Easy Crab Cake Sauce Recipe (Simple Ingredients)

This cool and creamy Crab Cake Sauce recipe has just enough tanginess, smokiness, and spice to pair with far more than crab cakes. It’s fantastic with fries and other crispy finger foods, spread on sandwiches, and even with steak!

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For more flavorful sauces to serve with seafood, check out this list of 30+ Classic Sauces for Fish

This simple mayonnaise-based Crab Cake Sauce is very similar to remoulade, but is extra creamy! It’s truly the best sauce for crab cakes because of the sour cream, creamy horseradish, fresh lemon, and chives.

The flavor is pleasantly rich with a touch of lemony tang and a zesty, herbaceous zing. 

You can also serve it with so much more than crab cakes. It’s delicious with more crispy fried seafood recipes, like calamari, shrimp, and scallops, or spread on po’boy, pit beef, and shrimp roll sandwiches.

Side view close up of bowl of crab cake sauce with spoon surrounded by crab cakes on parchment.

What is crab cake sauce?

No two crab cake sauce recipes are alike. Even in Maryland, there’s no such thing as a proper sauce to serve with crab cakes. Instead, you’ll find crab cakes served in restaurants with different spins on remoulade sauce, tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, and aioli sauce for crab cakes. 

My version has the familiar tangy flavors of these classics and takes only 5 minutes to make. Consider doubling or tripling the ingredients because this sauce stores well, and you’ll want to put it on everything!

Ingredients needed

  • Mayonnaise – Try to use full-fat mayo for the best flavor (like Hellman’s or Duke’s).
  • Sour cream – Tangy sour cream elevates the base of the crab cake sauce. It’s also rich, creamy, and cooling, which perfectly complements smoky and spicy ingredients.
  • Chives
  • Paprika – Or, try one of these paprika substitutes.
  • Horseradish – I like using creamy horseradish because it adds a distinct fiery flavor without overpowering the sauce. Use prepared horseradish for a more pronounced horseradish taste. 
  • Lemon – Fresh juice and zest add enough acidity to balance the creamy, herbaceous, smoky, and spicy flavors. 
Ingredients for crab cake sauce labeled on tray.

How to make it

It’s really easy. Just add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix well to combine.

After mixing the ingredients, give the sauce a taste and adjust the flavors if needed. And that’s it! 

Quick tip: Remoulade-style sauces like this will taste better if they’re left to chill in the fridge for 1 or 2 hours before serving. This gives the different dimensions of flavor time to mingle and merge into a rounded, full-bodied crab remoulade sauce.

FAQs

Can I make my own mayo for this sauce?

Technically, yes. But remember, crab cake sauce made with store-bought mayo stays fresher longer. Crab cake sauce made with homemade mayo will only last for about 2 or 3 days.

Is this crab cake sauce recipe spicy?

No, not really. The creamy horseradish brings heat, but as a whole, the sauce is mild. You may want to omit the horseradish or substitute it for pickle relish if you’re sensitive to spice.
Alternatively, turn up the heat and make a spicy crab remoulade instead. Blend the ingredients with a couple of chipotle peppers or mix in a dash of hot sauce. A pinch of cayenne will also do the trick.

How to make ahead & store

As with all mayonnaise-based sauces, this sauce must also be stored in the refrigerator. It will keep in an airtight container for about 2 weeks. 

Freezing your crab cake dipping sauce is also an option, but some separation may occur during thawing.

Overhead close up of crab cake next to spoon of remoulade sauce.

More ways to use crab cake sauce

The possibilities are endless. Get creative and use this sauce to complement salty, savory, spicy, and smoky foods. Apart from crab cakes, here are a few more ways to enjoy crab cake sauce:

Crab cakes on plate with bowl of sauce.

More seafood sauce recipes

​​​​Did you try this simple sauce for crab cakes?

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PS – Check out these 28+ best sides for crab cakes too!

Crab cakes topped with lemon wedges and dollops of crab cake sauce.

Crab Cake Sauce

This cool and creamy Crab Cake Sauce has just enough tanginess, smokiness, and spice to pair with far more than crab cakes. It’s fantastic with fries and other crispy finger foods, spread on sandwiches, and even with steak!
5 from 14 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Resting time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  • After mixing the ingredients, give the sauce a taste and adjust the flavors if needed.
  • For best results, let the sauce rest in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before using to allow the flavors to meld together.

Notes

For a spicy sauce:
Add a couple chopped chipotle peppers or hot sauce to your remoulade. 
Storing and freezing: 
  • This sauce will keep in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.
  • You can also freeze this sauce for about 3 months, but some separation may occur during thawing.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Small Bowl

Nutrition

Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.2mg
5 from 14 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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