You won't survive crawfish season without a winning Cajun butter sauce recipe for all your Cajun Seafood Boil parties. So, if you're wondering How to Make Cajun Butter Sauce for Seafood, keep reading! This one will knock your seafood-loving socks right off your feet.
The dipping sauces you serve with your crawfish boil create a majority of the flavor. I focus most of my time and attention on adding flavor and spice to my cajun butter sauce, rather than the boiling water.
Adding orange juice and peel to the cajun sauce came from an article in Southern Living Magazine about the Dao family - Vietnamese immigrants who have been making a family crawfish boil for decades. The orange adds a sweet, balancing note to the deeply savory, traditional cajun butter sauce. It's a flavor profile that lemon juice just can't match.
I can't wait for you to try it!
What you'll need to make this recipe:
Before we get to the step by step directions, a few notes about the ingredients:
Stock: I have easy access to shrimp stock, so that's my choice for this boil. Vegetable or chicken stock (for meat-eaters) are other good options.
Onions: yellow onions are a good option here, but red onion or shallot work, as well.
(Ingredient photo includes items for a full crawfish boil, including cajun butter sauce.)
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions:
1. Cook aromatics
First, melt 2 sticks of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Then add chopped onion and garlic cloves and sauté the vegetables for 5-6 minutes until they are tender and fragrant.
2. Add seasonings
Next, add the Old Bay Seasoning, lemon pepper and ground cayenne to the butter. Let the spices bloom for about a minute.
3. Combine liquids
Add 1 cup of seafood stock, the juice of ½ an orange and the peel of half an orange to the pan and bring it to a simmer. Let the sauce cook for 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove the orange peel.
4. Blend sauce
I use an immersion blender to emulsify the butter sauce at this point. Blending the sauce creates a far better dipping sauce and soaking product for the seafood. So I use the immersion blender right in the saucepan and mix for about 10-15 seconds. Blend until the sauce turns a creamy orange color and is fully emulsified.
5. Serve with crawfish boil
Pour cajun butter sauce over your hot, boiled crawfish, potatoes and corn. Cover and let stand 5-10 minutes.
Looking for more delicious seafood?
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
Um...all of it? All of the fresh seafood? Obviously crawfish is delicious in this creamy cajun sauce, as is a shrimp boil or just a big plate of shrimp. Same for a crab boil or a pot of snow crab legs or even a tray of broiled lobster tails. Any seafood boil recipe that calls for a dish of melted butter for dipping will be improved by making this easy sauce.
Yes - it will not bring the same freshness or texture, but it will work in a pinch. Start with 1 tablespoon, and taste and adjust from there. If using onion powder in place of fresh onions, start with 2 teaspoons, then taste and adjust.
Add more cayenne to the flavorful sauce, or even a diced jalapeno or serrano pepper. A half teaspoon of red pepper flakes will also dial up the spicy flavors. As always, serving the crawfish boil with a bottle of hot sauce allows everyone at the table to customize their level of spice and is usually your best bet.
If you don't have Old Bay or another cajun seasoning mix, you can make your own version with a few simple ingredients. Here's a good place to start.
To store, transfer sauce to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.