Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Seafood (2023)

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This creamy lemon garlic butter sauce is decadent, rich, and incredibly easy to make. It holds so much flavor with fresh garlic, lemon zest, and plenty of good quality butter, it's a great dipping sauce for seafood and shellfish.

Usually people dip their seafood into melted butter with some seasoning that has sunken to the bottom, but I wanted to take it to the next level, do something a little different. And with its rich, creamy texture, I knew what sauce was the perfect dipping sauce for my low country boil and crab feasts.

When I was in culinary school we learned how to make many, many sauces and almost all of them included plenty of butter. But my favorite was the one that could go with just about anything but I found was especially delicious as a dipping sauce for my snow crab legs and lobster tails: the elegant beurre blanc sauce.

Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Seafood (1)

It's that delicious sauce at your favorite upscale seafood restaurant, drizzled over seared scallops and served on the side of a perfectly cooked rib eye steak. A rich and creamy butter sauce that takes on the flavors of whatever you put into it.

With simple ingredients, a little professional culinary technique, and a whole stick of butter, honey, you will have the perfect garlicky butter sauce that your fresh seafood is just begging to dive into.

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Jump to:
  • What is Beurre Blanc Sauce?
  • Ingredients
  • Instructions
  • Variations
  • What to Serve with Homemade Garlic Butter Sauce
  • Storage and Reheating Instructions
  • More recipes to pair with garlic butter sauce
  • 📖 Recipe

What is Beurre Blanc Sauce?

Beurre blanc (literally meaning white butter in French) is a rich sauce made almost entirely of butter, which lends an ability to take on the flavors of whatever you put into it.

It was created by accident in the 1890s when Chef Clémence Lefeuvre was making bearnaise sauce, but forgot to add egg yolks. And instead of clarified butter, she whisked in cold whole butter.

Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Seafood (2)

Classically, it's made with white wine, shallots, and a ton of butter to make a flavorful sauce that coats the back of a spoon. And it can be used for anything, chicken, steak, vegetables...but it also makes for the perfect seafood sauce.

The best thing about it is that it's a versatile recipe, basically a compound butter in sauce form, and while the classic technique can be a little finicky, my 'home cook' method makes for a decadent, thick, creamy lemon butter sauce.

Instead of using only butter, we are adding heavy cream. Not only because it makes a lot more sauce, but because the fat and casein proteins in heavy cream will help the sauce emulsify and stay together even if you reheat it.

Next, in lieu of the dry white wine or vinegar, I use fresh lemon juice. It just cuts through all that richness with much-needed bright acidic flavor, which also compliments the alliums (garlic and onion).

(Video) THE BEST GARLIC BUTTER SEAFOOD SAUCE RECIPE | QUICK & EASY TUTORIAL | PERFECT FOR ALL SEAFOOD!

So think of this beurre blanc as an easy, rich and decadent sauce to add any flavor to, and it can go along with anything!

Ingredients

Unsalted butter. We want to control the salt levels in our garlic butter sauce, and we want actual butter. Put the margarine away! It won't give you the results we want.

Heavy cream. Again, this makes the sauce thicker, richer, creamier, and gives us a lot more of it for dipping king crab legs into.

Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Seafood (3)

Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. The actual 'lemon' flavor is in the zest, while that bright acid is in the juice.

Garlic cloves and shallots. We're using a microplane, which is a fine grater, to grate the garlic and shallots into a paste so instead of biting into chunks of garlic and onion, they are more incorporated into the sauce itself.

Fresh herbs. These are optional, but I love adding a couple sprigs of fresh thyme into the sauce because I like the flavor.

Kosher salt and black pepper. Taste and season your food, people!

Instructions

In a small saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter and add the garlic and shallots, lemon zest, and fresh thyme. Sauté for a couple of minutes over medium heat.

Add the lemon juice and let cook until there is very little liquid left in the pot, for about 2-3 minutes, then add the heavy cream.

Bring the cream to a lively simmer, and then add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until each addition is fully incorporated before adding another.

Turn down to low heat, and taste the buttery sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and serve warm.

Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Seafood (4)

The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Variations

My favorite way to add more flavor to this is to add chicken broth when I add the lemon juice, then reduce it down to concentrate that flavor before adding the cream and butter.

