Get ready to savor a taste of the South with our delightful deviled crab recipe. This classic Southern dish combines succulent crab meat with a blend of spices, all baked to perfection. Whether you know every crab recipe on the block or are new to this Southern treasure, our step-by-step guide will have you whipping up a plate of mouthwatering deviled crab in no time.

Overhead shot of cast iron skillet filled with deviled crab.

When it comes to the king of seafood recipes, nothing tops Blue Crabs in our book. Their succulent sweet meat has a great flavor that is unique to the Chesapeake region and runs further down the southern East Coast. These small crabs are perfect for a variety of indulgent seafood recipes for everything from crab imperial to crab pasta. But this deviled crab recipe packs a sense of nostalgia in every amazing bite.

Table with plates of steak, green beans and crab in skillets.
We served this with a blade steak for an epic surf and turf dinner.

What is Deviled Crab?

This dish is a regional gem from the South. Not the fried crab croquettes you will find with Cuban and Spanish history in Florida, deviled crab is a recipe using Blue Crab meat seasoned with spices and baked or broiled.

Although many versions of deviled crab recipes exist, we uncovered the richest roots in a small island off the coast of Hilton Head, South Carolina. Having run our own crab traps off the coast of South Carolina and harvesting blue crab fresh for dinner, it’s easy to see how this dish could become the staple of the small remote island of Daufuskie, where the women would make and sell this dish to tourists.

It looks similar to a crab cake, but the best deviled crab is often baked in shallow ramekins or even real crab shells (crab backs). If you’re on the hunt, you can even find some vintage crab shell serving dishes that are just the right size for this recipe and other crab dips.

Deviled crab vs. Crab cakes?

Where we think blue crab is the only crab meat you should use for either of these recipes, they are not one and the same. Crab cakes are far milder, whereas Deviled crab, as the name implies, packs heat from the abundant spices mixed into the filling. However, anyone from the Eastern Shore will agree that both dishes are best when they are loaded with lump crab meat and minimal breadcrumbs or filling.

We like to serve crab cake sandwiches as a main dish, where deviled crab is a timeless appetizer or side dish to elevate any steak recipe to a surf and turf dream.

Ingredients for this crab recipe arranged on a black table.


Where the ingredients may be for special occasions, this is one of those easy recipes that comes together quickly. Just ensure you have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you get started for the best results.

  • Crab meat – If you’re on the East Coast, getting your hands on the fresh crabs for this recipe will be easy. Even getting the shells to bake them in will be. You could pick them up from every crab shack up and down the coast. Further west, we look for lump and claw crab meat packed in small containers. We often find Phillips crab meat in the cooler aisles of Costco. Phillips is a brand we know and trust from the Maryland region.
  • Minced onion, bell pepper, celery stalks, and garlic
  • Mayo and Dijon mustard
  • Old Bay Seafood seasoning, cayenne powder, and smoked paprika.
  • Kosher Salt, lemon juice, unsalted butter, and an egg
  • Pork panko – Many recipes will use bread crumbs, crushed Ritz crackers, or panko. We love keeping this low-carb by using pork panko.
  • Parsley, scallions, and a lemon wedge for serving.

Want a little more spice? Add a dash of hot sauce to the mixture.

How to make Deviled Crab

When cooking with fresh crab meat, always check it thoroughly for small pieces of shell before cooking. Trust us, you don’t want to skip this step.

  • Start by sauteing the minced veggies in a large skillet preheated with a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, bell pepper, and celery until softened and slightly translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic at the last minute, remove the veggies from the stove, and transfer them to a large bowl to cool.
  • While the veggies cool, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a few small oven-safe ramekins or small cast iron skillets with butter.
  • Then, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt, lemon juice, melted butter, and egg in a big bowl and mix well to combine.
  • Fold in the crab meat, cooled veggies, and panko. Then gently fold to combine.
  • Transfer the crab mixture evenly into the greased baking dishes. Sprinkle the tops with the paprika and place them on a baking sheet to easily handle them. Bake the deviled crab for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through and the top is golden brown.
  • Remove the deviled crab from the oven and allow the dishes to cool for 5 minutes before serving hot. Garnish the top with a little minced parsley and chopped green onion. Serve the deviled crab hot with a lemon wedge to squeeze fresh lemon juice right over the top, and enjoy. Because of the rich flavor of this dish, we skip any tartar sauce or cocktail sauce, but you could always have it on the side.  

