18 Standout Dipping Sauces Made To Go With Southern Seafood
Something that we will never, ever deny is that a dipping sauce makes anything better, especially when it comes to Southern seafood favorites like fried catfish, boiled shrimp, crab cakes, conch fritters, or even freshly shucked oysters. (If you’ve never had mignonette sauce on an oyster, you’re missing out on a serious bite.) Because if you have perfectly grilled, boiled, or fried seafood on a plate with an even better sauce to slather on it, all you need is a bucket of fries or hush puppies and a cold beverage to wash it all down. If you’re like us, you don’t want to live in a world with cocktail sauce, Old Bay rémoulade, Cajun comeback sauce, or tartar sauce—and don’t dare us when we say we’d just about bathe in our herby warm butter sauce.
Here are 18 must-have dipping sauces for when Southern seafood is on the menu. Many of these sauce recipes come included in their own seafood recipes, but feel free to pull any sauce out and pair with anything you’d like.
Homemade Cocktail Sauce
Homemade cocktail sauce only requires a handful of ingredients, but the payoff for just a couple minutes of prep time is more than worth it. We credit this recipe's major flavor to three big tablespoons of horseradish and fresh lemon juice and zest.
Old Bay Rémoulade
Is there anything that Old Bay seasoning can't do? We've yet to find it. In this recipe, classic creamy rémoulade gets an extra kick of flavor from Old Bay and stone-ground mustard.
Recipe: Comeback Sauce
We all know this crowd-favorite dipping sauce that's often paired with hush puppies, fried shrimp, chicken fingers, or even slathered on a fish sandwich or burger. Similar to a rémoulade, it is super creamy, mayonnaise-based, and infused with just a tipple of hot sauce.
Black-Eyed Pea Ranchero Sauce
Recipe: Black-Eyed Pea Ranchero Sauce
This might seem out of the ordinary for fried catfish, but a super smoky ranchero sauce made with black-eyed peas makes one delicious complement for crispy fried catfish spritzed with fresh lemon wedges.
Traditional Mignonette Sauce
Recipe: Traditional Mignonette Sauce
Mignonette is a classic vinegary sauce made to be paired with freshly shucked oysters, with folks spooning just enough on to coat the taste buds when sucking the whole thing on. All it takes is three easy ingredients.
Old Bay Sauce
What if we told you that there was always a creamy seafood sauce sitting in your kitchen? Mayonnaise, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, and a pinch of sugar can get you there.
Chipotle Tartar Sauce
Tartar sauce can sometimes feel boring or overdone, which is exactly why we prefer this approach that includes canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and lime juice. Serve with any fried fish.
Hot Mignonette Sauce
Recipe: Hot Mignonette Sauce
We gave an extra kick to mignonette, the classic vinegary oyster sauce, by adding Sriracha sauce to the traditional recipe.
Romesco is a warm, roasted red pepper-based sauce often paired with rustic Italian dishes—and it goes with oven-roasted shrimp like nobody's business.
Herb Butter Sauce
Melted herb-infused butter literally always makes a delicious option for any form of boiled, broiled, or grilled seafood—from clam bakes to shrimp to mahi mahi. This recipe calls for the addition of shallot, dill, parsely, lemon, and—of course—Old Bay.
Boom Boom Sauce
Dao Family Crawfish Sauce
Recipe: Dao Family Crawfish Sauce
Any crawfish boil can stand on its own with massive amounts of seasoning, of course; but we'd also like to have this chunky, spicy, fiery sauce (made with orange peels, onions, garlic, butter, and plenty of spices) on hand to ramp up the flavor and festivities.
Recipe: Summer Sauce
This might not be solely just a seafood sauce, but man, does it really do some major good when brushed onto grilled fish or shrimp. Like a looser, fresher, lighter version of pesto, it's packed with fresh herby flavor.
Recipe: Mini Crab Cakes with Cajun Sauce
Cajun sauce is a creamy finishing touch often paired with fried catfish or crab cakes, and it only requires a simple combination of hot sauce, lemon, Cajun seasoning, and mayo.
Sweet Mignonette Sauce
Recipe: Sweet Mignonette Sauce
Another vinegary mignonette to top off freshly shucked oysters, this sweet three-ingredient rendition adds rice wine vinegar and diced green apple for a sweet zing.
Quick Rémoulade Sauce
By quick, we mean incredibly easy. A handful of ingredients you most likely have on hand has a rémoulade sauce ready to be spread onto a po'boy.
Grilled Hot-Pepper Sauce
Recipe: Grilled Hot-Pepper Sauce
Who doesn't love a couple sprinkles of hot sauce on their fresh catch, no matter the form? This homemade option gets epic smokiness from grilling all the peppers and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Maui Mustard Sauce
Coconut shrimp certainly always packs a flavorful punch, but the real sensation here is the super tangy mustard sauce made with pineapple preserves, apricot preserves, and stone-ground mustard.