The Creamy Sauce You Should Be Dipping Your Crab Cakes In

Crab cakes are usually served with a side of tartar sauce or cocktail sauce along with lemon wedges for zest — but it's not the only condiment that pairs well with the delicious seafood fare. Another creamy dip that offers fresher flavors comes in the form of dill mayo. The creamy dip might not commonly come in a store-bought bottle like tartar or cocktail sauce, but it's rather easy to make with ingredients that might already be in your pantry or are easy to procure.

On its own, dill has a fresh flavor that is almost like a combination of anise and celery. It's what gives your favorite jar of dill pickles that distinct, herby flavor. And when dill is mixed with mayonnaise, it becomes a tangy and creamy dip with the help of a couple of other ingredients. This inspiration is found in our crab cakes with dill mayo recipe from Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye. Here, Rye makes the sauce with mayonnaise, fresh dill, and lemon juice for some acidity. Those bright, herby, and creamy flavors are what makes this sauce pair so well with the sweet and savory notes of the meat inside of the crab cakes.

Add more herbs or hot sauce for bolder flavors

The dip included in Rye's crab cakes recipe is enough for 10 cakes. It uses ½ cup of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of dill. To cut some calories, Rye recommends using a light mayo or even yogurt instead. Step it up and make an herbier mayo, perhaps with fresh parsley, cilantro, or chives along with the dill already in the recipe. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, then serve with the crab cakes.

There are always ways to switch things up in the kitchen, including with this dill sauce. Use Greek yogurt, a little sour cream, or crème fraîche to achieve a thicker consistency, then experiment with other add-ins to match your desired flavor profiles. To make things spicy, add a few splashes of hot sauce or adobo sauce, or go for a dash of cayenne pepper or chili powder. Old Bay seasoning is another way to add bolder flavors and lean into the seafood component of the meal. Making this dill sauce, like other homemade condiments, is an effortless way to use what's already in the fridge like mustard for tang, a spoonful of brine from a jar of pickles, or crushed garlic cloves. The sauce pairs equally well with classic Maryland crab cakes, which also only require a few ingredients.