Homemade shrimp cocktail sauce is so easy and takes only 5 minutes to whip up. It's made with ketchup, prepared horseradish, diced celery, crushed garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce (optional), and tabasco sauce (optional). Serve alongside some steamed shrimp or steamed lobster tails.
This recipe only covers the zesty shrimp cocktail sauce. If you'd like a recipe with shrimp and cocktail sauce, try this steamed shrimp cocktail recipe.
What You Will Love
This is the best cocktail sauce recipe because it's tangy, spicy, and has a little bit of crunch with the diced celery. Once you try this tangy cocktail sauce, you will think store-bought cocktail sauce is "meh."
This delicious sauce will take your shrimp cocktail appetizer to a whole new level because it's customizable. Not enough horseradish or wanting to add some heat, no problem! It's so easy to make your own cocktail sauce from scratch, so give it a try.
- Ketchup: Use any type of ketchup available. Substitute Heinz chili sauce for ketchup.
- Prepared horseradish: Prepared horseradish is the horseradish you buy at the grocery store that's in a jar (it might be found in the fridge section). Fresh horseradish is a root found in the produce section of the grocery store. Don't use fresh horseradish; buy prepared horseradish in a jar.
- Crushed garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves. Mash the garlic using a mortar and pestle or press the garlic using a garlic press.
- Celery: Finely dice fresh celery. This adds a little flavor and crunch to the shrimp cocktail sauce.
- Lemon: Use fresh lemon juice.
- Worcestershire sauce (optional): This unique flavor adds another dimension to the shrimp cocktail sauce. It's optional, so if you don't have any on hand, you can omit it.
- Tabasco sauce or hot sauce (optional): For spicy cocktail sauce, add hot sauce.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
Dice the celery, crush the garlic, and squeeze the lemon. Add all of the ingredients together in a bowl and stir.
How To Make Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
Finely dice the celery. Crush the garlic using a garlic press or mortar and pestle. Squeeze the lemon juice to remove the seeds.
Combine ketchup, crushed garlic, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and tabasco sauce in a small bowl.
Mix the shrimp cocktail sauce.
Taste the cocktail sauce. Add more horseradish if desired.
Serve with large shrimp and fresh lemon wedges.
Tips and Tricks
- For a classic shrimp cocktail, serve this classic cocktail sauce with steamed shrimp cocktail.
- Taste the cocktail sauce and adjust the amount of horseradish to your personal preference. You might like additional horseradish.
- Steam shrimp (or prawns) using a steamer! Shrimp cooks quickly, so a delicate steam ensures that it's not rubbery or overcooked.
Variations and Substitutions
- Substitute equal parts chili sauce for ketchup.
- Omit the tabasco hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce if desired.
- Use lime juice in place of lemon juice.
Store the homemade cocktail sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Heinz chili sauce is basically amped-up ketchup. You can substitute chili sauce for ketchup.
Shrimp cocktail sauce has ketchup, lemon juice, prepared horseradish, and garlic.
Homemade cocktail sauce and garlic butter sauce are great with shrimp.
Quick & Easy Appetizers
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Homemade Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ tablespoon prepared horseradish or more depending on preference
- 1 garlic clove crushed or mashed
- ½ lemon squeezed
- 2 tablespoon finely diced celery
- 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce optional
- ½ tablespoon worcestershire sauce optional
- Finely dice the celery. Crush the garlic using a garlic press or mortar and pestle. Squeeze the lemon using a lemon juicer.
- Add the ketchup, diced celery, lemon juice, crushed garlic, prepared horseradish, worcestershire sauce (if using), and tabasco sauce (if using). Mix well.
- Serve the homemade cocktail sauce with chilled steamed shrimp.