Cocktail Sauce

12 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Refrigerate 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Cocktail Sauce is made in just 2 minutes and tastes amazing and nothing like the bottled variety. The perfect dipping sauce to wow  your party guests.

Cocktail Sauce is an easy sauce recipe to keep in your back pocket like Sweet and Sour Sauce, Blue Cheese Dressing and A1 Steak Sauce (Copycat). The homemade versions always taste better than the bottled variety.

Cocktail Sauce Cocktail Sauce

This recipe seems almost too easy to post. But as we’re heading into the holidays I promise you’re going to want this for your shrimp cocktail platter (shrimp cocktail recipe coming tomorrow!).

The difference in flavor from a bottled cocktail sauce and the fresh variety cannot be stressed enough. The bottled variety is like slightly spicy ketchup with chunks. This fresh version with horseradish and lemon just POPS.

I’ve been serving this recipe with shrimp cocktail at client events for almost 10 years and I can tell you that when you see people taste it for the first time they will either immediately ask you for the recipe of they just walk over to get more.

What is cocktail sauce made of?

Plus, it’s so incredibly easy to make. The magic is just in the freshness of the ingredients and the mixture. Yes, you’re using a pre-made ketchup but the Worcestershire sauce and the lemon add depth of flavor and a bright acidic punch. The horseradish brings out all the classic flavors of cocktail sauce.

Just make sure (this is the only important thing to be careful about), that you’re letting the mixture sit before serving. If you serve it right away the flavors will not have had time to come together and taste like cocktail sauce. It will taste like spicy ketchup.

What to serve with cocktail sauce?

Along with the classic shrimp cocktail, cocktail sauce is often served with other shellfish and seafood including crab, oyster and even salmon. If you want to temper the flavors of it to make a glaze or a dipping sauce add some mayonnaise and serve it with fried mushrooms, or calamari. You can also use the glaze as a topping for meatloaf or add it with some tomato juice as a bloody mary starter.

Easy Fresh Cocktail Sauce

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Cocktail Sauce

Cocktail Sauce is made in just 2 minutes and tastes amazing and nothing like the bottled variety. The perfect dipping sauce to wow  your party guests.
Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dip, Sauce
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lemon , juiced
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce


  • Mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
  • Refrigerate at least 60 minutes before serving.


Calories: 26kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 103IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

Cocktail Sauce collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I’ve been trying to find a Cocktail Sauce that I really like for years. And I’ve finally found it! I never would have thought to add Worcestershire sauce! Genius!

    And thanks!

  2. Can’t wait to make this! My local grocery store sells great crab cakes and I often think cocktail sauce takes them up a notch. This recipe sounds so much fresher and better than the bottled kind. I know I’m going to love those crab cakes even more. Yum!

    1. Looking forward to your feedback Cathy! Let us know how you liked it and thanks for the 5 star confidence rating!

  3. Perfect recipe! My guests loved it and could tell it wasn’t from a jar. I’ve also tried using no sugar-added ketchup and it was still good!

  4. Great recipe! You can adjust the ingredients to make it as spicy or mild as you like. Most of my family likes it with a kick so I add a little more horseradish and for mild a little less. Thank you so much.

  5. I have made mine like this for year and love.I have a tip sometimes I like it a little,more hot add lemon.When you buy horseradish it is not that hot.

  6. I love how simple and delicious this cocktail sauce is! Shrimp cocktail is always the first thing gone – and this cocktail sauce is so delicious!

  7. You have all the best sauces! I’ve never seen such a pretty cocktail sauce or thought of making my own, but you make it so easy!

  8. I like the ingredients you used. In mine, I don’t use the Tabasco sauce or Worcestershire sauce. I add chilli sauce. When I made mine and it was for a major hotel in the city where I live.

    I will give your recipe try at the next family gathering. Love your recipes. Even though I don’t comment very I love your recipes. Except for pasta ones as I am not a great fan of it. Have a great day and keep on cooking.