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Crab Recipe Ideas

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Check out these great crab recipes!

Check out these great crab recipes!

Seafood Recipes

We use a lot of seafood recipes at my house. Well, seafood recipes might be a bit of a stretch. I seldom follow a recipe because I usually come up with my own creations. When I concoct something that’s a hit, I have to write down the ingredients and the amounts. I do that so I can share my recipes with my readers and so that I can remember them myself. Even when I come up with a recipe the whole family loves, I might tweak it the next time I make it, depending on what ingredients I have on hand and who I’m cooking for. For example, if my recipe is extra hot and spicy, I might tone it down a bit if I know some of my dinner or party guests aren’t crazy about the heat element. I make all sorts of recipes with finned fish, oysters, shrimp, scallops, and crab meat. On rare occasions, I cook clams, although we’re not as fond of clams as we are of other types of seafood. In this article, I’m focusing on seafood recipes made with crab meat. Below are 10 great crab recipes that I hope you enjoy!

Fresh seafood

Fresh seafood

Fresh Seafood

As seafood lovers, my family and I are extremely fortunate when it comes to fresh seafood. We’re just a couple of hours away from the Gulf of Mexico and from the Atlantic Ocean, and we make the drives whenever we get the chance. It’s not unusual for us to make day trips just for fishing, crabbing, or pulling a beach seine. If our activities aren’t productive, we always have the option to purchase fresh seafood while we’re at the coast. We always take several coolers with us, so we just ice down the locally caught seafood and bring it home with us.

There’s just nothing like fresh seafood! If you don’t have access to fresh, fresh-frozen is an acceptable alternative. Just avoid the non-refrigerated canned versions, including canned shrimp, canned oysters, and canned crab meat. Believe me—you’ll definitely be able to tell a big difference. If you’re going to use inferior ingredients, why even bother to go to the trouble to make seafood recipes at all?

Crab Meat

Obviously, the main ingredient in crab recipes is the crab meat—or it should be. I’ve eaten crab cakes in restaurants that contained more cake than crab. I’ll bet you’ve had the same experience. I love crab meat, so I think it should be the dominant ingredient in crab recipes. If you think so, too, you should like my crab recipes.

Let’s talk about crab meat for just a moment. As you might have guessed, since I prefer fresh seafood, I really like using crab meat from the blue crabs we catch ourselves. Picking the meat from the crabs is a tedious process, but it’s incredibly delicious, and even better, it’s free! Okay, I realize that not everyone has the time or the opportunity to catch their own crabs, but if you’re buying crab meat for recipes, please avoid canned crab meat—the kind that comes in flat cans that are found on the shelves at most supermarkets. A much better alternative is refrigerated canned crab meat. Of course, if you have leftover crab meat from king crab legs or snow crab legs, by all means, use it in your crab recipes.

This is good canned crab meat.

This is good canned crab meat.

Canned Crab Meat

Okay, let’s say you purchased canned crab meat from the refrigerated section of the grocery store or seafood market, as I suggested. What do you do with it once you get it home? First, check the expiration date that’s printed on the container. Most refrigerated canned crab meat is ultra-pasteurized, so it has a long life in the fridge. Once that’s taken care of, you’ll need to drain the crab meat extra well. If you don’t, your crab recipes will be too watery. I drain away the liquid as much as possible, then I place the meat in several layers of paper towels and give it a few gentle squeezes. If you’re using lump crab meat, be extra gentle. You don’t want to break up those nice big lumps that you paid extra for!

Live blue crabs

Live blue crabs

Blue Crabs

We often catch our own blue crabs. A lot of chefs around the world think that blue crabs are the most flavorful crabs of all the edible species. I’m not claiming to have sampled every type of crab on the planet, but I can attest to the fact that I’ve tried most of the crabs caught in the United States, including king crab, snow crab, Dungeness crab, stone crab, and, of course, blue crabs. And, by the way, we also catch our own stone crabs from time to time. Stone crab claws are yummy, but I still think the blues have a sweeter, more delicate flavor. I also like the texture of the blue crab meat better, especially in crab recipes. If you’re careful when picking the cooked crabs, you can get lump crab meat from the claws.

