Boiling Crab Sauce

This Boiling Crab Sauce has a buttery base, seasoned with Cajun flavors, a hint of heat, fresh garlic, a dash of lemon juice, and a sprinkling of sugar, is the ultimate seafood boil sauce recipe. And it’s ready in under 10 minutes!

If you’re a fan of shrimp boils, then this copycat “Whole Sha-Bang Sauce” from the popular restaurant chain, the Boiling Crab is an absolute must.

The sauce is spicy, buttery, tangy, salty, and almost undetectably sweet, and complements any boiled seafood beautifully.

I used to think I preferred my shrimp, crab, and crawfish with just some chopped garlic mixed into a simple lemon butter sauce for dipping, but now I have doubts – this sauce is that good!

Why you’ll love this recipe

This Boiling Crab sauce is super quick and easy to make, and the taste is fantastic! It pairs well with all kinds of seafood, and most types of sausage.

You can even try using it as a sauce in a Jambalaya-style one-pan meal, and have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes!

More Sauce Recipes To Try

Ranch Dressing Without Buttermilk
Peri Peri Sauce
Brown Butter Sage Sauce
Beef Gravy Without Drippings
Marinara Sauce (Olive Garden Copycat)

Ingredients Notes for Boiling Crab Sauce

Butter: The butter gives this recipe a velvety consistency and richness that makes it the perfect topping for simple, boiled seafood. Use unsalted butter if you want more control over the saltiness of this sauce.

Fresh garlic: I absolutely recommend fresh, finely chopped garlic to achieve the best version of this sauce at home. You can use garlic powder in a pinch, but you won’t get the same fresh flavor and your sauce will have a smoother texture.

Hot sauce: If you like a fairly fiery sauce, include a dash of hot sauce. Don’t overdo it though, because you still want to be able to enjoy the taste of the seafood through the sauce.

Old Bay seasoning: This blend of savory, herby, and slightly tangy flavors gives a distinctly coastal cuisine feel to this sauce that makes it so comforting and delicious.

Paprika: Paprika contributes a hint of smokiness, color, and warmth to the sauce. You can use plain, smoked, or sweet paprika if you want, though the tastes will vary depending on the type you use.

Cajun seasoning: A Cajun spice blend gives this seafood sauce recipe a bit of heat and an unmistakable Southern flavor.

Chili powder: Chili powder has a rich, earthy flavor that adds a bit of color and savoriness to the sauce.

Cayenne pepper: Be cautious with the amount of cayenne pepper you use. It’s better to add very little at a time, and taste test for best results.

Lemon pepper: Lemon pepper is tangy and peppery at the same time, and intensifies the citrusiness of the lemon juice.

Dried oregano: Oregano adds a herbiness that works well with the richness and zestiness of this sauce recipe.

Fresh lemon juice: Lemon juice gives a fresh, subtle tartness to the sauce, and balances out the richness.

Sugar: The addition of sugar is optional, but I do recommend it. It works well with the tanginess of the lemon juice and the various spices.

How to make Boiling Crab Sauce: Step by step

  1. Melt a generous amount of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add finely chopped garlic to the butter and sauté until fragrant and golden.
  3. Sprinkle in Old Bay seasoning, paprika, and Cajun seasoning, stirring to combine the spices with the buttery mixture.
  4. Incorporate a pinch of sugar and a few dashes of hot sauce into the sauce, balancing the flavors to your taste.
  5. Toss in dried oregano, cayenne pepper, and chili powder, stirring to infuse the sauce with aromatic and spicy notes.
  6. Gradually stir in lemon pepper for a zesty tang and a hint of citrusy brightness.
  7. Squeeze in fresh lemon juice, allowing the acidity to cut through the richness of the sauce.
  8. Let the sauce simmer gently for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to combine.
  9. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more spices, heat, or tanginess to achieve your flavor preference.
  10. Remove it from the heat and serve layered over your favorite seafood or as a dipping sauce on the side.

Ingredient Substitutions

Butter: You can plant-based margarine, olive oil, or coconut oil for a dairy-free option. The flavor and texture will vary based on your choice.

Garlic: Fresh minced garlic can be replaced with garlic powder or garlic paste. Adjust the quantity based on your preference for intensity.

Old Bay Seasoning: If you don’t have Old Bay seasoning, you can make your own in no time by combining paprika, celery salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dried mustard, and other spices like dried thyme and dried bay leaves.

