Skip to Content

She Crab Soup

She-Crab Soup, a rich, creamy soup much like bisque, shows off South Carolina cuisine. Heavy cream and Atlantic blue crab, and crab roe topped off with a dash of dry sherry create a spectacular seafood entree. One cup of this highly seasoned soup isn’t enough.

Diving into a decadent bowl of she crab soup with crusty bread

If you ever visit Charleston, South Carolina, you have to try this creamy goodness. She crab soup is that city’s specialty, and they’ve got it down. Besides, you’ll want to know what the original tastes like so you know when you’ve got the recipe right.😉

If you like clam chowder, you’ll love creamy, briney bisque with a touch of tang and heat. However, it’s a more delicate soup for true decadence. And don’t worry if fresh she-crabs aren’t available where you are because lump crab meat works for this awesome recipe.

Eyeing a spoon loaded with thick and creamy she crab soup

Why Is It Called She-Crab Soup?

Scottish immigrants brought their beloved rice and crab bisque recipe way back in the 1700s. Then in the 1900s, the mayor’s butler, William Deas, decided to give it an exciting twist. He created a classic Charleston specialty using female crabs and the gorgeous reddish-orange roe. The rest is history.

Recipe Ingredients

Recipe ingredients for a delicious she-crab soup
  • Soup Base – Butter, onion, celery, and garlic add subtle earthiness and flavor depth, with flour thickening it into a soup.
  • Seafood Stock intensifies the soup’s flavor and perfectly complements the crab meat.
  • Seasonings – Paprika and Old Bay seasoning are simple yet effective seasonings for many soup recipes.
  • Dry Sherry – Dry sherry adds umami and enriches the overall flavor profile.
  • Half-and-Half or heavy cream gives bisques their smooth creaminess. You can replace it with milk, but cream always tastes better.
  • Lemon Juice delivers a balancing tartness that enhances all seafood.
  • Crab Meat – The star of this seafood recipe is typically a female with her roe. But don’t feel bad about leaving the roe out and using the crabmeat you have.
  • Garnishes – Chopped chives and parsley not only taste great, but also they’re beautiful.

How to Make She Crab Soup

Saute veggies, add liquid, and simmer
  1. Saute Veggies – Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, add onion, garlic and celery. Saute them for 3-4 minutes until the onion is translucent. 
  2. Make the Roux – Next, sprinkle flour over the vegetables and saute for about a minute.  
  3. Add Stock – Whisk in the seafood stock. Then deglaze the bottom of the pan by scraping up any browned bits. Continue to mix until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.
Add seasonings, cream, and garnish
  1. Season – Add the paprika and Old Bay seasoning, and stir. Then bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the soup thickens to your preference. 
  2. Final Stretch – Gradually add the half-and-half, dry sherry, lemon juice, and half of the crab meat. Stir to combine. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Serve – Remove pan from the heat, pour your she crab soup into a bowl, and top with about a tablespoon of dry sherry and some crab meat. Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley or chives, and enjoy!
Serving up a bowl of she crab soup with crusty bread

Recipe Tips 

  • You can choose a more budget-friendly option by buying half lump and half claw meat. 
  • If you don’t like too spicy soup or you’ll serve it to kids, reduce the use of paprika and cayenne pepper. 
  • Finely dice the veggies to avoid chunky soup and get a smooth texture.
  • If you don’t want to leave any veggies and seasonings, you can deglaze the pot with sherry that’s not dry to pull everything from the sides of the pot. 

Make Ahead and Storage Instructions

Make the soup, but wait to add the crab meat so it doesn’t get dry and rubbery. When ready to serve, warm it on the stovetop, add the crab, then simmer and serve.

Leftovers will last refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days. Or use a freezer-safe resealable bag and freeze for 4-6 months

Thaw your she-crab soup overnight in the fridge and reheat it on the stove until it barely simmers. Or you can zap it in the microwave for a minute or two. 

Two bowls of soul satisfying she crab soup with mouthwatering crusty bread.

More Soulful Soup Recipes to Try

Diving into a decadent bowl of she crab soup with crusty bread
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes

She Crab Soup

A rich, creamy soup much like bisque, shows off South Carolina cuisine. Heavy cream and Atlantic blue crab, and crab roe topped off with a dash of dry sherry create a spectacular seafood entree. One cup of this highly seasoned soup isn't enough.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 200kcal
Author Imma

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups seafood stock
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 cup half and half (or ½ cup milk and ½ cup heavy cream)
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over and divided
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped chives and parsley for garnishing

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, add onion, garlic and celery. Saute for about 3-4 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  • Next, sprinkle flour over the vegetables and saute for about a minute.
  • Whisk in the seafood stock. Deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Continue mixing until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.
  • Add paprika and Old Bay seasoning. Mix well. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat, and allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the soup thickens to your preference.
  • Gradually add the half and half, dry sherry, lemon juice, and half of the crab meat. Stir to combine. Season with salt to taste.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, pour the she-crab soup into a bowl, and top with about 1 tablespoon of dry sherry and some crab meat. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley or chives, and enjoy!

Notes

  • For a smoother, creamier soup, you can puree it in your blender before adding the crab meat. Then serve it and add the crabmeat and garnishes.
  • You can choose a more budget-friendly option by buying half lump and half claw meat. 
  • If you don’t like too spicy soup or you’ll serve it to kids, reduce the use of paprika and cayenne pepper. 
  • Finely dice the veggies to avoid chunky soup and get a smooth texture.
  • If you don’t want to leave any veggies and seasonings, you can deglaze the pot with sherry that’s not dry to pull everything from the sides of the pot. 
  • Please remember that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.

 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 790mg
Recipe Rating