The Ultimate Dipping Sauces for Crab Legs

San Francisco, a city known for its rich history and culinary delights, has a special relationship with crab. From our restaurant, Crab House on Pier 39, to the fishing boats that line the bustling Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco’s love for crab is deeply ingrained in its culture. The history of crab in San Francisco is a fascinating tale of the city’s evolution from a small operation to a seafood haven, showcasing the integral role crab has played in shaping the city’s seafood identity. We won’t go too in depth on the city’s history of crab, however, we WILL discuss the best dipping sauces for crab legs and which to have on hand with the city’s favorite crustacean, Dungeness Crab. Before we get into the crab dipping sauce details, let’s give a brief overview of dungeness crab. 

Dungeness Crab

cracking dungeness crab

Let’s briefly talk about the most well known crab in the bay, The Dungeness Crab, a San Francisco staple.

What does it taste like

Dungeness crab, known for its delicious flavor and succulent meat, offers a unique taste that is often described as sweet, delicate, and slightly nutty. The meat has a slightly firm texture with a hint of brininess, making it a true delicacy among seafood enthusiasts. Its flavor profile pairs well with various seasonings and sauces, allowing for a wide range of culinary possibilities. It is the BEST tasting crab! Check out our linked article here if you want a more in depth guide as to what Dungeness crab taste like

Preparing Dungeness Crab

When it comes to cooking Dungeness crab, there are several popular methods that can enhance its natural flavors. Steaming is a classic technique that preserves the crab’s delicate taste and texture. Simply place live crabs in a steamer basket and steam for about 15-20 minutes until the shells turn a vibrant red color. Another popular method is boiling, where crabs are submerged in a pot of seasoned water and cooked until the shells turn bright red. Grilling is another fantastic option, as it imparts a smoky flavor to the crab while maintaining its moisture. Splitting the crab in half and grilling it with butter and herbs creates a delectable dish.

Where are they found

Dungeness crabs are predominantly found along the west coast of North America, specifically from Alaska down to California. They inhabit sandy or muddy areas of estuaries, bays, and shallow coastal waters. Dungeness crabs prefer cooler temperatures and are commonly harvested during the winter months when they migrate closer to shore for breeding. This species is highly sought after by fishermen and seafood enthusiasts alike due to its abundance and delectable taste. Whether you’re in a restaurant or exploring local seafood markets in coastal regions, you’re likely to find Dungeness crab as a prized catch of the Pacific.


Let’s get into it!

Crab legs, with their tender, succulent meat, are a treasure trove of flavor waiting to be discovered. While they are delicious on their own, pairing them with the perfect dipping sauce takes the experience to new heights. In this blog, we will delve into the world of dipping sauces for crab legs, exploring a variety of options that will tantalize your taste buds and enhance your seafood feast.


The Secret Garlic Crab Sauce Dip at Crab House:

shellfish, pasta and calamari

One cannot discuss the best dipping sauces for crab legs without mentioning the divine Crab Sauce Dip at Crab House. This delectable creation is a perfect blend of creamy textures and zesty flavors. This sauce elevates the natural sweetness of the crab meat. Its versatility extends beyond crab legs, making it a delightful companion for other seafood delights. Obviously it includes garlic and butter, but the rest of the secret ingredients are kept under lock and key. You are just going to come taste this incredible sauce for yourself. We roast all of our crab in this secret concoction! 


Unique Richness of Crab Leg Dipping Sauce:

For those seeking a more luxurious experience, this Crab Leg Dipping Sauce delivers an unforgettable culinary adventure. This sauce boasts a creamy foundation of sour cream, delicately infused with a refreshing splash of lemon juice. Its subtle tanginess complements the delicate flavors of the crab meat, creating a symphony of taste sensations with each dip. Beyond crab legs, this sauce shines as a delightful accompaniment for fresh vegetables or crispy chips. It’s simple, but delicious!


Indulging in the Classic: Melted Butter as Sauce for Crab Legs:

No exploration of dipping sauces for crab legs would be complete without paying homage to the timeless classic: melted butter. The simplicity of this dipping sauce allows the natural flavors of the crab meat to shine. Served warm and accompanied by a squeeze of lemon juice, melted butter adds a rich, velvety finish to every succulent bite of crab meat. Its sheer indulgence is a testament to the perfect marriage of butter and seafood.

