Are you craving seafood? How about trying cream of crab soup for dinner tonight? In under 45 minutes, you can be savoring a hot bowl of this delicious tempting soup.
If you love creamy soups, you'll also want to check out our New England clam chowder and our potato corn chowder soup recipes.
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The most of the ingredients for our cream of crab soup recipe can easily be found at your local grocery store. Let's talk about the key ingredients.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is used to make a roux, which thickens the soup.
- Stock: We used seafood stock that was purchased to save time, but it would taste best with homemade seafood stock. You can also substitute with clam juice mixed with vegetable stock.
- Dairy: We used both heavy cream and whole milk in this photo shoot and butter. If you are lactose intolerant, you can substitute the butter for olive oil and the whole milk and cream for full fat coconut milk.
- Seafood: It's best to use fresh, refrigerated, lump crab meat, but it's expensive. We used canned real lump crab meat.
- Liquor: A small amount of sherry is added during the last 8 minutes of cooking.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients for our cream of crab soup. Prep all the ingredients before starting.
- Heat up the butter in a Dutch oven over medium high heat, then saute the onions and celery for 5 minutes while stirring.
- Sprinkle on the flour over top of the onion mixture and cook for a couple of minutes while constantly whisking.
3. Next, reduce the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the seafood stock for a more earthy flavor. If you can't find it or don't have the time to make your own, use clam juice mixed with vegetable broth.
4. Pour in the milk and cream, making sure not to let it boil.
5. Add the crab meat.
6. Add the sherry.
7. Season with spices. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined, then heat through on medium low for 5 to 8 minutes and serve hot.
8. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, chives, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or oyster crackers.
Dairy based soups don't freeze well. When they are thawed and reheated, the texture becomes grainy and the soup becomes watery.
Instead of freezing, this cream of crab soup can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just reheat any leftover soup in a pot on medium low, stirring frequently to prevent the bottom from burning.
Crab bisque is made with shellfish broth, thickened with rice or ground up crab shells, contains wine and cream, is generously seasoned, and is blended smooth.
Cream of crab soup is roux based, is combined with seafood stock, and is thinned with cream or milk.
Cream of crab soup starts with sauteing onions and celery, then flour is added to make a roux. Pour in seafood stock and the cream and whole milk. Add the lump white crab meat and the sherry, spices then simmer for 5 to 8 minutes until heated through. Garnish with oyster crackers, chives, and paprika.
To round out your meal, pick a light salad, bread or a sandwich to make things more exciting. Below are some suggestions.
Salad: A tangy and bright cucumber salad with fresh dill. Bread: Bread sticks, rolls, soft pretzels, cheddar bay biscuits or a slice of crusty bread. Sandwich: Bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich with mayo, vinegar and sriracha.
- Make Ahead: You can make the whole soup the night before. Allow it to cool and store in the fridge covered.
- Leftovers: Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: It's best to reheat leftovers in a sauce pan over medium low heat until heated through.
- Need this gluten free? Use your favorite gluten free flour.
- Need this keto? Use almond flour instead of all-purpose.
- Need this spicier? Double the hot sauce to 1 teaspoon.
- Don't have heavy whipping cream? Use 2 cups of half and half instead.
- Don't want to use sherry? Serve with lemon wedges instead.
- Don't be tempted to substitute heavy cream for only whole milk; the soup won't be as creamy.
- Don't use imitation crab meat; it's actually Pollock, a finely minced fish shaped to resemble crab.
- If you can't find seafood stock at your grocery store, use 1 cup of clam juice and 1 cup of vegetable broth, or make your own seafood stock with crab or shrimp shells.
- Have all ingredients prepped before you start cooking.
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Best Cream of Crab Soup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup sweet or yellow onion, diced
- 1 ½ cups celery, finely diced (roughly 3 large stalks)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups seafood stock
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 pound white crabmeat
- ¼ cup sherry
- ½ teaspoon mace
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional
- ½ cup chives cut in ½ inch lengths, for garnish
- dash of paprika, for garnish
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over high medium heat, then reduce heat to medium. Saute the onion and celery until soft while stirring with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the seafood stock, whisking continuously so the crab soup remains smooth. Add the heavy cream while whisking, then repeat with the whole milk.
- Stir in the white crab meat, sherry, and spices.
- Turn the heat down to medium low to allow it to simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Serve hot, and garnish each bowl with paprika, chives, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or oyster crackers.
- To warm up leftovers, pour soup into a pot set over medium heat, stirring frequently so the bottom doesn't burn.
- If you can't find seafood stock at your grocery store, use 1 cup of clam juice (affiliate) and 1 cup of vegetable broth or make your own with crab or shrimp shells.
- Don't be tempted to substitute the heavy cream for whole milk; the soup won't taste as good.
- Don't use imitation crab meat; it's actually finely minced fish.
- Have all ingredients prepped before you start cooking.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
This recipe was originally published on February 14, 2020. It was updated on July 23, 2021 and July 29, 2022.
Martha G Kolodkin
I haven’t made it yet but am going to soon. I am from Baltimore so I plan on using Old Bay seasoning.
We hope you enjoy it with the Old Bay seasoning, Martha! Let us know how you like it.
The chives on top look lovely on this creamy soup. The soup smells nice, and looks appetizing.
Thanks for your review, Alex!
Absolutely delicious! That touch of Sherry is perfection. I made this with a can of Colossal Premium Picked Crab. What a treat.
The only shame is I can’t get my phone to attach the picture I took of it.
We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed this soup to much, Paulette! It's a favorite with our family, too. Unfortunately, our comments section on our website doesn't allow visitors to upload a photo, but you can do that on Pinterest.
Crab soup is a great soup. I like seafood soups and this one is scrumptious. This soup smells absolutely divine! It looks yummy with all the garnishes. This soup is creamy with a bit of a kick. Lovely!
Creamy seafood soups are delicious for sure!