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 - Easy Classic Seafood Sauce

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Seafood Easy Classic
4.84 out of 5
25 reviews
How to make cocktail sauce for shrimp with this easy recipe. Homemade and copycat to the Heinz seafood cocktail sauce. Ketchup, horseradish and lemon for dipping.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12 tablespoons


  • 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.


Per serving:

Calories: 13kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 116mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2g

Nutrition Disclaimer

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce Recipe Seafood Easy Classic


Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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  • The flavor on this Cocktail Sauce was fantastic. Be careful with the horseradish, two tablespoons may be too much for many. I used one, and it was still quite strong. I used Heinz ketchup for the base, and it was not nearly as thick as the finished product depicted in the photo. I will try another brand next time.

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  • Fantastic. My delivery came with no seafood sauce and I was really upset and then I thought “maybe there’s a recipe online”. I found this. Made it in a minute. Tastes better than anything I’ve ever had before. Definitely recommend.

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  • This cocktail sauce is awesome. I didn’t have lemon juice so made it with lime juice and it was great. Even hubby liked it!

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  • FABULOUS! Just made this for later tonight, and the taste is perfect. I didn’t have lemons and used fresh lime juice instead, but it’s still amazing. I will never buy bottled cocktail sauce again. Thank you, Steve! 🙂

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  • I’ve never made my own cocktail sauce, but this recipe was tasty and great. I doubled the recipe including a 1/2 cup of chili sauce with the 1/2 cup of ketchup to give it a better texture. Since I like my sauce zesty, I used ‘hot’ horseradish which provided just enough kick.

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  • great sauce …….its a keeper!!

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  • Steve,

    LOVE the simplicity of this recipe and it works like a charm! After Ken’s Steakhouse gave up selling to the public (but still sells wholesale to restaurants,) I have been trying to replicate with little success. Your recipe is the perfect balance of tangy with a kick! As Scott alludes to above, it IS about the horseradish BUT, the lemon juice and Worcestershire amounts give that complexity that makes this recipe my final “go to.” I used chili sauce exclusively as catsup is just too sweet and doesn’t have any body to it. The hot sauce I used was a Mexican picanté and gave just the right amount of bite/heat.

    Thank you!

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  • Great redeipe great flavor

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  • everyone loved it. less tangy than store bought, but if you prefer that, I’m sure you can just add lemon juice. This was the perfect amount (more than) I needed for one appetizer serving, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting any.

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  • Excellent!!!!

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  • Absolutely scrumptious. No more shop bought rubbish. My tomato sauce was also home made.

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  • Great recipe dude! I make my own as well. only difference is i add garlic powder but lets face it. it’s all about the horseradish.

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    • Yes! It is definitely the horseradish that makes or breaks the cocktail sauce

  • Don’t boil shrimp, maybe steam them. I like to cook shrimp in butter and garlic. I plan on trying this cocktail sauce recipe.

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  • If you use horseradish use kosher style. It is ground hoseradish and nothing else. That means it is a versatile enough for for variety recipes

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  • Haven’t made it yyet, but I am making a shrimp tree to bring to my Dr. office at Christmas for a change as I usually bake for them each mo. I’m sure cookies & candy will already be plentiful there. I do not eat shrimp and as a widow always counted on my husband to do the sauce. Your recipe looks great and I will save plenty, because I will need sauce for 6lbs of shrimp. Thank you for all your words of wisdom on this subject. I’ve been making the tree for over 30 yrs. but never sauce.

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    • So nice to hear from you and I am glad that you found this recipe for the sauce. Yes, this will be far more economical than buying enough sauce for 6 pounds of shrimp. I hope you and everyone else enjoys it!

  • Best with Brooks Tangy ketchup

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  • Excellent red sauce for my boiled shrimp!
    Thank you so much!

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  • So easy

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  • Not fond of store bought chili sauce because it has corn syrup. And usually artificial sweeteners. make mine with sugar free ketchup or one without corn syrup and exactly like you recipe. I like lots of horseradish and hot sauce.! yummm

    • Reply

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