Seafood Cocktail Sauce

Classic cocktail sauce recipe

The Spruce / Chosen Posture

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Servings: 10 servings

Although it's easy enough to buy off of the shelf, making your own cocktail sauce allows you to adjust the level of spice and kick from the horseradish, but also ensuring that no additives or preservatives are added. Make a wholesome sauce great for all seafood, from shrimp to fried fish.

Turn up the heat with your own favorite hot sauce, and make it 100 percent from scratch by making your own ketchup. Make bigger batches and keep in the fridge for up to a week; during the holidays it's always good to have some of this sauce at hand so you can simply cook your seafood and serve.


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  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed, about 1 small lemon)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons horseradish (prepared)
  • 1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash of Tabasco
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine the chili sauce and ketchup in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Mix well. Taste again and adjust the amount of heat, adding more Tabasco if desired.

  3. Serve on the side of a seafood platter.

  4. Enjoy!

Make Your Own Horseradish

It's easy to make homemade horseradish with fresh ingredients. Horseradish is very strong, so take care to ventilate the room and don't get too close to it once it is ground:

  • Peel an 8- to 10-inch length of horseradish root, chop the root, and put it in a food processor with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and a dash of kosher salt.
  • Process until finely ground.
  • Drain off excess water and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
  • Transfer to a jar and cover.
  • Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Make Your Own Shrimp Cocktail

A tray of homemade shrimp cocktail has a more appealing texture and appearance, as the shrimp are still firm and not overcooked or too hard to chew due to many hours in the fridge. To make it yourself:

  • Peel and devein 2 to 3 dozen medium to large shrimp, or about 1.5 pounds, leaving the tails on.
  • Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat and add 1 cut-up lemon.
  • Add the shrimp and boil for 3 minutes, or until opaque and pink.
  • Transfer to a bowl of iced water to cool them quickly. Drain well.
  • Place the shrimp in a ceramic bowl, cover, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  • Serve with the homemade cocktail sauce.

Creamy Cocktail Sauce

  • Once the sauce is well mixed, split our recipe in half and add 1/4 cup of mayo to one half. Mix well and serve the two sauces for your seafood platter.