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Cream of Crab Soup

July 7, 2017 by Nicole Collins

There are 2 types of crab soup eaters in Maryland.

You're either on team “Maryland Crab” or team “Cream of Crab”. Rarely, are you on both.

It's not like you can only have one or the other, because that would be BIG TIME missing out. But, most of us have our “go to” selection...the soup that we always order at a restaurant without even considering the other option.

Maryland Crab Soup is a tomato based soup full of hearty veggies, spicy broth, and of course, crab meat. Most true Marylanders like to simmer leftover crab shells in the broth base for that extra crabby flavor. And most also prefer claw meat as opposed to lump crab meat in the Maryland style soup. I'll never turn my nose up at a good bowl of crab soup. In fact, Sultan's dad makes an excellent crab soup.

BUT...I'm a Cream of Crab girl through and through.

I'm a tough critic when it comes to Cream of Crab Soup, though. Even though I'll always order it if it's on a menu at someplace I'm dining, not everyone makes it the way I like.

There's a lot of things that can go wrong with Cream of Crab Soup. Some places make it too thin. Some places don't add enough crab. Some places under season it. But worst of all, some places either add too much butter or they overcook the soup causing the cream to separate. Either results in an oily soup. Eww.

My ideal Cream of Crab Soup looks like this...a thick, creamy soup loaded with lump crab meat, some hidden veggies for texture, and perfectly seasoned with enough Old Bay to give the soup a light pink tint. WOWOWOW!

And that folks is exactly what I'm giving you today.

You know by now that I love my make ahead meals, right? When you're cooking for one, you have to have something that stores well. That's certainly a challenge with anything cream based; because no matter what you do, the cream will separate. And that's when you get that oily mess.

So, to avoid that, this soup uses a little help from the grocery store. I generally don't go anywhere near the canned soup aisle in the store unless I'm making this soup. But, using canned creamed soups really helps our soup stay together, creamy, and delicious.

Please make sure you're checking the nutrition labels, though, before you put those cans in your cart. Canned soups are known for being loaded with sodium, and I'm not trying to raise anyone's blood pressure in the name of bringing them over to team “Cream of Crab”. Compare brands; and if possible, choose the Heart Healthy options. The difference can be 500mg of sodium vs. close to 900mg!

Ok, PSA over.

In addition to the canned soups, we're using evaporated milk which is much more stable than heavy cream. So, we get the creaminess of the dairy without the risk of it breaking! You can use whole evaporated milk or the 2% doesn't really matter. You'll just need to simmer the soup a few minutes longer if you get 2%, because it is just a touch thinner.

The canned goods get brightened up with some celery and onions, and of course the star of the show: lump crab meat! The crab breaks up a little as the soup simmers, so you're truly getting a mouthful of crab in every bite. BOOM goes the dynamite!

While we're talking about the simmering soup, I should tell you that this is not one of those soups where you throw things in a pot and walk away. This soup needs some babysitting. You don't need to constantly stir it, but you need to give it a stir every 3 or 4 minutes with a wooden spoon. All of the dairy in this soup will scorch on the bottom if you leave it unattended, so stay close! It's totally worth the extra effort.

Alright, well the time has come for you to choose. I'll see you on team “Cream of Crab”!

Let's eat!


Cream of Crab Soup

Serves: 4 Print


  • 1 small or half of a large onion, diced (about ½ cup)

  • 2 stalks celery, diced

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 can (10.5 oz) cream of celery soup

  • 1 can (10.5 oz) cream of potato soup

  • 2 cans (12 oz each) evaporated milk

  • ½ lb lump crab meat

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 heaping tbsp Old Bay


  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and celery, and saute until softened, about 5 mins.

  2. Add soups, milk, crab, and spices; and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12-15 minutes to your desired thickness. Be sure to stir the soup with a wooden spoon no less than every 3 or 4 minutes to avoid the bottom from scorching. Divide, serve, and garnish with Old Bay.

Recipe notes:

*It's very important not to walk away from this soup. It needs to be stirred, including running your spoon across the bottom of the pot, every few minutes. I do not recommend using a plastic spoon to stir this soup. It will melt. (I may or may not know that from experience.) A wooden spoon is the way to go.

*Check the labels of your creamed soups, and try to get the lowest sodium version possible.

*You can use 2% evaporated milk if you'd like. You'll just need to simmer the soup a tad longer.

*Get fresh crab meat if you can. Don't buy the stuff in a can. You can REALLY tell the difference. Most fresh crab meat is sold by the pound. Since we only need half, you can leave the crab in the container you bought it in, throw that in a freezer safe bag, and freeze the crab meat for future use. Just thaw it out before you want to use it again. I do this all the time!

*This recipe also doubles well if you want to use the full pound of crab meat.

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