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Cocktail Sauce Recipe

Craving the perfect tangy cocktail sauce for dipping shrimp and seafood? Learn how to make the Best Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe, with all the needed ingredients.

Cocktail Sauce Recipe

Do you find yourself reaching for the bottle of store-bought cocktail sauce every time you indulge in seafood? Are you tired of the one-note flavor that fails to complement the delicate sweetness of shrimp or crab? Fear not, because we’ve got you covered.

What is Cocktail Sauce? Cocktail Sauce is a tangy seafood sauce that is made to enhance the flavors of seafood, commonly shrimp. It is made of a ketchup and horseradish base with lemon.

This recipe makes the perfect cocktail sauce with just the right amount of tang, sweetness, and spice. Making homemade cocktail sauce is easy and more flavorful. If you compared store-bought cocktail sauce next to our recipe, you would never buy it again. It is very sugary and dull compared to our vibrant cocktail sauce recipe. 

When we are making seafood my one and only request is Brandon’s Cocktail Sauce. The horseradish just hits right! It is the perfect ratio. So no more settling for store-bought mediocre – it’s time to elevate your seafood game. 

Ingredients for Cocktail Sauce

When it comes to what is in cocktail sauce the foundation is ketchup. All the other Cocktail Sauce ingredients add vibrancy, flavor, and punch. 

  • Ketchup – We use Heinz Organic Ketchup.
  • Prepared Horseradish – This is bottled and found in the condiment section of your grocery store.
  • Fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Brown Sugar – Dark or light. We used dark brown sugar. 

With all the ingredients measured out, it’s time to bring everything together and whip up the perfect shrimp cocktail sauce recipe.

How to Make Cocktail Sauce

To create the best cocktail sauce recipe, it all starts with the foundation of ketchup and horseradish. Ketchup provides the sweet base, while prepared horseradish adds a subtle heat that balances out the sweetness. 

The ratio of ketchup to prepared horseradish is 3:1, but you can adjust it to your personal taste preferences. 

In a small bowl whisk together the ketchup and prepared horseradish. Next, add freshly squeezed lemon juice and brown sugar. 

Once you’ve finished mixing, give the homemade cocktail sauce a taste and adjust as needed. 

  • If it’s too sweet, add a bit more horseradish or lemon juice to balance it out. 
  • If it’s too tart, add a pinch more brown sugar. 

Remember, you can always add more of a particular ingredient, so start with smaller amounts and work your way up.

Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving. Cocktail sauce is best served chilled.  This also allows the flavors to incorporate. 

Now you have a seafood cocktail sauce that is the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy. 

Cocktail Sauce Recipe for Seafood


To go beyond the basics of homemade cocktail sauce recipe here are some recipe variations.

Hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce are two ingredients that can truly spice up your sauce, while Worcestershire sauce The ratio of hot sauce to Worcestershire sauce is 1:1, but again, adjust to your taste preferences. These two ingredients will add depth and complexity to your cocktail sauce that will make it stand out from the rest.

  • Hot Sauce –  Hot sauce will add heat and a fiery kick to the cocktail sauce. Since this recipe makes a small amount of sauce start with just a drop or 2. Taste and adjust from there. 
  • Worcestershire Sauce –  will bring in a rich, savory flavor that complements the sweetness of the brown sugar. Again just a drop goes a long way. Start with one drop, taste, then adjust from there. 
  • Garlic –  adds a pungent, slightly sweet aroma and taste to the sauce. Start with one clove of garlic minced.  
  • Fresh horseradish –  If using fresh horseradish cut the recipe amount in half. Fresh horseradish is much stronger than the bottle prepared horseradish 

And that’s it! Your delicious cocktail sauce recipe is ready to serve alongside your favorite seafood recipes. Whether you’re dipping shrimp, scallops, or oysters, this sauce is sure to elevate your seafood experience. 

Our homemade cocktail sauce is gluten-free. However, be sure to double-check the brand of ketchup you use to ensure that it is gluten-free. 


Store Cocktail Sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 months. Stir before serving. 

You can store cocktail sauce in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Cocktail Sauce Recipe

Don’t forget the seafood! We love serving this homemade cocktail sauce with shrimp cocktail, fried shrimp, IP crab legs, fried clams, fish sticks, and oysters!

You can also use it to make an extra tangy Bloody Mary Mix.

Here is our recipe for the Cocktail Sauce

Cocktail Sauce Recipe

Cocktail Sauce Recipe

Yield: 1/2 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

The best dip for seafood. The best shrimp cocktail sauce recipe!


  • 6 tablespoons Ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Prepared Horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  1. In a small bowl mix together ingredients and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 21Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 166mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g

All amounts are estimates and DailyAppetite takes no responsibility for actual figures since calculations vary by packaging and supplier.

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