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The Best Cocktail Sauce Ever is simple, yet so delicious! Ready in a few minutes, this easy cocktail sauce recipe has only four ingredients!

Overhead view of cocktail sauce with spoon in bowl with blue rim, beside a few boiled shrimp
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I’m pretty picky about my Cocktail Sauce. The bottled stuff just doesn’t make the cut with me. That’s the reason I developed my own years ago. And it’s absolutely the best I’ve ever tasted – and the reason I call it the Best Cocktail Sauce Ever.

This sauce comes together very simply, in just a few minutes with only four ingredients! My family loves this sauce and I’m asked how to make it every time I serve it to friends too. I think you will love it as well!

The Best Cocktail Sauce Ever

Cocktail Sauce in white blue rimmed bowl surrounded by boiled shrimp

When you are making a special dinner that includes seafood or an appetizer like Boiled Shrimp, this homemade cocktail sauce is essential! It’s so easy to whip together right before serving the meal, or to make ahead and keep in the fridge. The fresh, zesty taste of it makes the seafood so much more special!

I especially enjoy serving this with seafood as part of special dinners for birthdays, holidays and get togethers with friends. Seafood favorites like shrimp or Scallops with this cocktail sauce taste amazing alongside a favorite meal of beef tenderloin or Skillet Ribeyes.

And if I’m serving certain fish for the meal, I may sometimes also include tartar sauce. I also like to include sides such as Baked Potatoes and House Salad and a favorite dessert like Key Lime Pie .

How to Make the Best Cocktail Sauce

To make this, you’ll need:


  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Lemon Juice
  • Horseradish


Then you simply mix these ingredients together until they are well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve with your favorite seafood and refrigerate any leftover sauce.

Note: If you like your cocktail sauce with a bit more or less “bite”, you can adjust the horseradish for your preference.

Make Ahead

If you make ahead or make extra, place in an airtight container and refrigerate. It should stay fresh up to a week.

Anyway, back to the sauce. When you make a special meal with a favorite seafood, it deserves this delicious sauce. Especially since it only takes a few minutes of time and it’s absolutely the best!

You really should give it a try the next time you have shrimp, oysters, or the like.

More Favorite Sauces

Here’s my recipe for the Best Cocktail Sauce Ever. We love it and I hope you do too!

4.92 from 47 votes

The Best Cocktail Sauce Ever

Sauces 5 mins

Prep Time 5 mins
Servings 12 – about 2 cups
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
The Best Cocktail Sauce Ever is simple, yet so delicious! Ready in a few minutes, this easy cocktail sauce recipe has only four ingredients!


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish adjust to taste


  • Mix all ingredients together until well-combined.
  • Keep refrigerated.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

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Now, grab a plate of shrimp and dig in.


30 Minutes or Less Recipes

Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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Recipe Review


  1. Once you’ve had GOOD cocktail sauce, it’s hard to go back to the jarred stuff. This sounds perfect!

  2. We love cocktail sauce in our house, but my husband is super picky. Like you, he loves horseradish. This sounds like the perfect recipe!

  3. My folks owned a fish restaurant when I was a teenager and I’d bet I’ve made a ton of cocktail sauce. I make mine the same way as you and it is delicious! You have me craving shrimp!

  4. horseradish is the BEST part of cocktail sauce. I pretty much only like the stuff at red lobster. the bottle from the store- no matter the brand- just isnt right. Ill have to give this a try!

  5. Girlfriend!I know what you mean about not going back to jarred stuff. I can’t wait to give your cocktail sauce a try with my next batch of shrimp 😀 xoxo

  6. Having our own homemade cocktail sauce is so much better then those preservative added jarred sauces. You can always make it fresh and you know it is healthy. Plus those step wise pictures are so illustrative. Great work done.

  7. It’s perfect!!! Exactly how I make mine except I measured ingredients this time! Nothing better than fresh cocktail sauce with boiled shrimp.

  8. Try Italian rose …I get it at walmart it’s the best I ever ate including ho made’s in the refrigerated section

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve always mixed ketchup and horseradish, now I know to add the lemon and Worcestershire sauce. No doubt that will take it over the top! You know I’m pinning it!

