How Do I Choose the Best Dipping Sauce for Crab?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2019
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There are several options when choosing a dipping sauce for crab. The classic sauce often is made from melted butter and spices such as garlic, tarragon or parsley. A seafood cocktail sauce, made with chili sauce as a base, can add a spicy tang to crab. Some Asian sauces, such as soy sauce and ginger or sweet and sour sauce, can provide a lively taste that accents the subtleness of the crab meat. There also are a host of mustard-based sauces, mayonnaise-based sauces and less traditional combinations including avocado or hot sauce.

An easy dipping sauce for crab can be made with melted butter. The butter can be melted and served by itself in a small dish, but more commonly is combined with other ingredients. Ingredients such as lemon juice, garlic, tarragon or black pepper can be mixed into the melted butter to add some complexity. For a rich, deep taste, the butter can be melted in a hot pan for a few careful seconds until it foams and starts to brown, caramelizing and taking on a nutty flavor.


A classic red seafood sauce is cocktail sauce, and it also can be used as a spicy sauce for crab. Chili sauce, which is red and somewhat thick, acts as the base for cocktail sauce. Ketchup is added for sweetness and horseradish is added to provide pungent heat, along with some lemon juice. This sauce can be made very spicy, or the amount of horseradish can be reduced for a milder flavor. Cocktail sauce can be served at room temperature, but sometimes is better when chilled.

A simple Asian dipping sauce for crab can be made by combining soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger and diced scallions. Alternately, a prepared sweet and sour sauce can be used. Depending on how the crab and supporting dishes are prepared, hot Asian mustard also could be served as a dipping sauce when mixed with a little oil or water.

Mustard and mayonnaise can be used to make a rich dipping sauce. The mayonnaise, mustard, some cream and Worcestershire sauce are mixed together to make a thick sauce with an earthy, meaty taste. When the amount of mayonnaise is reduced, the Worcestershire is left out and some lemon juice is squeezed in, a spicy mustard dipping sauce for crab results. Such dipping sauce can be made lighter by substituting sour cream for the mayonnaise.


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Post 3

I feel like a lot of the dipping sauces listed in the article are ones that are common in America. But how does the rest of the world eat their crab? What kind of sauces do they use in China, or Sweden, or wherever else they may be cooking up crab?

Post 2

Is it traditional, or even acceptable, to dip crab legs into cocktail sauce?

Also, does anyone have a good recipe for making your own cocktail sauce?

Post 1

I love to dip my crab in melted butter. The fresh, slightly sweet meat dipped into the rich, melty butter is divine. Just writing about it makes me want to boil up some crab legs.

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