Crab Soup

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Crab Soup

This rich and creamy crab soup seasoned with Old Bay is the essence of the Eastern shore.

Crab Soup

We spent last weekend at the Eastern shore celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Naturally, we ate A LOT of Maryland blue crabs, which are in season late spring to early fall. This recipe is inspired by a crab soup I had during our stay. It’s rich, creamy, and seasoned simply with lemon and Old Bay.

This is an admittedly decadent soup. Please don’t be tempted to substitute the half & half with milk. It doesn’t work unless you add more butter and flour, which of course defeats the whole purpose of making it lighter. I promise it’s worth it!

What you’ll need to make Crab Soup

how to make crab soup

If possible, use fresh-off-the-boat crab meat. It comes in a clear plastic container and is usually resting on ice in the seafood department. It’s not always available depending on the season and region, so your second-best option is refrigerated crab meat, such as Phillip’s, which is readily available year round. Just avoid shelf-stable canned crab meat; it contains additives that affect the taste and texture of the meat.

Old Bay seasoning is a spice blend that you can find at most supermarkets near the seafood department. If you’d like to make your own, I recommend this recipe. I love Old Bay and use it in many recipes, such as Maryland Crab Cakes, Salmon Cakes, Old Bay Shrimp Salad, Chesapeake Corn with Tomatoes and Basil, and Peel n’ Eat Shrimp.

How to make Crab Soup

how to make crab soup

To begin, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the flour.

how to make crab soup

Whisk for about 1 minute, until well blended.

how to make crab soup

Whisking constantly, gradually add the half & half.

how to make crab soup

Add the mustard, Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil, whisking frequently (be sure to scrape the edges of the pot, where the flour mixture tends to settle).

how to make crab soup

As soon as the soup starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 30 seconds.

how to make crab soup

Stir in the sherry and crabmeat. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

how to make crab soup

If the soup is too thick, add water, little by little, to thin it out (it will thicken the longer it sits on the stove, even off of the heat). Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chives. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Crab Soup

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Crab Soup

This rich and creamy crab soup seasoned with Old Bay is the essence of the Eastern shore.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups half & half
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning, plus more for serving (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1/2 pound lump crabmeat, picked over to remove any shells
  • Finely chopped chives, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional; see note)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for about 1 minute, until well blended.
  2. Whisking constantly, gradually add the half & half. Add the mustard, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil, whisking frequently (be sure to scrape the edges of the pot, where the flour mixture tends to settle). As soon as the soup starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 30 seconds. Stir in the sherry and crabmeat. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If the soup is too thick, add water, little by little, to thin it out (it will thicken the longer it sits on the stove, even off of the heat). Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chives. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
  3. Note: Old Bay seasoning is sold in the seafood department at most supermarkets. It can also be ordered online or made from scratch.
  4. Note: Lemon is really only necessary if not using the sherry.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 475
  • Fat: 37 g
  • Saturated fat: 23 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Sodium: 580 mg
  • Cholesterol: 167 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • This is not only a great tasting recipe, it is quick and easy! Rarely can you find a recipe that states that the prep is 5 minutes and actually only takes 5 minutes! The only change I made – I didn’t have sherry wine so I used white cooking wine and added a little apple cider vinegar. (I would have use sherry if I had it). Delicious soup!

    • — Sherry on July 26, 2021
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  • This is a wonderful recipe for a lovely soup that allows the taste of the crab to be the star. Smooth, simple and flavorful like you would get in a high-end restaurant near the Chesapeake Bay. Don’t change anything on this recipe! The first time I made it, I only had 2 cups of the half and half (substituted milk for the rest) and didn’t have sherry on hand. It truly needs the 4 cups of half and half for a more luxurious soup and the sherry really enhances the flavor. I tried a couple of substitutions for the sherry and none compared to the dry sherry. It is a must. It is a tradition for this soup. Jenn, I am so happy that I discovered you. Thank you!!!

    • — Linda M. on July 5, 2021
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  • Such a wonderful dish! You’re the best, Jenn!

    • — Malcolm Armstrong on June 30, 2021
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  • Seriously Jenn? How do you do it? All of your recipes are 5 star, and this one is no exception! It is FAB! Not only easy to make, but absolutely delicious. I made dungeness crab (my favorite being from San Francisco) sandwiches and had a bunch of crab left over. I made this soup with everything I already had on hand, except for the half n half, and it was better than the sandwiches! Ina used to be my go-to for new recipes, but I am thinking now it is you. Thank you for all of your work in perfecting your wonderful recipes.

