Homemade Cocktail Sauce Recipe
To some, cocktail sauce might seem basic. Just the simple cocktail sauce ingredients of ketchup, horseradish and maybe some Tabasco sauce or lemon juice, right?
Or you might be one of those people that never really thought about, just got the store bought sauce from the grocery store.
Classic Cocktail Sauce is more than just ketchup and horseradish. Come see how to make a spectacular, restaurant quality sauce in just 5 minutes!
To others, the perfect blend has a few more ingredients to form a balanced classic cocktail sauce worthy of complementing the best shrimp, crabcakes and oysters. Also read on for why this can be transformed into a cocktail sauce without horseradish!
Make sure you PIN Classic Cocktail Sauce!
But the cocktail sauce you get at (some) restaurants tastes different. It has a little more ump. Pizzazz. Your homemade Cocktail Sauce can also be this good with your own special zest!
Cocktail sauce was invented by famed British chef and TV personality, Fanny Cradock, and originally made to serve with a prawn cocktail. The name, therefore, was the “sauce of the cocktail” or “cocktail sauce”.
And what we know today as the famous Shrimp Cocktail, deemed the ultimate of fancy appetizers and hor dourves. I think I might go back to referring to it as a Prawn Cocktail. It sounds so much more sophisticated.
Jeff P. says: “This is my favorite cocktail sauce.”
What is the difference between prawns and shrimp? Most people assume they are the crustacean, just different sizes. That is FALSE!
Both shrimp and prawns are crustaceans that have ten legs and possess external skeletons. However, shrimp belong to the sub-order Pleocyemata, while prawns belong to the sub-order Dendrobranchiata.
Try to say that 10 times fast! In fact, just try to pronounce it once. I dare ya!
Maria says: “Quick and easy to make and tastes delicious!”
In layman’s terms…
Prawns have branching gills, claws on three pairs of their legs and second pincers that are larger than their front ones. Prawns lack the distinct bend in their bodies that is seen with shrimp and each of their body segments overlaps the one behind it in succession.
Barbara says: “Love it and more importantly the husband was loving it.”
Shrimp have plate-like gills and claws on two pairs of their legs with their front pincers being the largest. Shrimp also have a distinct bend in their bodies and their second segments overlap the first and third segments.
Use that as a little pre-dinner discussion or JEOPARDY… here you come!
Since its invention, cocktail sauce has since been added as a staple to many seafood dishes beyond just shrimp cocktail. Fried fish, fish sticks, oysters and clams, fried and steamed shrimp, sometimes even steamed and fried crabs.
I even like mine with hush puppies, but don’t tell anyone, that is sooo taboo. I’m not a huge fan of Tartar Sauce, although I’ve been told I make a good one, so anything that usually pairs with tartar gets cocktail sauce!
If ketchup is the ultimate condiment, then this sauce is its close cousin. Maybe even a sibling.
My recipe includes the basic building blocks for any cocktail sauce, although some cooks prefer to use a chili sauce in lieu of or in addition to ketchup.
Gillian says: “I made this sauce for our Easter dinner shrimp appetizer and it was a huge hit. I made it towards my family’s tastes by adding enough horseradish to open our sinuses for a week.
The only change I made was to swap out plain salt for celery salt. One of the best sauces we’ve ever had. Thanks for sharing.”
An easy recipe of ketchup, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, horseradish, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a small bowl. That is it.
Here are a few more classic sauce recipes:
- Beurre Blanc Sauce
- Bacon Jalapeno Fry Sauce
- Coconut Curry Sauce
- Balsamic Reduction
- Blender Mayonnaise
- Garlic Confit
- Yum Yum Sauce- Hibachi Sauce
Tools for making homemade cocktail sauce:
Whisks– I buy whisks in multiple sizes. You never know which one you will need.
Questions about how to make cocktail sauce:
Can you freeze cocktail sauce? You can freeze cocktail sauce, but it I’ve very rarely heard of it being done. If you do, freeze it in small batches in sandwich bags or even an ice cube tray so you can just defrost a little bit for dipping when needed.
What if I want to make a mild cocktail sauce? Reduce the amount of horseradish and hot sauce.
What if I don’t have one of these ingredients? Cocktail sauce is very forgivable and you can easily omit any of the ingredients except ketchup and horseradish. These two elements make it cocktail sauce.
What is prepared horseradish? Prepared horseradish is grated horseradish root. It is generally in a liquid to keep it moist and is kind of stringy. Horseradish is closely related to wasabi root.
Horseradish potency can greatly vary from brand to brand. I highly suggest taste testing it and then adding it slowly to determine just how how you want your cocktail sauce.
Can I make cocktail sauce in advance? You sure can! I make mine up to two days before I need it. This gives all those flavors a change to marry.
Can cocktail sauce be left out? You can leave cocktail sauce out for quite a while, there is really nothing that will spoil fast. However, all food are best if kept refrigerated.
How can I make cocktail sauce without horseradish? This one is tricky because horseradish is really what defines cocktail sauce. However, if you really dislike it, go ahead and make this recipe, just omit the horseradish.
If you still need more heat, double or even triple the hot sauce. This recipe has enough flavor from the other ingredients to be just as delicious without horseradish as it is with it! You can also give my Balsamic Cocktail Sauce a whirl!
Why does cocktail sauce congeal or gel? There is pectin in horseradish and is varies from brand to brand. Allow it to warm up a bit before serving.
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish or more if you like it spicy
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Dash of finely ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.
Serve and enjoy your Classic Cocktail Sauce.
If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!