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What can I do with canned crab?

I live in a part of the country where getting fresh fish is impossible, but I still crave it, esp. in summer.

So today I picked up a six ounce can of Chicken of the Sea white crab and have no idea what to expect.

Will it be so disgusting that I can't even use it? I DO like canned tuna though.

Thoughts? Ideas? Should I feed it to my dog?

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  1. make a crab salad, celery, scallions, hard boiled egg, parsley, lemon zest, dijon, mayo, s & p.

        1. I love to mix a can of crab with a brick of cream cheese and scallions, green onions or chives. Makes a great bagel spread, sandwich filling, crab Rangoon stuffing or is great with cukes or salad greens.

          1 Reply
          1. re: calliope_nh

            this sounds good...will try this. thanks!

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              So, can I surmise that what you guys are saying is it's not going to taste like crap out of the can? I realize it will be nothing like fresh. I was just wondering if it could actually be enjoyable? If so, I'll buy it all the time!

              1. re: natewrites

                lol, have never had it, so give it a shot. some fish departments carry canned crab, that is just cleaned blue crab. pricey, but worth it.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I know. And it comes in a blue tin. Unfortunately, my redneck grocery stores only carry it during the holidays. Otherwise, it's Chicken of the Sea, which sort of scares me.

                2. re: natewrites

                  well, you'll have to judge for yourself. i wouldn't recommend eating it plain, straight out of the can...but yes, you can absolutely turn it into something tasty with the right seasonings & additional ingredients.

              2. Your C of the S crab will be of Asian origin, which is of marginal quality, so you might attenuate your expectations of the crab, and integrate it into an otherwise delicious dish.
                There is high quality canned snow crab from Alaska and other northern waters, but ya gotta pay to play. The country of origin is always disclosed on the labeling, by law.
                You will find the best canned at gourmet stores, certainly not at chain grocers.

                1. You can make a Ritz cracker crumb seafood stuffing with it, if you can get decent frozen fish or shellfish with which to use it.

                  1. Second the crab enchiladas or anything casserole-y, even crabby baked mac and cheese.

                    I had some canned crab that I added to a Thai curry along with lots of vegetables. It sort of disintegrated into the coconut milk sauce, but it tasted great.

                    Corn and crab fritters might be nice.

                    1. Do crab a la king! Make a light white sauce, add a pinch (or fresh grate) of nutmeg, mix in blanched red bell peppers, cooked chopped celery - and the crab. Stir, season to taste (maybe add a bit of sherry) and serve over toast.

                      Nothing to complain about!

                      1. crabby patty.

                        heh heh. nah…i'd go with greygarious on this one. make a stuffing for fish rollups. or…make little crab balls for cocktail snacking. deviled crab!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: alkapal

                          Where DO they get the shells for deviled crab? One of my life's mysteries in the age of Sysco.

                          1. re: Veggo


                            oh heck, i don't know! but that's where most everything else comes from.

                            actually, the hot crab dip is sounding better and better.

                        2. Every year at Christmas since I was a kid (about 25 years now) I've been making "Holiday Crab Dip" with canned crab. It's one of those dishes that just mean Christmas to me. It can be served hot or cold. I'll post the recipe if you're interested.

                          11 Replies
                            1. re: happybaker

                              Holiday Crab Dip (but it's really a spread, not a dip)
                              Blend: 8oz cream cheese, 1/3 cup mayo, 1 t. prepared mustard with horseradish, 1 1/2 t. dried onion, 1/2 t. seasoned salt. Fold in: 1 T chopped parsley, dash of garlic powder, 6 oz crab meat. Refrigerate to let flavors blend several hours. Serve hot or cold.

                              To be honest, I've never known what that "prepared mustard with horseradish" means--maybe there was combo product back then (or there still is?); I've always just mixed 1/2 t. each of mustard and horseradish.

                              For those with shellfish allergies, this tastes fine using surimi instead.

