11 Best Crab Recipes

As far as crustaceans go, crab is remarkably versatile once you break past that tough outer shell. The beauty of a crab is it can be dressed up or down and tastes every bit as good either way; serve it on its own with a simple side of melted butter, steam it, fry it, boil it, add it to sushi, transform it into ravioli, or bulk up a soup with it. The subtly fishy, salty, vaguely sweet flavor pairs well with just about any savory food.

For those who want to incorporate more crab into their meals, a good recipe can be nothing short of revelatory. Below are 11, ranging from chowder to ceviche to rangoon; there's even a vegan recipe that cleverly uses lion's mane mushrooms in a crab-like way. 

In a world of crabby opportunities, here are some noteworthy entries that cover appetizers, main courses and everything in-between.

1. Classic Maryland Crab Cakes

They sure do know a thing or two about seafood over on the New England coast, and if you want to replicate a taste of Maryland in your home, look no further than these classic crab cakes. Featuring lump crab meat, saltine crackers, and a creamy, Dijon mustard-infused filling, they are rich and decadent with every bite, though the ingredients list is ultimately bare-bones. Better yet, aside from the crab meat, there's a good chance you have nearly all of these ingredients sitting in your pantry or fridge.

While the ingredients list provides a certain ease in this recipe, the method is perhaps even easier. Combine the ingredients to make a crabby batter of sorts, then use a measuring cup to help shape and portion each cake. From there, the oven will take over and cook the crab cakes, and a final blitz under the broiler will help give them some color and a slight crispiness on the outside.

Crab cakes are typically served as appetizers, though these can be enjoyed as a main course or with a salad. There's really never a bad time to enjoy a crab cake, and especially with a recipe as simple as this one, there's nothing stopping you from making these cakes a part of your typical dinner rotation. 

Recipe: Classic Maryland Crab Cakes

2. Crab and Corn Chowder

There are two types of soup lovers out there: Those who enjoy light, brothy types like chicken noodle or vegetable soup, and those who enjoy hearty, thick, rich, and creamy types, like chowder. While corn chowder is perhaps the most iconic of all the chowders (sorry, clam), there's one ingredient that brings the soup to a whole new level of decadence, and that ingredient would be crab. Indeed, everyone's favorite crustacean is very welcome in a bowl of chowder, and there's something about the rich flavor of crab that pairs remarkably well with the bright, sweet flavor of corn.

If you're looking to enjoy a bowl of crab and corn chowder outside of your occasional visit to a seafood restaurant, this easy recipe will leave you feeling full and satisfied in your own kitchen. Believe it or not, you need only 11 ingredients to make soupy magic happen, and even better yet, less than an hour of time. 

While the thought of making a chowder might seem intimidating to some home chefs, this recipe involves nothing more complicated than sautéing vegetables and allowing a pot to simmer. The resulting rich goodness — made creamy thanks to the inclusion of crème fraîche — will leave you wondering why you didn't start making chowder at home years ago.

Recipe: Best Crab and Corn Chowder

3. Spicy Crab Salad Sushi

Crab is a popular sushi inclusion, often a go-to for those who want to enjoy sushi but aren't keen on raw fish. Of course, if you find a sushi roll that includes crab, it's most likely imitation crab, an ingredient that is luckily just as delicious as actual crab — something that this spicy crab salad sushi proves with ease. 

You won't include straight-up imitation crab chunks in your homemade sushi roll, but instead you'll make a quick and easy crab salad, which also includes Kewpie mayo, Sriracha, and chopped scallions. Other than cooking the sushi rice, you don't have to worry about cooking or even heating up anything that goes inside — the nori sheets, crab salad, and cucumber slices are best rolled up as-is. 

The biggest challenge with this recipe is rolling up the sushi correctly, and if you've ever made homemade sushi before, then that part should be a breeze. Even if you haven't, a bamboo sushi mat will come in handy and aid you in the rolling process. This recipe is especially ideal for those who are craving sushi for lunch or dinner but don't want to order takeout; it's surprisingly easy to make your own roll from-scratch, and the clever use of (imitation) crab salad ensures that the roll isn't skimping on flavor, either.