Steamed blue crabs

Steamed blue crabs

Steamed Blue Crabs

Steamed blue crabs are awesome! We can eat ourselves silly when we bring in a big haul of blue crabs. If you buy live blue crabs, make sure they’re actually alive. You don’t want to cook crabs that have died before you buy them. In fact, it’s best if the live blue crabs are still pretty active.

Lots of folks boil live blue crabs while the crabs are still kicking, but I don’t. I don’t like cooking critters while they’re still alive. To kill the crabs quickly, I turn them over on their backs and pierce the bottom of the shell with a sharp knife point or an ice pick. This should be done about halfway between the point of the apron and the edge of the shell near the “head” or “face.” The apron on male blue crabs is shaped like the Washington Monument, and on females, it’s shaped like the U.S Capitol. On young female blue crabs, the apron is more of a triangle shape. Either way, you won’t have any trouble locating the point. To make the crabs easier to handle, you might first want to place them in the freezer for a few minutes.

While you’re killing the crabs, get your water boiling. You’ll need a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and a rack. Add a can of beer, 2 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 bay leaves, and 2 tablespoons hot sauce to the pot. Add enough water to raise the level of liquid to just beneath the steamer rack. Bring the pot to a rolling boil. Place a layer of crabs on the rack and sprinkle them generously with your favorite seafood seasoning. Sometimes we use Old Bay, but oftentimes, I make my own. Continue layering and seasoning the crabs and place the rack over the boiling water. Close the lid and continue boiling until the crabs are done. Blue crabs become red when they’re done. This will take about 25 to 30 minutes, depending on how many crabs you’re steaming and on how large the crabs are.

Crab casserole recipes

Crab casserole recipes

Crab Casserole Recipes

I have several crab casserole recipes. They’re great for dinner parties, and sometimes I even serve them at Thanksgiving along with my ham and turkeys. Crab casserole recipes are really pretty easy to make. The crab meat is already cooked, so you don’t have to worry about getting it done. Basically, most crab casseroles include lots of crab meat, a thickener or filler, some type of sauce, and herbs and spices. They might also contain cheese and vegetables. Some cooks like to put the cheese on top, while others prefer to mix it with the crab and other ingredients before baking. Personally, I usually prefer combining my cheese with the other ingredients and using a topping made of crushed crackers. In my opinion, Ritz crackers serve this purpose well. Below are some ingredients for crab casserole recipes that might give you some ideas.

Crab Casserole Recipes: Ideas for Ingredients






bell pepper


white sauce



cream of shrimp soup



cream of celery soup



cream of onion soup


pepper jack

golden mushroom soup






Crab casserole recipe

Crab casserole recipe

Crab Casserole Recipe

This crab casserole recipe is extremely rich! I usually serve it over rice, but it’s also good over toast points or all by itself.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

40 min

55 min

6 servings


  • 1 pound flaked crab meat, drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cups soft bread cubes, without crusts
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Crushed potato chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a 2-quart casserole dish.
  2. Examine crab meat for shell and cartilage. Drain well! Add crab meat to a large mixing bowl and flake with a fork.
  3. Add mayonnaise, bread, eggs, and cream. Allow it to rest for five minutes.
  4. Fold in cheese, veggies, and spices.
  5. Turn into the baking dish. Top with crushed chips.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until the casserole is set.

Crab Cakes Recipes

Perhaps the most popular of all crab recipes are crab cake recipes. Just about every cook has his or her own special recipe, and they can be incredibly varied. If you’ve only eaten the crab cakes made in restaurants—especially in cheaper restaurants—you haven’t enjoyed real crab cakes!

