Fresh crab is really luxurious seafood. Creamy, with fresh tastes of the sea, and maybe a hint of sweetness, it’s a real treat. Unless you’ve been to buy it especially, it isn’t always the case that we have fresh crab to hand, and an alternative might be needed. Both Crab sticks and imitation crab meat have been around for a while, but making these into something beautiful and tasty can take a little work. In this article, we are going to give you’re a helping hand with our 17 imitation crab recipes. Claws at the ready? Let’s cook.
17 Imitation Crab Recipes
1. Crab Cakes
Deep frying food can hide a multitude of sins. To be honest, it seems a shame to waste expensive crab when this tastes just as good. The other ingredients are delicious, but mask the taste of the crab somewhat. The basis of imitation crab cakes is breadcrumbs, a little mustard and whatever herbs take your fancy (we like Dill) add a squeeze of lime juice along with a handful of shredded imitation crab and form into patties before frying to deep golden colour.
2. Crab Salad
Crab salad is a beautiful thing that works perfectly with imitation crab. You’ll still get the undertones of seafood, but these work seamlessly with the acidic bite of sliced onions and celery. The entire concoction is held together with lashings of mayonnaise. Feel free to add herbs and spices. We love a pinch of curry powder along with a little paprika and chili powder for a fiery kick.
3. Hot Crab Dip
This is another recipe that we think may actually be improved by adding imitation crab instead of the real thing. The best bit is that you can serve it with a range of other dishes, such as chips, crudité or crackers. It’s really easy to assemble. Add an equal amount of shredded crab, mayo and cream cheese. A hint of salt and pepper makes this shine. Then ping it in the microwave for just over a minute until warmed through. Delicious.
4. Crab Soup
Soup is one of those things that rely on a joining of flavors. Juicy crab is perfect with a piece of crusty bread, and so is soup. So why not combine the two concepts in one dish. Poach your imitation crab sticks in milk (or cream), add a few peeled potatoes and perhaps supplement the base with a can of clam chowder. Heaven in a bowl
5. Copycat Lobster Rolls
If you haven’t got crab then you definitely haven’t got lobster. It doesn’t matter. Just shred your imitation crab and mix in a bowl with a couple of sliced spring onions, half a clove of crushed garlic and a little mayo. Serve in a sandwich, you’ll struggle to tell the difference.
6. Crab Alfredo
Pasta makes the ideal vehicle for seafood. As it is quite neutral it allows you to taste the ingredients. It’s a really simple recipe, add a few sliced mushrooms and onions to a pan, cook until tender. Add a cup of alfredo sauce and some chicken stock, before adding your shredded crabmeat and tossing in the pasta.
7. Crab and Shrimp with pasta
Whole ingredients are hardly ever used in pasta dishes. If you want bite-sized morsels hidden amount each scoop of pasta then imitation crab could be ideal. Add a knob of butter and a crushed clove of garlic to a pan and fry until soft. Add your shrimp and imitation crab along with a pinch of dried basil. Add chopped fresh tomato (or half a can) and then add your pasta to coat it in the loose seafood sauce.
8. Crab Canapes
You want tasty finger food to be quick and easy right? Picking bits of crab out of legs is a little time consuming, so imitation crab might be better. This recipe is super easy. Cut 2” squares of premade phyllo pastry and bake in the oven until golden. Top each square with a small cube of imitation crab, along with a small blob of cream cheese and perhaps a pinch of garlic powder and chili powder. These will be a hit at any party. Be prepared to make more.
9. Golden Corral Crab Salad
A tasty salad that’s super easy to make? Where do we sign? It doesn’t get any easier than a golden Corral Crab Salad. With imitation crab, it is even easier. The body of the salad is made up by combining imitation crab with ranch dressing and mayonnaise. The body of the salad is then padded out with a large chopped onion, an equal amount of celery, and a small amount of chopped green pepper. Crunchy, creamy and tasty!
