Sweet & Sour Crab Claws


This crab claw recipe from Seaworthy in New Orleans is the perfect messy party appetizer. The sticky, sweet, and sour gochujang-based sauce is what makes this recipe irresistible. Make the sauce for the claws and so much more.

Sweet & Sour Crab Claws

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Amelia Rampe

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
4 servings

This sweet and sour crab claws recipe comes from chef Kristen York of Seaworthy in New Orleans. York takes prepared cocktail crab claws and marinates them in a sauce made of umami-rich gochujang, lightly sweet rice wine vinegar, and ketchup. Mild heat comes in thanks to the addition of gochugaru, while the fish sauce and soy sauce offer deep savory notes to all the sweet and sour with savory flavors. Ingredients like garlic and ginger give the sauce an aromatic dimension while toasted sesame oil brings it all into an earthy balance. This is a great dish to serve at a party. Watch your guests gather around the platter and devour every crab claw; the sweet and savory sauce will have your guests licking their fingers and the plate.

The delicious sweet and sour sauce is not just for crab claws: It can be used in a variety of ways. Toss it in a stir-fry noodle dish or on top of chicken pieces. Air-fry tofu until crispy and then toss it in the sauce. Or try roasting a piece of salmon with the sauce on it.


  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or other neutral oil 

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (from 1 [1/2-inch] piece)

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 1 large garlic clove)

  • 4 ounces rice wine vinegar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2/3 cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as Red Boat)

  • 2 tablespoons gochugaru

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons gochujang

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 2 pounds prepared cocktail crab claws (such as blue crab or Jonah crab)

  • Sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. Add grapeseed oil and sesame oil to a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic, and cook until tender and translucent, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  2. Add rice wine vinegar, granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup water, and bring to a simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

  3. Add ketchup, fish sauce, gochugaru, gojuchang, and soy sauce, and bring to a simmer over medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 10 minutes. Let sweet and sour sauce cool completely on countertop, about 3 hours, or transfer to freezer and cool 1 hour.

  4. About 1 hour before serving, combine crab claws and sweet and sour sauce in a large bowl. Cover bowl with plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour and no more than 12 hours. Transfer to a serving dish, and garnish with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

To Make Ahead

Sweet and sour sauce can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.

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