Homemade Cocktail Sauce

3/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup prepared horseradish
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/4 small onion
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
juice of 1 lemon

Place the tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, onion, salt, pepper and lemon juice into a food processor, blender or Vitamix. Pulse until mostly smooth. Add the horseradish and pulse until evenly distributed. Refrigerate leftovers.

My thoughts:

I admit that I love cocktail sauce. Since I loathe ketchup, it is what I go to when I need to dip a fry (especially when I am eating crabcakes which I don’t think need condiments) or a clam strip and of course it is a necessary component of a shrimp cocktail. However a lot of commercially prepared cocktail sauces are on the sweet side. I don’t really care for anything sweet outside of desserts so I was inspired to make homemade sauce. When I went to look for existing recipes I was confronted with my nemesis, ketchup. Lots and lots of ketchup. That was totally unacceptable and I quickly realized I just need to do some kitchen experimentation. Tomato paste was the logical first ingredient and it added a pure, naturally sweet, concentrated tomato flavor that paired wonderfully with the other robustly flavored ingredients. The horseradish, Worcestershire, garlic and lemon make for a winning cocktail sauce without a hint of unnatural sweetness. Try it, but I warn you-there is no going back to bottled after one bite.


  1. Thanks for the recipe! I actually need to make cocktail sauce for a party on Saturday, so I’m glad you posted this just in time!

  2. Ooh, I’ve been looking for a good ketchup-less cocktail recipe. However much I love the stuff, I can’t bear to use if for a shrimp cocktail made with really good, ridiculously fresh shrimp. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Never made with Worcestershire-good idea

  4. Wow – looks great! I have made cocktail sauce at home when I desperately needed something to dip some takeout shrimp in. I would MUCH prefer the tomato paste route to the ketchup.

    I have done this a few times, and wasabi powder works in a pinch….

  5. Sounds very good! I understand your aversion to bottled ketchup, what with HFCS in most of them and being overly sweet, but there are some great recipes out there for homemade that you really might enjoy:)

  6. We tried your cocktail sauce this weekend and WOW!!!

    My husband (the cook of the family) was so impressed that he wrote about it on his blog BoatBits.

    We liveaboard our sailboat in the Caribbean so we’ll be using this recipe often.

    My Blog: All About Boats… So It Goes…

  7. I’d been saving a few of your posts for a good read on a rainy afternoon – and here I am. This recipe couldn’t be more perfect. Shrimp is at the end of the prime season here in Maine and I have a whole lotta shimp. My absolute favorite way to have them is with cocktail sauce- nice and simple. I can’t wait to try out a nice homemade one this weekend!!

  8. Thank you so much. I couldn't find a single recipe on my go-to sites for a basic cocktail sauce that wasn't made with ketchup. This is delicious. Notes: I cut the salt and garlic by half (raw garlic is not to be trifled with) and didn't bother with the onion.