Recipe: Spicy Crab Salad Sushi

4. Cajun Crab Boil

If you're looking for an absolute feast, you've found it with this Cajun crab boil recipe. Between the crab legs, andouille sausage, corn, and potatoes, this recipe is loaded with savory goodness, and the Cajun seasoning helps ensure nothing is flavorless or even remotely bland. 

A seafood boil is somewhat of an intimidating dish to make, seeing as you're handling a large quantity of food and cooking it all in one pot. Luckily, and somewhat miraculously, this recipe requires but a mere 30 minutes of cooking time — an initial 15 minutes to cook the sausage, corn, and potatoes, then another 10 minutes or so to cook the crab legs. True to the beauty of a seafood boil, you don't need to worry about cooking the crab separately; instead, when the time comes, just throw it right into the pot with the sausage and vegetables, making for a recipe that seems intimidating at first glance but is actually quite easy to pull off in a home kitchen. 

Of course, you aren't simply boiling ingredients then eating them as-is; you can count on the Cajun seasoning, garlic, and lots of butter to ensure lots of flavor when the time comes for diving in. This crab boil is best enjoyed at a summertime barbecue with family, so you can tag-team all of the goodies and bond over a shared love of seafood and all things decadent.

Recipe: Summertime Cajun Crab Boil

5. Vegan Lion's Mane Mushroom Crab Cakes

There is not a single shred of real crab in this "crab cakes" recipe, which may seem a bit paradoxical, but don't scroll away just yet. While there may not be any actual crab meat, we can assure you that these crab cakes are every bit as delicious as the real-deal, but they feature lion's mane mushrooms as the "meat," making them completely vegan.

Even if you aren't vegan, there are a few reasons why you might want to give this recipe a spin. For one, lion's mane mushrooms are a treasure of an ingredient, and they shred in a way that's similar to meat, hence why they're such a popular meat substitute. Second, lion's mane have a mild, meaty flavor that actually tastes somewhat like seafood, so it's a no-brainer to put the fungi to good use in a crab cakes recipe. 

Aside from the mushrooms, the other ingredients in these crab cakes are similar to what you'd find in any recipe, so you can count on this vegan version to be pretty darn close to the real deal. If you're looking for the perfect appetizer to serve for your vegan or vegetarian friends, these lion's mane crab cakes will not only delight, but they'll impress, too.

Recipe: Vegan Lion's Mane Mushroom "Crab Cakes"

6. Crab Ravioli

Crab and pasta go together like peanut butter and jelly — well, something like that. While crab may not be the first thing you picture stuffing into pasta, it certainly makes for one of the tastiest pairings, especially when said crab pasta is made from-scratch. Enter this crab ravioli recipe, which admittedly is one of the more in-depth recipes on this list. Because you'll be making the pasta from scratch, this recipe takes some time and a bit of effort, but the results are oh-so worth it.

Luckily, out of all the homemade pasta recipes that exist out there, this one is far from the most difficult or involved. You don't need many ingredients to make the fresh ravioli dough, and aside from having patience and allowing the dough to rest for an hour, the biggest difficulty comes in the form of rolling out the dough and ensuring that each ravioli piece is uniform. 

There's also the crab filling, perhaps the easiest aspect of this dish. Simply mix together crab meat, ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and some parsley to create the rich and cheesy filling, then load up the ravioli, cook them, and finish them off with a simple drizzle of melted butter. This recipe is elegant enough to reserve for a special occasion, like date night, yet still casual enough to whip out when craving fresh pasta — and with a little extra time to spare. 

Recipe: Crab Ravioli

7. Homemade Crab Rangoon

There are few appetizers as beloved as crab rangoon, and for good reason. It's a creamy, subtly sweet, crabby, savory filling stuffed into wonton wrappers then deep-fried to absolute golden perfection — what's not to love? Crab rangoon are a staple in many folks' Chinese takeout orders, but thanks to this recipe, you can skip the takeout and make the classic Chinese-American appetizer right at home.

This recipe comes together much more easily and quickly than one might initially assume — less than 30 minutes — and that's largely because you don't have to worry about cooking the filling before loading it up into the wonton wrappers. Imitation crab pairs alongside cream cheese, scallions, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and a little bit of sugar for a filling that takes no more than 2 minutes to whip up. The most time-intensive part comes from loading up and shaping each rangoon, but luckily, the process isn't a difficult one. Crab rangoon can come in various shapes and sizes, but this recipe walks you through the steps of making an almost flower-like shape; ideal for ensuring you'll get an even balance of crispy wonton and creamy filling with each bite.

