Have you recently embarked on a vegan diet and lifestyle? Are you wondering whether you can consume cocktail sauce? Well, you’ll be pleased you swung by. Here is why.
So is Cocktail sauce vegan? Some brands and recipes of cocktail sauce are vegan, but not all. Generally, it depends if the cocktail sauce contains Worcestershire sauce (which is made from anchovies) and thus not vegan.
Here is the thing: most recipes contain Worcestershire sauce.
And that’s a problem, as we soon shall see.
But what you need to know at this stage is that for the most part, not every cocktail sauce will be vegan-friendly.
So, it either means you are going to need to seek out vegan-friendly brands. They do exist – and I’ll introduce you to them. Again I’ll do this shortly.
But it also means you are going to need to be careful, and ensure you check any product packaging labels, too.
So with this all in mind, what is this sauce typically made of?
What Is Cocktail Sauce Made Of?
Cocktail sauce is typically made of five core ingredients: ketchup, horseradish, a hot sauce (such as Tabasco), Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.
From there you may find some other ingredients depending on the recipe, product, or brand.
This will usually consist of flavorings, spices, and preservatives.
If we take a look at a few different brands, for instance, we can see some of the additional ingredients often used.
Starting with Heinz Cocktail Sauce:
Tomato Concentrate (Water, Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled White Vinegar, Horseradish, Corn Syrup, Salt, Soybean Oil, Natural Flavorings (Contains Mustard), Dehydrated Onions, Spices, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder.
Next up is Great Value Cocktail Sauce
Water, Tomato Paste, Sugar, Prepared Horseradish (Horseradish, Vinegar, Salt, Natural Flavor), Vinegar, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Contains less than 2% of Soybean Oil, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Lactic Acid, Natural Flavor (contains Soy), Red 40, Yellow 6
Then we have Kraft Cocktail Sauce:
Water, Tomato Paste, Vinegar, Sugar, Horseradish, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% Of Modified Food Starch, Soybean Oil, Lemon Juice, Sorbic Acid As A Preservative, Lactic Acid, Natural Flavor, Artificial Flavor, Red 40, Yellow 6.
And lastly, here is the ingredients for McCormick Cocktail Sauce:
Tomato Paste, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Vinegar, Horseradish, Salt, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Onion, Sodium Benzoate (Added As A Preservative), Red Pepper, Xanthan Gum, Natural And Artificial Flavors, And Garlic.
So as you can see, quite some variance in ingredients.
But just a quick note on Horseradish if you are unfamiliar; it’s a root vegetable that adds a little heat.
It has nothing to do with horses!
But as we can see from the above, interestingly enough, none contain Worcestershire sauce, either!
Why Are Some Cocktail Sauces Not Vegan?
Some recipes or brands of cocktail sauces are not vegan because they contain Worcestershire sauce. This is, for the most part, not vegan as it is made of fermented anchovies (a type of small fish) and/or fish sauce.
Now again, it must be said that not all Worcestershire sauces are made of, or contain anchovies.
But most of them do. Particularly the big brands such as Lea and Perrins.
That being said, you will find vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauces on the market.
But in the context of a ‘sauce-within-a-sauce’, it’s safe to assume that the one that is included in cocktail sauce is made from anchovies, and therefore not vegan.
What Brands Of Cocktail Sauce Are Vegan
If you are looking for vegan-friendly cocktail sauce brands, check out the options below:
- Red Duck Organic Cocktail Sauce*
- Primal Kitchen Unsweetened Cocktail Sauce*
- Trader Joe’s Seafood Cocktail Sauce
- Kraft Cocktail Sauce
- McCormick Golden Dipt Original Cocktail Sauce
- Heinz Cocktail Sauce
- Stonewall Kitchen New England Cocktail Sauce
- OLD BAY Cocktail Sauce
- The Old Original Bookbinder’s Restaurant Style Cocktail Sauce
- Primal Kitchen Unsweetened Cocktail Sauce*
- Legal Sea Foods Spicy Cocktail Sauce
- Bookbinder’s Sauce Cocktail,
- Pike Pier Fisherman Original Cocktail Sauce
- Louisiana Fish Fry Cocktail Sauce
Now consider that many of the above brands are not certified vegan – even if they have what looks like vegan-friendly ingredient lists.
Some are certified though that I have been able to confirm (referenced with an *).
So, you should always check product labeling and even contact the manufacturer, first.
Although if you are looking for a vegan-friendly option to buy, go with Primal Kitchen’s product.
Not only is it certified vegan, but it’s organic, and incredibly healthy too. The ingredient list is pretty impressive too:
Tomato Puree (Organic) (Water, Tomato Paste (Organic)), Horseradish (Organic) (Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic), Horseradish (Organic), Water, Salt), Balsamic Vinegar (Organic) (Wine Vinegar (Organic), Concentrated Grape Must (Organic)), Sea Salt, Parsley (Organic), Tapioca Starch (Organic), Dried Garlic (Organic), Onion Powder (Organic), Garlic Powder (Organic), Cinnamon (Organic).
So click here to head over and check this product out.
Cocktail sauce can be vegan, but it is safe to assume it’s not.
This is absolutely the stance to take if you are unable to check product packaging, or with the manufacturer; such as is the case when you are eating out, for instance.
That being said, there are brands of vegan-friendly cocktail sauces out there, and even recipes you can follow too.
So all is not lost, at least.
Cocktail sauce does not contain dairy.
Do you want to learn more about cocktail sauce? Then my other guides may be of interest:
Hi there. I’m Jeremy – a passionate food technologist with several decades in the food industry. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my experience, knowledge, and recommendations; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to nutrition for every sauce imaginable.