Homemade Cocktail Sauce

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Published: 12/18/2020 | Updated: 03/28/2024

This homemade cocktail sauce has the perfect amount of heat! An easy condiment to make and keep on-hand for shrimp cocktail!

white bowl of cocktail sauce with shrimp around it

For years and years, I bought jarred cocktail sauce from the store. I never even really considered making it homemade until a couple of years ago when I was in a pinch.

I remember thinking that I would make it from scratch that time but was preparing myself to be disappointed. It just didn’t seem like I’d be able to get the right ratio of ingredients to be as good as the store-bought stuff I was used to.

I was so wrong!

It was so delicious and for the first time, I could control the amount of heat and the thickness of it (not a fan of runny sauces!).

And not only that, it was beyond easy! I’m going to say it took me about 5 minutes to make this for the sake of filling out the recipe card, but I really don’t even think it took that long!

Four ingredients and a few minutes, and you’ll be hooked!

a hand dipping a shrimp into cocktail sauce

How to Make Cocktail Sauce


  • ketchup
  • horseradish
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Lemon juice

These are the only 4 ingredients I usually (more on that later…) use.

And it quite literally is a matter of dumping them in your bowl, mixing, and then letting them sit in the fridge for an hour or so before using.

I honestly, don’t even bother with dirtying measuring cups anymore. I just eyeball it and taste at the end to see if I need more or less of anything.

glass bowl with ingredients for cocktail sauce

Don’t worry, I’ll give you measurements in the homemade cocktail sauce recipe just so you have a base to start from. But I really want to enforce that this is a matter of personal taste too, so feel free to adjust to your taste buds.

Tips for Making Cocktail Sauce

  • You can also add minced garlic to help balance out the horseradish. It isn’t necessary, but garlic lovers should try it out!
  • I usually split the recipe in half and add a couple of dashes of tabasco or sriracha for my husband and son’s portion. They like it spicier than I do and this is an easy way to add some heat.
  • If you want it with more zest and zip (a little different than heat), then add a little extra horseradish.
  • If it accidentally gets too much of a kick, just add a little more ketchup until you have it all balanced out.
  • You can start enjoying this immediately if you want, but the flavors do deepen a little if you refrigerate it for about an hour.
  • If you store it in an airtight container, you can keep the homemade cocktail sauce in the fridge for months! You can also freeze it for even longer. When you thaw it, it might be a little runny. Just add some more ketchup to thicken it up.

up close shot of white bowl with cocktail sauce in it

How Do You Use Cocktail Sauce?

  • Far and away, the most popular way to use cocktail sauce is to dip shrimp in it. You can use cold shrimp, hot Old Bay shrimp or even fried shrimp.
  • Don’t get too stuck on shrimp, though, it’s great with calamari and other seafood.
  • You can also dip crab cakes or our favorite shrimp cakes in it.
  • It makes a great base for a seafood pizza.
  • Make a shrimp cocktail dip for game day or parties.
  • Make Bloody Mary’s for brunch.

a shrimp being held in the air after dipping it in cocktail sauce

In conclusion, making your own cocktail sauce is easy, affordable, and delicious with fresh ingredients. It’s a great way to show your loved ones that you care, and it’s also the perfect party appetizer. Be sure to give this recipe a try!

white bowl of cocktail sauce with shrimp around it

Looking for more No-Bake recipes

Looking for more recipes that don’t require an oven? Check out these no-bake recipes! With little preparation, these treats are perfect for a quick dessert or snack.

Homemade Cocktail Sauce

This homemade cocktail sauce has the perfect amount of heat! An easy condiment to make and keep on-hand for shrimp cocktail sauce!
Prep Time5 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade cocktail sauce
Servings: 10
Calories: 16kcal
Author: The Endless Appetite


  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Horseradish


  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.


If you like more zest, add a little extra horseradish.
If you like heat, you can add a dash of tabasco.

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pinterest image for homemade cocktail sauce

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