14 Best Uses For Lump Crab Meat

If you are a fan of seafood and shellfish, crab is likely an ingredient that makes it onto your luxury list every so often. With its soft texture and delicate, slightly sweet flavor, it is the perfect fish to serve when you are out to impress.

Lump crab is the high-quality white meat from the body of the crab, rather than the claws. It is paler in color than the dark claw meat and has a flaky texture. It works well in dishes where the crab meat is allowed to shine on its own, enhanced by simple flavors and seasonings.

Join us as we take a look at new ways to use lump crab meat to plan light lunches, appetizers, and entrées. From classic crab cakes to comforting crab chowder, and even a luxurious crab crème brûlée, we will explore what this delicious shellfish has to offer.

Crab rangoon

A popular appetizer in American-Chinese cuisine, crab rangoon is made up of delicious little seafood bites that are often called crab puffs. Though sometimes made with imitation crab, these tasty wontons can be upgraded by using high-quality lump crab. They are easy to whip up, so you will be quicker making them at home than ordering them in — and they will be tastier, too.

The filling is made from sweet crab meat mixed with cream cheese and fresh herbs, to create a light interior to contrast the crunchy outside. You can customize the filling however you wish – scallions and Worcestershire sauce are often used to add a bit of zing, but chilis can be added if you want a bit of heat.

Spoon the filling into wonton wrappers, then fold them up into dainty parcels. The whole thing then gets fried until golden, and served as a fun appetizer or party snack.

Maryland crab cakes

Is there any more classic way to use delicious lump crab meat than making crab cakes? The delicate crab meat is packaged up with the right ingredients to enhance the flavor, creating a tasty dish that can serve as a light meal or as part of a bigger platter.

Maryland crab cakes are an East Coast specialty and considered the best possible crab cake recipe by those who live there. Technically, Maryland crab cakes can only be made with the lump meat of the Maryland blue crab, prized for their delicious high-quality meat. They are famous for their distinctive 'mustard,' a yellow liquid that supposedly sweetens the meat. This is in fact a part of the crab's digestive system, the hepatopancreas, and though it may seem strange to many, is considered a delicacy by fans of this particular crab.

If you can't get your hands on Maryland crab, you can still make fantastic Maryland-style crab cakes with whatever lump crab meat you have. Create a binding mixture with egg, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, along with milk or cream. Blitz up either bread or crackers to create a crumb, then mix the crab meat with the filler, and add the crumb to hold everything together. The key is to let the crab shine, so adjust the accessory ingredients accordingly until the patties hold together nicely. Grill the crab cakes for around 10 minutes and serve on a beautiful fresh salad with a squeeze of lemon.

Seafood salad

The beauty of high-quality crab meat is that it can be prepared simply and allowed to shine, without adding too many other ingredients. As part of a seafood salad, its sweet, delicate flavor will go perfectly with other fish to create a light summer salad that pairs the seafood with fresh, seasonal vegetables.

The key to a fresh-tasting salad is, first, to marinate any raw fish with a citrus dressing. Add raw shrimp and white fish to a bowl with a combination of lime, lemon, or orange juice, and some seasoning. The citric acid in the juice will help the proteins in the fish start to break down, as well as imparting a zingy flavor. You can use any vegetables you wish in the salad, but baby tomatoes, bell peppers, and avocado all scream of summer and pair brilliantly with the fish. 

A Thousand Island-style dressing will match both the shellfish and the avocado, and the shop-bought stuff doesn't compare to homemade; it will only take you a couple of minutes to prepare. At its most basic, you can simply combine mayonnaise, ketchup, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. To take it up a notch, add apple cider vinegar and minced onion or shallot to create more depth of flavor.

Once the fish and shrimp is cooked, mix with the crab and vegetables then scatter onto the plate. Drizzle the homemade cocktail sauce over the top, then finish with some fresh herbs.

Crab ravioli

If you're a fan of mixing seafood and pasta, then crab ravioli is going to be right up your alley. The Italians have a knack of preparing seafood in ways that the rest of us can only dream of, and delicate crab meat enveloped in silky pasta is a real treat for the taste buds. This dish takes a bit of effort, but it is worth it for the indulgent pillows you will have by the end.

If you can make your own pasta, you absolutely should. Nothing can compare to the satisfaction of rolling out your homemade dough to create little morsels of deliciousness. If this is too much trouble, buy some high-quality pasta sheets instead. For the filling, mix your lump crab with ricotta cheese, lemon juice and zest, and some fresh herbs to keep the flavors light. Then spoon a dollop of filling onto the sheets of pasta every few inches, before topping with another sheet and cutting across to make perfect little squares. Serve with a simple butter sauce, which will let the crab stand out.