                              1. re: Birmingham

                                Jack Daniel's (no idea if they're related to the booze people) makes a prepared horse radish mustard that I can find at my local supermarket. I'm sure your workaround is at least as good if not better since the proportion of horse radish to mustard is significantly higher.


                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Yes, the horseradish in my opinion is really essential to the overall flavor. But I'll look for that mustard--sounds good.

                                2. re: Birmingham

                                  To be honest, I've never known what that "prepared mustard with horseradish" means--maybe there was combo product back then (or there still is?)


                                  in addition to the aforementioned Jack Daniel's, Stonewall Kitchen, Annie's Organic, Inglehoffer, Weber's & Emeril's are some of the many other brands that offer horseradish mustard.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Sheesh! Guess I never looked too hard. ;-)

                                    Actually the way it probably went is that since I was a kid when I first made it and I didn't know what that meant--and my mom didn't either--I just did the half mustard/half horseradish thing. It tasted great so I never bothered looking for the prepared stuff.

                                    1. re: Birmingham

                                      yeah, i think it's one of those things that you only notice if you *know* to look for it. i actually prefer my own mix anyway because i like to go quite heavy on the horseradish and the prepared ones are always just too wimpy :)

                                      FWIW, my favorite store-bought sinus-clearing mustard is Trader Joe's Dijon...it's not a horseradish blend, just straight mustard, but powerful stuff - much stronger than the horseradish varieties i've tried. i know you don't have TJ's in Alabama, but if you ever make it over to ATL and happen to be near one you should pick up a jar.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Thanks for the tip. I'm thinking it's time for a trip over there soon. There are less and less items that I miss from them, but the cartons of tomato soup and the "Salsa Autentica" I have to keep in stock at all times. And besides--it's getting to the time of year when staying in an air-conditioned car for 6 hours is about the best thing you can do.

                                  2. re: Birmingham

                                    That looks great - thank you so much for posting!

                                    1. re: Birmingham

                                      For those with shellfish allergies, this tastes fine using surimi instead.
                                      just be sure to read the packaging VERY carefully before serving to your shellfish-allergic friends because surimi is often flavored with crab, shrimp or lobster shells, and some products even contain a small amount of actual crab meat.

                                      1. re: Birmingham

                                        "To be honest, I've never known what that "prepared mustard with horseradish" means-"

                                        It means prepared w/vinegar or whateveras opposed to that much mustard seed or ground mustard like Coleman's. Now that would be strong!

                                    1. I always have a couple of tins in the cupboard. I rate it quite highly for stuff like salads, sandwiches or crabcakes. Of course, the downside is that it's all white meat with none of the brown.

                                      1. 2nding crab cakes. Or possibly croquettes.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: gilintx

                                          Ah, croquettes. I had the most fantastic shrimp & crab croquette in Belgium.

                                          They used the tiny shrimp that they call the grey shrimp and here in the UK we call the brown shimp. Same beast.

                                        2. Crab melt! I keep a can or two on hand for these. Crab, lemon juice (lime is even better), cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, mayo. Pile on toasted English muffins or toast, top with cheese - I like Swiss, but cheddar is good too, or anything flavorful and melty like Gouda or Fontina-- and shove under the broiler until the cheese is done to taste.

                                          You can also grill these in a pan, like grilled cheese with a layer of crab salad in the middle.

                                          1. natewrites is now going to go buy a case of canned crab.

                                            1. Ok you've got one can. Just chill it and taste it before you decide if it's dog food.

                                              I haven't had thay brand, but I have had canned crab. I use it for crab salad sandwichs. I've also tossed it in salad, eggs, a quesadilla, dip, mac n cheese, grilled cheese. It will probably work for crab cakes especially if you're using a recipe with cracker or crumb filler, but I haven't tried it. I save the good stuff, fresh crab, if I just want to taste crab. BTW, Costco sells a pricey can of lump crab (Blue crab?) in the chilled section and it's quite good.

                                              1. makes great cat food. I live in Bloomington, IN. not a crab capital. I can get good backfine etc. crab, sure not as cheap as canned but 1,0000000X better.

