This easy Cocktail Sauce for seafood is a spicy, zesty condiment that will liven up your favorite recipes
Homemade cocktail sauce is easy to make at home. There are just 5 ingredients needed to make this flavorful yet simple and delicious sauce
This seafood sauce can be made in just a few minutes and this version allows you to adjust the spice levels. It’s easy to make ahead of time too!
Our cocktail sauce pairs perfectly with our Homemade Crab Cakes. With this simple and flavor filled recipe, you will never buy cocktail sauce from the store again! Classic shrimp cocktail sauce is great to have on hand for a quick appetizer with baked or steamed shrimp.
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Cocktail Sauce Recipe Ingredients:
Just 5 simple ingredients needed
- Ketchup – Catsup or Ketchup? However you spell it, ketchup brings a sweet and tangy flavor to this sauce so be sure to use a good brand and make sure it’s a fresh bottle
- Worcestershire Sauce – this unique ingredient gives complex flavor to the sauce
- Lemon Juice ~ freshly squeezed is strongly recommended for a bright fresh flavor
- Hot Sauce ~ such as Tabasco, Tapatio or Cholula. Any hot sauce will work for this recipe so use whatever you prefer or have on hand. In a pinch you could substitute a dash of cayenne pepper
- Prepared Bottled Horseradish – prepared horseradish is shredded or grated and often has vinegar added. It is found bottled in the condiment section of any market, and once opened keeps well, refrigerated, for at least a year.
What is Fresh Horseradish and how to use it:
For homemade cocktail sauce, you could also opt for freshly grated horseradish. It’s in the mustard family and looks similar to a daikon. The flavor is much spicier and it’s more pungent than bottled horseradish. Much like ginger or garlic, it is most strong the day it’s grated. For best results use a microplaner to grate it.
The pungency of fresh horseradish doesn’t last as long as bottled. Initially, it tastes stronger than prepared, but over time its flavor fades. If you decide to use fresh instead of bottled start with a smaller amount and then be sure to mix well before serving if your not using it the same day.
We use prepared horseradish in our amazing Homemade Bloody Mary Mix and Bloody Mary Shooters with Shrimp or Oysters, but you could easily use fresh here as well.
A general rule of thumb is:
1 tablespoon fresh grated horseradish = 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
How to make Cocktail Sauce
- Blend the ketchup and the horseradish in a bowl and mix together
- Add in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and the hot sauce, and again blend thoroughly
- Taste and adjust spicy flavors to taste (this is the best part of making your own sauce!)
- To make it spicier add either more hot sauce or horseradish
- If the sauce is a bit too spicy add more ketchup
- Want a tangier sauce? Add a touch more fresh lemon juice
- You can make this cocktail sauce ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 7 days
- Note: This cocktail sauce tastes best at room temperature
Great ways to enjoy spicy Cocktail Sauce
This lightly spicy condiment is so versatile and can be served with many different seafood dishes. We’ve paired this delicious sauce in a variety of ways and here are a few of our favorite ideas:
- Crab Cakes – these can be made individual size or full size, and sautéed, or baked
- Shrimp Cocktail is the classic use of this sauce
- Add a dollop to a Bloody Mary
- A dip for Mozzarella Sticks or Onion Rings
- Perfect for dipping fried or sauteed calamari
- Dip any Fish & Chips, or Popcorn Shrimp, or drizzle over Oysters on the Half Shell
Make ahead and storing homemade Cocktail Sauce
One of the greatest parts of this recipe is that it can be made up to 7 days before you plan to serve it. This really helps if you are making a lot of appetizers for a gathering.
Store the prepared sauce in a glass jar or sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room temperature and whisk before serving for the best flavor.
More delicious sauces and dips to try:
- Sweet Chili Sauce is a spicy sauce also great for shrimp
- Chimichurri Sauce is fresh herb sauce for shrimp or steak
- Easy Homemade Pesto Sauce is perfect on pasta, chicken or shrimp
- Our Blue Cheese Dip is versatile and great for dunking veggies or Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- Easy White Bean Dip with Rosemary is a great alternative to hummus
Cocktail Sauce Recipe
- 1 cup Ketchup
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 3 Tbsp Prepared Horseradish
- 1 Dash Hot Sauce
- Blend the ketchup and horseradish in a bowl, making sure they are thoroughly mixed together
- Add in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, again blending thoroughly
- Taste and make any flavor adjustments
- To make it spicier: Add more hot sauce or horseradish
- To make sauce less spicy: Add more ketchup
- Use at room temperature or keep sealed in refrigerator for up to 7 days. Bring to room temperature before serving for best flavor
- If fresh horseradish is preferred use about 1 Tablespoon and taste for spiciness, then add more if desired
I love that you added horseradish to this. Such a good idea!
Oooh this is going to be perfect for New Year’s Eve. I can’t wait to try it too.
Love this cocktail sauce recipe! Also thanks for the great tip that the pungency of fresh horseradish fades over time if bottled, I didn’t realize that. Thanks for this recipe!
My niece assembled this easy cocktail sauce recipe. It was perfect! So delicious. We enjoyed it with shrimp.
This was wayyyy better than store-bought! So tasty!!