It’s Cocktail Hour! These Are the 5 Best Cocktail Sauces

If there is one food I love the most, it’s shrimp. I adore shrimp. It’s just so wonderful and delicious. What’s the number one condiment you think of when you think of shrimp? Cocktail sauce! Therefore, I also love cocktail sauce.

But it’s not just its association with shrimp that makes me love cocktail sauce. When done right, it’s a wonderful combination of tart, tangy, acidic, and spicy. I’m surprised we don’t use it on more than just shrimp.

I did a little digging and found tons of cocktail sauces, both popular and niche, and tried them all to figure out which deserve a spot in your fridge. Based on my findings, these are the five best cocktails sauces on the market today.

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Best of the Best

St. Elmo Steak House World Famous Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

This is so dang good. First of all, it’s actually spicy. The heat did not disappoint and I was thankful for that. Secondly, the consistency is so nice. It’s smooth but with enough horseradish tidbits to chew on. I know that might not sound appetizing, but it made it taste wonderfully homemade. I would put the St. Elmo Steak House World Famous Shrimp Cocktail Sauce on so many things (in addition to plain shrimp, of course). This would obviously be great on raw oysters and fried clams, but I think it would also be delicious on french fries or a steak. Please don’t come for me. Just try it!!!

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon




Best Classic

Crosse & Blackwell Seafood Cocktail Sauce

Crosse & Blackwell Seafood Cocktail Sauce tastes (and sounds) like the cocktail sauce you’d be served at a pub in England. I’ve never had cocktail sauce in a pub, but that’s the vibe it gives off. It doesn’t taste homemade, but I like that! It feels perfectly processed in a ketchup-like way. It’s a little spicy, very tangy, and a tad bit sweet. This would be wonderful smeared on a fried fish sandwich or make a great dunking sauce for shrimp (duh).

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart




Best Budget

Whole Foods 365 Organic Cocktail Sauce

I was pleasantly surprised by Whole Foods’ cocktail sauce! Their 365 store brand generally does a good job in the sauce department and this is no exception. It’s affordable, easily accessible, and pretty dang tasty. There’s a little bit of texture from the grated horseradish, which also gives it a nice fresh flavor. It sits right in the middle of homemade and store-bought, which I’m calling “restaurant-style.” At such a low price point, this would be great if you’re making shrimp cocktail in bulk for a party. Also, please invite me to your shrimp party.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon




Best Spicy

Legal Sea Foods Spicy Cocktail Sauce by Stonewall Kitchen

A lot of these cocktail sauces calling themselves “spicy” are liars. But Legal Sea Foods Spicy Cocktail Sauce by Stonewall Kitchen is not lying. This sauce isn’t overpoweringly spicy, but it has a gentle kick that would perfectly compliment chilled seafood. Plus, I like that it’s affiliated with Legal Sea Foods. Being tied to a famous seafood chain makes it seem more legit. That being said, even if you’ve never been to or heard of Legal Sea Foods (which is based out of Boston), you’ll still enjoy this cocktail sauce.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart




Best Mild

Stonewall Kitchen New England Cocktail Sauce

I couldn’t figure out why this cocktail sauce tasted so familiar. Turns out it’s because Stonewall Kitchen also makes the Legal Seafood Spicy Cocktail Sauce! This one is almost as good, but I’m biased because spicy will always earn top points for me. I don’t typically love Stonewall Kitchen’s sauces, but this New England-style cocktail sauce is delicious. If you’re asking yourself, “Does New England have its own style of cocktail sauce?” No. The answer is no. But it is a very good cocktail sauce and that’s all that matters.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart




Other Products We Tried: Heinz Original Cocktail Sauce, McCormick Extra Hot Seafood Cocktail Sauce, McCormick Cocktail Sauce for Seafood, Great Value Cocktail Sauce, Primal Kitchen Cocktail Sauce, Bookbinders Seafood Cocktail Sauce, Legal Sea Foods Classic Cocktail Sauce, Inglehoffer Cocktail Sauce, Old Bay Cocktail Sauce, Louisiana Cocktail Sauce, Texas Pete Cocktail Sauce, Beaver Cocktail Sauce, Red Gold Cocktail Sauce, Captain Toady’s Tasty Cocktail Sauce, Trader Joe’s Cocktail Sauce

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About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

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  • St. Elmo’s, he’ll yeah. Every time we go there I get two shrimp cocktails and suffer with joy! The steaks are delicious, but I would go just for the shrimp cocktail any day.