The perfect sauce for seafood.


Credit: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe Summary

30 mins
35 mins
5 mins
1¼ cups

In Senior Food Editor Lisa Cericola's household, Christmas Crab Cakes have become an annual tradition. "I'm a Florida native, so it's not that surprising that I'd choose seafood for Christmas dinner over beef or pork," she writes. "There are a lot of reasons why I love crab cakes. You can assemble them ahead, dress them up with sauces, and pair them with just about any side dish. You don't have to take their temperatures, they won't smoke up your kitchen, and you don't have to go through that nerve-racking internal debate over whether to carve them in the kitchen or at the table."

For all of these reasons, crab cakes are a mainstay on her Christmas table. And along with the Christmas Crab Cakes comes a menagerie of dipping sauces to suit every palate—Herbed Crème Fraiche, Spicy Pepper Sauce, and Creamy Dijonnaise. Similar in flavor to a tartar sauce, this Herbed Crème Fraiche is a classic pairing for crab cakes. We've refined this sauce with elegant, tangy crème fraiche, which gets spiked with a smattering of fresh herbs (parsley, dill, tarragon, and scallions).

You can opt to make just one sauce, but when it comes to the holidays, we abide by the age-old saying, "Go big or go home." Each of these sauces caters to a distinct, specific taste, pairing perfectly with the crab cakes. Plus, each sauce takes just five minutes to whip up, which means that you have time to make all three.


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together crème fraîche, chopped fresh parsley, fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh dill, chopped fresh tarragon, minced fresh scallions, and kosher salt in a bowl until combined. Transfer to a serving bowl; cover. Chill 30 minutes before using.