This Crab Soup tastes like comfort in a bowl! It features a savory, creamy broth with tender baby potatoes, chunks of lump crab meat, and aromatic seasonings. Serve it with a sprinkle of fresh thyme on top and a side of crusty bread for a satisfying cold-weather lunch or dinner.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Ready in 30: You can have this crab soup on the table in 30 minutes, making it a great option for busy weeknight dinners!
- Easy to make: Everything is prepared in one pot, so you don’t have to worry about a pile of dishes to clean up.
- Comforting elegance: Its creamy texture combined with the tangy zest of lemon makes this crab soup feel like a hearty yet gourmet dish straight from a five-star kitchen.
Ultra-creamy crab soup
This crab soup recipe is one of my all-time favorites, which is why I’m so excited to share it with you today! Despite its restaurant-quality taste, it’s surprisingly simple to prepare at home.
It provides the perfect blend of East Coast seafood flavors and is made with lump crabmeat, making it feel like a gourmet dish straight out of your own kitchen. The base showcases an aromatic combination of onion, garlic, and celery with a rich and creamy broth.
But, my favorite part of this recipe is the leftovers! The flavors develop and meld together as the soup sits in your fridge. Take it to work or enjoy it as a quick yet comforting lunch at home. Feel free to serve it on its own or pair it with a fresh salad, crusty bread, or a sandwich.
Best crab meat for crab soup
When it comes to making an authentic and flavorful crab soup, your choice of crab meat plays a pivotal role. If it’s available, I recommend using fresh crab meat from the seafood counter.
However, since availability depends on the season and region, you can also use refrigerated or canned crab meat. Here are some recommendations on the type of meat you can choose:
- Lump crabmeat: The most popular choice due to its large, meaty chunks and sweet flavor. It gives the soup a hearty and substantial feel.
- Jumbo lump (or colossal) crabmeat: A premium choice, these are large pieces of crab, usually from the swimmer fins. They are best for when you want to impress dinner guests with big, flavorful chunks.
- Backfin crabmeat: A mix of lump and body meat, backfin is flaky in texture. It offers a delicate taste and is slightly more affordable than lump crabmeat.
- Claw meat: This is the darkest crab meat and has a robust, intense flavor. It’s excellent for adding depth to your crab soup.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Unsalted butter: Adds a rich flavor and also combines with the flour to help thicken the soup. Olive oil can be used in a pinch, but I strongly suggest butter here!
- Onion & celery: Forms the aromatic base. Use white or yellow onion for the best results. You can also try leeks for a milder flavor.
- Garlic: Introduces a pungent kick. Fresh garlic works best, but ¾ teaspoon garlic powder can be used as a substitute if necessary.
- All-purpose flour: Helps thicken the soup. For a gluten-free option, you can make a cornstarch slurry and add it later in the simmering process.
- Seasonings: I use a simple combination of oregano and salt, but you can try experimenting with other options like Old Bay, basil, celery salt, paprika, or cayenne.
- White wine: Enhances the soup’s depth. Chicken broth can be used as a substitute.
- Clam juice: Adds a briny seafood flavor that complements the crab. If you can’t find clam juice, replace it with vegetable broth but the flavor won’t be quite the same.
- Milk & heavy cream: Combined, both milk and heavy cream provide a rich and creamy consistency. You can also use half-and-half cream in place of both.
- Chicken broth: Enhances the savory depth. Vegetable broth can be used instead.
- Lemon: Imparts a zesty brightness. Alternatively, use white or red wine vinegar.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Gives a savory depth of flavor. You can also use soy sauce, liquid aminos, or tamari as an alternative.
- Baby potatoes: Add a hearty texture but also cook quickly and have a thin skin, meaning you don’t have to peel them. I like baby Yukon Gold potatoes but diced regular Yukon Gold potatoes will work just as well.
- Bay leaf & thyme: Aromatic herbs that impart earthy, savory flavors. No fresh thyme on hand? Use dill or tarragon as a substitute.
- Lump crabmeat: The star ingredient of this crab soup! If you only have canned crab meat available, some brands to try include Chicken of the Sea, Philips, and Heron Point.
How to make crab soup
- Sauté the aromatics: Melt some butter in a Dutch oven, then toss in the onion, celery, and garlic. Wait for the onions to turn translucent before moving on.
- Thicken it up: Flour, oregano, and salt come next. Stir until the flour is incorporated.
- Wine time: Pour the wine in and let it simmer for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol, leaving you with complex fruity notes.
- Create the base: Add clam juice, milk, cream, and broth, stirring to creamy perfection. Then, add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon, potatoes, and herbs. Simmer the mixture until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Crab finale: Turn the heat off, discard the bay leaf and thyme, and gently fold in the lump crabmeat. Ladle your crab soup into bowls, and top them off with fresh thyme!
Crab soup is a filling recipe you can enjoy on its own, but if you’re looking to make it a bit heartier, try pairing your bowl with a slice of sourdough, homemade focaccia, or garlic bread.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can use frozen crab meat. Just ensure it’s properly thawed and drained before incorporating it into your soup.
The soup isn’t inherently gluten-free since it contains flour and Worcestershire sauce. However, you can substitute all-purpose flour with a cornstarch slurry and use gluten-free Worcestershire sauce or tamari to create a gluten-free version.
While I always recommend fresh herbs for the best flavor, dried herbs can also be used if necessary. Remember that you only need to use a third of the amount specified for fresh when using dried herbs.
Storage & reheating
Follow these simple storage tips to keep your crab soup fresh and flavorful:
- Fridge: Once cooled, store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- Freezer: Crab soup be frozen for up to a month. Just make sure it’s cool, then transfer it to a freezer-safe jar or container.
- Reheating: Thaw the crab soup in the fridge overnight and reheat it on the stovetop over low-medium heat. You can also add a splash of milk if the broth is too thick.
- Spicy: Add a touch of cayenne, paprika, or hot sauce for an extra spicy version.
- Veggies: Add other veggies like corn or peas for flavor and texture.
- Cheese: Add a sprinkle of sharp cheddar at the end for an umami boost.
- Seafood: Swap out the crab for shrimp, lobster, or clam for a different protein option.
- Crab meat choice: When selecting your crab, opt for fresh lump crabmeat if possible for the best flavor and texture.
- Use quality wine: Always use a wine that you’d personally drink to guarantee the best flavor in your crab soup.
- Stir occasionally: Stirring occasionally prevents the soup from sticking to the bottom, especially since it contains starchy ingredients like potatoes and flour.
- Add herbs last: For the most vibrant flavor, add fresh herbs toward the end of cooking.
Looking for more delicious soup recipes?
If you enjoyed this crab soup recipe, be sure to check out some more of my favorite soups like these:
If you try this Crab Soup let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Rich & Creamy Crab Soup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ medium onion diced
- 1 rib celery diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt more to taste
- ½ cup white wine
- 8 ounces clam juice
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ lemon juiced and more to taste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups baby potatoes halved or quartered
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 stems thyme
- 1 pound lump crabmeat
- Melt butter in a large dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Stir and cook until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Now add all-purpose flour, oregano and salt. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in the wine. Quickly stir and let the wine cook out for about 2 minutes.
- Now add the clam juice, milk, heavy cream, chicken broth. Stir until smooth.
- Then add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme. Let the soup come to a simmer and keep the soup simmering for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
- Turn the heat off, discard the bay leaf and thyme. Add in the lump crab meat. Stir gently, to combine. Ladle soup in bowls and top with extra fresh thyme and enjoy.