5 great Prawn Dipping Sauces: Cocktail / Seafood Sauce, Tartare, Marie Rose / Thousand Island, or a Thai Chilli Lime Sauce for something fresher. www.recipetineats.com
Print Recipe
5 from 13 votes

5 Great Prawn Dipping Sauces

Choose from a classic pink Marie Rose / Thousand Island sauce, Tartare, Seafood Cocktail Sauce, a Thai Sweet Chilli Lime Sauce for something fresher (not everyone likes mayo!) or our Family Favourite Prawn Dipping Sauce, a cross between Marie Rose and Tartare with more freshness and flavour. See notes for description of each sauce. All these sauces will be great with any seafood (fish, squid) and especially with lobster, crab, balmain bugs, scallops etc. No video today - these are all just dump and mix!!
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Starter
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Nagi



  • 2/3 cup / 160 g tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp each mustard powder (or Dijon), onion powder, garlic powder, white sugar
  • Dash Tabasco
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt and pepper


  • 1 cup / 220g mayonnaise (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp gherkin/cornichon, very finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp capers, drained and finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 2/3 cup / 145g mayonnaise (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh horseradish (or sub 1 1/2 tsp jarred)
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • Pinch cayenne pepper


  • 5 tbsp / 75g Sweet Chilli Sauce, store bought (I use Trident)
  • 2/3 cup / 165 ml lime juice, fresh (4 - 5 limes)
  • 5 tbsp / 75 ml olive oil (can sub with neutral oil like canola)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp white sugar (or other)
  • 1/4 cup coriander / cilantro leaves, finely chopped


  • 2/3 cup / 145g mayonnaise (Note 1)
  • 1/3 cup / 80 g ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp capers, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp gherkin/cornichon, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp eschallot or onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dill leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 or so dashes of Tabasco
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (adjust to taste)


All sauces except Thai Sauce:

  • Place ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
  • Adjust salt to taste (Note 3).

Thai Sauce:

  • Place all ingredients except coriander in a bowl, whisk well. Stir through coriander and add salt and pepper to taste. Rest 20 minutes before using.


1. MAYONNAISE: Wow, what a difference good mayonnaise makes to a sauce, I was pretty amazed! My favourite is S&W Whole Egg Mayonnaise and Hellman's, both of which are sold in Australia in supermarkets. Now is not the time to go diet, so no low fat please, completely changes the flavour. If you use a better value mayonnaise (eg. store brand), you will typically find they are sweeter and have slightly less richness (higher water content, less egg), so omit the sugar in every recipe (if applicable) then add at the end to taste.
2. SALTINESS OF SAUCES: Remember that prawns themselves are salty so you don't need the sauce to be super salty. So go easy on the salt - the best way to determine if there's enough salt is to taste test with a prawn (such a big ask!).
3. HOW TO SERVE: Serve sauces with freshly cooked prawns - if you are feeling generous, peel them for your guests. Otherwise, do it the Aussie way and just lay out big bowls of whole prawns and make everyone peel their own! Don't forget to provide bowls for discarding shells, and it's also nice to provide little bowls of water with lemon slices (finger cleaning bowls). Wet towels for cleaning hands is also nice!
4. HOW MUCH PRAWNS TO GET: Entirely depends on how much food there is! Catering 250g / 8 oz of whole uncooked prawns per person is a pretty generous amount, in my view. The reason being that I find that some people lose steam when it comes to the peeling part! If it's part of a larger starter spread with lots of other nibbly things, just 100g/3.5 oz per person is sufficient.
HOW MUCH SAUCE TO MAKE: If you have sauce-greedy family and friends who will try to scoop up as much sauce as possible with every bite (you know who they are!), then 1 cup is only going to be enough for around 1 kg / 2 lb whole uncooked prawns. If they are normal, then it should be enough for 2 kg / 4 lb whole uncooked prawns.
HOW ANY SAUCES TO MAKE: I would generally make 2 sauces, choosing ones that aren't too similar. I would not make Marie Rose + Tartare, or even either of those with the Family Favourite one (too similar). I would pair one of those 3 with the Cocktail Sauce or Thai one.
5. Description of each sauce:
Pink Marie Rose Sauce / Thousand Island sauce - these are essentially the same thing. This sauce has a very neutral flavour that let's the flavour of the prawns really shine.
Tartare Sauce - just like what you get at the local fish and chip shop, but it tastes fresher and more real.
Seafood Cocktail Sauce - the strongest flavoured sauce, this is tangy and has more layers of flavour because of the ingredients in it. Popular sauce sold in jars at supermarkets here in Australia, but homemade tastes so much better - stronger, better flavour and no underlying edge of artificialness. It's the same as the sauces served with shrimp in the US.
Thai Sweet Chilli Lime Sauce - pairs beautifully with prawns, nice alternative to mayo based sauces.
Family Favourite Sauce - a cross between Marie Rose and Tartare, with more flavour. It was a hit at a Christmas Party we recently catered, everyone especially commented on how great the fresh dill flavour was.