Crab crème brûlée

If you're feeling up to a challenge, why not turn your crab into a luxurious and unexpected dish, by making a decadent crab crème brûlée? Usually considered a dessert, crème brûlée can work brilliantly as a savory option too, and the sweetness of the crab meat means the balance is just right.

The classic custard base is made by whisking eggs and cream together, and since you want to enhance the savory notes of this dish, add some fresh herbs as well to infuse as it bakes. Split the lump crabmeat between your ramekins, then add cooked bacon and more fresh herbs to each one. You can then pour over the silky custard mixture to bind everything together as the oven does its job.

Crème brûlée is traditionally cooked in a bain-marie, which is essentially a water bath in the oven. You can create this effect by placing the ramekins in a deep baking dish then filling the dish with hot water before baking in the oven. When you remove the brûlées, they will be cooked, but will not have the classic burnt top that gives them their name. Add a little sugar across the top of the ramekin, then cook for a few seconds with a blowtorch, or put them under the broiler until they turn a deep golden color.

Crab fried rice

It's time to elevate your crab with some Thai flavors as we explore the delicious crab fried rice. This classic comfort food is given a unique boost with the addition of lump crab, the sweet flavor contrasting with the savory umami taste of the rice.

Fried rice relies on leftover rice to get its distinctive texture, since fresh rice would be too mushy. Fry the eggs and onions in a pan before adding the pre-cooked rice along with seasonings such as salt, garlic, and soy sauce. You can add whatever vegetables you want into the pan to give a crunchy texture, such as bell peppers or Chinese broccoli.

Crab fried rice can be an entrée of its own accord, or can be served alongside something else for a more substantial meal. Easy to prepare and bursting with flavor, it is sure to become a midweek family favorite.

Crab and avocado sandwich

If you're looking for a fancy dish to make for a light brunch with friends or a summer picnic, a crab and avocado sandwich is the way to go. The combination of the sweet crab and creamy avocado will create a snack that is full of protein and healthy fats, meaning it will keep you feeling satisfied for the rest of the day.

The key in this sandwich is to let the star ingredients sing without being overpowered by the rest. Mix the lump crab meat with some mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon, and add fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro. Choose a ripe avocado for as creamy a texture as possible, and cut it into thin slices.

Decide on a sturdy bread that will create a luxury sandwich, such as a sourdough or brioche, and add the crab and avocado in separate layers. Alternatively, you could mash the crab meat, mayo, and avocado together and spread it onto the bread. Either way, some juicy tomatoes will finish off the sandwich perfectly.

Crab ceviche

If you're able to get ahold of some raw lump crab meat from a fish market or specialist store, you should absolutely have a go at making crab ceviche. Often made with crab legs, the higher-quality lump meat will work brilliantly, as the crab will soak up the fresh marinade.

Ceviche is a method of preparing seafood that doesn't use any heat to cook the fish. Instead, the protein is "cooked" by the acid in the marinade, breaking down the proteins and making the fish tender. Shrimp, red snapper, and mackerel are popular options for ceviche, but crab is a brilliant choice too, as the tangy flavor imparted by the marinade balances perfectly with the sweet crab meat.

To create this beautiful marinade, combine olive oil, lemon and lime juice, finely chopped onion, jalapeños for a touch of heat, some chopped juicy tomatoes, and some fresh herbs. Add the crab meat to the dressing and mix to ensure every piece is fully coated in the mixture. The crab mixture should then be refrigerated for at least an hour, or the rest of the day until you are ready to eat.

For a classic, sophisticated look, serve the ceviche in cocktail glasses with extra fresh herbs sprinkle on top. This easy-to-prepare dish is sure to impress at your next dinner party or family gathering.

Crab chowder

Clam may be a popular choice for seafood chowder, but crab makes a pretty good alternative, creating a decadent bowl of comfort that will get you through a chilly evening. Coupled with corn and potatoes, and given plenty of flavor, it is the ultimate satisfying hearty meal.

The key to making an outstanding chowder is to get plenty of flavor into the base. Bacon is a great way to do this — by frying bacon in the pot first, the veggies and potatoes can then cook in the delicious fat, imparting the salty, savory flavor to the soup. Flour, chicken stock, and cream complete the base of the dish, which means the star ingredient of the lump crab can be added. The soup is allowed to simmer for 30 minutes, by which time it will have transformed into a smooth, thick chowder full of flavor. Serve your crab chowder with some crusty bread to contrast the silky texture of the soup.

Gazpacho with crab

There is no doubt that crab is an ideal summer food, so why not pair it with the ultimate summer soup to make an easy gazpacho with crab? Gazpacho is a Spanish-inspired tomato soup that is served chilled, and evokes memories of hazy beach days and warm summer nights.

