How to Make the Perfect Crab Sauce: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are two things that will happen after you try my pasta with crab sauce and see how easy it is to make:

First, you’ll be mad that it took you so long to figure out how simple and tasty Pasta with Crab sauce is. Once you accept that, you’ll want to kiss me on the lips for teaching you how to make this restaurant-style pasta dish that tastes so good.

During my restaurant years, my staff almost never saw me eat in front of them. But when I did there were two things I made for myself when I was hungry. One had ravioli with cheese and butter, and the other had pasta with big chunks of crab meat in a red sauce.

This is the perfect dish for the seafood lover in your house. If you’re looking for another easy seafood dish, my shrimp scampi is a great choice.

Large lump crabmeat is my favorite way to make this crab pasta recipe. I’ve also used lump crab meat, backfin crab meat, and even claw crab meat. There is just something magical about crab meat and tomato sauce.

I like blue crabs best, but I’m sure my friends on the Pacific coast could confirm that this dish tastes just as good with Dungeness crab meat.

My wife loves it when I make this pasta dish using whole crabs in the sauce. But for me, it’s just too much work and too messy. That being said, the whole crabs will impart some big flavours into the sauce.

Crab sauce is a delicious condiment that can transform simple dishes into something special Whether served with pasta, used as a dip, or spooned over seafood, a quality crab sauce recipe elevates any meal But what’s the secret to making great crab sauce at home? This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process and ingredients for creating foolproof crab sauce recipes.

Selecting Crab Meat

The star of any crab sauce is the crab meat itself. You’ll want to use fresh, high-quality lump or backfin crab meat. Canned crab meat tends to be lower quality with a fishier taste. Lump crab meat comes from the body and claws of the crab, giving you nice chunks or “lumps” of white meat. Backfin crab meat is lighter meat from the fins and body. Either variety will work well, though lump crab is considered more premium.

When buying fresh crab meat at the seafood counter, look for refrigerated containers with moist (not wet) meat that doesn’t smell fishy. Make sure to pick through the crab to remove any bits of shell or cartilage. It’s worth the extra effort to start with pristine crab meat.

Choosing Supporting Ingredients

Crab sauce recipes combine the sweet crab meat with spices and other ingredients that complement and enhance its delicate flavor Here are some classic additions

  • Butter or olive oil: Cook the aromatics in fat to add richness and mouthfeel. Butter is traditional, but olive oil works for dairy-free recipes.

  • Onions and garlic: Lightly cooked onions and garlic provide savory depth without overpowering the crab. Shallots can also be used.

  • Spices and seasonings: Old Bay, paprika, cayenne, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco are typical options for seasoning crab sauce. Play around with the blend.

  • Wine or broth: White wine or chicken broth lend moisture and acidity to balance the rich butter and prevent a paste-like consistency.

  • Herbs: Fresh parsley, dill, chives, thyme, and tarragon brighten up crab sauce. Chopped herbs just before serving retains freshness.

  • Dairy or cream: Heavy cream, half and half, or cream cheese make the sauce extra silky and rich. Leave these out for a lighter sauce.

Step-by-Step Method

Follow these steps for foolproof crab sauce every time:

1. Sauté aromatics

Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic, diced shallot or onion, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes just until fragrant.

2. Deglaze with wine or broth

Pour in 1⁄4 cup white wine or chicken broth and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to reduce slightly.

3. Add crab meat

Gently fold in 1 pound lump crab meat, taking care not to break up the chunks. Cook just until warmed through, about 2 minutes.

4. Finish with cream and herbs

Stir in 1⁄4 cup heavy cream or half and half and season with salt, pepper, Old Bay, and fresh herbs. Heat through but don’t boil.

5. Adjust consistency if needed

If the sauce is too thick, add more wine or broth. For thicker sauce, mix in a tablespoon of cream cheese. Add lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce to taste.

And that’s it! For best flavor development, let the finished crab sauce cool completely before serving. Garnish with extra fresh herbs. Crab sauce keeps well refrigerated for 4-5 days – it even improves on days 2 and 3. Use this versatile sauce on seafood, pasta, vegetables, breads, and more. The possibilities are endless with this luxurious, homemade crab sauce.

Crab Sauce Variations

Once you master the basic technique, play around with these tasty crab sauce variations:

  • Cajun crab sauce: Add Cajun seasoning, diced onions and bell peppers, hot sauce, and tomato paste for a New Orleans-inspired sauce.

  • Creamy crab Alfredo: Blend cooked crab sauce with warmed cream cheese or mascarpone cheese. Toss with hot pasta for crab Alfredo.

  • Crab butter: Omit the cream and broth for an easy compound butter. Spoon over steamed vegetables or baked potatoes.

  • Crab dip: Fold in shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack for a hot crab and cheese dip. Serve with crackers, chips, or raw veggies.

  • Lighter crab sauce: Substitute chicken or vegetable broth for some of the cream. Boost flavor with extra lemon juice and herbs instead of salt.

Don’t limit yourself – the possibilities for crab sauce combinations are endless! Use your favorite flavors and ingredients to make each batch your own.

