Bay, Beer, And Bacon Crab Soup Recipe

If you're looking for an easy way to load up on flavor without too much effort, a warm soup is almost always the answer. Vegetable or chicken noodle soups are pleasant enough, but for something truly special, seafood is the optimal ingredient. This bay, beer, and bacon crab soup is an ode to Southern seafood dishes.

Recipe developer Patterson Watkins shares, "I grew up in Southern Maryland, the land (or sea?) of blue crab, and anytime that I can find an excuse to indulge, I'll take it. Carpe crab!" She highlights that this recipe is quite straightforward, and adds, "There's a lot of improvising that can be done with this soup as well." 

Chances are that once you taste it, you'll agree with Watkins' description: "This soup is my idea of ideal comfort food. Rich, creamy, crabby goodness." Follow her advice and serve this "meaty, hearty, entree-worthy soup [...] for a filling lunch main dish or casual weekday dinner." Count us in!

Gather the ingredients for this bay, beer, and bacon crab soup

This delicious soup packs in a lot of flavor thanks to the various ingredients. You will need bacon strips, butter, onion, celery, all-purpose flour, and Old Bay seasoning. Then, the soup calls for light beer, vegetable or seafood broth, lemon juice for tang, heavy cream, and lump crab meat. Salt and pepper serve as seasoning, and the soup is garnished with chives at service. Prep your ingredients before you start by dicing the bacon, onion, and celery, and chopping the chives.

Watkins shares, "Lump crab meat is, to me, a very special ingredient. [...] Much of the meat, especially the tender, buttery body meat has to be picked by hand." She further explains that this process means "the crab meat does not break up into tiny pieces," and adds that "it reduces the overall amount of shell debris." We're all for a simpler way to enjoy crab. 

She also offers a few substitution ideas, noting, "If you're a bold beer fan, feel free to use an amber, lager, or IPA," which she explains "balance well with the sweetness of the crab meat." Meanwhile, if you want to load up on veggies, she comments that "corn, roasted red peppers, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, etc. would all be tasty additions."

Start by cooking the bacon

To take advantage of the flavor from bacon fat, start by cooking the diced pieces in a large pot or Dutch oven on medium heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes as you stir, until the bacon starts to brown and become crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon bits to a plate, leaving the grease in the pot.

Cook the vegetables in butter and make a roux

Next, add the butter to the pot and melt it on medium heat, stirring to mix it in with the bacon grease. Once it has melted, add in the diced onion and celery, stirring them into the butter to coat. Cook the vegetables for 2 to 3 minutes until the texture is a little tender but still crisp.

Next, sprinkle the flour and Old Bay seasoning into the pot with the vegetables and stir everything to combine. Cook the mixture for a minute or so, stirring regularly to make a roux.

Add the liquid ingredients and simmer

The base of the soup is ready, now it's time to add the bulk. Pour the beer into the pot and stir it in with the vegetables and roux. Bring the contents to a simmer and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is thicker and slightly reduced. 

Now, pour the vegetable or seafood broth, lemon juice, and heavy cream into the pot. Give everything a whisk to combine the ingredients and bring them to a simmer. Keep cooking the mixture for 15 minutes, stirring it every now and then.

Add in the crab and bacon

Add the lump crab meat and cooked bacon bits into the soup pot and stir everything to combine. Then, simmer the soup for 2 to 3 minutes to give the crab and bacon time to warm up. Taste the soup and season it accordingly with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup with chives

Carefully ladle this creamy soup into four bowls and garnish each with fresh chopped chives. To round out your meal, our recipe developer recommends serving it with "crunchies," such as, "Oyster crackers, Ritz crackers, goldfish crackers ... love 'em all." If you'd rather something heftier, she points out that "Toasted sourdough or rye would be a tasty soup dipper." For an option that isn't so starchy, a "mixed greens salad with oodles of veggies would be a great side dish too," according to Watkins.

Watkins cautions that seafood doesn't keep for long and suggests to "try to devour this soup within a day or two. If you'd like to freeze for later use, [store it in an] airtight container for about 1 to 2 months."

Bay, Beer, And Bacon Crab Soup Recipe
5 from 22 ratings
This bay, beer, and bacon crab soup is a masterclass in savory seafood goodness.
Prep Time
Cook Time
spooning bacon crab soup
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 4 strips bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 cup light beer
  • 4 cups vegetable or seafood broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  1. Add the bacon to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until it is crispy and brown. Remove it from the pot using a slotted spoon and set it aside.
  2. Add the butter to the pot to melt, stirring occasionally to combine with the bacon drippings.
  3. Next, add the onion and celery, stirring to combine. Cook the vegetables for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender-crisp.
  4. Sprinkle the flour and Old Bay Seasoning over the vegetables and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to form a roux.
  5. Pour the beer into the pot, stirring to combine with the vegetables and roux.
  6. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until it thickens and reduces slightly.
  7. Add the broth, lemon juice, and heavy cream to the pot, whisking to combine.
  8. Bring the contents to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Add the crab meat and cooked bacon to the pot, stir to combine, and continue to simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes (just enough to warm the crab meat and reheat the bacon). Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped chives before serving.
Calories per Serving 566
Total Fat 42.2 g
Saturated Fat 22.0 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 228.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 11.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 3.1 g
Sodium 1,268.8 mg
Protein 31.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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