Recipe: Homemade Crab Rangoon

8. Fresh Crab Ceviche

While shrimp is typically the go-to protein in many ceviches, this recipe puts a crabby twist on a classic by incorporating fresh Dungeness crab meat. As for the rest of the ingredients, you'll find some usual ceviche suspects, including tomato, shallot, jalapeño, and of course, lime juice.

As with all ceviche, this crab variation will be left to "cook" in the fridge, so there's no need to worry about sparking up a single burner or preheating the oven. Because this is such a fresh, heatless recipe, there's something about it that is particularly summery. Between the crab meat, bright vegetables, and high acidity, this ceviche is best enjoyed poolside or on a patio at sunset — but, fear not, it will also taste just as good at your kitchen table. 

You could make this ceviche anytime the craving hits, though it does make for the perfect party appetizer. You could even get fancy with it and serve it up in martini glasses — just make sure there are plenty of chips nearby for optimal dipping.

Recipe: Fresh Crab Ceviche

9. Oven-Baked Crab Legs

We're very fortunate to live in a world where crab fits so nicely into various recipes, whether it be the star of the show or just one addition of many. Sometimes, however, there's nothing better than cracking open some crab legs and enjoying the meat as it is, which is exactly the case with this oven-baked crab legs recipe. Well, you're not necessarily enjoying the meat completely on its own, as additions like an Old Bay-infused butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a garnish of fresh parsley help the crab shine and emphasize its already-rich, decadent nature.

One of the best aspects of this recipe is that it requires no special equipment and no prior knowledge of cooking with crustaceans. The most difficult part of this recipe is breaking open the shell, but a handy pair of kitchen shears or even just a sharp pair of clean scissors will do the trick. Then, the oven will work its magic and bake the crab legs to juicy perfection — and, don't worry about them drying out, as you'll cover the legs with foil to retain all of that moisture. It's hard to not love crab in extravagant recipes, but ultimately, you can't beat the delicious simplicity of straight-up crab meat, especially when it comes adorned with classic fixings like butter, lemon, and herbs. 

Recipe: Easiest Oven-Baked Crab Legs

10. Sushi Crab Salad

This sushi crab salad is sort of like a cross between a classic sushi roll and a poke bowl. You'll find rice, crab meat, cucumber, and avocado in this delightfully fresh recipe, along with a sweet, savory, and acidic dressing that manages to highlight each ingredient without overpowering them. 

Perhaps the best part of this recipe isn't the ingredients (those are pretty good though) but instead the ease that it provides. This is the type of recipe you want on hand when you need a quick lunch but don't want to turn to fast food for a quick fix. Yes, you will need to have cooked crab on hand, but if you're the type who keeps canned crab in your pantry or happen to have some leftovers, this is ideal. The most time-intensive part is cooking the sushi rice, but once that's done, its just a matter of slicing, mixing, and serving.

Recipe: Sushi Crab Salad

11. Zucchini Crab Cakes

If you weren't thoroughly enough impressed by the vegan lion's mane crab cakes, or if perhaps mushrooms aren't really your thing, then maybe these zucchini "crab cakes" will be more up to your speed. You will indeed find grated zucchini in these crab cakes, along with another vegan specialty: hearts of palm. Much like the lion's mane mushrooms, hearts of palm shred quite easily and nicely, making them an ideal candidate for all things meat substitution.

Aside from the zucchini and hearts of palm, these crab cakes take a classic approach to the beloved dish, with ingredients like (vegan) mayo, Dijon mustard, breadcrumbs, lemon juice, parsley, and Old Bay seasoning contributing to the flavor and structure of these cakes. To ensure you get some nice color on these crab cakes, first pan-fry them to get a sort of sear on both sides, then let the oven handle the actual cooking part. 

These zucchini and hearts of palm crab cakes look remarkably like the real thing, and better yet, they taste similar, too. These vegan-fied beauties are best served with a tartar sauce, and perhaps a dairy-free one if looking to stay on the vegan theme.

Recipe: Zucchini Crab Cakes