Tips for the Best Homemade Crab Sauce

  • Use the freshest, highest quality crab meat you can find and pick through it carefully. This ensures sweet, tender crab flavor.

  • Cook the crab meat very briefly, just until warmed through. Overcooking makes the texture rubbery.

  • Avoid breaking up the crab meat chunks when stirring the sauce. Keeping it in pieces provides better texture.

  • Add cream or cheese at the end, after the crab meat is already cooked. Extended cooking can cause them to break or separate.

  • Brighten up rich crab sauce with fresh lemon juice right before serving. Acidity balances the richness.

  • For maximum flavor, make crab sauce ahead and refrigerate overnight before using. This allows time for the flavors to meld.

With quality ingredients and a simple sauté technique, you can make restaurant-worthy crab sauce at home. Use this step-by-step guide for executing crab sauce recipes perfectly every time. Get creative with different spice blends, cheese and dairy additions, herbs, and more. Crab sauce is endlessly versatile – take your recipes from basic to gourmet by mastering this seafood sauce!

how do you make crab sauce

Ingredients to make pasta with red crab sauce

how do you make crab sauce

Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Pasta in Red Crab Sauce. In Chef Speak this is called the “Mise en Place” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.

Getting your ingredients ready ahead of time not only speeds up the cooking process, but it also makes sure you have everything you need to make the dish.

This seafood sauce is not difficult to make, it uses simple pantry ingredients for the sauce. You could skip a step and use your favorite tomato sauce from a jar instead of making your own.

*Fresh crab meat is always best but pasteurized crab meat will also work nicely.

How to make Red Crab Sauce

how do you make crab sauce

The first step is really easy. Put chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Set the heat to medium-high and sauté for one minute.

how do you make crab sauce

Reduce the stove to medium heat and add the crab meat to the pan. Let the crab meat saute for an additional 1-2 minutes. Adding more olive oil if needed.

*Add a splash of dry white or red wine to the crab meat after sautéing to clean the pan if you have any on hand. This step is optional.

how do you make crab sauce

Add the tomato sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and chopped fresh basil to the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to low.

how do you make crab sauce

After two to three minutes of cooking, take the pan off the heat and let it sit while the pasta cooks.

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Cook the pasta al dente, per the instructions on the box. When you’re done draining the pasta, set aside 1/2 cup of the water to mix with the crab sauce. (if the sauce is thin, this step can be skipped.

how do you make crab sauce

My Pasta with Red Crab Sauce is truly comfort food. With chunks of sweet crab meat and a strong tomato sauce, this dish will simply amaze your taste buds. I will admit I add grated Romano or parmesan cheese to this dish. I’m sure that the thought of adding cheese to seafood makes some Italians heart race, but it’s my dinner, so I can do what I want.

That’s a rule I like to teach everyone when they begin cooking. Cook with ingredients you enjoy eating, and make additions or deletions from the recipe as you see fit. This is your dinner, and you should enjoy every delicious bite!.

you sure can. This sauce can be changed to a garlic white wine sauce by leaving out the tomato sauce and adding more olive oil, white wine, butter, and pasta cooking water.

It adds flavor and helps the sauce stick to the pasta because the water is salty and has starch in it. It’s the best way to make a sauce thinner or add a little more sauce to pasta that’s getting dry.

You sure can. You can make this sauce a rosa sauce by adding cream and grated romano cheese to the sauce. You can also leave out the tomato sauce and use heavy cream and grated Romano cheese to make an alfredo sauce instead.

Juicy Crab Sauce


What is crab sauce made of?

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat; stir in flour, onions, and parsley. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the sherry and crabmeat to the flour mixture; gradually add the cream, stirring constantly. Stir in Cajun seasoning and tomato paste.

What is seafood boil sauce made of?

What is seafood boil sauce made of? This seafood sauce recipe consists of cajun seasoning, old bay, garlic, onion powder, red pepper flakes, onions, butter, brown sugar, chicken stock, lemon juice, and fresh parsley.

What is the best butter to melt for crab legs?

Serving clarified butter for crab legs or lobster is a must. The cups of liquid gold with your seafood dinner at restaurants aren’t made of plain melted butter.

How do you make boiled crab sauce?

To use this Boiling Crab sauce, add steamed or boiled seafood (maybe with sausages and potatoes) into a large bowl. Add the sauce and toss to coat everything well. Serve with corn on the cob, maybe some cornbread, and lots of napkins! In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.

How do you cook juicy crab sauce in a microwave?

Just use the medium skillet, pour the required amount of Juicy Crab Sauce, and heat over medium heat for a few minutes. It will taste as if just prepared. Pour the Juicy Crab Sauce into a microwave-safe dish and heat at a high temperature for 90 seconds or more if you prefer it hotter.

What is spicy crab sauce?

This Juicy Crab copycat sauce calls for some spicy crabs or crawfish cooked in it with garlic-filled mashed potatoes on the side. Juicy Crab cooks the crabs in a bag with sauce and spices, so you should do the same for the real deal. It’s also worth noting that Zatarain spice is used in Louisiana Cajun cuisine instead of Old Bay.

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