Sauce for Crab Cakes

Bowl of crab cakes sauce with crab cakes, lettuce, chopped parsley, and lemon slices

 The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Nothing screams summer like crab cakes, but the classic Baltimore specialty needs an amazing dip to go with them. This one draws from the best sauces—it's a little like an aioli (garlic mayonnaise) meets tartar sauce meets rémoulade. There’s a nice smokiness from smoked paprika, a touch of heat from the Creole seasoning, and a refreshing brightness from the lemon juice and capers.

Maryland is known for its crab cakes, thanks to the abundance of blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay, but you can find beautiful lump crabmeat in most supermarkets. Make simple, delicious crab cakes from scratch, then smother them in this tasty sauce along with a little sliced lemon and some added herbs. This recipe is also a great way to jazz up store-bought crab cakes when you're short on time. It's versatile, too, and tastes great with other fried seafood (shrimp, cod) and as a dip for french fries.

You definitely want to use a food processor or high-speed blender to prepare this sauce. It not only creates the best creamy texture but cuts down on the steps—there's no need to chop the capers or garlic ahead of time, so you can keep your hands clean and use fewer dishes. Just blend and enjoy. Serve crab cakes and this awesome sauce along with coleslaw, corn on the cob, or a green salad.


  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup mustard (Dijon or Creole)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Crab cakes, for serving
  • Salad with light vinaigrette dressing, for serving
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Optional: chopped dill

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    The ingredients for making crab cake sauce
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  2. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, smoked paprika, Creole seasoning, sugar, salt, black pepper, garlic, capers, and lemon juice into a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until completely smooth. 

    Blending the crab cake sauce in a food processor
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  3. Serve with crispy crab cakes and a salad with a light vinaigrette, and garnish with fresh chopped parsley or dill if you'd like.

    Bowl of crab cakes sauce with crab cakes, lettuce, chopped parsley, and lemon slices
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney


  • This sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. It's good for up to a week when refrigerated in an airtight jar.
  • Use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic if you don’t have it on hand.
  • Taste the capers before adding them to the rémoulade. If they are super salty, omit the salt and add more to taste after you have blended everything together.

Recipe Variation

  • Add in a little pickle relish, hot sauce, onion powder, or chopped dill to the sauce. This sauce is super versatile, and you can add lots of different seasonings or herbs to it depending on your preference.