A Spicy Perspective

Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce (Seafood Sauce)

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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!

Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe

The 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 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 Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe

What Ingredients You Need For Seafood Sauce

  • Ketchup Essential for the perfect tomato base of a great cocktail sauce.
  • Fresh lemon juice – The acidity needed to brighten all of the ingredients.
  • Worcestershire sauceAdds a smoky, earthy depth of flavor. Use a vegan version to make this entire recipe vegan-friendly.
  • Prepared horseradishThis 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!
Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe

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!

Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe

Try This Cocktail Sauce Recipe…

  • With steamed, fried, or roasted shrimp (of course)
  • 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 Recipe

See More Serving Ideas and Get the Complete (Printable) Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe

Seafood Sauce 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, can be high in sodium and carbohydrates. If pairing with shrimp or other high-protein seafoods, the carbs are definitely balanced out.

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.

Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe


Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe
Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe
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5 from 50 votes
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Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce (Seafood Sauce)

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Once you've tried our homemade cocktail sauce, you'll never buy the jarred variety again. A zippy, zesty recipe you can make in just minutes!
Servings: 6 ounces



  • Mix the catsup, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic in a small bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of horseradish. Taste and add more if desired. Then stir in a few dashes of hot sauce if you like your cocktail sauce with extra kick.



Homemade cocktail sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 6 months if stored in an airtight container. Enjoy this sauce with seafood, on burgers, as a tangy veggie dip, and more!


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 27kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 221mg, Potassium: 92mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 103IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer, Condiment, Dip
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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96 comments on “Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce (Seafood Sauce)”

  1. Pingback: Best Shrimp Cocktail in Boulder: Yelp's Top 5 Ranked | About Boulder County Colorado - Postetzwelz

  2. I wonder why using a vegan Worcestershire sauce would be reccomended if [the sauce] is usually consumed with shrimp and or other sea food anyway. lol 

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  8. Brought shrimp and this cocktail sauce to a party – The homeowner had made some as well but didn’t eat hers once she tasted this. Its delicious. Glad I didn’t lose the recipe.
    making again now for Father’s Day. The best. No tweeking needed.

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  10. I made this today! So good! I didn’t have any horseradish so I used pickle relish! It was perfect! I have a jar in the fridge now for the next time I need it! Thank you!

  11. This is a winner! I did not use any garlic and only added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Also, if you like it with a kick get The Keg horseradish if you can and use that. You only need 1 tablespoon and zero hot sauce! Goes fantastic as a dip with a grilled cheesel!

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  13. Perfect!

  14. Outstanding! Never again jar sauce!!

  15. Just like they say…tweak a bit here or there, based on your taste, but…Unless in a pinch, not buying cocktail sauce again!! Awesome!!

  16. I made this sauce and can honestly say, I will never buy store bought again. Didn’t deviate from the recipe at all. Usually there is some tweaking to do, not this time.

    • Sooooooo good!! Made as directed (I used fresh horseradish from my garden). Oh my, it was an outstanding dip for our homemade chicken nuggets. This is my new favorite cocktail sauce recipe! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  17. Excellent! I will always use this recipe from now on!❤️

  18. No need to deny enjoying cocktail sauce on a Keto plan.  This recipe is virtually 0 net carbs and no sugars. 

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  21. This was quick and easy and tasty!  I didn’t have prepared horseradish so I used horseradish sauce so it made it a bit more creamy which was fine. I also added a garlic pepper seasoning instead of fresh garlic since I didn’t have any.   Will def use this again!

  22. I made it !! I LOVE a good cocktail sauce. I put 1 T of horseradish in it. It seemed sufficient. I’ll give it a few hours in the fridge and check it again. I used the Inglehoffer “extra hot” variety so maybe that’s why I only need 1 T (?). So, I recommend using the lesser amount at first, then adding more later after it melds with the other ingredients. I also added the (optional) 4 dashes of hot sauce. It is YUMMY !! 5 stars !!

  23. Delicious! SO much better than store bought. Glad I found A Spicy Perspective. As an experienced home cook I can tell your recipes are good ones. Will try others.

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  25. Simple and delicious recipe.

    Get a life Terry. No reason to be mean.

  26. I am one of those people who spent too much time in the grocery store reading high fructose corn syrup on every brand of cocktail sauce. This was simple and outstanding in flavor and freshness. Will use this recipe from now on. Thank you!

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  47. Best cocktail sauce I have ever tasted.

  48. This is the only cocktail recipe with quantities listed. That’s a lot of lemon
    A Fritomann review.

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  50. Delicious! Substituting tamari soy sauce for Worcestershire sauce also works. 

  51. This is way better than store bought. Popcorn Shrimp tasted awesome. I will never buy from store again.

  52. Simply fabulous! Wouldn’t change a thing. Delicious as a veggie dip!
    Keeps up to six months? Ha! It’ll be gone way sooner than that!

