Classic Cocktail Sauce Recipe

We can all agree that a good sauce can make a meal. What would tortilla chips be without hot sauce, pasta without marinara sauce, or a Big Mac without secret sauce? We love our sauces, and somewhere along the line, shrimp got paired up with cocktail sauce, and now the combination is forever immortalized.

Shrimp cocktail is the always solid hors-d'oeuvre served at every wedding and office party, usually nestled in a fancy glass and served with cheese. Recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe for classic cocktail sauce, and says, "Cocktail sauce is easy to make at home. It doesn't involve many ingredients, and you can make it in 5 minutes. You can even dial up or down the "kick" based on how hot you like it." Plus, since it's so easy to make, you'll never have to buy the store-bought version again. Keep reading to find out how to whip up this zesty cocktail sauce that will wow your guests.

Gather the ingredients for classic cocktail sauce

To make this recipe, you'll need to grab a lemon, ketchup, prepared horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Hahn tells us if you don't like things too spicy, you can eliminate the Tabasco, or go easy on the horseradish.

Make the cocktail sauce

First, zest and squeeze the lemon. There's nothing like fresh lemon juice to brighten up whatever dish you are making. "I use fresh lemons in lots of my cooking," Hahn shares. "I have a lemon tree so I always have a bowl of lemons on my counter, and use them frequently. I think adding the zest gives food an extra tangy flavor to make it pop."

This step right here is where you realize you are never buying pre-made cocktail sauce again — it's so easy. Simply grab a small bowl, and mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt, and pepper. 

Chill, and serve the sauce

Cover the bowl, and stick it in your fridge for 1 hour, or a few days if you are prepping this for a party. Once chilled, your sauce is ready to serve. Of course, you are going to serve this fabulous sauce with some fresh shrimp, but you can also serve it with seafood of any kind, like crab cakes or oysters. Hahn says if you have leftovers, you can use it as a dip with onion rings or fried mushrooms, or even drizzle some on a tofu scramble or omelet. The sauce will last up to 2 weeks in a sealed container in the fridge.

Classic Cocktail Sauce Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
You will never want to buy cocktail sauce from the grocery store again, thanks to this homemade shrimp cocktail recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
shrimp and cocktail sauce
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅔ cup ketchup
  • 1 ½ tablespoons horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  1. Zest and juice the lemon.
  2. Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Cover the sauce, chill for at least 1 hour, and serve.
Calories per Serving 92
Total Fat 0.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.8 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 18.6 g
Sodium 832.8 mg
Protein 1.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe