21 Best Crab Recipes

If you're a crab lover, you're missing out if you're in a rut that only includes basic crab legs with butter or store-bought crab cakes. We've collected 21 of the best crab recipes to help you get out of that rut. While we do have recipes for crab legs and crab cakes (three varieties actually), we've also collected recipes that will help you expand your crabby horizons.

You can cook crab by boiling, steaming, baking, broiling, and even using a slow cooker or Instant Pot. It also can work well as a substitute for other types of seafood. The recipes we've included include fresh crab legs, lump crab meat, and even imitation crab meat, making it easier for you to satisfy your crab cravings no matter whether you have a good source for fresh crabmeat or not. We challenge you to try crab in a variety of ways, including in soup, cakes, stuffed into something, in pasta, or in a pie.

1. Pan-Fried Crab Cakes

Pan-fried crab cakes have a delightful oiliness and crispness you don't quite get from the baked or broiled varieties. Making them is as simple as combining the ingredients and patting them out into patties to fry. Along with crabmeat, these crab cakes contain mayo, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, parsley, and Old Bay seasoning. An egg and breadcrumbs or crushed crackers help hold everything together.

Once they're done, you'll want to pair your crab cakes with a lovely side, like coleslaw or roasted veggies. You might also want to make a dipping sauce for them, like a smoky remoulade.

Recipe: Pan-Fried Crab Cakes

2. Silky Smooth Crab Bisque

The rich and sweet flavors of crab are amazing in a bisque. There are lots of ways to make a bisque base, but one that works well for crab includes fish stock, wine, tomato paste, and cream. Cooked onions, garlic, bay leaf, celery, and carrot blend into this bisque for a flavorful but utterly creamy base.

Stir in freshly-squeezed lemon at the last minute to bring this bisque to life. The only chunks in the bisque come from the crab meat. However, we like the idea of garnishing with fresh-cracked pepper and parsley for added flavor and texture.

Recipe: Silky Smooth Crab Bisque

3. On-the-Shell Deviled Crab

Deviled crab is fun to serve inside an empty crab shell, but is just as tasty on toast. Start out making a roux of butter, flour, and onion, and turn it into a sauce with milk and cider or beer. Mixing the sauce and crab meat with cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, mayo, dijon mustard, and lemon juice gives this deviled crab a strong yet satisfying flavor.

Bread crumbs and grated parmesan make for a satisfying and crisp topping for this baked seafood delight. Once it comes out of the oven, we suggest adding chopped chives for added flavor and color.

Recipe: On-the-Shell Deviled Crab

4. Instant Pot Crab Legs

Crab legs got even easier the moment we realized we could put them in an Instant Pot and just walk away after setting the timer. The most labor-intensive part of this recipe is making and straining clarified butter for dipping. The crab only needs to cook in a cup of water in the Instant Pot for three minutes at high pressure, and a quick release lets you get to your crab even faster.

This simple but tasty dish is excellent just with clarified butter, but serving it with lemon wedges brings in a whole extra layer of flavor.

Recipe: Instant Pot Crab Legs

5. Chesapeake-Style She-Crab Soup

It's always thrilling to buy a crab and discover roe inside. Cooked into Chesapeake-style she-crab soup, they add an eggy quality, which is why you can substitute them with egg yolks if you're not lucky enough to have purchased an egg-bearing she-crab. While it makes the soup thicker, it still works.

A buttery celery, onion, and garlic roux helps to thicken a chicken stock, milk, and cream base. Lemon zest, nutmeg, white pepper, and sherry add unexpected flavors. In addition to the crab inside the she-crab soup, it's good with an extra garnish of crab, along with fresh parsley.

Recipe: Chesapeake-Style She-Crab Soup

6. Crab Rangoon

Crab rangoon is a Chinese and American fusion dish that originated in a tiki bar in California in the 1940s. It pairs Chinese wonton wrappers with American cream cheese and imitation crab meat.

You don't have to wait until the next time you visit a Chinese buffet to indulge in these appetizers. Plus, if you fry them at home, you're guaranteed meat in your rangoon instead of just cream cheese. You can make it even better by adding garlic and green onions to the cream cheese and imitation crab mixture. Dip in your favorite sauce and enjoy.