  53. I just made this, it is literally the best cocktail sauce I’ve ever had!  I will be making this frequently!  Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  54. Hello greetings from the throne of God this recipe is fabulous the best I ever had I’ve made it before but not like this I love it thank you amen

  55. This really is the BEST cocktail sauce! Quick question because I am following Weight Watchers; How many servings does this make/What consists of a serving?
    Thanks in advance!

  56. I put the horseradish in slowly but it still needed the full 2 teaspoons. Good sauce.

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  58. Great recipe! Thank you. Will be making homemade cocktail sauce from now on. 

  59. This is the best recipe ever. I microplaned the garlic & added in lemon zest the same way. Added some fresh minced flat leaf parsley & green onions & it was the amazing. Could add in fresh dill,  to taste. Love this recipe. Thank you!

  60. I remembered making a darned good cocktail sauce last year, but couldn’t find the recipe I used, and came to this one through an internet search. I just finished making & tasting it, and thought to myself, “Dang, Bob, that’s as good as the one you made last year!”, and then I found the printed recipe I used last August.

    Yep, it was this one!

  61. Excellent.  I added a bit of lemon zest to brighten the flavors. Thank you for your wonderful recipe. 

    • Absolutely delicious! We like ours a lot spicer so we doubled the horseradish. We absolutely love how simple, fast, and fresh this recipe is. Bonus, we no longer have a crusty, old jar of half eaten cocktail sauce taking up space in our fridge. 5 stars!!!

  62. I used to throw out so many bottles of cocktail sauce that had gone bad. Now I just keep a tiny bottle of horseradish in the fridge, which lasts forever. A neighbor recently called to ask if I had any cocktail sauce she could borrow. I said, “no, but give me 5 minutes.” She was blown away by this simple concoction.

  63. Delicious!   We needed a low-carb Keto cocktail sauce for grilled shrimp & veggies,  so I used Heinz sugar-free ketchup and it is wonderful!  So happy  I don’t have to live without cocktail sauce!   Thank you!  

    • I did the same. It’s marvelous.

    • The sugar free ketchup is a lifesaver. I remember when I first did Atkins about 20 years ago, the recommendation was to eat shrimp with mustard! NO! :-) I made this with Heinz SF and it is perfect. Had never added garlic before–great change up!

  64. My go-to condiments recipe reference whenever I make my gluten free breaded shrimp. I normally eyeball the main ingredients down to yield about 3 oz and one shortcut I use is Primal Kitchen’s Spicy Ketchup.

  65. This was so easy and delicious! It tastes better than any seafood sauce I’ve had before. I don’t think I’ll add the garlic next time though.  The horseradish gave a strong kick that we both loved. 

  66. Yup!  Spot on awesomeness 

  67. Simple to make and super delicious. Thank you!

  68. What is the serving size?

  69. Tastes so fresh! Easy to make. I won’t ever use jarred cockatil sauce again! Thank you.

  70. Love this easy cocktail sauce with prawns! The perfect summer appy!

  71. This was really good sauce! I kind of eyeballed the ingredients and my husband and 13 yo kiddo loved it! Definitely will use this again :)

  72. Homemade sauces are the best! This was so much better with shrimp that the stuff we usually buy at the store!

  73. That is a great cocktail sauce! I so want to dip some fried shrimp into it.

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  76. Whoaaaa!!!! I’m loving this sauce!!!! I can literally use it for a million things!!!! In sandwiches and burgers, as a dipping sauce for almost anything!!!! WOW!!!! I sooooo need this in my life!

  77. THANK YOU FOR THIS!! I’ve been so fed up of searching around for cocktail sauce with no high fructose corn syrup in it. Now I will always make it! :)

  78. Perfect summer condiment! I love the simple ingredient list and how fast you can whip this up! Yum

  79. I can remember the first time I can cocktail sauce. It was with shrimp. I love the tang of it, of course. Great recipe to have on hand, when you want something spur of the moment. Plus homemade anything always tastes better.

  80. Everything is better when homemade! I’m sure this amazing sauce goes perfect on pasta!

  81. gee, I think I better try making my own too!! nice & easy recipe :)

  82. I did not know that making cocktail sauce was this easy! Dang, I am never buying storebought again.

  83. This is awesome, thanks so much girl! So simple! :)

  84. Whoa – who knew cocktail sauce was that simple? Not I. Totally going to be making your recipe from now on! :)

  85. When I was working in the hotel business I started making this from scratch and now I never buy bottled. And now I’m craving a giant bowl of shrimp cocktail.

  86. Love the simplicity of this. Sounds awesome!

  87. This makes me want oysters!! haha!
    What a great, simple sauce.

  88. Looks great! I love making homemade cocktail sauce, it looks like we use a similar recipe! :)