    • — Wendy from La Jolla on June 24, 2021
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on June 24, 2021
      • Reply
  • This recipe tastes exactly like what we get in good restaurants here in MD. Thank you!

    I used a pound of imported lump as it’s too early for local. I seasoned it with some old bay and a pinch of sugar to make up for it not being fresh and local. Yum!

    • — Maryland local on May 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • Just made your she crab soup and it’s AWESOME. First time eating it was in Myrtle Beach and haven’t find anything come close to it until now. Family loves it and will be making again and again. Thanks so much for sharing. Delicious!!!

    • — Jenny on May 9, 2021
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  • Delicious! Great recipe! Thanks!

    • — Lynn from Finksburg, MD on May 9, 2021
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  • Just made it. Delicious! I live in Maryland where crab soup is king. This beats out many of the seafood spots I go to.

    • — Cynthia on May 7, 2021
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  • Made this for the first time today. It is so delicious. It tastes just like the soup I get at my favorite restaurant in Annapolis, MD! I definitely will be making this again and again.

    • — Maryann Fretz on April 29, 2021
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    • May I ask what restaurant in Annapolis has your favorite crab soup? We are visiting there next week. Thanks! – Anne

      • — Anne Daly on May 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • easy, and quick plus delicious! I did not have sherry, dijon mustard or half and half. I used whole milk straight from the cow, had oodles of cream, a dash of regular mustard, and sprinkled some lemon juice in the finished soup. It turned out lovely, better than any restaurant soup I have tried. Thanks so much for the recipe. I think I will keep my version but I would not have attempted it without your recipe! If you can find a good local source of farm fresh milk, I suggest you try it!

    • — Nell on April 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    ADORE your recipes. In this crab soup, what ingredient is 4 cups half and half?
    Thanks,
    Michele

    • — Michele Morrison on March 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Michele, So glad you like the recipes! Do you live in the UK? If so, I believe 1/2 & 1/2 is referred to as single or half cream.

      • — Jenn on March 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, Thanks for sharing this recipe, I made this soup and it was delicious and liked by all. I only made 2 small changes; because I did not have any cream at hand I substituted 1% milk and because I had purchased crab in a double pack, I used one pouch, and it weighs in at 12oz (or 3/4 LB). Soup texture came out great and lots of crab flavor. My son took it to work next day and reheated it and it was great, he wants me to make it again. Oh and for the sherry i used shaoxing cooking wine, which is used in making stir fry sauces and i think is very much like a dry sherry.

    • — Brian on February 22, 2021
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  • All I can say is WOW! I have only made oyster stew/soup before but looked for a recipe. I could not have asked for anything better. Finished my first bowl and went back for another. Thanks from an dawg in Athens, GA!

    • — Randy on February 18, 2021
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  • I doubled the recipe and served with a delicious homemade garlic bread for a lunch with my parents. It was amazing! Doubling the recipe gave us plenty for our lunch for 4 plus leftovers to look forward to for dinner the next day. I used Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. This is now my go-to seafood soup, for sure.
    Question: Would this soup freeze well?

    • — Annmarie O. on February 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Annmarie, So glad you all enjoyed this! Due to all the dairy it contains, unfortunately, it won’t freeze well — sorry!

      • — Jenn on February 8, 2021
      • Reply
      • We love it!!!! Creamy and not too heavy. Delicious!

        • — Lee on February 9, 2021
        • Reply
  • It was cold today so I thought I’d try this recipe for my family. Unbelievable and so simple. The sherry made all the difference too. This is a keeper! Chef Jenn does it again.

    • — Kirk Wagner on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • I make crab soup from this recipe at least once per month. It is frequently requested and most definitely a crowd favorite! The first time I tried it I did not let it thicken completely, so I then made it with heavy cream instead of half and half. It was overwhelmingly rich and more like a crab dip rather than a crab soup. Ha! Stuck to Jenn’s recipe and it will be perfect. I think the Old Bay seasoning and the dry sherry are what set this soup above all others I have tried.

    • — Mike on February 1, 2021
    • Reply

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