The main star in crab cake recipes should be crab meat—not breading. Of course, you’ll need a small amount of some type of breading, but don’t overdo it. As far as seasoning goes, be careful not to overdo it here, either. Crab meat has a wonderful flavor all on its own, so it really doesn’t require a lot of help. That being said, I often like my crab cakes a little spicy, but not everyone does. I think I’ve “killed” some of my taste buds by eating large amounts of hot peppers and spices found in Mexican food and Cajun food.

Maryland-style crab cake

Maryland-style crab cake

How to Make Crab Cakes

Do you know how to make crab cakes? The best crab cakes are the ones that have just enough fillers to hold the crab meat together. Also, I think most crab lovers would agree that the best crab cakes include lump crab meat, as opposed to flaked crab meat. It’s nice to sink your teeth into a tasty chunk of crab as you’re happily munching away.

Obviously, when it comes to how to make crab cakes, ingredients vary, based on personal preferences. Some people like to add veggies like chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, chopped celery, or chopped jalapenos. As for seasonings, minced garlic is a popular addition, along with herbs, spices, or seafood seasoning blends. Some type of binder is needed, too, and most cooks add some type of breading, although it’s not always necessary.

Cooking methods vary somewhat, too. Crab cakes can be fried in butter or cooking oil, or if you want less fat in your crab cakes, you can spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. In fact, I’ve cooked crab cakes before in a skillet with no fat at all, but I’ll admit, they weren’t as tasty as those fried in butter or oil. At times, I might even bake my crab cakes in the oven or broil them, in individual serving-size dishes or ramekins.

Crab Cakes Recipes: Ingredient Ideas



soft bread



dry bread crumbs

bell pepper

sour cream

Italian bread crumbs


cream cheese


hot peppers


cracker meal

hot sauce



white pepper

Worcestershire sauce

corn meal

black pepper

cocktail sauce

crushed saltines

curry powder

chili sauce

crushed Ritz crackers


horseradish sauce

boxed stuffing mix


Miracle Whip

crushed potato chips

Old Bay seasoning

Maryland Style Crab Cakes

Maryland crab cakes are often touted to be the best crab cakes in the world. I don’t know if this is true or not, as I’ve never been to Maryland. I have, however, made and consumed Maryland-style crab cakes. What’s so special about Maryland crab cakes? Supposedly, it’s the crab meat itself—blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay. I’m here to tell you, though—I don’t see how Maryland blue crabs could be any better than those caught in the Southeast!

Did you know that there are two kinds of Maryland crab cakes? The Boardwalk crab cakes might contain flaked crab meat with a larger amount of breading and fillers. The other type of Maryland crab cake is the gourmet version, and they contain very little breading. In fact, they might not contain any breading at all. The gourmet crab cakes are made with lump crab meat instead of flaked, too, so they’re more expensive. Below is my version of Maryland-style crab cakes.

Gourmet crab cakes

Gourmet crab cakes

Gourmet Crab Cakes

These gourmet crab cakes are awesome—the best crab cakes I’ve ever tasted. You have two options with this gourmet crab cake recipe. You can include the bread crumbs or leave them out completely. If you decide to omit the bread crumbs, it’s going to be almost impossible to keep the cakes in one piece while frying, so you might prefer broiling them on a cookie sheet. Honestly, the fried version is better, in my opinion. Although it contains some filler, the lump crab meat is far more voluminous.


  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ cup soft bread cubes
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • Oil for frying

Directions: In a large bowl, combine eggs, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, black pepper, garlic salt, and bread cubes. Let sit for five minutes. Add grated onion. “Squish” mixture with your hands. Gently fold in lump crab meat. Refrigerate mixture for about 30 minutes, until firm. Form the mixture into round cakes.

Drizzle a non-stick skillet with oil and heat over medium. Add crab cakes and fry until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Crab pie

Crab pie

Crab Pie


  • 1/2 pound flaked or lump crab meat, drained
  • 4 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 frozen pie shell, thawed
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • Ritz cracker crumbs

Directions: Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine crab meat, onion, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Spoon into pie crust. Cover crab mixture with grated cheese. With a wire whisk, combine cream and eggs. Pour over crab and cheese. Sprinkle the top with cracker crumbs.

