You can make Homemade Cocktail Sauce in 5 minutes, and oh, is it worth the time! You will have a rich, bright sauce that your friends and family will love, with the horseradish level of your choice – from head clearing to mild.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered shrimp cocktail? Did they serve it with a cocktail sauce that was bright, tart and sinus clearing with the delicious flavor of horseradish? That’s what I was after. Cocktail sauce is surprisingly easy to make, you can have it finished in less than five minutes. I also like being able to control the level of horseradish. My husband and I like a LOT of horseradish, but I know many people like it to be a more subtle accent. That is the beauty of making cocktail sauce yourself – control!
I cook shrimp a lot, it’s a family favorite and it cooks really quickly. From perfectly roasted shrimp to entertaining with seafood party dip, there’s always a need for cocktail sauce! It lasts for about a week in the fridge too, so you can make it ahead of time.
There are only five ingredients in cocktail sauce, and you probably have most of them in your cupboard already. Ketchup and chili sauce are added in equal parts. Heinz chili sauce has a tomato base, like ketchup, but it isn’t sweet. Strangely, in defiance of its name, it doesn’t contain chilis. Besides the tomatoes, chili sauce is made with vinegar, onion, garlic and other spices. You may wonder if you can use all ketchup, but I wouldn’t recommend it, you’ll miss out on some subtle, familiar cocktail sauce flavors.
The Worcestershire sauce adds some umami flavor, that flavor profile you can’t quite describe, but that makes everything taste better. It’s a little rich, a little savory, it adds dimension. Lemon juice is vital for tartness and freshness, and of course, there’s the horseradish. Horseradish is actually the grated root of the horseradish plant. Horseradish is in the same family as wasabi and mustard, all of which give you that addicting sinus clearing feeling when you swallow. Make sure to buy “prepared” horseradish sauce, not “horseradish cream”. Prepared horseradish is the grated root preserved with vinegar, but horseradish cream is more of a sauce and the flavor is diluted.
And keep in mind, you can use your leftover horseradish for bloody mary’s, prime rib, or on top of beef stew!
Once you have all your ingredients gathered, simply mix in a small bowl and either serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to a week.
You’ll notice in the photo above that you can see the flecks of horseradish in the sauce. I used three tablespoons of the good stuff to make sure we had a strong hit of it with each bite! You can add however much you like. As a matter of fact, this is such a flexible recipe you can change the measurements for any of the ingredients to suit your tastes.
The next time you’re looking for an easy, but impressive appetizer, make some homemade cocktail sauce and serve it with a tray of easy to make, perfectly roasted shrimp. If you want to get even fancier, make a platter of Seafood Party Dip!
- 1 cup of ketchup
- 1 cup of chili sauce
- ½ of a lemon, juiced, about 2 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish (not horseradish cream), or less to taste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
- Use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use.