    1. 5 stars
      I just wanted to tell you I made this and it is AWESOME!!
      I pinned it to my “Tried It & Liked It” board. Thank You!

  10. 5 stars
    Just made first time ever. it and I give it a 5 out of 5 star. The cocktail sauce was a delight to have and it was WAY better then the jared commercial stuff. I used natural and organic ingredients and WOWIE was this the way to go. While making it I had decided to cut the recipe in half then without realizing until done I only cut the 2 cups of ketchup in half and the rest of it I used the full recipe. O MY GOSH if you like a little Zing to your Zang then DO THIS! No kidding you I thought I ruined the recipe at this point but my husband and I loved it even more. Can’t thank you enough for this recipe. ( : YUMMY!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it and I love that you upped the kick in it! I know I’d love it that way, too as I’m always adding a bit more spice than everyone else! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    I am from Lancaster county ,pa and this is the exact receipe that ived used for 55 years, good for you its great,quick and eazy.

  12. 5 stars
    I have made this many times and it is good. You can change it up a little by using Hintz chili sauce instead of ketchup.

  13. 5 stars
    Just like my Nanny used to make! I can never eat the bottled stuff. I actually take my own when we eat out!

  14. 5 stars
    Great base recipe. I’m trying to standardize with recipes stuff that I typically do free hand. Found this and will haelp with that goal! This is how I make mine. Never buy the jar stuff (same with barbecue sauce). Would add that adding some hot sauce, cayenne or garlic chili sauce (to suit one’s taste) is a great way to add a bit of kick for palates that would enjoy such.

    Thanks for providing this simple, wholesome and delicious recipe.

  15. I you shrimp cocktail sauce, do you use fresh horseradish, jarred pickled or what? Then the brand. Also, ketchups taste different. Which do you use? Thanking you in advance.

  16. Can’t wait to try this for our oyster roast this weekend! Do you buy fresh horseradish & grate it. I have the horseradish that comes in a small jar.

  17. 4 stars
    I found that this was not at all spicy enough. I used 2 tablespoons of horseradish and added some minced capers, about 1 tablespoon. I always make from scratch, but never used Worcestershire before. That was a nice twist, which I will do from now on.

    1. I agree, the basic recipe was fine but not even a bit hot, I like cocktail sauce that makes my nostrils flare. I added, and added, and added horseradish until it got a little kick.

  18. 5 stars
    This is my go to cocktail sauce, been using it for years. But for 2 cups of sauce, x4 on all the ingredents except catsup.

  19. 5 stars
    Oh yes! Been making this for 40+ years. We like spicy, so I bump up the horseradish. I just steamed some shrimp and I made this sauce. It takes about 90 seconds to make. Really. Don’t embellish with garlic or onion or salt or anything else. Perfect just as it is.

  20. 5 stars
    This was great! I added a red bell pepper, doubled the horse radish and pulsed it in the blender. My husband thought I’d “bought the good stuff”

  21. 5 stars
    Post-Thanksgiving shrimp fest (we were maxed out on turkey) at our mountain cabin. Guess what? No cocktail sauce. Googled this site. Didn’t think that the Worcestershire sauce would work, but BAM! Made a half batch with fresh-squeezed lemon and it was perfect! Thanks for saving the day.

    1. Shrimp does sound delicious right about now, Randy! I’m glad you found my recipe and you enjoyed it too! Thanks!

  22. 5 stars
    I rarely have measured ingredients when I have made similar versions. My rule of thumb is enough horseradish to make the mixture pink, not red. Then add lemon, Tabasco, coarse black pepper to taste. Sometimes Worc. sauce, but much smaller proportion than the recipe calls for.

  23. 5 stars
    I was so disappointed when I had made fried shrimp and realized I was out of cocktail sauce. But then I realized I had all the ingredients for this and it’s sooooooo much better than the store bought stuff I had. Thanks for saving my date-night-in dinner! 

    1. I’m thrilled that it helped you have a that special dinner, Christina! I love this so much better than packaged cocktail sauce too – I always make this. Thanks so much! xo

  24. 4 stars
    I needed to tweak this. Surprised others didn’t. I started with 1 1/2 cups of ketchup, and 2 tsp of horseradish wasn’t nearly enough, so surely wouldn’t be enough with 2 cups ketchup. I ended up doubling the horseradish to 4 tsp, which made it much better after refrigerating overnight. Thanks!

