Maryland Crab Soup Recipe

This traditional crab soup is delicious and easy to make

Maryland Crab Soup
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Maryland and the rest of the Chesapeake Bay area are known to foodies the world over for their exceptional crabs. Baltimore, in particular, has many restaurants that serve this local delicacy. Crab cakes, crab soup, crab puffs, crab bisque-- whatever your palate prefers, there's almost certainly a crab recipe for you, since the sweet meat is so versatile and easy to work with.

In Baltimore, the blue crab is the crustacean of choice. A lot of restaurants just serve crabs steamed, provide diners with a mallet, a fork and some brown paper and let them crack the shells and dig out the crab meat themselves.

Maryland-style crab soup means a tomato broth and plenty of juicy lump or backfin crab meat. It's found on menus all around the state, and is a delicious, comforting treat, especially in late summer and early fall, when crab meat is still plentiful.

This recipe is an easy way to prepare a traditional crab soup, with a list of ingredients that can be found in most kitchens.

Note that this recipe presumes the chef will use lump crab meat already prepared. If you're planning to steam and crack the crabs yourself, obviously your prep time will be significantly longer. Frozen crab meat is fine to use, just be sure to follow any package instructions about safely defrosting it. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour


  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning (add more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups red potatoes (cubed)
  • 1/2 cup frozen lima beans
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes with juices
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound backfin crab meat


In a large soup pot, saute the onions, garlic, and celery in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add Old Bay, lemon pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until vegetables are coated with spices. Add frozen vegetables and stir.

Next add the canned tomatoes slowly, finishing with the bay leaf, which you can leave floating on top of the soup surface.

Simmer over medium heat for 50 minutes or until potatoes are soft. While it's cooking pick through crab meat to be sure all shells are removed. Stir in crab meat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve warm, with crusty bread.

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