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This recipe for homemade cocktail sauce is so easy and delicious that you’ll never want to buy jarred cocktail sauce ever again.

This recipe for homemade cocktail sauce is so easy and delicious that you’ll never want to buy jarred cocktail sauce ever again. And chances are, you have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator already!

This is another recipe that we get asked for all the time.  Our cocktail sauce is a simple and perfectly balanced combination of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, lemon zest and fresh horseradish.  The freshly combined flavors are so much better than any jarred sauce you can buy and it’s just perfect for shrimp cocktail or any other seafood that you serve with this sauce.

This recipe for homemade cocktail sauce is so easy and delicious that you’ll never want to buy jarred cocktail sauce ever again.

The other benefit to making your own cocktail sauce is that you can adjust the amount of horseradish in the recipe to your liking.  Our recipe has the perfect amount of heat but you can make the sauce as zesty or as mild as you would like.

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Cocktail Sauce - A Family Feast

Cocktail Sauce

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups


  • 2 cups good ketchup (see our homemade ketchup recipe here)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh horseradish (we use Boar’s Head)


  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  3. Serve with cooked peeled shrimp.

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  • Michael J wrote:

    I sometimes encounter the issue where the intensity of the horseradish itself seems to be unusually strong.. I.e the exact same quantity and ratio made into the cocktail sauce, but these occasional cases the sauce has quite a great deal more kick!

    Any idea why, or a way to get that horseradish to “mellow” ?

    It doesn’t lend well to dilution either, which I’ve tried a bit – Lose the right consistency very easily, and it doesn’t actually help much anyway, as the kick is still there and very noticeable, just more distributed..

    Would love any thoughts!


    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Michael – Thanks for your question! Jack and I have been discussing your dilemma and doing some online research as well. As I’m sure you know, horseradish is a root and from what we can tell, the different varieties of horseradish vary mostly in their foliage but not necessarily their taste or intensity when fresh. (Jack mentioned that he grew some horseradish years ago and it was so mild, he peeled and grilled it!) We’re guessing that the difference you are finding is in the preparation and perhaps the freshness of the ingredients when it was jarred. We typically look for the Gold’s brand of horseradish which we’ve found to be very consistent from jar to jar. And – we agree – the only way to dilute the intensity would be to use less of it not add more of the other ingredients. If you are trying a new or different brand, to be safe, I guess we’d suggest using less than the recipe calls for and then add more to suit your tastes. I hope that helps! (I’m not sure we have a perfect answer for you!) Thanks for writing to us today – Martha

  • Amanda Hardee wrote:

    This is so delicious! I have been using your recipe for the past few years every time I make low country boil for my family. I am wondering how long it will keep in the fridge?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Amanda – We’ve kept it in the refrigerator ourselves for no longer than a week – but we’re also careful about dishing out only what we need for serving. If you’ve been dipping the shrimp in and out of the sauce, or it has been sitting outside during your party, you probably don’t want to keep for long after that, just for safety reasons. Hope that helps!

  • Stephanie wrote:

    I love the way you have your shrimp cocktail displayed. It is very lovely.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Stephanie!

  • Beth wrote:

    How does this recipe yield one cup when it calls for two cups of ketchup?

    • Martha wrote:

      Ah – great catch Beth! We actually updated the recipe a few months ago – adding more ketchup – and must have also forgotten to update the yield. Should be 2 cups (I will update that now)! Thanks for letting us know about the error and if you make the recipe – we hope you enjoy it!

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