  25. Pretty much the way we do it in South Texas; however, we would add significantly more Worstershire sauce and a lot more horse radish, and some good old Tabasco for added heat.

  26. 5 stars
    This was the best cocktail sauce I have ever had. No more junk in a jar! I can’t wait until summer when I entertain. I live in Maryland, so you already know it has to be good. I’m looking forward to making this and serving it with my seafood feast! Thank you!

    1. 5 stars
      This is they only cocktail sauce I will eat now. It’s sooo good! There isn’t really anything else to be said about it, it is the absolute BEST cocktail sauce. Thank you for all of your recipes, they never disappoint!

    1. Hi David,
      It’s not sauce, but a ground horseradish I find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Thanks!

    2. Robyn, can you share what store and/or what brand? I can only seem to find “prepared” horseradish. And when I ask store associates, I get a blank stare.

    3. I have used several brands, Brooke. Ask for fresh ground horseradish. I usually find mine at Publix or Kroger. Sometimes I have to ask for it in the deli section. A couple of brands are Silver Spring and Seminole. Hope you can find it in your store.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy it too, Mary! And I love that the recipe is helpful to you as well! Thanks! xo

  27. 4 stars
    The first time I made this it was way too “ketchupy”. Definitely not enough horseradish. I had to quadruple the amount of horseradish, and then it was fantastic.

  28. NEVER will purchase a jar again and from now on, will do this home-made. We didn’t have ground horseradish in our kitchen, so we used Wasabe, to taste, in its place and added more lemon juice to taste . . . FANTASTIC! Thank you for a simple and successful recipe, Robyn! When I googled for the recipe, yours was the best search result!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy it, Anita! Thanks so much for letting me know! xo

    2. Thanks, Anita! So glad you liked this recipe. The addition of the Wasabi sounds great. xo

  29. 5 stars
    The store bought is still sitting in the fridge. My son wanted to make his own even though we had some expensive sauce in the fridge. This is so much better than any sauce we have ever had. Making it again on Saturday for ou guests.

  30. 5 stars
    Really good easy recipe.  My father-in-law made his own cocktail sauce and this reminds me of it. I quartered the recipe because only my wife and I will eat it.  I upped the horseradish because I like my cocktail sauce a little zinger.

  31. 5 stars
    Just found this. I run the food service program for a international company. My vendor shorted me my regular cocktail sauce. I am so glad they did.
    I will be using this recipe from now on.

    1. Hi Chris,
      I’m happy you found this recipe when you needed it! So glad you like it that much. Thanks!

    1. Hi Shaun,
      The cocktail sauce should keep about a week in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container. Enjoy!

  32. 5 stars
    So good!  We loved it.  My husband likes it spicy so I added more horseradish.  It is now in our fridge at all times!! 

  33. 5 stars
    Just made up a cup and ate a dozen shrimp. Man, I’m stuffed. My wife says it’s better than the stuff out of a jar.
    It’s real good.

  34. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing your recipe, it is fabulous. I have some tempura shrimp that I haven’t been loving, I finally decided it was the bottled cocktail sauce. I found your recipe and in 5 mins had the best tempura shrimp ever.
    The sauce has such a fresh flavor, the ingredients play so well on each other. I love lemon and horseradish in cocktail sauce, and this was the perfect amount of both. I will not buy bottled cocktail sauce again, ever

    1. I’m so glad you loved this cocktail sauce. I didn’t like the taste of the commercial cocktail sauces, either.

  35. I never made my own sauce (and I do cook) but I ran out of the bottled stuff during company visiting. I googled home made and found this one so I tried it. Not only did I like it better than the bottled stuff but my guests raved about it and asked where I purchased it. They did not believe I made it from scratch in about 5 minutes. Well, that’s it. Easy, quick and much tastier. No more bottled stuff for me!!! Thanks Robyn Stone !!!!

    1. Don’t you just love how easy this is to make, Linda! I’m so glad you found this recipe and it worked so well for you.

  36. This is my go to sauce. BF can’t handle spicy food but this was just perfect! (Of course I added an extra 1/2 tspn horseradish ) and he raves about how good this.