(Video) Creamy Garlic Sauce | How To Make Recipe

Add old bay seasoning, cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, or hot sauce! Like I said, it's like a blank canvas that takes on whatever flavors you add to it. A spicy sauce goes great with a classic cajun seafood boil.

What to Serve with Homemade Garlic Butter Sauce

Any type of seafood. This is the ideal thick and creamy butter dipping sauce for a shrimp boil, crawfish boil, or crab boil. Don't forget the red potatoes and andouille sausage, they like dipping, too!

Spread onto fresh corn. Sweet corn on the cob loves being brushed with butter sauces!

Snow crab clusters. Usually it's a little dish of melted butter on the side, but let's elevate that, shall we?

Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Seafood (5)

Seafood isn't the only thing that loves a nice beurre blanc-style garlic butter sauce! Try it with prime rib during the holidays or over roasted chicken breasts or thighs.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Keep the garlic butter sauce in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

The best part of this recipe is that it reheats perfectly. Over low heat in a small saucepan, rewarm the garlic butter sauce until it's completely warmed through. It'll thicken up again as it cools.

More recipes to pair with garlic butter sauce

  • Salmon en Papillote
  • Easy Sautéed Lemon Garlic Asparagus
  • The Best Garlic Butter Seafood Boil
  • Smoked Tri Tip

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(Video) BEST Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Crab/Shrimp BOIL

📖 Recipe

Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Seafood (6)

Garlic Butter Sauce for Seafood

Yield: 12 servings

This creamy lemon garlic butter sauce is decadent, rich, and incredibly easy to make. It holds so much flavor with fresh garlic, lemon zest, and plenty of good quality butter, it's a great dipping sauce for seafood and shellfish.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoon (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced and cold
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ small shallot, grated
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

    1. In a small saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter and add the garlic and shallots, lemon zest, and fresh thyme. Sauté for a couple of minutes over medium heat.
    2. Add the lemon juice and let cook until there is very little liquid left in the pot, for about 2-3 minutes, then add the heavy cream.
    3. Bring the cream to a lively simmer, turn down to low heat, and then whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until each addition is fully incorporated before adding another.
    4. Season the sauce to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
    5. The garlic butter sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Notes

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Keep the garlic butter sauce in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

The best part of this recipe is that it reheats perfectly. Over low heat in a small saucepan, rewarm the garlic butter sauce until it's completely warmed through. It'll thicken up again as it cools.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 12Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 96Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 89mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

All nutrition facts are estimations. Please see a physician for any health-related inquiries.

(Video) How to make Garlic Butter Seafood Sauce

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Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce for Seafood (7)

Eden Westbrook

Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.

(Video) Seafood Boil With Creamy Garlic Sauce | Snow CrabLegs | Easy Recipe

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FAQs

What is creamy garlic sauce made of? ›

INGREDIENTS: Garlic, butter, flour, cream, some parsley, are all the simple ingredients needed for this recipe. There are no artificial ingredients in this homemade sauce, unlike store-bought brands. It calls for light cream, but heavy cream can also be used.

How do you thicken garlic butter sauce? ›

For a thicker sauce, you can add a teaspoon of cornstarch and stir it over medium heat until the sauce thickens.

What sauces are good with seafood? ›

Here, 10 great sauces that will take any fish dish over the top.
  • Parsley Sauce. This easy, lemony sauce is fantastic with crisp, butter-fried sea bass or snapper. ...
  • Smoked-Almond Romesco Sauce. ...
  • Fresh Herb Sauce. ...
  • Rich Ketchup Sauce. ...
  • Mint Sauce. ...
  • Lemon Cream Sauce. ...
  • Salmoriglio Sauce. ...
  • Red Wine Sauce.
13 Jun 2022

How do you thicken a creamy sauce? ›

The most readily available sauce-thickener is flour. For a too-thin sauce, try adding a slurry (equal parts flour and water, whisked together) or beurre manie (equal parts softened butter and flour, kneaded together to form a paste)—both are ideal thickeners for rich and creamy sauces, such as steak sauce recipes.

Does creamy garlic sauce have egg? ›

Aioli is a creamy garlic sauce made with garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes egg.

