Make Your Own Cocktail Sauce and Save Money

Shrimp cocktail
Cappi Thompson/Moment/Getty Images
  • Prep Time
    5 min
  • Cook Time
    0 min
  • Total Time
    5 min
  • Yield
    Just over one cup

Cocktail sauce is one of those odd ingredients in the kitchen. Its primary use is seafood and it is not very useful beyond that, so half-empty jars can sit in the fridge for months. It is also not the cheapest condiment and many can be disappointing.

A quick homemade cocktail sauce can save money, avoid waste and taste great at the same time!

Making your own cocktail sauce is very easy. It is likely that you have each of the three base ingredients right there in your kitchen. If not, you will find that they are a better investment than store-bought cocktail sauce alone because you can use them in other recipes.


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Mix the ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Taste and adjust as needed.
  3. Chill before serving.

Make as much sauce as you need. Either make enough for the one meal or mix up a little extra to store in the refrigerator so it'll be there whenever you get a seafood craving.

Customize the Flavor of Your Cocktail Sauce

Ketchup, horseradish and lemon juice create a nice foundation for a great homemade cocktail sauce.

Adding spices and other ingredients to enhance its flavor will only make it better.

Look around your kitchen and decide what you can add. Begin with 1/2 teaspoon or less of each ingredient. Continue to stir and taste until you're happy with the flavor.

Try these additions:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Hot sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce 
  • Steak sauce
  • Pepper and salt
  • Brown sugar
  • Chili Pepper

Just How Much Money Are You Saving?

Cocktail sauce can range in price from $5-15 for a 12-ounce bottle. Some of those cheaper options will need a little help in the flavoring department, so you may even find yourself adding an ingredient or two anyway. But how much money are you really saving by making your own cocktail sauce?

  • A cheap, 24-ounce bottle of ketchup can be picked up for about $2. At that price, 1 cup costs about $.67.
  • A 6-ounce jar of decent horseradish can be found for around $3. Two tablespoons of that would cost about $.50.
  • The average lemon yields about 3 tablespoons of juice, which is a little more than what is needed. Let's assume you found lemons at the market for $.65 each.

In this scenario, 1-cup (or 8-ounces) of homemade cocktail sauce would cost about $1.82. That is a significant savings!

Did You Know?

The majority of commercially-produced cocktail sauce contains high fructose corn syrup.

Making your own is not only cheaper, it's healthier, too.