Recipe: Crab Rangoon

7. Simple California Roll

California rolls are simpler to make than you probably realize, but it's easier with a bamboo mat. These have sticky rice mixed with rice vinegar on the outside layer instead of inside the seaweed. The outside of these California rolls gets a sprinkling of sesame seeds after you lay down your initial rice layer. Then, you place cucumber and avocado inside along with imitation crab meat before rolling.

Traditionally, California rolls come with soy sauce, a dollop of wasabi paste, and a pinch of pickled ginger. We also like California rolls with a side of spicy garlic edamame.

Recipe: Simple California Roll

8. Flavorful Steamed Crab Legs

The trick to ending up with flavorful rather than bland steamed crab legs is in the stock. Even though the crab legs aren't boiling directly in the stock, they still collect subtle flavors that make these crab legs a step above ordinary ones.

The stock starts with frying garlic and shallots in butter before adding water, white wine, and several sprigs of fresh tarragon. You only have to steam the crab for five to seven minutes to cook it. Serve with melted butter and add lemons and parsley as garnishes for added flavor.

Recipe: Flavorful Steamed Crab Legs

9. Bay, Beer, and Bacon Crab Soup

Did someone say Old Bay, beer, and bacon together with crab soup? Yes, you heard us right. The soup starts with a roux made from bacon grease, butter, onion, celery, and flour. It turns into a soup base with the addition of beer, broth, lemon juice, and heavy cream. Of course, this soup wouldn't be complete without Old Bay seasoning and lump crab meat.

Once this delicious soup is done, you can ladle it into soup bowls and toss it with bacon crumbles and chopped chives or green onion tops. Don't blame us if you end up needing seconds.

Recipe: Bay, Beer, and Bacon Crab Soup

10. Creamy Crab Pasta Salad

Cold pasta salad is a star dish in summer, and it's even better with crab. After you've cooked the pasta and cooled it down, all you have to do is mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the salad. Mayonnaise and red wine vinegar add a creamy base, while cumin and chopped parsley provide flavor. Then, besides crab meat, you'll add rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, and olives as the main ingredients.

While you can dig in immediately, we suggest refrigerating it for 30 minutes to chill the whole salad. If you can't wait, we don't blame you.

Recipe: Creamy Crab Pasta Salad

11. Crowd-Pleasing Cajun Crab Boil

If you're just adding one type of Cajun seasoning or one type of seafood to your crab boil, you're doing it wrong. This recipe calls for both Cajun seasoning and a box of Zatarain's crab boil seasoning. It also contains Dungeness crab, snow crab, and crawfish. The seafood boils in the spiced water with corn on the cob and potatoes for 10 minutes and steeps in the hot water for another 30.

You'll want to transfer all the seafood and veggies to a newspaper or parchment paper for serving. Then, use the remaining liquid and butter to make a creamy sauce.

Recipe: Crowd-Pleasing Cajun Crab Boil

12. Broiled Crab Cakes

These broiled crab cakes come together quickly with lump crab meat and simple ingredients you likely already have in your fridge and cupboard. You'll simply combine your crab with egg, half-and-half, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and crumbled crackers. If you use a measuring cup to ladle them onto an oiled baking sheet, you don't even have to touch them.

Adding a teaspoon of butter atop each crab cake gives it a nice crisp top after only three minutes under the broiler. Then, serve the crab cakes with lemon slices, parsley, and your favorite dipping sauce.

Recipe: Broiled Crab Cakes

13. Hot Maryland Crab Dip

You don't have to live anywhere near Maryland to enjoy hot Maryland crab dip. Since it starts with lump crab meat, it's simple to have ready to eat in 15 minutes or less. You simply combine the crab with cream cheese, a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, and lemon juice (hot sauce optional). Then you top it with more cheddar and mozzarella cheese before baking.

We like to add sliced green onions as a garnish. Then you'll need to find something to dip, like veggies, crackers, or tortilla chips.

Recipe: Hot Maryland Crab Dip

14. Copycat Red Lobster Crab Alfredo

You don't have to go to Red Lobster or even order it delivered to have rich and creamy Red-Lobster-style crab Alfredo. The sauce comes together quickly with melted butter, cream cheese, half-and-half, and Parmesan cheese. Once your sauce is done, you simply pour it over your cooked pasta, add crab meat, and toss. It's really that simple and far cheaper than a trip to Red Lobster.