Cajun Seasoning: If Cajun seasoning isn’t readily available, blend paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, and a touch of salt, for a homemade version.

Hot Sauce: Adjust the heat level by choosing a hot sauce that you like, or use red pepper flakes or chili powder for a similar effect. You can also just leave it out if you want.

Oregano: Oregano can be substituted with dried thyme, basil, or marjoram for a different herbaceous note. It won’t taste the same, but it should be just as good.

Lemon Pepper: If you don’t have lemon pepper seasoning, combine freshly ground black pepper with lemon zest to achieve a similar citrusy kick.

Lemon Juice: Lime juice or vinegar can be used as a tangy substitute for lemon juice.

Keep in mind that with every ingredient you substitute, the original taste of the sauce will change.

How to Store Boiling Crab Sauce 

If you’re planning on making this sauce recipe in large quantities, you’ll want to store it properly to preserve the freshness and flavor. Here’s how:

Cooling and transferring: Allow the sauce to cool down to room temperature before storing. This prevents excess moisture from forming inside the container. Use a heat-resistant container with an airtight lid to store the sauce.

Refrigeration: If you plan to use the sauce within a few days, store it in the refrigerator. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent odors from affecting the sauce and to keep it from absorbing other flavors in the fridge.

Freezing: If you want to store the sauce for a longer period, consider freezing it. Portion the sauce into smaller containers or freezer-safe bags to ensure easy thawing and reheating.

Thawing and Reheating: When you’re ready to use the frozen sauce, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Reheat the sauce gently on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally. You can also microwave it using short intervals, stirring between each interval.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Adjust spices gradually: Spices can vary in intensity, so when adding seasonings like cayenne pepper, chili powder, and hot sauce, start with a smaller amount and gradually add more if necessary.

Balance all the flavors: The combination of spices, tanginess, and sweetness is key to a well-rounded sauce. Taste as you go and adjust the sugar, lemon juice, and spices to create the perfect sauce.

Fresh vs. dried herbs: While dried herbs like oregano work well, consider using fresh herbs for a burst of vibrant flavor. Add fresh oregano or other herbs toward the end of cooking for a fresher taste.

Customize the heat: Plenty of the ingredients in this recipe add heat to the sauce, so it’s a good idea to decide how much of a kick you’re aiming for and work from there.

Make ahead: Prepare the sauce in advance and let it sit for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and intensify.

Seafood pairings: While the sauce is meant for crab, you should definitely try it with other seafood like shrimp, lobster, mussels, and even fish.

Boiling Crab Sauce FAQs

Can I use margarine instead of butter?

Yes, you can substitute butter with margarine. Keep in mind that margarine might slightly alter the flavor and texture of the sauce.

Can I use this sauce as a marinade?

While the recipe is designed as a sauce, you can certainly experiment with using it as a marinade for seafood before grilling or baking.

How can I make the sauce thicker or thinner?

To thicken the sauce, simmer it a bit longer. If you want a thinner consistency, add a splash of broth or water while cooking.

Boiling Crab Sauce Recipe: The Whole Sha-Bang

This Boiling Crab Sauce has a buttery base, seasoned with Cajun flavors, a hint of heat, fresh garlic, a dash of lemon juice, and a sprinkling of sugar, is the ultimate seafood boil sauce recipe. And it’s ready in under 10 minutes!


  • 1 cup 2 sticks butter
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the finely chopped garlic to the butter and sauté until it turns golden and aromatic.
  • Sprinkle in the Old Bay seasoning, paprika, and Cajun seasoning, stirring to combine the spices with the buttery mixture. Let it cook for about a minute to bloom the flavors.
  • Incorporate the sugar and hot sauce into the sauce, adjusting the amount of hot sauce to achieve your desired level of heat.
  • Add the dried oregano, cayenne pepper, and chili powder to the sauce, stirring to evenly distribute the spices.
  • Stir in the lemon pepper seasoning, infusing the sauce with a zesty and tangy kick.
  • Squeeze in the fresh lemon juice to cut through the richness of the sauce and add a vibrant citrusy note.
  • Let the sauce simmer gently for about 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. You can add more cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or other spices to reach your desired flavor profile.
  • Once the sauce has developed its rich and balanced flavor, remove it from the heat.
  • Serve the Boiling Crab Sauce as a dipping sauce alongside your favorite seafood dishes. It’s perfect for crab, shrimp, lobster, and more!

This seafood boil sauce is so easy to make that you can try it anytime you want. If you make decide to make, let me know what you think!

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