This Cajun seafood boil sauce is our saucy secret to our go-to seafood boil and crab boil. It's bursting with all the best Cajun flavors, from the garlic to all the spices that make this seafood butter sauce a staple.
A good sauce is what makes a seafood boil stand out!
We've taken years to perfect our seafood boil sauce, and it goes perfectly with all of our fresh caught Pacific coast seafood.
Table of Contents
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE IT
- Butter. I use salted butter in this recipe and prefer to skip the salt altogether and go for seasoned salt.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic is an absolute must. It compliments the Cajun flavors and is key in a good seafood boil sauce!
- Lemon. Using fresh lemon is another staple in this sauce. It brightens it and works well with the rich spices. And, what's seafood without lemon anyhow?
- Old bay seasoning. This replaces salt, so be sure to not skip it!
- Mustard seeds. I have a list of substitutes for mustard seeds if you can't find any in the store. Trust me, I've been there!
- Smoked paprika.
- Garlic powder.
- Ground Coriander.
- Dried thyme. You can also use fresh thyme and double the amount called for.
- Black pepper.
- Cayenne. Feel free to use red pepper flakes instead.
Are there any common mistakes to avoid when making seafood boil sauce?
Absolutely! Here are a few mistakes to avoid to ensure you have a well-balanced sauce!
- Overpowering Flavors: Avoid using too many strong or conflicting flavors in your sauce. Balancing spices, acidity, sweetness, and saltiness is key to creating a a finger lickin' good sauce that enhances the seafood without overpowering it.
- Too Much Salt: Seafood can be naturally salty, so be cautious with adding too much salt to the sauce. Taste as you go!
- Underestimating Spice Levels: While spice is a crucial element, adding too much heat can overwhelm the dish. Be sure to check the expiration dates on your spices to ensure you're using the most fresh and potent spices.
- Add Fresh Ingredients: Fresh herbs, citrus zest, and quality spices can elevate the flavor of your sauce.
- Texture!: A well-balanced sauce should have a pleasing texture. I love adding mustard seeds to solve for this!
- Skipping Acidic Elements: Acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar help cut through richness and balance flavors. Leaving it out can make the sauce less vibrant and have a lack of depth.
- Rushing the Cooking Process: Slowly simmering the sauce allows flavors to meld and develop fully. Avoid rushing through the cooking process, as it can lead to underdeveloped flavors and an uneven sauce.
- Not Adjusting for Seafood Varieties: Different types of seafood have varying flavors and textures. Tailor your sauce to complement the specific seafood you're using rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach. Or use less of this seafood boil sauce recipe on your dish.
PREP AHEAD AND STORAGE
Can I make seafood boil sauce ahead of time and store it?
Yes! You can absolutely make this sauce in advance and store it on the counter or in the fridge for as long as you need to. Prepping even a week in advance is just fine.
Storing in the fridge: After making the sauce, let it cool down to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container. Close the lid and store in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Storing on the counter: Once the sauce has cooled, transfer to an airtight container with a lid. Close the lid and store at room temperature for up to 12 hours. This is a great time for the flavors to meld and develop.
There's a few ways to use this sauce. The most popular way is to pour seafood boil sauce over the seafood directly and gently mix everything until the sauce is thoroughly combined with all the seafood.
Another way to use it is by leaving it on the side and using it to put your seafood into. It's especially great with crab and shrimp this way!
It's typically a medium to mild spicy level. Depending on your preference you can add more or less cayenne to the sauce to fit your desired spice level. Add at least half a teaspoon of cayenne, taste test it, and increase if needed.
Staying as close to the recipe as possible will provide the best flavor on this tried and true seafood butter sauce. However, if you're allergic or sensitive to one of the ingredients, you can substitute for another. Staying as close to the flavor profile and amount the recipe calls for.
Yes, you can make vegetarian or vegan versions of it by using plant-based butter. The strong Cajun spices will make it taste just like the real thing!
DISHES TO USE SEAFOOD BOIL SAUCE WITH
Cajun Seafood Boil Sauce
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan or in the microwave.
- Once melted, add the minced garlic, and lemon juice. Stir until combined.
- To the butter, add the spices and stir well.
- Store the seafood boil sauce at room temperature until you’re ready to use. Melt over the stove top on low, or in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the butter has melted. Use the sauce immediately.
- Make and store in advance. This gives the sauce more time to have the flavors meld.
- How do I add the sauce to cooked seafood? There's a few ways to use this sauce. The most popular way is to pour seafood boil sauce over the seafood directly and gently mix everything until the sauce is thoroughly combined with all the seafood. Another way to use it is by leaving it on the side and using it to put your seafood into. It's especially great with crab and shrimp this way!