Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Seafood Easy Classic

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

Shrimp cocktail sauce is one of those amazing sauces that just perfect. I don’t know who first thought of this sauce and created, but I want to say a big THANK YOU!

This seafood sauce is the ideal dipping condiment for shrimp cocktail. I remember as a kid, always wanting to order shrimp cocktail, anytime we would go out to a restaurant. They were always pricy, but those big plump shrimp resting on the edge of the cup full of sauce – man that was one great appetizer.

As a kid, it seemed so fancy and so high class!

Well, I have never stopped loving shrimp or this amazing cocktail sauce! I often have a jar of it either in the fridge or the pantry. But, there is no need to buy the sauce because it is very easy to make and you likely have all the ingredients already in your kitchen!

For instructions to make peel and eat shrimp that is perfect for this cocktail sauce, check out this recipe – Peel and Eat Shrimp

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Seafood Easy Classic

Lately, I have been making my own homemade cocktail sauce for the shrimp and my family have been preferring it to the store-bought versions.

This sauce can be made in just a few minutes and all that is required is to whisk all the ingredients until they are well combined and the sauce is smooth in consistency.

It can’t get any easier than that, right??

If you are looking for cocktail sauce at the supermarket, sometimes you may come across regular and hot/zesty versions. The main difference between these two is the amount of horseradish.

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Seafood Easy Classic

The beautiful thing about making your own cocktail sauce is that you can adjust the ingredients to match your taste preference. Use this recipe as a guide and tweak it to the way that you like it.

If you like it on the zesty side, add a little more horseradish. If you prefer a milder sauce, decrease it. If you like lots of tang, add more lemon juice.

I like mine with lots of zip, so I add a little extra horseradish. YUM!

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Seafood Easy Classic

I boil my own shrimp because I prefer the texture and taste of freshly boiled shrimp. But, you can purchase a bag of frozen shrimp, that has already been deveined, cooked and are ready to eat. Just thaw and serve them with this sauce.

It is such a simple appetizer!

If you are going to boil your own shrimp, make sure the raw shrimp is fresh or thawed. I don’t throw them in the water frozen. I like to boil them with the shell on and peel them once cooked. If they are deveined or butterflied, that is fine, just make sure they are not completely peeled prior to boiling.

Bring water, and any spices you want, to a boil in a big pot. Throw in the shrimp and once they are pink and float to the top they are done.

Once the shrimp float to the top of the boiling water, use a metal strainer to remove the cooked shrimp. Chill the shrimp in the fridge of toss them in a large bowl full of ice cubes.

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Seafood Easy Classic

I find the amount of sauce that this recipe yields is enough for about 2 pounds of shrimp. Some lemon wedges go well with the shrimp and cocktail sauce.

Most times, I serve the shrimp with the peel still on and we do ‘peel and eat’ shrimp. Sometimes, and as shown in these photos, I peel all the shrimp ahead of time. This is nice when you are serving the shrimp at a party or event.

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Seafood Easy Classic
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4.88 from 8 votes

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe - Easy Classic Seafood Sauce

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword Cream Sauce, Ketchup, shrimp
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 12 tablespoons
Author Steve Cylka


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp horseradish (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce


  • Whisk all the ingredients together until well mixed.
  • Serve with cooked shrimp.

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Seafood Easy Classic

About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.


  1. I love shrimp cocktail sauce, but have never made my own. I’m looking forward to trying this!

  2. I will try to make one !!

  3. Thanks..this was perfect. I served with boiled shrimps with shells on in lightly salted water. Then chilled. Just as good as restaurant happy hour. Will be a staple recipe. Yeah

  4. What can I use to substitute for horseradish

    • Hmm – that is tough cause there is not much that matches the flavour. Wasabi paste has a similar zing. A couple spoonfuls of stone ground mustard or dijon mustard might work as well.

  5. 4 what can I use to substitute for the horseradish

  6. Looking forward to trying this on NYE! Can I make ahead of time? How long will it keep? Thanks!

  7. My cocktail sauce recipe is quite similar to Steve’s. But most of the time I use chili sauce instead of ketchup in my cocktail sauce because it has a little more body than ketchup. Yet, there are times I’ve used about half chili sauce and half ketchup; that’s usually when I’m low on chili sauce. But I find the two are really interchangeable.Two other additions I make are a slice of onion and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Mix it all up in a mini-food processor. I usually store any leftover in an empty chili sauce jar. But, yeah, this is so easy, there’s no reason not to make cocktail sauce yourself.

  8. I made it tonight and I love it so does my husband. I will never buy seafood sauce again. Thank you Steve

  9. Add just a touch of mustard to this and it will amaze.

  10. this is seriously the best (and easiest) cocktail sauce ever.

  11. Roseanne T. Sullivan

    I tried it and I like it. I bought Trader Joe’s brand and it’s too hot for me. So this is perfect.

  12. If you have no horseradish or hate it use Chili powder instead, I also add old bay seasoning, turned out great!

  13. I made this tonight. Never measured any thing just eyeballed it. Used Frank’s hot sauce . Wow so good

  14. Bryce G. Carswell

    I couldn’t .believe it, but I had no Worstishire sauce I had some teriyaki spice ine the cabinet, so I used that. not bad at all

  15. Steve, I was in a hurry when I chose your recipe, having just realized I was headed to a party and our bottle of store-bought cocktail was expired. I whipped this up in 5 minutes and people were raving about it all night! I kept saying to myself that I was going to come back to the creator of the recipe to compliment…I will be using this one forever and NEVER buying ready-made again!

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