Girl Carnivore Expert Recipe Tip

We will admit we are biased and think Blue Crab tastes best, particularly in dishes like this. However, you can use whatever crab meat you have on hand. Dungeness crab would also work well. We wouldn’t recommend Stone Crab, King Crab legs, or Snow Crab legs, as those are best enjoyed right out of the shell.

Want to add a little smoky flavor? Consider cooking this on your favorite grill, whether pellet, charcoal, or gas.

How to Serve this Crab Recipe

This is one of those dishes that’s great as an appetizer to a dinner party, like in the center of a beautiful charcuterie board. Or as a side dish next to a hearty pan-seared steak, or a perfectly cooked grilled tenderloin for a swanky surf and turf option.

It goes great with simple side dishes like coleslaw and cornbread, hush puppies, or corn salad.

Leftovers and Reheating

Store any leftover baked deviled crab in an airtight container in the fridge for three days. Reheat in a small ramekin or heatproof skillet in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes until heated through. If you originally served this in their own shells, you can wrap them tightly in foil and store them in the fridge for 3 days, reheating them right in the crab shell as mentioned above.

Warm dish of baked crab dish with a spoon, garnished and ready to be served.

More Crab Recipes

Give our deviled crab recipe a whirl in your kitchen, and you’ll savor the delightful taste of the South. Its crispy exterior and rich, flavorful filling make it a crowd-pleaser that promises to satisfy your seafood cravings.

Have you tried this recipe? Do us a favor and rate the recipe card with the  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ and drop a comment to help out the next reader.

Deviled Crab

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Wooden table with plated filled with sliced steaks and skillet of this crab recipe.
This deviled crab recipe brings together the flavors of sweet crab meat and zesty spices in a dish that's a true taste of the Eastern Shore. 🦀🔥 It's quick, easy, and an absolute showstopper of delectable crab crab baked to golden perfection.


For the crab stuffing:

  • 1 lbs crab meat
  • 1/2 onion miced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper minced
  • 1 celery stalks minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup Mayo
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seafood seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup Pork panko bread crumbs, crushed Ritz or saltine crackers, or panko also work.
  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika

For garnish:

  • Parsley minced
  • scallions minced
  • lemon wedges


Prep the filling:

  • Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • When heated, add 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl to coat the pan.
    4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Add the minced onion, bell pepper and celery and cook 5 to 7 minutes until softened and translucent.
    1/2 onion, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1 celery stalks
  • Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds longer.
    3 cloves garlic
  • Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the veggie mix to a small bowl to cool.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and allow it to cool.
    4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay, cayenne, salt, lemon juice, melted butter, and the egg.
    1/2 cup Mayo, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp Old Bay Seafood seasoning, 1/2 tsp cayenne powder, 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 large egg, 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Mix well to combine.
  • Add the crab meat, cooled veggies and panko to the bowl.
    1 lbs crab meat, 1/2 cup Pork panko
  • Fold the crab mix gently to combine.

Bake the deviled crab:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Grease 6 small ramekins or 3.5″ cast iron skillets with 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Divide the crab mixture evenly into the greased dishes.
  • Transfer the individual ramekins to a baking sheet for easy handling.
  • Sprinkle the tops with the paprika.
    1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through and the top is golden brown and slightly crispy.


  • Remove the deviled crab from the oven and allow to cook for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with minced parsley, green onion and lemon wedges.
    Parsley, lemon wedges, scallions
  • Serve hot.


We recommend Blue Crab lump and claw meat for this recipe.
When cooking with fresh crab meat, always check it thoroughly for small pieces of shell before cooking. Trust us, you don’t want to skip this step.
Because of the rich flavor of this dish, we skip any tartar sauce or cocktail sauce, but you could always have it on the side.
Add some heat by adding a dash of Tobasco to the mayo mix, if desired. 


Serving: -2g | Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 1045mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 816IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Kita Roberts

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The Famous Daufuskie Deviled Crab via Hilton Head Monthly

What Makes Daufuskie Deviled Crab So Delicious? via Southern Living

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.


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