Marie Rose sauce is the classic British prawn cocktail sauce recipe, creamy and tangy, and perfect with any cold seafood. Enjoy it on crudités and burgers too!
Marie Rose sauce
Marie Rose or prawn cocktail sauce is not just for prawns or shrimp! Mild but tangy, this delicious dressing is great on any seafood, in a burger as a substitute for burger sauce, as dressing for slaw or carrot salad, or for dipping crudités.
Unlike commercial versions, this recipe for Marie Rose sauce is simple. Made with mayonnaise and ketchup, as is traditional, it has a paler colour than commercial versions and tastes absolutely delicious.
With no artificial colouring and the most delicious flavour adjusted to your taste, why would you ever buy this sauce when you can make it so much better?
What is Marie Rose sauce?
Marie Rose sauce or prawn cocktail sauce is a slightly piquant dressing made with ketchup, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce, and it has been around for some time.
While Mrs Beeton used ‘mayonnaise sauce’ for prawns, by the 1920s, ketchup already featured in lightly spiced dressings for lobster and other seafood.
No one seems quite sure of the origins of the name Marie Rose sauce, though it may originally have been Mary Rose and then changed to fit the fashion for French cuisine.
Either way, popular cookery writers Fanny Craddock and Marguerite Patten splayed a big part in promoting the recipe in the 1960s, when the prawn cocktail was the height of fashion.
Marie Rose sauce is also known as a prawn cocktail sauce, or seafood sauce.
Why make Marie Rose sauce
- Homemade is always better
- Quick and easy
- Everyday ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge and pantry
- Adjust the heat to your taste
- Make the day before
Prawn Cocktail Sauce Ingredients
- Mayonnaise – Use your favourite. I like a full fat, creamy one that doesn’t have too much flavour, but has a good thick texture. I buy mayo but homemade is great too. You can substitute up to half with thick Greek yogurt without losing too much flavour or texture.
- Tomato Ketchup – Choose a good rich one, that is not vinegary and actually tastes of tomatoes. If you prefer, you can use one tablespoon of tomato purée together with a teaspoon of sugar.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Use your favourite.
- Tabasco – or other hot chilli sauce
- Cayenne pepper – or paprika if you don’t like a lot of heat (smoked would work well)
- Lemon – A squeeze of juice cuts through the richness and complements seafood well.
How to make Rose Marie sauce – step by step
Before you start, read my step-by-step instructions, with photos, hints and tips so you can to make this perfectly every time.
Scroll down for the recipe card with quantities and more tips at the bottom of the page.
Step One – Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
Step Two – Mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. The sauce will be an even, pale salmon colour. Taste and adjust the heat by adding a few more drops of tabasco if necessary.
Cover your prawn cocktail sauce and ideally pop in the fridge for a few hours for the flavours to meld. Then serve at room temperature.
Use your Marie Rose sauce on a classic prawn cocktail or with shrimps, lobster, crab and other seafood.
It is also delicious with salad vegetables or served on a burger.
- Make it pinker by adding some tomato purée. You may need a pinch of sugar to balance the flavours.
- Swap the lemon for some lime juice and add in some finely chopped coriander/cilantro.
- Add 2 teaspoons of brandy for a luxury prawn cocktail sauce.
Fridge – Put into a jar and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I do not recommend freezing, as the sauce will split.
Hints and tips
- This seafood sauce is so much better made the day before and left in the fridge for a few hours or overnight for the flavours to meld and develop.
- It is best to use a spoon to measure the Worcestershire sauce and tabasco, rather than risk pouring too much in. You can easily add more, but it is hard to correct for too much.
Yes, and it is actually better made a day ahead. Just keep it in the fridge until a short while before you are ready to use it. Let the temperature come up a little before serving, to make the most of the flavours.
It certainly can be. Just check your ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.
Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian in its traditional form. It is a sort of fermented anchovy sauce. Vegetarian substitutes are available, however, so as long as you use one of these, your sauce will be fine.
No, as the sauce is likely to split. There’s no need to freeze it, however, as it is so quick and easy to make.
More sauce recipes
- Bang Bang Sauce – classic copycat from the bonefish Grill
- Diane Sauce – the classic creamy mushroom sauce to serve with steak
- Stilton Sauce – easy blue cheese sauce to pair with a steak
- Kebab shop chilli sauce – take out style no cook hot sauce
- Peri Peri sauce – Nandos sauce at home!
- Allioli – rich garlic sauce
- Tartare sauce – the classic to pair with fish and chips
Recipe for Marie Rose Sauce / Prawn Cocktail Sauce
- 120 g (0.50 cups) mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp (2 tbsp) tomato ketchup
- ¼ tsp (0.25 tsp) Worcestershire sauce (or vegetarian alternative)
- ¼ tsp (0.25 tsp) tabasco
- ¼ tsp (0.25 tsp) cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp (1 tsp) lemon juice (to taste)
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Mix to make a smooth sauce. Taste to check the heat and add a little more tabasco if needed.
- Ideally leave for a few hours in the fridge before serving, to allow the flavours to meld. Dust with a little extra cayenne or paprika to serve.