10. Chinese Buffet Crab
This dish is often served ‘buffet style’ at Chinese restaurants. You’ll be piling your plate high too, it tastes amazing. Add chopped imitation crab, a couple of large spoonful’s of mayo, and a handful of mozzarella cheese. Give it all a good mix and serve as a side with whatever dish you like.
11. Seafood Macaroni Salad
For something relatively filling and great for outdoor eating, seafood macaroni salad with imitation crab is a great dish. It is jam-packed full of fresh flavors that complement things like grilled meat really well. If you want to bulk up the seafood element, feel free to add some cooked shrimp too. It’s simple to make and is essentially macaroni salad with a few extra complementary flavors. We like to use lemon juice and Cajun seasoning to make it shine, sometimes we add some old bay seasoning and a pinch of dried parsley too.
12. Crab Wontons
Both seafood and dim sum are really popular in Chinese cooking. You can combine both by making homemade crab Rangoon. Wrap a small spoonful of imitation crab in a wonton wrapper. It will be a little plain on its own so before you fold the parcel add an equal amount of cream cheese. Deep fry until lightly golden. These wontons are perfect with a whole range of dips and sauces. For a seafood theme stick with tartare sauce, or to bring out the Asian elements serve with a sweet chili Thai dip.
13. Crab Casserole
Crab can be real comfort food, and so can casserole. For cold winter evenings where you want to take it easy and dig into something substantial, this is ideal.
To make it just add imitation crab meat to a bowl. Then combine with equal amounts of shredded cabbage, celery, diced pepper and a large handful of shredded cheese. Add a cup of cream cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drop of soy sauce. Season with a spoonful of garlic powder and perhaps a pinch of sugar before baking in a dish for around 30 minutes until the cheese on top melts and goes ever so slightly brown.
14. Crab Quiche
As filling and tasty pies go, quiche has got to be right up there. We save a little time by buying a precooked case, but if you have time on your hands feel free to make it from scratch. You get the delicious softness of the crab and the other ingredients perfectly balanced with the crunch of the pastry.
To make whisk 3 large eggs with a 6oz of heavy cream. Add some shredded imitation crab and some cooked onion and pepper. Fill your case and bake in a 360F degree oven for around 30 minutes until the ingredients are set. Allow to cool and then serve, or keep cool and enjoy for lunch the next day.
15. Crab Stuffed Salmon
Salmon is nice, but it can be a little bland when left to do its own thing. The crab adds a real depth to the flavor, and when combined with the other ingredients, it makes a great stuffing. This dish is very filling and also looks rather fancy.
To make it we combine finely chopped imitation crab together with cream cheese and a little butter. We like to spice the flavors up by adding dried oregano, thyme and rosemary, and perhaps a couple of cloves of minced garlic. This mixture is then spooned generously into a pocket cut into the side of the salmon fillets before they are baked for around 20 minutes until they are all flaky and delicious
16. Crab Fondue
Fondue is a great vehicle for lots of different flavors and is the perfect centerpiece for when you have company. Fondue is made by combining milk, swiss cheese and a large splash of white wine and gently heating until it melts. You can supplement the volume with a few cups of chicken stock and a splash of milk. Add texture with gently fried onions. The crab meat goes in right at the end before serving with generous chunks of toasted bread. No double-dipping!
17. Imitation Crab Sushi Rolls
The best sushi is made with seafood that keeps its shape easily. Imitation crab is ideal. This recipe is one of the easiest to make. You can use imitation crab in place of shrimp, lobster or even tuna. We like to use it in an imitation California sushi roll. Alongside the rice and seaweed wrap use thin slices of avocado and cucumber. These keep the roll really fresh tasting and allow the crab flavors to come through.
There are hundreds of recipes that you could choose from when using imitation crab. Our 17 imitation crab recipes suggestions are designed to showcase all of the different directions that you could go. As a general rule, the only limit is your imagination and the amount of imitation crab you have to hand. If you have any other great examples, feel free to share them in the comments below.