Weekend Cooking: Pan Fried Soft Shell Crabs

Weekend Cooking, Cooking books, food books

This post is part of fellow book blogger, Beth Fish Reads‘, weekly meme (a “community” blog post, for all those non-bloggers out there) called Weekend Cooking.

My absolute favorite food season of the year is upon us – soft shell crab season! I spent a lot of time on the Chesapeake Bay growing up and always had access to fresh soft shells. If we were really lucky, we’d get one in our crab pot, but that was fairly rare. Some people are scared of these little guys because you eat the entire thing…legs and all, but I think eating the soft version is the best way to taste their delicious crabbiness!

Raw Soft Shell Crabs

They’re delicate and mild, so you don’t want to do very much to them when you cook them. One of my biggest pet peeves (and one of the reasons I’m really picky about ordering soft shells in restaurants) is when they’re served deep fried with a ton of breading and some complicated sauce. It masks the delicate flavor of the crab and all you taste is the breading and sauce. The best way I’ve had soft shells is deep fried with NO batter…just a light dusting of Old Bay as soon as they come out of the fryer.

Pan Fried Soft Shell Crabs

Here’s how we do them at home…

Soft Shell Crabs
Warning: I’m horrible about measuring, so this “recipe” is more of a method than a true recipe.

  • Make sure the crabs are cleaned – ask your fish guy to do this for you.
  • Lightly dust crabs with flour mixed with salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Go light on the salt since Old Bay spice is fairly salty.
  • Melt a mix of butter and canola oil (the oil keeps the butter from burning) in a non-stick pan over medium high heat.
  • Fry crabs for a few minutes per side (you want every part of the crab to turn red).

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  1. I’ve never prepared soft shell crabs at home, but you make it sound so simple… especially if the seafood guy does the work of cleaning them!

    And I know what you mean about all the breading and sauce with the deep-fried version. You could practically be eating chicken and never know it 😉

    Posted 5.31.14 Reply
  2. Elizabeth wrote:

    This post brings back lots of old memories for me. My great-aunt used to send us frozen containers of softshell crab from North Carolina. I ate so much softshell crab as a child. Delicious.

    Posted 5.31.14 Reply
  3. Growing up in the Midwest, I never had anything like this. But our modern fancy seafood store might have some these. That could be fun!

    Posted 5.31.14 Reply
  4. Vicki wrote:

    I love crab cakes, but haven’t ever tried them like this. I’d probably like them deep fried too!

    Here’s My Weekend Cooking

    Posted 5.31.14 Reply
  5. I wonder where I could get crab – I must give it a try… Cheers

    Posted 5.31.14 Reply
  6. Rhiannon wrote:

    I’m a bit scared of cooking seafood but I sure do like to eat it all!!

    Posted 5.31.14 Reply
  7. I have never tried a softshell crab. Just not something readily available up here in the Great Lakes. 🙂

    Posted 5.31.14 Reply
  8. jama wrote:

    Count me among those who are afraid to eat these because you eat the whole thing. I like the idea of frying them without batter, though.

    Posted 5.31.14 Reply
  9. My husband would be in heaven if I fixed those!

    Posted 5.31.14 Reply
  10. I’ve never tried soft shell crabs – I’m pretty certain we don’t have them in this country. i must admit it’s a little hard to get your head around eating the whole thing, but you make it sound pretty irresistable.

    Posted 6.1.14 Reply
  11. Beth F wrote:

    I love crab any ole way! I’ve never tried to make soft-shelled crabs at home, but this method sounds easy as can be.

    Posted 6.2.14 Reply

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