and boiling crab sauce.

Why This Recipe Works

  • It’s simple! You only need 3 ingredients.
  • Horseradish is used for the zippy, spicy flavor but you can adjust how much you use depending on your own personal preference.
  • It tastes delicious with any seafood including crabs, oysters, crab cakes, and shrimp that is steamed, fried, or roasted.
Ingredients for cocktail sauce.

Ingredients

For the ingredient measurements and the entire recipe, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the blog post where the recipe card is located.

  • Ketchup: This is the base of the sauce. It adds tomato flavor with a hint of sweetness.
  • Horseradish: Prepared horseradish gives the sauces that signature spicy flavor.
  • Lemon juice: Adds a little acidity to bright the sauce.

Step by Step Directions

For the full recipe instructions, scroll down to the bottom of the blog post to the recipe card.

  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Serve with your favorite seafood.
Cocktail sauce in glass bowl.

Tips For Success

  • Be sure to use prepared horseradish and not fresh horseradish. Fresh horseradish is hotter and spicier while prepared horseradish is pickled in vinegar. If all you have is fresh, use half the amount called for in the recipe.
  • If you are concerned about the amount of sugar in ketchup, you can use one that is labeled with no sugar added.
  • Your homemade cocktail sauce will stay fresh for up to a week stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Close up of bowl of cocktail sauce with steamed shrimp.

FAQ

Why does my homemade cocktail sauce look like jelly?

This is normal. The combination of ketchup and horseradish creates this reaction after it sits. Simply stir the sauce well and it will loosen.

Is there a good substitute for horseradish?

You can use wasabi, spicy brown mustard, or Dijon mustard in place of the horseradish.

Cocktail Sauce

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Close up of bowl of cocktail sauce with steamed shrimp.
The best and simplest Homemade Cocktail Sauce needs only 3 ingredients. It’s spicy and flavorful, perfect for dipping shrimp and fish!
Sauce Fanatic
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Serving Size 4

Ingredients

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • In a small bowl combine the ketchup, horseradish, and lemon juice.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with any seafood including crabs, oysters, crab cakes, and shrimp that is steamed, fried, or roasted.

Notes

Homemade cocktail sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 1 week if stored in an airtight container. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 107mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.1mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

CourseAppetizer
CuisineAmerican

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