                                                1. I'm surprised that some people actually suggest that you not taste it straight!

                                                  I'd taste it and use it prominently if I liked it--as in a salad. If it was just "meh" to me, I'd maybe use it as a protein in some fried rice or perhaps a pasta dish (Italians use tuna a lot in pastas, unlike most Americans, so why not crab?).

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Bada Bing

                                                    Yeah, agree nice thought, though tuna esp good Italian tuna "stands up" to even a light red sauce....crab not so much,not so flavorful, so I'd maybe do a light cream-based sauce or just do aglio-olio-crab, red pepper, etc...

                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                      Very good point about crab's milder nature. Your pasta ideas sound great--and much better than the red sauce options I've typically seen with tuna.

                                                    2. re: Bada Bing

                                                      I find it to be pretty salty, but it's OK in a salad (as long as you moderate other salt included).

                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                        In contrast, though, when we buy the Phillips Jumbo Lump crabmeat from Costco (in a tub), it's GREAT plain or in any kind of salad.

                                                        I've also had plain jumbo lump served many times in restaurants as a crab cocktail - total yum!

                                                      2. Make some fresh salsa and fold in the crab at the end. Always gets raves!

                                                        1. I would make crab cakes with it - the kind that has plenty of filler and doesn't necessarily "showcase" the crab, if you know what I mean. I've never used COTS crab, but have used similar quality canned crab in this recipe, and it's good:

                                                          6 oz canned crab
                                                          1 minced green onion
                                                          1 egg
                                                          2 tbsp mayo
                                                          2 tsp dijon mustard
                                                          3 tbsp panko + more for coating
                                                          1 tsp fresh minced thyme (or a little less dried thyme)
                                                          1/2 tsp worcestershire
                                                          1/4 tsp garlic salt
                                                          2 tsp minced parsley

                                                          Beat egg gently and add green onion, mayo, mustard, thyme, parsley, worcestershire, garlic salt, and 3 tbsp panko; fold in crab. Form into 4 crab cakes and coat with panko. Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat; fry crab cakes for about 3 min per side or until golden brown.

                                                          1. natewrites Did you try it yet?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Island

                                                              No, I haven't, but Corneygirl's idea looks great! I love poppers.

                                                            2. I like to mix a can of crab meat with a can of Campbell's tomato soup (made with milk) and about half a teaspoon of curry powder.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: pasuga

                                                                wonder how that'd work with cream of celery soup -- or cream of shrimp? then hit with a dash of sherry?

                                                              2. The canned crab that I sometimes purchase is in the refrigerated section of my store. It's a store brand, and i find it's better than the tins on the shelf that are like tuna fish.

                                                                Usually I make a filling for an omlette or crepe with it. Can stuff some nice mushroom caps with it. Then I like to make these crab cakes with it. Since it's just me, I freeze the extra crab cakes, they hold up nicely.


                                                                1. mix with some cream cheese or sour cream and sweet corn. stuff into jalapenos and broil or grill. extra points for wrapping them in bacon. make lots.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: corneygirl

                                                                    That sounds fantastic, Corneygirl. YUM!

                                                                    1. re: natewrites

                                                                      It is awesome as I described earlier. BUT, for something transcendental make this weird ass, but great cheese dip - stir in the crab (and maybe fresh sweet corn) then wrap in bacon and grill. You'll have a lot of new best friends.

                                                                  2. make curry.
                                                                    1. diced onion
                                                                    2. ginger garlic paste
                                                                    3. diced tomatoes
                                                                    4. chopped coriander leaves
                                                                    5. powdered cumin seeds
                                                                    6. turmeric powder
                                                                    7. green chilli
                                                                    8. red chilly
                                                                    9. curry leaf
                                                                    10. tamarind paste
                                                                    11. salt
                                                                    12. canned crab
                                                                    saute onions and ginger garlic paste in veg oil till brown. add the rest except tamarind paste and wait till it is cooked as per your taste. add tamarind paste. proportions of the ingredients dont matter, keep tasting throughout the process and it'd be great!