17 Crab Recipes to Add to Your Repertoire

Crispy crab cakes with tomato butter
Photo: Jennifer Causey

Whether you're a fan of lump crab cakes, crispy soft shell crab, or creamy, crabby pasta (join the club), these crab recipes are here to help you make the crustacean-packed meal of your dreams. There are soups and dips, a rich gratin, and a seafood boil, too, which not only features king crab legs but littleneck clams, jumbo shrimp, and andouille sausage. Read on for even more ways we love to cook with crab.

01 of 17

Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes

Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes
© Greg DuPree

"This is the best crab cake recipe you will ever find," says Andrew Zimmern. "If you don't overmix, and don't pack your mounds too tightly, you will experience pure, unadulterated crab cake heaven."

02 of 17

Shrimp-and-Crab Gumbo

Donald Link: Shrimp-and-Crab Gumbo
 

This gumbo from chef Donald Link owes its flavor to the roux, a mix of flour and oil that's cooked until it's coffee-colored.

03 of 17

Open-Faced Crab Empanadas

Open-Faced Crab Empanadas
© Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle

José Andrés says: "I love America! Without a doubt, one of my favorite American ingredients is blue crabs, a true delicacy! And a great value, I think." This recipe is his twist on the traditional Basque txangurro (crab simmered with tomato), crossed with a savory Galician empanada. "Part of my efforts to build a bridge between America and Spain," he explains.

04 of 17

Warm Piquillo and Crab Dip

Warm Piquillo and Crab Dip
© Tina Rupp

For this classic tapa, Jose Garces stuffs his delicious crab salad into individual piquillo peppers and roasts them until hot. Make it more easily by spreading the crab mixture in a baking dish, topping it with slices of the peppers, then cooking until warm and melty.

05 of 17

Spicy Crab Bisque

Spicy Crab Bisque
© John Kernick

Tanya Holland's luscious crab bisque is studded with plenty of lump crabmeat. Thanks to a hit of cayenne and Tabasco, the soup has a sneaky heat.

06 of 17

"Espaghetti" with Poblano Cream and Crab

Espaghetti con Crema de Poblano, Crab, Cauliflower, and Egg
Greg DuPree

2018 Best New Chef Diana Dávila's "Espaghetti" with Poblano Cream and Crab sums up the essence of her cooking. It's based on a dish her mom used to make, with broken and fried noodles. Dávila turns it up to 11 with sweet crabmeat, crunchy shaved cauliflower, and an oozy egg. The poblano cream sauce stays super-green thanks to the addition of fresh spinach and cilantro.

07 of 17

Seafood Boil with Cajun Seasoning

Seafood Boil
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

The secret to a seafood boil packed with perfectly cooked shrimp, king crab legs, and clams? Taking it one step at a time. A warm bowl of butter sauce spiked with more Cajun seasoning makes the perfect dipping partner for every delicious bite.

08 of 17

Cioppino with Fennel and Saffron

bowl of copping with grilled bread
Photo by Andrew Bui / Food Styling by Max Rappaport

An abundance of seafood and three types of fennel (bulb, seed, and pollen) infuse chef Brandon Boudet's version of this San Francisco fish stew with remarkable flavor, while Calabrian chile paste and crushed red pepper add a subtle layer of heat. Because the West Coast is famous for its Dungeness crab—a large orange crab with meaty claws—it makes a dramatic showing in this seafood-packed dish. Dungeness crab is available fresh from November through June, but this dish can be made any time since many fish markets have cooked and frozen crabs available year round.

09 of 17

Crispy Crab Cakes with Tomato Butter

Crispy crab cakes with tomato butter
Jennifer Causey

The late chef Patrick Clark's crab cakes at Tavern on the Green are legendary, taking on a pop of flavor from chopped fresh jalapeño and a crispy exterior from panko. Chopped whitefish provides the structure in these crab cakes, offering more flavor and a richer texture than traditional binders like breadcrumbs. Look for plastic tubs of jumbo lump crabmeat; it's fresh and unpasteurized with the cleanest taste and best texture. If whitefish is unavailable, substitute sea bass or cod.

10 of 17

Blue Crab Beignets

Blue Crab Beignets
Greg DuPree

The beignet batter thinly coats a creamy, warm crab filling with a crispy, light crust. The batter is loose and can be tricky to shape at first; keep frying and practicing, and they'll improve with each batch. These are ideally eaten while still very hot, so make them while enjoying aperitifs in the kitchen.

11 of 17

Crab Macaroni Gratin

crab gratin
Jennifer Causey

"A glorious amount of crabmeat baked with shell-shaped pasta in a three-cheese cream sauce—tangy white cheddar, nutty Gruyère, and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano—is no-joke delicious, and trés riche," Andrea Slonecker writes. "That's where the Champagne comes in. The tingly bubbles give your palate an ultrasonic scrub between each creamy, cheesy, blissful bite."

12 of 17

Summer Crab Carbonara with Lemons and Capers

Summer Crab Carbonara with Lemons and Capers Recipe
Michael Piazza

2020 BNC Douglass Williams' method for carbonara allows you to hold the cooked pasta before adding it to the garlic–oil–pasta cooking liquid emulsion. It makes for a simple, creamy carbonara without the stress.

13 of 17

Louisiana Lump Crab Cakes

Cajun Crab Cakes Recipe | Mosquito Supper Club
Denny Culbert

"My aunt Christine taught me how to make crab cakes over the phone," Melissa Martin writes. "And what I learned is that you can use leftover boiled shrimp as a binder instead of breadcrumbs. When you grind shrimp in a food processor, it becomes sticky, and just a small amount will hold crabmeat and smothered vegetables together well enough to form into patties."

14 of 17

Cold Crab Spaghetti

Cold Crab Spaghetti Recipe
Eric Wolfinger

Late summer in Louisiana is boggy hot but this refreshing dish from Chef Isaac Toups comes to the rescue with sweet-tart segments of juicy tangerine and uses just a teaspoon of Dijon to create a creamy, balanced sauce. Thai chile brings a touch of heat, while a flurry of mint, basil, and parsley highlights the natural sweetness of the fresh crab.

15 of 17

Mini Deviled Crab Cornbread Muffins

Deviled Crab Stuffed Mini Cornbread Muffins
Kelly Marshall

At his dinner parties in Harlem, chef and cookbook author Alexander Smalls pairs creamy, slightly spicy, fresh deviled crab with tender corn muffins, barely sweetened with brown sugar and studded with corn kernels, for a quick one-bite appetizer. Choose fresh crab over pasteurized for the best flavor.

16 of 17

Crab-and-Shrimp Étouffée

Crab and Shrimp Étouffée
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

This étouffée is inspired by 2019 F&W Best New Chef Kwame Onwuachi's memories of his grandmother Cassie Phillips' definitive version of the dish. No flavor goes to waste in it—even shrimp shells are used to make the seafood stock. If using shelled shrimp, ask for 6 ounces of shells from the fish counter, or choose a high-quality fresh stock.

17 of 17

Crab Pithivier with Scallop Frangipane

Crab Pithiviers with Scallop Frangipane
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Perfect for a dinner party or any sort of special occasion, this stunning dish, from 2017 BNC Angie Mar, is a project that's well worth your time. The crab and scallops lend a delicate sweetness, and the sherry sauce brings nuttiness and brightness. Almond flour is essential, as it holds the filling together and gives it texture.

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