This crab butter is a simple drawn butter mixed with bright lemon zest and slightly spicy seafood seasoning. It’s guaranteed to take your seafood to the next level.
We love serving this rich, subtly spiced sauce alongside simple hard shell crabs but it’s a flavorful sauce that works with nearly any seafood.
When you’re looking for a buttery accompaniment to a seafood-based dish, turn to this incredible crab butter that elevates nearly any meal.
What is Crab Butter?
Crab butter is a delicious seasoned butter that resembles liquid gold, perfect for dipping sweet pieces of crab meat.
Crab butter is essentially drawn butter, clarified butter, or ghee, but seasoned to complement the flavor of the crab meat. This includes citrus and salt. Delicious!
Why You’ll Love Crab Butter
Who doesn’t love butter, right? You’re really going to love this seasoned butter with a rich yet bright flavor that is the perfect pairing with delicate seafood.
- Easy – It takes only a few minutes to melt and season this butter so you can quickly make it just before serving.
- Versatile – There are plenty of other ways to serve crab butter other than with crab — use it for other seafood, or even toss veggies in it or dip a crusty piece of baguette into it. It’s also great for any event from a casual get-together with a pile of fresh crabs to crack open to a special occasion dinner.
- Customizable – You can experiment with this sauce in so many ways to make it perfect for your palate.
With so few ingredients, make sure to choose high-quality versions so that this sauce shines.
- Clarified butter or ghee: The rich, smooth texture of clarified butter or ghee is crucial for achieving the desired consistency and flavor in drawn butter. It provides a luxe, velvety base for the sauce.
- Lemon zest: The zest of lemon adds bright, refreshing citrus flavor to the crab butter. It balances the richness and imparts a touch of tang that complements seafood dishes perfectly.
- Seafood seasoning (e.g., Old Bay): The addition of seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay, enhances the flavor profile of the drawn butter by adding a blend of spices and herbs that complements and elevates the taste of seafood.
What To Serve Crab Butter With
Crab butter isn’t just for crabs!
While you can obviously serve the butter with king crab legs, snow crab legs, Dungeness crab, or when cracking a blue crab (or even drizzled over soft-shell crabs), it has other uses, too. Serve it with dishes that incorporate shrimp, scallops, crawfish, or lobster, drizzle over crab cakes, grilled fish, or calamari, or use it with mussels or clams, too.
How to Make Crab Butter
You won’t believe how easy it is to bring these ingredients together for the most luscious dipping sauce.
- Melt butter. Gently melt butter on the stovetop in a small saucepan. Avoid browning it by ensuring it does not boil.
- Add lemon and seasoning. Add the lemon zest and seafood seasoning and whisk until combined.
- Serve with seafood. Serve the butter mixture in a small bowl alongside the seafood of your choice.
Let this butter be a canvas for your creative culinary skills and build an original sauce with additions or swaps.
- Fresh herbs: Add a pop of fresh flavor by incorporating chopped herbs like parsley, dill, or chives into the crab butter.
- Citrus: Instead of lemon zest, you can experiment with other fruits like lime, orange, or grapefruit to add a vibrant twist to the butter. You can also add lemon juice if you want even more flavor.
- Garlic: For an extra layer of savory flavor, include minced garlic cloves or garlic powder in the crab butter.
- Spices: Enhance the seasoning by incorporating additional spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, or a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
- White Wine: Impart a subtle wine flavor and balance the richness of the butter with high-quality dry white wine.
- Shallots or Onions: Sauté finely diced shallots or onions in the butter before incorporating the other ingredients.
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Grind some black peppercorns directly into the crab butter to add a hint of spiciness and aromatic warmth.
- Sauce: Try adding a dash of other sauces to change the flavor profile. Oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce can all add umami and complexity.
Storage and Freezing
If you have leftovers or want to make this ahead of time, it’s easy to store.
Make Ahead: Make this sauce ahead and just reheat it gently on the stovetop when you’re ready to use it.
Refrigerator: Keep crab butter in the refrigerator in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 2 months.
Freezer: Store the butter in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to 8 months.
Common Questions About Drawn Butter
Quite simply, drawn butter is butter that has melted. This one is seasoned with citrus and seafood seasonings.
Some say that drawn butter does not need to be refrigerated but we prefer to air on the side of caution and keep it in the fridge.
Drawn butter, when kept in an airtight container, can last for up to 2 months.
Other Sumptuous Sauces
- Garlic Sauce
- Seafood Sauce (Bloves Sauce)
- Crab Cake Sauce
- Brown Butter Sage Sauce
- Cowboy Butter Sauce
Crab Butter (Drawn Butter)
- 1 cup clarified butter or ghee
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning like Old Bay
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, being careful to not let it boil.
- When melted, whisk in the lemon zest and seafood seasoning.
- Serve hot with crab.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.