    1. So glad you and your boyfriend like this sauce, Sue. Don’t you love how simple it is to make?

  37. I tried this recipe a few weeks ago because you had said “y’all” in your comment. Southern gal. Southern cooking. I’m back at it for Super Bowl Sunday. My wife requested it. And I always consider her requests, especially when they align with my own!

  38. 5 stars
    Delicious recipe! I’ve made it several times and continue to get compliments. I used to use Crosse & Blackwell Cocktail Sauce religiously and have tried several recipes however none came close…This is superior! Thank you!

  39. 5 stars
    WOW! You shared a fantastic recipe which I made and found to be so delicious. Truly awesome. I will never purchase bottled cocktail sauce again. What I made was so easy to make and was so good.
    Thank you.

  40. 5 stars
    Awesome simple recipe! Love it. I used Penzey’s Ground Horseradish – works great! Just needed to use a little more horseradish for more kick. Tried another recipe using Tomato sauce and it was a disaster. Thanks, Robyn!!!

  41. 5 stars
    This is amazing. It’s way too much though, so I half the recipe. And If I’m only making it for myself, I half it twice!! Thanks for posting this though 🙂

  42. This is way too mild. Needs much more horseradish, some chili garlic sauce AND some Tabasco to round it out. (I also used Sloppy Joe sauce instead of ketchup for less carbs and a richer flavor.) It was easy to make though.

    1. Karla, I made this recipe so that everyone in my family could eat it. I know some like a spicier sauce so I noted to adjust the horseradish to taste.

  43. 5 stars
    The ingredients are all good and make a tasty sauce. If you like any spice at all, increase the horseradish by about 5x.

    1. Thanks, Zac. I try not to make my recipes really spicy for those who can’t tolerate a lot of spicy food. That’s why I add adjust to taste with the horseradish in the recipe. Some in my family always add a little more, too.

  44. 5 stars
    Thanks so much for having this sauce. I was trying to pull it out of my brain but wasn’t having much luck. This is the same seafood sauce that an old boyfriend taught me about 40 years ago. He used to work at a Seafood Restaurant in Florida. All of their guests came to this restaurant for the cocktail sauce he told me. I love this sauce! I can make it as hot as I want with the horseradish.

    1. Thanks, Jessica. I love that each person can adjust the heat as he/she likes with this sauce, too.

  45. Robyn can this sauce be canned? What would be needed to make it appropriate for canning. More lemon?

    1. I’ve never tried canning this sauce, Ann, so I can’t tell from experience how it would work.

  46. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I used almost equal parts horseradish as ketchup!

    I’m from the US bit live in Poland now and they have jarred horseradish, worked great, thanks!

    1. Thanks, Claire. Some jarred horseradish is stronger than others so I’m glad you can adjust to level you like.

  47. This recipe is easy and delicious! A real time saver, I made it twice already. I added extra Horseradish just for extra kick, and because I love Horseradish.

    1. I love to add more horseradish to mine sometimes, too. The great thing about this recipe is that everyone can make it as spicy as they want.

  48. Awesome easy recipe. Store bought has no flavor,unless you like high HFCS and little horseradish to none. Thank you!!!

    1. Kim H, Thanks. I love that you can make this as spicy or mild as you want.

  49. Love this! Something interesting, as an Thanks for the recipe! American living in Canada here. Ketchup here is a lot sweeter up here. I cut the sweetness by adding a bit of soy sauce and I also add some tobasco sauce as well! Fresh is the way to go!

    1. Thanks for the tips for using the ketchup in Canada, Jen. So glad you liked the cocktail sauce.

  50. Great recipe. Had some nice leftover Dungeness crab, added some very nice chopped up U15 shrimp, a couple of dots of tabasco and a pinch of sugar and a few tablespoons of heavy cream. We found it totally elegant, different, tasty and super easy. Robyn’s recipe is super.

  51. Best cocktail sauce! Husband won’t use anything else now. I tweaked it a little using what I had on hand. I used Beer’n Brat horseradish Mustard instead of horseradish and it tastes delicious. Thank you for the great and easy recipe!

    1. Thanks for the tip with the horseradish mustard, Carla. I love that this is now a favorite for your husband.