Homemade Cocktail Sauce (and how to prepare horseradish)

We do love our shrimp around here. We have actually just had shrimp with cocktail sauce and a few bits of crackers and cheese for dinner before. Delicious.

Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup (i actually still buy this from the store, because we hardly ever use it)

1 Tbsp horseradish, pureed in the food processor

1 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice

1 tsp homemade Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

Mix all ingredients and keep in an airtight jar in the fridge. Keeps for 2-3 weeks. This also freezes very well. Rob loves his really spicy, so I usually purée a whole piece of horseradish, so he can add more to his plate.

To Prepare Horseradish

Wash and peel the root with a veggie peeler

Cut into chunks

Place in food processor and add 1 Tbsp of water. Puree (protect your eyes!) and add 1 Tbsp white vinegar and a dash of salt. Add more water if you like it thinner. This will keep for 30 days in the refrigerator. It also freezes very well.

A word about shrimp. Well, a few words….

#1 Choice: Wild Caught off the coast of the Pacific Northwest or the Northeast coasts of the USA and Canada, using live traps (not trawlers). Our favorites are Bay Shrimp, Cocktail Shrimp, Northern Shrimp, Pink Shrimp and Rock Shrimp. They are slightly more expensive, but the taste is worth it! And you are supporting fisherman who believe in treating the animal, and the ocean with respect. Instead of big trawling boats, these people use old-fashioned live traps and no other fish are harmed or killed in the process. A few good sources are U.S Wellness Meats, Fishhawk Fisheries, Hallmark Fisheries and Pacific Seafood Group Inc.

#2 Choice: Wild Caught off the coast of the Pacific Northwest or Northeast, using trawling methods (very wasteful, all the other fish caught in the net are thrown out)

#3 Choice: Organically farmed in the USA (strict regulations and pretty close nutritionally)

#4 Choice: Wild Caught off the Gulf of Mexico. They say the shrimp are safe to eat after the oil spills, but I’m still not comfortable with it.

Avoid at all costs: Any seafood farmed in Asia or Latin America. They have no regulations and use very complex chemical cocktails, containing many pesticides and antibiotics. They are also doing much harm to the surrounding environment using devastating farming practices. Unfortunately 90% of shrimp sold in the USA comes from these sub-standard shrimp farms.  Red Lobster endless shrimp days anyone?

Shrimp season is from April through October, so buy high-quality shrimp in bulk during that time to save money.


  1. Marie said,

    May 6, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    I think you must have read my mind! I have some horseradish growing here and was just thinking last night that I needed to figure out how to turn it into sauce! I’ll try it tonight and let you know how it goes 🙂

  2. chefconnie said,

    May 6, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Reading this recipe cleared my sinuses. Yum. I adore fresh horseradish.

  3. May 6, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Thank you so much for the information about shrimp and where to get it! Ever since you posted the recipe for the shrimp over pasta I’ve been trying to find non-asian shrimp and let me tell you, there’s NONE to be had ANYWHERE here. Not the grocery stores or Costco or the co-op. I asked at the seafood counter at one of the higher end grocery stores if they had any US caught or farmed shrimp and I got a shrug and a Nah, these are from Thailand. Frustrating! Now at least I have some brands to look for and ask after at an actual seafood shop down at the public market. Thank you again!

    • May 6, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      I have a hard time finding it too. Makes me wish I still lived on the west coast. You could get it fresh-caught right out of the ocean for pennys….the good ole days 🙂

  4. May 6, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Very Nice! We love our shrimp cocktail and horseradish sauce too. As for gulf coast shrimp – sad to say it is not safe. The gulf clean up consisted of pouring a toxic chemical into the water which made the oil congeal and sink to the bottom. This makes it look like it went away. Unfortunately it is still there along with the toxic chemical. People are getting ill in the gulf coast area because of it. My whole foods store also sells Thai-caught shrimp, so that may be another option.

  5. Jennirific said,

    May 6, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    I am going to grow horseradish this year, great how to for when I harvest!

  6. May 7, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    […] Cocktail Sauce (very good homemade) […]

  7. May 7, 2012 at 3:40 PM


  8. May 25, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    […] Homemade Cocktail Sauce (and how to prepare horseradish) […]

  9. January 12, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    […] This is good on a whole lot of foods, but will blow your mind on seafood. Grilled Cajun Shrimp anyone? Why not try it with Homemade Cocktail Sauce? […]

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