If you’re a crab lover like me, this crab bake casserole recipe will seriously change your life! Deliciously buttery with piles of jumbo lump crab meat topped with a crispy, flavorful crust– TO DIE FOR. The best ever crab bake recipe that the whole family will enjoy! This is an easy crab meat recipe, you’ll come back to again and again. Includes a gluten free option.
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Note: This post was originally published on my food blog, A Bite of Inspiration (read more about it in this post here.) It’s been slightly edited and modified to make the content even more inspiring and the recipe even more delicious! Enjoy!
When I was growing up, my family and I used to take frequent weekend trips around the East Coast. We traveled to amazing cities like New York, Boston, and Philly– just to name a few. Some of my fondest memories were made in the great city of Baltimore, one of the most underrated cities of all time if you ask me. I’ve been to Baltimore, Maryland at least 25 times throughout my life and have never had a dull trip there. It’s a fantastic city with a lot more culture and vibrancy to it than most people assume. Plus, the food scene is on point. As you can imagine, some of the best seafood in the whole wide world can be found in Baltimore. Specifically, CRAB. Maryland is famous for the blue crab, which has a gorgeously delicate and sweet flavor. It’s perfect in crab cakes, but also equally delicious on its own with a bit of Old Bay and vinegar. Mmm.. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
So, of course, the recipe I have created inspired by Baltimore is a crab centric dish. And trust me– you will love this easy crab recipe! It’s essentially a hot crab casserole filled with tons of succulent jumbo lump crab meat swimming in delicious chive butter and topped off with a golden, slightly sweet breadcrumb mixture (the secret is graham crackers!) that complements the crab perfectly. It’s a crab lover’s dream come true—beautifully buttery with a delightful crunch. This is a crab casserole with ritz crackers as a topping, so you already know it’ll be delicious. If you love crab, you absolutely have to try this dish. It’s simple enough to highlight the crab, but complex enough to elevate its flavors. If you’re looking for a hot crab meat recipe everyone in your family will enjoy, this is the one.
This crab bake recipe is egg free and nut free! It can also easily be made dairy free, if you swap out the butter for vegan butter (I like Earth Balance Buttery Spread). And if you’re gluten free (like me), don’t worry! You can still enjoy this buttery crab bake goodness. Just check the recipe notes for a completley gluten free option.
I used my 3.5 quart Le Creuset dutch oven (pictured below) to bake this pie because 1) I’m obsessed with it and 2) you get a more even bake. My Le Creuset Dutch oven was my first big cookware investment– they’re on the pricey side, but they are totally worth it. I’ve had mine for 10 years and it’s still in perfect condition. If you’re interested in a Dutch oven, but Le Creuset is a little pricey for you, I also like this Lodge 3 quart Dutch Oven. Alternatively, you can bake this crab casserole in a regular medium-sized baking dish like this one.
I recommend fresh jumbo lumb crab meat for this crab bake recipe! You can often find this at your local seafood market or counter. If you’re having trouble finding fresh jumbo lump crab meat then feel free to use canned. I recommend Phillips Super Lump Crab Meat, which can be purchased for a good price on Amazon here. And yes, Phillips Seafood is headquartered in Baltimore so you know it’s legit! 😉
So whether you get nostalgic about Baltimore too or you’ve never even been, this Buttery Crab Bake Casserole will make you feel like you’re there, feasting on crabs by the Chesapeake Bay. The picture below features my delicious hot crab casserole straight out of the oven (YUM!) with some of my favorite Baltimore souvernirs “artistically” arranged around it. I wasn’t kidding about my Baltimore nostalgia! 😊 I hope you love this crab bake recipe as much as I do. Enjoy!
Buttery Crab Bake Casserole
You'll love this delicious crab casserole with ritz crackers as a topping! Dripping with flavorful chive butter and a secret ingredient that makes the crust slightly sweet, this is an easy crab meat recipe you'll want to eat again and again! Great for the whole family.
For the casserole filling:
- 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat picked through for shells
- 1 cup salted butter melted
- 2 teaspoons fresh chives chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spread crab meat evenly across the bottom of a 3.5 quart dutch oven or a medium baking pan.
Pour 1 cup melted butter on top of the crab meat. Mix well, so that crab is evenly coated.
Add the chives to the crab. Stir well.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
Add butter crackers and graham crackers into a food processor. Process on high until small, even crumbs form.
Put the cracker crumbs into a bowl. Add the 6 tablespoons of melted butter and mix until well combined.
Using a spoon, carefully spread the cracker mixture evenly over the crab.
Cover with foil and put it in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes until bubbly around the edges.
Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Divide among four plates and garnish with chives, if desired. Enjoy hot!
If you want to make this crab casserole truly Maryland-style, feel free to add some Old Bay Seasoning to the crab mixture.
To make this recipe gluten free, simply use gluten free butter crackers (like these) and gluten free graham crackers (like this this one). Another alternative is to use 1.5 cups unseasoned gluten free breadcrumbs (not panko, just regular breadcrumbs) with 1/2 teaspoon of light brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. This will replicate the taste of the butter cracker and graham cracker combo.
If you enjoyed this post, you will also love:
Dairy-Free Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (GF + Olive Garden Copycat) – This is my most popular recipe! It’s sooo good!
Chocolate Cherry Waffle Cake (GF Option)
Naturally Pink Protein Snacks (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)
Balsamic Roasted Asparagus and Carrots
Vegan Thai Curry Mac and Cheese
Green Juice Bubble Tea
Check out F&F’s Recipe Index for more deliciousness! 😋