With such a simple dish, ripe, high-quality produce is key. Tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, red onions, and garlic should be blended until smooth along with olive oil, lime juice, and sherry vinegar. You can add some bread into the blender too, to bulk out the texture a bit. If your mixture is left with lumps, or you want it extra-smooth, pass the mixture through a sieve before chilling.

After at least an hour in the fridge — preferably longer, to allow the flavors to infuse — the soup will be ready to serve. Add the crab to the serving bowl and carefully pour the gazpacho on top, or plate up the soup first then top it with the crab pieces. The beautifully sweet crab meat balances with the fresh flavors from the gazpacho to create the perfect summer dish that takes virtually no preparation, and no sweating over a hot stove in the warm weather.

Coddled eggs with crab

If you fancy doing something a bit different with your lump crab meat, here's an idea – have it for breakfast. While this may seem a bit over-the-top, if eggs royale can rope in smoked salmon as a breakfast ingredient, then why not pair your eggs with crab instead? Coddled eggs with crab takes the creamy texture of soft eggs and pairs it with exquisite crab meat to create an elegant and luxurious meal to start the day.

The beauty of this dish is how easily customizable it is. If you fancy a super-savory meaty element, add some bacon. To get a couple of your five-a-day in before you leave the house, add tomatoes, peppers, and onions. To make them a bit more breakfast-like, grits help make the dish more filling and give an earthy element. Whatever extras you want to add, prepare them separately, then add to individual ramekins. Add the crab meat, then carefully crack an egg onto the top of the dish. Cook in the oven until the eggs are done to your liking. Enjoy this indulgent breakfast that gives your beloved lump crab an unusual spin.

Deviled crab

Time to give our crab the spicy treatment with the aptly named deviled crab. Originating in Tampa, Florida, it is supposedly named after a comment that it was "hot as the devil," and the bold seasonings mean it continues to be a popular dish.

Roughly speaking, deviled crab is made from crab meat, breadcrumbs, onion, and butter, but you can customize these flavorsome croquettes to put your own twist on them. Seasonings such as cayenne pepper and paprika will give just the right amount of kick to complement the cool crab.

The base is made from onions, garlic, and whatever other vegetables you fancy: a couple of jalapeños to make it devilishly hot, or some finely diced bell peppers to take the flavor the other way. Once the veggies are soft, they can be mixed with the crab meat, some mayo, and a vibrant seasoning such as Old Bay or Cajun.

Breadcrumbs will complete the mixture and give some much-needed texture. Traditionally, the crab would be served in shells, but if you don't have access to them you can roll them into balls or patties before baking. Once cooked, sprinkle with fresh parsley to balance out the strong flavors, and squeeze a few drops of lemon on top before serving with a green salad.

Crab, fennel, and watercress salad

When you think of a crab salad, you may picture some limp lettuce leaves and a couple of slices of tomato, but a good salad is nothing like that, and a quality ingredient like lump crab deserves the best salad you can make. The aniseed taste from the fennel is a great balance for the sweet crab to create a mouthwatering combination and a satisfying, light meal.

To prepare the fennel, remove the fronds and save them for later. They are similar to dill, and make a pretty garnish. Slice the fennel bulb finely using either a mandoline or a very sharp knife. The bulb becomes harder as you move towards the center, and though the core is perfectly edible, you may want to use the outer slices for this salad.

This salad calls for a hit of citrus freshness, which can come from lemon, lime, or even grapefruit. This crab, fennel, and watercress salad uses oro blanco, a sugary-tasting grapefruit that lends the perfect balance of sweet and sour to the crab and fennel. Make a simple dressing by whisking your chosen citrus juice with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.

To plate up, toss your watercress and fennel in the dressing then add to the plate, topped with the juicy crab. You can add tomatoes and bell peppers if you wish, for some more freshness, then drizzle the dressing over the top and enjoy as a light lunch or appetizer.

Blue cheese fondue and blackened crab

It is a widely accepted notion, especially amongst Italians, that seafood and cheese have no business being in the same dish together. The strong flavor of the cheese is considered too powerful for the delicate fish, and there is even an age-old superstition that it can cause skin issues. However, anyone who is opposed to a cheese and seafood combo has clearly not tasted this blackened crab with blue cheese fondue. The robust flavors of blackened crab are more than enough to stand up to the tangy, salty blue cheese to create a decadent and comforting dish.

The fondue is made from heavy cream, garlic, and stock, which must be reduced down, then the blue cheese is added and melted to form a thick, smooth sauce. Serve the spicy, blackened crab on top, along with thinly sliced spring onions for presentation. This makes a stunning dish for a dinner party or a cozy night in for two.