Elevating the Experience with Sauce for Crab Meat:

This is a sauce specifically designed for crab meat, and it can transform these morsels into an extraordinary culinary delight. One such sauce combines the freshness of olive oil, the zing of lemon juice, and the aromatic essence of garlic. Drizzled over chilled crab meat, this sauce enhances its natural sweetness and texture, creating a refreshing and flavorful experience.

Discovering Exciting Dips for Crab Legs:

As we explore the world of dipping sauces, it’s worth venturing into more unconventional options. Spicy tomato-based dips or tangy cocktail sauces inject a burst of flavor into your crab leg feast. These daring dips, with their unique combinations of ingredients and spice levels, add a thrilling element to the dining experience, satisfying the palates of adventurous seafood lovers.

Crab legs are a true seafood delicacy, and the right dipping sauce can take them to new heights of flavor. Whether you prefer the creamy indulgence of the Crab Sauce, the refreshing zest of the Crab Leg Dipping Sauce, or the timeless elegance of melted butter, each sauce offers a unique complement to the delicate sweetness of crab meat. Additionally, sauces designed specifically for crab meat itself or exploring unconventional options like spicy tomato-based dips broaden the culinary adventure.

So, as you embark on your next crab leg feast, remember to explore the vast array of dipping sauces available. Let your taste buds guide you through a world of flavors, and elevate your seafood experience to new dimensions of delight.


Crab House & the Secret Garlic Sauce

Crab House is renowned for its mouth-watering seafood dishes and, of course, our crab legs. There’s nothing quite like cracking open a crab leg at Crab House with the view of the SF Bay and savoring the sweet, succulent meat inside. 

At Crab House on Pier 39, our chefs have spent countless hours perfecting our secret garlic sauce. Using only the finest ingredients to create a culinary experience that will leave your taste buds tingling.While we can’t give away all the ingredients in our secret garlic sauce, know that this sauce is the perfect complement to the sweet, delicate flavor of crab meat. It’s also great for dipping other seafood, such as shrimp or lobster, making it a versatile addition to any meal.

At Crab House on Pier 39, we believe that the best dipping sauce for crab legs is the one that you enjoy the most. Whether you prefer a classic butter sauce or something more unique and adventurous. And with our commitment to using only the finest ingredients and our chefs’ dedication to creating delicious and innovative sauces, you can be sure that every bite of your crab legs will be a culinary delight no matter the sauce.

So come down to Crab House on Pier 39 and indulge in some of the best crab legs and dipping sauces around. Whether you’re a seasoned crab lover or trying crab for the first time, we guarantee that our sauces will take your crab legs to the next level. And with our waterfront location and stunning views of the bay, you can enjoy your crab legs with the best dipping sauces. 


Need other reasons to come eat at crab house?

photo of crab house exterior


Crab House on Pier 39 is a renowned seafood restaurant that offers a fantastic dining experience in San Francisco. Located right on the iconic Pier 39, this establishment boasts stunning waterfront views of the San Francisco Bay. Our prime location allows diners to enjoy their meal while soaking in the vibrant atmosphere and the lively energy of the pier. With its inviting ambiance and picturesque setting, the Crab House provides a memorable and enjoyable dining experience for locals and tourists alike. It is, in our minds, a Top Thing to Do in San Francisco.

100% Sustainable

One of the standout features of the Crab House is its commitment to serving fresh and delicious seafood, particularly their specialty, Dungeness crab. Being situated in San Francisco, a city known for its exceptional seafood offerings, the restaurant takes advantage of its proximity to the Pacific Ocean to source the finest ingredients. Guests can indulge in a variety of crab-centric dishes, such as steamed Dungeness crab, crab chowder, crab cakes, and much more. The Crab House’s skilled chefs prepare each dish with expertise and attention to detail, ensuring that the flavors shine through. Additionally, the restaurant offers a diverse menu that caters to different tastes and preferences, ensuring that everyone can find something to satisfy their cravings.

Inviting Hospitality

crab House dining room people eating

In addition to its delectable cuisine, the Crab House on Pier 39 provides excellent service and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always ready to assist diners, providing recommendations and ensuring a pleasant dining experience. The restaurant’s spacious and comfortable seating areas, along with its nautical-themed decor, create a relaxed and inviting ambiance. Whether you’re visiting for a casual lunch or a special evening meal, the Crab House offers a memorable and enjoyable dining experience. With its top-notch food, exceptional service, and breathtaking waterfront views, it’s a must-visit.

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