Making your own Homemade Cocktail Sauce is SO easy. Just mix together and chill, and you’ll have the best-tasting zesty cocktail sauce you’ve ever had!
This is part of a series of recipes here on the site that I’m calling “Back to Basics“. In this series you’ll find recipes that are common building blocks for beginner cooks, as well as homemade versions of pantry/store-bought staples, such as cream of mushroom soup, pie crust, garlic bread, etc. With easy to follow instructions, detailed notes, and step by step photos, you’ll be on your way to being a master in your kitchen in no time!
This is one of those recipes that’s so simple to make; you just need the right proportions. And the best part is, the proportions are ultimately up to you!
I’ve given you my preferred recipe, but if you like things a little milder, a little zestier, etc; feel free to change it up the way you like!
Condiments are one of those things that a lot of people don’t think of making at home, but they really taste a lot better, and fresher, when homemade.
Bottles of cocktail sauce have preservatives in them, and probably ingredients you can’t pronounce, let alone know what they are. When you make it from scratch, you know exactly what’s in it, and you can control the heat, salt, and sugar levels.
Granted, this recipe does use bottled ketchup and chili sauce, however, you can absolutely make it with homemade versions of those 🙂
How to make homemade cocktail sauce?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Add all ingredients to a bowl. No need for a specific order or anything, just dump ’em in.
- Mix. Use a spoon, fork, whisk, rubber spatula; whatever you have handy. Just make sure everything is combined well.
- Chill. Just cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. I normally make mine in the morning, then we use it at dinner that night.
Make sure you chill the sauce, or let it sit at room temperature, for at least an hour. This allows all the flavors to meld together and is what makes it truly taste like a cocktail sauce.
Variations of this recipe
- Less zesty – use less horseradish, less or no hot sauce, and replace the chili sauce with an equal amount of ketchup.
- More zesty – for even more kick, use more chili sauce (just make sure you have 1 total cup of the chili sauce/ketchup combo), more horseradish, and more hot sauce.
- Sugar-controlled – to make this sauce a bit healthier, use a ketchup that is naturally sweetened and contains no high fructose corn syrup.
One main reason; control. By making it yourself, you control the quality of the ingredients. You can also have more control over the sugar, salt and spice levels.
The first thing that probably pops into your mind is shrimp cocktail, but you can do a lot more with a classic cocktail sauce! Serve it alongside any type of fried seafood, fried mushrooms, as a dipper for fries, even on your eggs.
Making cocktail sauce ahead of time
By it’s nature, this recipe is a natural make ahead recipe. The cocktail sauce needs to chill for at least 1 hour, in order for all the flavors to really come together.
Without chilling, it won’t really taste like cocktail sauce, just like ketchup with things added to it.
Cocktail sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container and used within 1 – 2 weeks.
This sauce is easily frozen! Freeze in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator, then use as desired.
I love these mixing bowls for two main reasons: the non-slip bottoms make mixing easier, and the airtight lids mean you don’t have to transfer the contents to another container to refrigerate!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup chili sauce (we use Heinz)
- 2 – 4 Tbsp prepared horseradish (amount depends on your preference)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- few dashes of tabasco or favorite hot sauce
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, mixing well.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chilled.
- Serve with your favorite seafood.
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- Serving size is an estimate, based on approximately 2-3 Tbsp per person.
- Recipe makes about 1 1/4 cups.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.