After plating, you'll want to add chopped parsley and a sprinkling of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. Don't forget to make copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits to complete the experience.

Recipe: Copycat Red Lobster Crab Alfredo

15. Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Once you've tried crab stuffed mushrooms, you probably won't want to go back to plain stuffed mushrooms again. Once you've mixed the crab meat together softened cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, green onions, and breadcrumbs, you're ready to stuff your mushrooms. While you could choose a fancier type of mushroom, medium-sized white mushrooms work just fine.

Once your mushrooms are cooked and the breadcrumbs have browned, you can take them out of the oven and sprinkle the top with parsley. We also suggest trying these with smoked salmon instead of crab to mix things up a little.

Recipe: Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

16. Easy Baked Crab Cakes

Many crab cake recipes have similar ingredients. However, these have a more complex flavor than most crab cakes since they include dill in the ingredient list. In addition to lump crab meat and dill, these crab cakes contain Worcestershire sauce, mayo, Dijon mustard, pepper, and crushed crackers. Another secret to these crab cakes is putting the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to help it stay firm during baking.

To achieve a crispy cake, you should brush the top with melted butter before baking. Then, before serving, squeeze lemon over the top for added zing.

Recipe: Easy Baked Crab Cakes

17. Slow-Cooker Seafood Chowder

If you're a seafood lover who likes to plan ahead with slow-cooker meals, seafood chowder is both easy and delightful. Simply add the ingredients to your slow cooker and forget it for the next four and a half hours while it cooks. The chowder includes chicken stock, potato, corn, celery, and half-and-half. Plus, you'll add a pound of seafood to the mix.

If you're not lucky enough to find a bag of frozen mixed seafood, you can add a little of anything you like, including crab, shrimp, fish, and clams. Green onions make an excellent topping when done.

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Seafood Chowder

18. Cajun Stuffed Mirliton Squash

Mirliton squash may not be famous everywhere, but in New Orleans, it has its own yearly festival. If you're not familiar with mirlitons, it's because they're known elsewhere as chayote. Stuffing them with crab meat is one of the best ways to enjoy them Cajun-style. You'll start out boiling the squash and removing the insides for stuffing. The stuffing is a mixture of lump crab meat, cooked shrimp, and sauteed onions seasoned with thyme, pepper, and Cajun seasoning.

You'll add breadcrumbs to the top before baking. They're great with a salad and crispy potato wedges.

Recipe: Cajun Stuffed Mirliton Squash

19. Mini Crab Pie

Once you make these mini crab pies once, you're going to start dreaming of them. You can put anything in mini seafood pies from crawfish to crab and be equally delighted with them.

The pie filling starts with a roux of butter, flour, and the Cajun holy trinity (onions, peppers, and celery). Then, you'll add garlic, Cajun seasoning, chicken stock, lump crab meat, green onions, parsley, and milk to complete the filling. Once you add the pie dough and filling to the mini pie tins, it's ready for the oven. Chopped parsley makes a nice garnish.

Recipe: Mini Crab Pie

20. Kimbap

Kimbap is Korea's version of a sushi roll, and we think you'll love the variety of ingredients it has inside. There are a lot of little steps, like pre-cooking some of the ingredients, slicing, and shredding, but the end result is worth it. Recruiting help to make it can also be fun.

Kimbap has a layer of seaweed and rice on the inside, with assorted fillings. Options include spinach, grated carrots, egg (cooked into an omelet), Spam, imitation crab sticks, and pickled radish. Sesame oil will help adhere the seaweed to itself. You may also want to sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Recipe: Kimbap

21. Cioppino

Cioppino's name comes from words that either mean "chopped" or "little soup" in Italian, both of which describe it well. However, the soup comes from Genoan fishermen immigrants living in San Francisco, not Italy itself.

You'll start out making a soup base of sauteed onions, garlic, fennel, chili flakes, bay leaf, tomatoes, wine, and chicken stock. Then, you can add any seafood you want, including crab, firm white fish, shrimp, and scallops. Once it's done, fresh parsley completes it. Don't forget to grab a loaf of fresh Italian bread to eat with it.

Recipe: Cioppino