Tomato and Horseradish Cocktail Sauce

We’re in the middle of a heatwave here in San Diego, and all I want to do right now is sit by a pool (or at the beach or in a backyard) with an ice cold michelada, and a plate of shrimp cocktail within arm’s reach.

Cocktail Sauce With Shrimp
Preferably this plate of shrimp cocktail, featuring my Tomato and Horseradish Cocktail Sauce.  Made with charred tomatoes, freshly grated horseradish root, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, hot sauce and honey, this homemade condiment is fresh, bright, and has an incredibly light mouthfeel.  The flavors are similar to a classic cocktail sauce, but with the volume turned way up.  What I love the most about this sauce is that it allows the flavor of the shrimp to come through, giving the crustaceans a chance to be more than just a sauce delivery system.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Roasted Tomatoes

Running halved tomatoes under the broiler helps to concentrate their flavor while adding notes of smoke and char.  Once blended, these tomatoes act as the base for this cocktail sauce.  No sweet, gloppy ketchup here.

Grating Horseradish

This is fresh horseradish root, now available at most grocery stores.  To prep, simply peel away the outer skin, then grate the white root beneath.  Fresh horseradish is wonderfully aromatic, and intensely hot.  The kind of heat that hits your sinuses rather than your mouth and throat.  In this recipe, I’m pairing fresh horseradish with prepared horseradish to add some depth of flavor.

Making Cocktail Sauce 1

Making Cocktail Sauce 2

Tomato and Horseradish Cocktail Sauce
Serves: 1.5 - 2 cups
  • 6 roma tomatoes, halved (or any other medium-sized tomato)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish root
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bottled horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Tapatio or Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 pound of cold cooked shrimp
  • Parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat broiler to high, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil.
  2. Place tomato halves cut side up on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of each half with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Broil on high until soft and slightly charred in spots (10 – 15 minutes). Let cool.
  3. Add tomatoes, grated horseradish root, bottled horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire, Tapatio, honey and 2 pinches of salt to a food processor. Pulse several times until the mixture is slightly smooth. There should still be some texture left. Season to taste with additional kosher salt, black pepper or lemon juice.
  4. To serve, place a small bowl of cocktail sauce on a plate and pile cooked shrimp around. Garnish with parsley leaves.


  1. says

    I always find cocktail sauce just a little too plain/watery and lacking in body….its one thing that even the trendiest/fanciest restaurants kind of ignore, no one ever alters or gussies up their cocktail sauce when you order shrimp cocktail or a seafood platter. Your charred tomato addition would essentially make it perfect, love this.

  2. says

    Absolutely gorgeous photos Brandon!! I just picked up some fresh horseradish for some bloody mary’s. I’m in love the smell. It’s finaly started to cool down today up here in the Bay Area. Stay cool and keep up the amazing recipes my friend!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Thanks Todd!! You know I’ve never tried fresh horseradish in a bloody mary. I need to give that a go.

  3. says

    YES! No ketchup! I am not a ketchup fan (weird American here) so I adore that you used roasted tomatoes for this sauce. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Haha I’m not the biggest ketchup fan either. I do indulge from time to time though. TJ’s has a pretty good one.

  4. says

    This looks great! I haven’t made cocktail sauce since I stopped buying ketchup, and this looks like a great way to get back in the groove. Love the charred tomatoes idea.

  5. says

    I love it that you use fresh horseradish – love that stuff! I have recently found fresh wasabi and I was soooo sooo good (though the flavor is not intense as the fake stuff in the tube). I tried it in pretty much everything, including pesto, tartare, salsa.


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