It's the savory, tomato-based cousin of creamy crab soup. This Maryland Crab Soup Recipe is loaded with veggies and crab meat and makes the perfect cozy and nutritious soup all year round. It's an Eastern Shore classic and the very best use for any crab feast leftovers!
If you were raised or vacationed anywhere near Chesapeake Bay, you've probably tried the region's famous seafood soup recipes, including this wonderful recipe captured by Phillips Maryland Crab. I've included their recipe below, along with the tweaks I made to keep my soup pescatarian and adjusted for the ingredients I could locate in Europe.
This is a much healthier version of crab soup than the one I was accustomed to, which may or may not have been full of heavy whipping cream and a full stick of butter. It is nutritious and flavorful and comforting with all the unique flavors we love from a classic crab boil.
What you'll need to make this tomato-based soup with crab and veggies:
- Crab meat (mix of claw and body meat)
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Seafood seasoning (Phillips or Old Bay Seasoning)
- Celery seed (or celery salt)
- Seafood stock
- Crab base (or seafood stock cube)
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Green beans
- Lima beans
- Flat leaf parsley
- Optional: 1 tablespoon ham base (substitute sea salt and smoked paprika)
Full measurements and directions included in printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions for Maryland fresh crab soup:
Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, carrots and potatoes for about 8 minutes, allowing them to soften.
Add celery seed (or celery salt) and seafood seasoning and stir, allowing the seasonings to bloom a minute. Then add the seafood stock and soup bases.
Add tomatoes, corn, peas, green beans and lima beans and stir to combine. Bring the soup up to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce to a simmer and add the crab meat and half the fresh parsley, stirring it into the soup. Cook gently for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding sea salt, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, if needed.
Top with the final 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley.
Serve each bowl of soup with lemon wedges along with oyster crackers or crusty bread. Or both!
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
The original Phillips Maryland recipe calls for a mix of claw and body meat in the soup, which is how I make it. You could also use lump meat, which adds even more sweetness. I do encourage you to use fresh crab (usually stored on ice in your seafood department) and avoid canned crab. The preservatives used in canned crab significantly alter the taste and texture of the meat.
Absolutely. I didn't have access to lima beans for the recipe, so I used more green peas. If you are a fan of red or green peppers, they would be delicious here.
Seafood seasoning like Phillips or Old Bay usually contain a little cayenne or red pepper for a kick. But if you taste the soup and want more heat, add a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes, a few dashes of hot sauce, or serve your bowls with a bottle of hot sauce on the side.
For pescatarians, a 50-50 ratio of clam juice and vegetable stock are your best options. For non-pescatarians, chicken stock or beef broth can be used. But I do recommend finding a quality seafood stock for the best experience.
To store, move your large pot of crab soup to the refrigerator (or transfer soup to an airtight container) and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. To reheat, warm gently over medium heat until heated through.
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