Balsamic Cocktail Sauce

Looking for an alternative to classic cocktail sauce? This version with one simple swap will give you a sweet and spicy dipping sauce perfect for steamed shrimp, crab cakes and anything else that begs for a little tang.

close up bowl of cocktail sauce with fresh herbs and shrimp


Shrimp Dipping Sauce

This balsamic cocktail sauce recipe came about after I got with regular old cocktail sauce. Which really isn’t all that old and tired… my homemade version is actually quite nice. But I just wanted something new!

So I used leftover homemade balsamic reduction, horseradish and ketchup. The deal was sealed. Balsamic cocktail sauce was quickly added to the regular rotation and even makes an appearance with our shrimp cocktail now.

shrimp dipping into cocktail sauce

What to Serve It With

Cocktail sauce can be served chilled for at room temperature, up to you. It doesn’t contain any ingredients that really spoil. It can really be served with anything you would serve cocktail sauce with including:

overhead of balsamic cocktail sauce with a whisk

How to Make It

Making it is simple, but there are two steps you don’t want to miss to ensure you get maximum impact.

  1. Mix together all the ingredients, BUT before you add the horseradish, make sure to drain it well. Place it in a small mesh sieve and press it down with the back of a spoon to get out all the moisture. Getting rid of the extra liquid will help keep your sauce super creamy and thick.
  2. The second is to let it sit a while. As with many sauces, allowing the flavors to marry will give the sauce more sophistication and depth. Just an hour in the fridge will do the trick.
ingredients for balsamic cocktail sauce recipe

If you want to take it up a notch further, consider adding a drop or two of hot sauce or worcestershire sauce.


This homemade cocktail sauce can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and can be stored, covered and chilled, for up to a week.

It can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a few hours.

balsamic cocktail sauce recipe for pinterest

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close up of shrimp dipping sauce

balsamic cocktail sauce with srhimp

Balsamic Cocktail Sauce

4.34 from 6 votes
A sweet and spicy twist on classic cocktail sauce. Perfect for shrimp and anything else you'd need a zesty dipping sauce for.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup



  • Mix the ketchup, horseradish and balsamic reduction sauce in a small bowl.
  • Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.


Calories: 303 kcal, Carbohydrates: 69 g, Protein: 3 g, Sodium: 2184 mg, Potassium: 832 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 57 g, Vitamin A: 2065 IU, Vitamin C: 11.4 mg, Calcium: 38 mg, Iron: 1.2 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 303
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cocktail sauce
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!


hand dipping shrimp in sauce
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Questions and Reviews

  1. Can’t wait to try this tonight! I’ve been looking for a recipe that doesn’t call for horse radish, because it’s something I never keep on hand. I have some Heinz brand Caramelized Onion and Bacon ketchup that I need to use up. Will that work in place of regular ketchup? Thanks!

    1. Sure will! And where did you find that? I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds good!