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Homemade Cocktail Sauce is a spicy sweet dip made with ketchup and horseradish that is typically served with shrimp cocktail. It’s easy to make at home in just a few minutes and tastes so much better than bottled.

This cocktail sauce recipe pairs perfectly with my Shrimp Cocktail, Crispy Fried Shrimp, or Spicy Garlic Shrimp.

A bowl of homemade cocktail sauce surrounded by a platter of shrimp.

Easy Cocktail Sauce From Scratch

I have been enjoying shrimp cocktail for as long as I’ve been alive it seems. It was always the first thing on the list for any family party, and my dad was usually the first one to break into the platter. While my mom would usually buy the pre-cooked shrimp at the butcher, she always used her own cocktail sauce recipe and it was always amazing.

When I asked my new husband to pick up some shrimp from the grocery store for this recipe, he came home with the 2 pounds of shrimp I’d asked for, and a bottle of cocktail sauce. When I asked him what in the world he was thinking buying a bottle, he simply stated that he was excited for the shrimp cocktail I was going to make. I shook my head and said, “No, no my dear. We make this stuff from scratch!”

He was skeptical that there would be a difference, but I made a believer of him in a matter of minutes. The fresh pop of flavors in this homemade cocktail sauce cannot be denied, plus it’s so easy you’ll never buy bottled again!

What Is Cocktail Sauce Made Out Of?

Here are the 5 ingredients you will need to make this delicious homemade cocktail sauce recipe:

  • Ketchup – The sweetness pairs well with the spiciness of the horseradish and the tang of the lemon.
  • Prepared Horseradish – This adds an element of heat to the sauce and really gives it a great flavor.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh is always best. To get the most juice from your fruit, roll it on the counter with the palm of your hand for about 20 seconds to release the juices.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – Adds a savory, slightly tangy component.
  • Salt – Just a pinch! You may not need to add salt at all; taste and add if needed.
Ingredients for Cocktail Sauce in small dishes.

How To Make Homemade Cocktail Sauce

  • Stir the ingredients together in a small bowl until they are well combined.
  • Be sure to taste your sauce and adjust the flavors to your liking, because everyone’s pallet is different!
  • Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Serve alongside some juicy shrimp for dipping.
Ketchup and horseradish in a white dish.
Mixed cocktail sauce in a white dish.

How To Serve

Cocktail Sauce is a delicious spicy ketchup based sauce that is traditionally served with shrimp cocktail. Its fresh flavors and acidic pop make it an excellent choice as a pairing with a variety of seafood, like crab legs, oysters, calamari, or seafood cocktails. I like to place the shrimp on a pretty platter, with a small bowl of the cocktail sauce in the center.

To make the presentation even more beautiful, garnish with some fresh minced parsley and lemon wedges.

A shrimp dipped in a bowl of cocktail sauce.

What To Do With Leftovers

This recipe makes a decent amount that’s perfect for a party. But if you happen to have leftovers, store the sauce in an airtight container for up to one week.

You can also freeze it for up to 4-6 months.

  • For a spicier sauce, try adding a few dashes of hot sauce, or adjust the ratio of horseradish to ketchup.
  • All of the ingredients are customizable – feel free to adjust them to your liking.
A shrimp dipped in homemade cocktail sauce sitting on the edge of the bowl.

More Seafood Recipes to Try


Cocktail Sauce

4.63 from 8 votes
A sweet dipping sauce made from ketchup, horseradish and seasonings, perfect for dipping shrimp or for other types of fish.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 10 servings


  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • ¼ cup Prepared horseradish or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice or more to taste
  • pinch of salt or more to taste
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  • Stir together ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and salt in a small bowl until well combined. 
  • Taste and adjust flavors to your liking.
  • Cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.


  • The horseradish brings the heat. Feel free to adjust the amount to your liking.
  • This recipe makes a decent amount that’s perfect for a party. But if you happen to have leftovers, store the sauce in an airtight container for up to one week.
  • You can also freeze it for up to 4-6 months.
Keyword cocktail sauce


Calories: 31kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 249mgPotassium: 95mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 123IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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  1. Nigella Bleu says:

    This is foolproof solid recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Nigella! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Steve says:

    This is a good recipe. With that being said, why do folks always tell you that concoctions like this can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator? A week? No, this suff will last for months in an airtight container.

  3. Kathryne Sanders says:

    Super easy to make with pantry ingredients. Spicy, but not too hot. Add more horseradish if you want more heat.

    1. Kristin says:

      Awesome feedback Kathryne! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. John says:

    Very Good, said my wife. I made a hotter version with sriracha. It’s really a good flavor, with either. I use a lot of plain horseradish.

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for sharing John.

  5. Janet Wells says:

    Add some Garlic Chili Paste as well YUMMM

    1. Kristin says:

      Great idea Janet! Thank you for stopping by!