Bake for about 45 minutes.

Crab meat appetizers

Crab meat appetizers

Crab Meat Appetizers

Crab meat appetizers are great for parties. When we have a big Christmas party, I always serve at least one or two crab meat appetizers. These might be in the form of crab dip, hot crab dip, crab spread, mini crab cakes, fried crab claws, or other crab recipes. By the way, you can also use crab salad as an appetizer. Just spoon the salad into small phyllo cups or with savory crackers. It’s also good served on toast rounds.

Although many people love crab meat appetizers, everyone doesn’t. Some people are allergic to crab and other shellfish, and some of your guests might very well fall into this category. Because of that, be sure to let your guests know which appetizers and other foods contain shellfish. You certainly don’t want to be responsible for any allergic reactions. One way to alert guests is to find some plastic picks that display the likeness of a crab, and stick a pick in the center of the dish.

Crab salad

Crab salad

Crab Salad


  • 1 pound flaked crab meat
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped or thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar

Directions: Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with more paprika, if desired.

Crab dip

Crab dip

Crab Dip

This is an easy crab dip recipe that my family loves, and most of us make our own version. For me, using an entire packet of the onion soup mix makes the crab dip too salty, but others prefer using an entire package. Use your own judgment. Once everything’s mixed together, you’ll need to leave the dip in the fridge for a couple of hours in order for the dried onions in the soup mix to soften. I like to add chopped green olives, too.


  • 1 pound flaked crab meat, drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green olives
  • ½ to 1 package Lipton onion soup mix
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

Directions: Combine all ingredients and place them in a covered container. Chill in fridge.

Crab spread

Crab spread

Crab Spread

This crab spread is one of my most popular crab meat appetizers. Not only is it tasty, but it’s also very attractive. The crab spread is quick and easy to make, but if you decide to create a really visually appealing dish, you’ll need a little patience. Of course, you can always just place the spread in a serving dish, as is.


  • 1 pound flaked crab meat, drained
  • 2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), softened
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion (white part only)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt, to taste

Directions: Combine all ingredients and chill until firm.

To make the crab spread into a fish shape, the spread has to be firm enough to hold its shape. Using your hands, mold the mixture into a simple fish shape. Use a sliver of red bell pepper for the gill. Use green bell pepper to make fins and a tail. Accent the tail and fins with strips of green onion tops. Overlap thinly sliced cucumbers for the scales. Make an eye with an olive or olive slice.

Hot crab dip

Hot crab dip

Hot Crab Dip


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound flaked crab meat, drained
  • 1 package cream cheese (8 ounces), softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste

Directions: Add butter, onion, and garlic to a microwave-safe dish. Heat until the onion is soft.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Bake in the oven at 350°F until hot and bubbly. For a party, keep hot crab spread warm in a chafing dish.

Serve with crackers, pita chips, or toast rounds.

Easy crab appetizers

Easy crab appetizers

Easy Crab Bites


  • 1 pound flaked crab meat, drained
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Tostados
  • Grated pepper jack cheese

Directions: Combine crab meat, mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne, garlic salt, and black pepper. Fill the Tostados with the crab mixture. Top with grated cheese and broil until cheese melts.

Fried crab claws

Fried crab claws

Fried Crab Claws

I’ve included my fried crab claws with my crab meat appetizers, but if you make enough of them, you can easily serve them as a main dish. Serve your fried crab claws warm, with some sauces on the side for dipping. You might want to use tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, remoulade sauce, horseradish sauce, or your own creation.


  • 1 pound blue crab claws, cleaned and cooked
  • 1 cup flour plus more flour for dredging
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Peanut oil

Directions: Dry crab claws on paper towels. Combine 1 cup flour, milk, egg, garlic salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Pour more flour into a paper bag. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 360°F. Shake claws in flour then dip in batter. Fry claws in small batches, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

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