Fresh & Simple Crab Salad

updated Jul 27, 2020

This minimalist recipe looks toward Maryland with its Old Bay and chive accents, but keeps the sweet crabmeat front and center.


Prep10 minutes

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Crab salad sprinkled with paprika and garnished with chives in vintage white Pyrex bowl. Two glasses of white wine in tumbler glasses off to the side.
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

When it comes to the very best crab salad, less is always more. Fresh, succulent jumbo crab meat is a delight — sweet with just a hint of briny, mineral flavor — and shouldn’t be masked by too many add-ins. This minimalist recipe does just that, looking toward Maryland with its Old Bay and chive accents but keeping the crabmeat front and center. It’s bright, light, and incredibly versatile — everything you could want in a refreshing summer salad.

Easy Crab Salad

As with many of the finer things in life, you’ll pay dearly for fresh jumbo lump crabmeat — likely $30 to $40 a pound. All the more reason for not wanting to mask crab’s delectable flavor under a heavy sauce or overload of spices. That said, lump crabmeat, made from smaller pieces of body meat along with broken or small pieces of jumbo lump, can be found for about half the price; canned crabmeat is even cheaper.

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Enjoy This Versatile Crab Salad in Sandwiches, Dips, and More

In terms of how to enjoy this salad, the possibilities are pretty much endless. My favorite preparation, the classic crab roll, showcases the cool crab salad on a toasted, buttered hot dog bun (top-sliced Pepperidge Farm, ideally), perhaps accented with a few lettuce leaves.

For a festive lunch, serve the crab salad on a bed of Bibb lettuce or atop a halved avocado. For an appetizer, pile it onto crostini or serve as a canapé atop thin slices of crunchy Granny Smith apple or cucumber. For a more casual get-together, blend the crab salad with cream cheese and sour cream for tangy crab dip. Or, embracing the “less is more” mentality, simply grab a spoon and eat the salad straight out of the serving bowl.    

Fresh & Simple Crab Salad

This minimalist recipe looks toward Maryland with its Old Bay and chive accents, but keeps the sweet crabmeat front and center.

Prep time 10 minutes


Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 2 tablespoons

    finely chopped chives

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Old Bay seasoning

  • 1 pound

    jumbo lump crab meat

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Serving options: lettuce leaves, halved avocados, or buttered, toasted hot dog buns


  1. Prepare the following, placing them in a large bowl: finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon until you have 1/2 teaspoon; juice the lemon until you have 1 teaspoon juice. Finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons chives. Add 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, and stir to combine.

  2. Pick through 1 pound fresh jumbo lump crab meat for any shells, then add the crab meat to the dressing and stir until combined. Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve plain or, if desired, on a bed of lettuce, scooped into halved avocados, or in a buttered, toasted hot dog bun.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The crab salad can be made one to two days in advance, but crab tastes best when it’s fresh. Given this recipe’s quick prep time, you’ll reap the most rewards if you make it just before eating.

Storage: The crab salad will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.