Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe

This homemade cocktail sauce recipe is the easiest thing you’ll make this holiday season, and it only requires 3 ingredients and one step. Plus, it tastes a million times better than store-bought cocktail sauce and can be customized to your taste. Makes 1 cup.

homemade cocktail sauce

Holiday season is almost upon us. I mean there’s been Christmas stuff in the stores for weeks, and the other day I heard Christmas music at the mall. It’s not even Thanksgiving people! What is wrong with everyone?

After being away for the last five Novembers, I am really not used to this. It feels like someone re-wrote the calendar. I vote for celebrating one holiday at at time.

Luckily, with Thanksgiving comes holiday eating. Maybe not cookies, but there’s lots of festive things to eat. One of my favorites, is classic shrimp cocktail (preferably shrimp prepared with Old Bay), and cocktail sauce is one of the easiest condiments that you can make. It’s literally 2 – 3 ingredients.

I don’t know why anyone would even consider buying it. If you’re making shrimp, or even buying it, this holiday season, try making some homemade cocktail sauce. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

peel and eat shrimp on a lined quarter sheet with homemade cocktail sauce recipe

How do you make homemade cocktail sauce?

To make this homemade cocktail sauce recipe, stir together ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice and splash of Worcestershire sauce. Make sure you use the freshest prepared horseradish you can find, or prepare it fresh at home if you’re feeling ambitious.

Whatever you do, don’t use horseradish “sauce” because that contains mayonnaise and other unnecessary ingredients.

You should be able to find prepared horseradish in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. If you prefer it spicier, feel free to add additional horseradish (bring it back with ketchup if you add too much.

how to make cocktail sauce

If you want to make this recipe a little “cleaner” try buying a ketchup with no high fructose corn syrup. If you really want to control your sugar content, which is one of the benefits to making your own condiments, you could even try making your own ketchup.

Then, refrigerate until ready to serve. I like to make a big batch of cocktail sauce around the holidays and keep it in the fridge, just in case. It should last in the fridge for at least a week, but always use your best judgement before serving.

closeup of a homemade cocktail sauce recipe in a white bowl surrounded by peel and eat shrimp

Customize your cocktail sauce. For our family, we always make two bowls of cocktail sauce. One spicy bowl with extra horseradish and one that’s on the milder side. I like mine loaded with horseradish, but, again, do what makes your tastebuds (or guests) happy.

Tips for making this homemade cocktail sauce recipe:

  • If you’re entertaining, you can easily make this cocktail sauce ahead of time.
  • Use a fork to stir when making your cocktail sauce. It acts similar to a whisk, but is much easier to clean.
  • If you add too much horseradish, just add a bit more ketchup to bring it back to your desired level of spiciness.

hand holding shrimp dipped in a homemade cocktail sauce recipe over a tray of shrimp

Other ideas for using cocktail sauce

More dairy free condiments:



closeup of a homemade cocktail sauce recipe in a white bowl surrounded by peel and eat shrimp

Homemade Cocktail Sauce

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American


Cocktail Sauce | Learn how to make the best homemade cocktail sauce for shrimp. This easy recipe uses ketchup, horseradish and a few other simple ingredients to make a healthy, flavorful DIY cocktail sauce. #cocktailsauce #shrimp



  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 12 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce*


  1. In a bowl, stir together the ketchup, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon horseradish and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. If desired, add remaining horseradish.


*This ingredient is not generally gluten free or vegan. Omit or substitute the appropriate version if needed.

Keywords: easy, 5 ingredient, sauce, seafood, dairy free, gluten free option, vegan option

Homemade Cocktail Sauce | simplywhisked.com

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