On the East and Gulfs, local blue crabs are tossed in with corn on the cob, onions, and baby red potatoes for an all-in-one meal. Be sure to have plenty of melted butter and French bread on hand.
- Recipe: Cracked Crabs
Crab meat comes in different sizes, from jumbo lump to claw meat. Save the more expensive jumbo lump for salads—where size matters—and use smaller types of crab for dips and soups.
- Recipe: Blue Crab Dip
Stone crab claws are a local favorite of people living in the lower Gulf waters of Florida, Texas, and Mexico, where they are only harvested for the claws, which regenerate after the crabs are released back into the water.
- Recipe: Stone Crab Claws with Mustard
Smoky, salty, and packing just enough heat, these salmon-stuffed crab cakes are a great back-pocket app for any impromptu dinner parties on the horizon. (And yes, we’re saying you should have some smoked salmon in your fridge at all times! Not only is it a must for that everything bagel, but an instant upgrade on salads, scrambled eggs, and toast.) Pile any leftover crab cakes into a split-top bun and go nuts with our spicy avocado tartar, which gets its kick from powdered wasabi.
- Recipe: Salmon-stuffed Crab Cakes
It's best to make tempura batter just before frying to keep the batter from absorbing oil when frying. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a little batter in the hot oil. If it rises immediately, then the oil is hot enough.
Fresh lump crab is the gold standard, but can be quite pricey. Alternatives include refrigerated, pasteurized cans or shelf-stable cans and pouches; these versions have smaller pieces, so if using, finely chop the peppers and mangoes so they don't overpower the crab.
- Recipe: Crab, Mango, and Cashew Dip
Try this as a salad or as a hearty dip. To stretch the recipe to feed a crowd, stir in about ½ pound chopped and cooked shrimp. Bump up the seasoning to taste if the shrimp was cooked without spices.
- Recipe: Crab Salad
Make this salad a roll using mame nori sheets. They are made from soybeans and are a great substitution for traditional seaweed nori sheets used in sushi. Look for them in well-stocked Asian markets.
Early versions of this soup were garnished with crab roe. Nowadays you are probably making and eating he-crab soup because returning females back to the water to spawn is highly encouraged.
- Recipe: River House She-crab Soup
Make this a main dish, or have it as a side. What makes this dish extra creamy is Arborio rice. The frequent stirring releases starch for the perfect texture—tender with just a little al dente bite in the center.
Sure, you can just mash up a crab cake on top of your salad, but we like this thoughtful recipe better. It has a lighter texture and flavor because the crab isn’t fried or sautéed first.
- Recipe: Maryland Crab Cake Salad
Try this very simple preparation of traditional shrimp scampi that's enhanced with crab. Don't feel limited to adding crab specifically; bay scallops and lobster also work well.
- Recipe: Shrimp-and-Crab Finger Scampi
Fresh parsley, chopped dill, and ground black pepper pack this former plain crab cake full of flavor. Topping a cool radish-and-avocado salad, this dish will be your next go-to for impressing guests.
For a hearty and unexpected party appetizer, skewer the burgers and crab cakes with a slice of grilled bread and serve them with a dip made from equal parts tartar and cocktail sauce.
- Recipe: Mini Surf-and-Turf Burgers
The lime aïoli in this recipe is just as tasty as the panko-crusted lump crabmeat patties. Using Japanese panko instead of traditional breadcrumbs gives the cakes a unique crunch, so don’t skip them!
- Recipe: Maine Crab Cakes with Lime Aiöli
Stone Crab claws, a South Florida specialty, are harvested from October to May for the claws only— fishermen snap off a claw and toss the crab back to regenerate a new one.