What can you use to thicken butter sauce? ›

If your butter sauce is thinner than usual, you can thicken it by simmering for longer to concentrate the liquid or by using other ingredients that bring about the binding effect – like roux (flour), starch (cornstarch, potato or tapioca starch), Beurre Manie' (butter and flour) and/or egg yolks.

How do you thicken seafood sauce? ›

Instructions:
  1. Combine equal parts cornstarch and cold water. Stir together until smooth.
  2. Pour into your sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring continually, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Test the sauce with a spoon.
23 Jun 2021

How do you thicken butter and water? ›

Start by heating a few tablespoons of water in a saucepan. When it reaches a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and slowly begin whisking in cubes of cold butter, just about a tablespoon at a time, until the water and melted butter have emulsified and formed a uniform, creamy, and thick sauce.

What spices go with seafood? ›

If you want to stick to classic herbs ad spices, try fresh flavours like dill, parsley, sage, garlic and chives which are especially good with fish. Fresh dill and chives pair well with all types of seafood, particularly salmon, adding a delicate, sharp punch to your dishes.

What kind of sauce do you eat with shrimp? ›

There's a nice variety of seafood sauces to choose from: Cocktail Seafood Sauce, Tartare, Marie Rose / Thousand Island, or a Thai Chilli Lime Sauce for something fresher.

What hot sauce goes with seafood? ›

Serrano or Jalapeno Lime Hot Sauce

The lime's bitter and acidic taste compliments the pepper and vinegar to make a sweet medium heat hot sauce with a hint of lime. Lime and lemon compliment seafood by adding an element of flavor to the seafood without too much heat and flavor.

How long is garlic butter good for? ›

Storage: The garlic butter can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

How do you soften butter quickly? ›

Pour hot water into a ceramic or glass cup or bowl (something that can fit over your butter). After a few minutes, dump the water out of the vessel and quickly cover your butter. The heat from the cup will soften your butter in just a few minutes.

What are 3 ways to thicken a sauce? ›

Use these tips and tricks to fix thin, runny soups and lackluster gravies without thinking twice.
  1. Flour. ...
  2. Cornstarch or arrowroot. ...
  3. Tomato paste. ...
  4. Reduce the liquid. ...
  5. Swirl in a pat of butter. ...
  6. Add an egg yolk. ...
  7. Puree some vegetables.
9 Apr 2019

How can I thicken a cream sauce without flour? ›

7 Ways To Thicken Sauce Without Flour
  1. Cornstarch. Cornstarch is likely the most common way to thicken sauces without flour. ...
  2. Arrowroot or Tapioca Flour. Both of these options can be used in the same way you'd use cornstarch in a recipe. ...
  3. Gelatin. ...
  4. Vegetable Puree. ...
  5. Cashew Cream. ...
  6. Oat Flour. ...
  7. Egg Yolk.
8 Feb 2022

How can I thicken sauce without flour or cornstarch? ›

6 Ways to Thicken Sauce Without Cornstarch
  1. Reduce the sauce. Simmering your sauce over low heat will cause the water in the sauce to evaporate and the sauce to naturally thicken. ...
  2. Add egg yolks. ...
  3. Prepare a roux. ...
  4. Make a beurre manié. ...
  5. Add pureed vegetables. ...
  6. Use another thickening agent.
18 Jan 2022

What is garlic sauce made of at the Chinese restaurant? ›

The main ingredients are soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, sometimes oyster sauce, and a meat-based broth. You'll find variations with beef broth or chicken broth.

Does garlic sauce contain milk? ›

Toum means garlic in Arabic and is a well-known spread on sandwiches It was made by grinding the garlic into a paste (by using a mortar and pestle) and using olive oil and lemon to turn it into a fluffy garlic sauce. Due to the fact there are no milk or eggs that makeup Toum it's considered to be 100% vegan.

Is garlic sauce and garlic mayo the same? ›

Although aioli and mayonnaise are both creamy emulsions, aioli is made from garlic and olive oil while mayo is made from egg yolks and canola oil. The final result may look similar but the two sauces have distinctly different flavors.

Is garlic sauce and aioli the same? ›

What Is Aioli? A thick garlic sauce, aioli is a traditional condiment in the cuisine of Provence, France, and Catalonia, Spain. True aioli is an emulsion created with just garlic and extra virgin olive oil. This makes the common menu item, “garlic aioli,” rather redundant.

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