Homemade Cocktail Sauce

5 from 9 votes
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Homemade Cocktail Sauce is so simple to make with only 4 ingredients. You will never want store bought sauce again. 

If you enjoy shrimp be sure to try hot shrimp dip , BBQ shrimp and shrimp etouffee.

cocktail sauce in a bowl

One of my mom’s favorite things to eat is shrimp cocktail. If she didn’t feel like cooking, we would have that for dinner with potatoes and a vegetable. It was also served at every holiday meal and party. 

I never remember her buying cocktail sauce from the store. She always made it from scratch and would joke that she would disown me if she caught me buying store bought sauce.

Homemade is the way to go with cocktail sauce. The fresh ingredients makes such a huge difference in taste, it’s worth the few minutes it takes to make it. 

What you need

Chili sauceI prefer this to Ketchup. It has a little bit of a bite and already tastes a little like cocktail sauce on it’s own. 

Prepared horseradishMake sure not to use horseradish sauce because it contains other ingredients like mayonnaise. You can typically find it in the condiment aisle of the grocery store.

Worcestershire sauce This adds a little saltiness.

Lemon juiceThe juice adds acid to the sauce to help balance out the flavors. 

chili sauce, worcestershire, horseradish and lemon

How to make

Scroll down for full printable recipe, ingredients and video.

This can be made in less than 5 minutes. An advantage to making it yourself is the ability to adjust the level of spiciness. 

If you like it more spicy, add more horseradish. If you like it extra tangy, add more lemon juice. 

  • Stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl making sure to get the combined. Serve immediately or story in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

chili sauce, worcestershire, horseradish, lemon

Recipe Tips

  • If you are making for a party, prepare it ahead of time and let chill. 
  • Adjust the amount of horseradish to desired spiciness level. If you accidentally add too much, add more chili sauce or ketchup. 
  • This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups. It can be doubled for a large crowd or party. 

How long does it last?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  

What to serve with homemade cocktail sauce

  • I think the classic thing to use it with is shrimp cocktail. Choose your favorite cooked shrimp and serve alongside the sauce.
  • It can also be served with oysters, calamari and crab.
  • Crab cakes is another great way to enjoy this sauce. 
  • Fish sticks – My kids like using it for dipping. 
  • Shrimp and sausage dinner

What type of shrimp is best?

Shrimp are available in different sizes, along with tail on or off and shell on or off. They also come fresh and frozen.

If you are making a shrimp cocktail appetizer, it is recommended to buy tail on because it makes them easier to pick up and just looks nice on the plate. 

Shell or no shell is a personal choice. Leaving it on can add flavor but does make it a little more messy. 

Fresh or frozen shrimp is again a personal choice. I find that the frozen shrimp tend to be very fresh. If you are short on time, fresh is the way to go, just make sure to smell your fresh seafood before bringing it home. There should not be a “fishy” smell. 

shrimp dipped in sauce

More tasty condiments

*** If you made this recipe, please leave a comment and rating below. 

Cocktail sauce in a bowl
5 from 9 votes

Cocktail Sauce

By Heather
Easy homemade cocktail sauce.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 16 oz chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • Mix everything together in a bowl. Serve or store in the refrigerator.


YouTube video


  • Adjust the amount of horseradish to desired spiciness level. If you accidentally add too much, add more chili sauce or ketchup. 
  • Will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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Recipe Rating


  1. I have to make mine, too and I almost have the same recipe, but I don’t add the worchestershire sauce, but I am going to start. That sounds so good.

  2. I love making my own condiment sauces. I have a recipe that is very similar to this one that my family loves. I’ll have to try your version too.

  3. In all my years of cooking, I’ve yet to use a chili sauce vs. ketchup in my cocktail sauce. I’ll be “borrowing” your recipe for my next shrimp cocktail. Thanks, Heather!

  4. 5 stars
    That shrimp cocktail looks so good and my son loves shrimp. I have to try to make this sauce and use it on so many things.

  5. OK now this sauce sounds right up my street – I do love a bit of seafood and could just imagine dipping in some prawns oh yum!