Chesapeake-Style She Crab Soup Recipe

She crab soup is a dish that, as the name implies, was originally meant to be made with female crabs. Why female crabs? It's on account of the roe (eggs) they often contain. These days she crabs are pretty hard to come by due to regulations meant to ensure that crabs aren't fished (or crabbed) to extinction. In the absence of roe, developer Erin Johnson says that the boiled egg yolks in this recipe supply the soup with some color.

"She crab soup," she says, "is a delicious, rich, and creamy soup that is a perfect starter when you're making a meal to impress," although it's something that can also be enjoyed on its own. While you may use any kind (or gender) of crab meat you can get your hands on to make the soup. Johnson tells us "I like to use backfin and save the choice pieces for the garnish on top." She does add, however, that claw meat makes for "an overall sweeter flavor."

Assemble the ingredients for the Chesapeake-style she crab soup

It may take a little time to assemble the necessary components for this soup as it requires 16 ingredients in all. It starts off with some produce: celery, onions, and garlic. You'll also need a few dairy products, these being butter, milk, and cream, as well as some chicken stock and sherry. Johnson does note that you don't need to use chicken stock, telling us "For a more seafood-forward soup, try clam juice or seafood stock" instead.

You'll season the soup with nutmeg, pepper (both white and black), salt, and lemon zest, while you'll also need a bit of flour for thickening. The egg yolks we mentioned will take the place of the roe, and of course, you'll need crab meat since nothing can take the place of this tasty crustacean.

Sauté the vegetables

Melt the butter over medium-low heat, then sauté the celery and onions until they soften. Do not let the onion get brown, though, as this vegetable can take on a bitter flavor when overcooked. Add the garlic to the pan along with the rest of the butter, then stir the flour into the melted butter to make a roux.

Add the remaining ingredients to the soup

Slowly pour the stock and milk into the pan, stirring to make sure that you don't get any lumps. Turn the heat down to low so the soup is just simmering, then stir in the nutmeg, white pepper, and cream followed by the sherry, lemon zest, and egg yolks. Finally, don't forget to add the crab meat!

"If you want an ultra-creamy soup," advises Johnson, "strain the soup before adding the crab meat to remove the onion and celery."

Season the soup to taste

Taste the soup before you dish it up to see if it needs any salt and/or pepper. Johnson says you can also use Old Bay seasoning in place of these seasonings as she feels that "Old Bay and crab is a combination that can't be beaten." If you wish, you can also decorate the soup with parsley and/or additional crab meat.

This soup is best when eaten hot and Johnson advises that it can only be refrigerated for one day. Creamy soups don't tend to freeze well, so you might want to make only half of the recipe if you don't think you'll be consuming all 6 servings within 24 hours,

Chesapeake-Style She Crab Soup Recipe
5 from 33 ratings
Learn how to make this Chesapeake-style she crab soup as a perfectly creamy appetizer at your next dinner party or a filling lunch served with crackers.
Prep Time
Cook Time
crab soup in white bowl
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 stalks celery, finely minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • ½ lemon, zest only
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs yolks, finely crumbled
  • 1 pound crab meat
  • salt and pepper
Optional Ingredients
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • parsley
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat.
  2. Fry the celery and onion until soft but not brown.
  3. Add the garlic and remaining butter to the pan.
  4. Stir in the flour.
  5. Mix the stock and milk into the vegetables.
  6. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  7. Add the nutmeg, white pepper, and cream to the soup base.
  8. Stir in the sherry, zest, and egg yolks.
  9. Add the crab meat to the soup.
  10. Season the soup with salt and pepper as necessary.
  11. Garnish the soup with fresh parsley and/or additional crab meat, if desired.
  12. The soup is best when eaten hot.
Calories per Serving 388
Total Fat 27.7 g
Saturated Fat 16.3 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 252.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Total Sugars 5.7 g
Sodium 616.3 mg
Protein 19.5 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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