Crab Imperial

By February 5, 2017 Blog, Recipes, Sunday Supper 18 Comments

Crabs are a favorite in our family. My husband grew up in Annapolis, MD on the water and they only had to walk to their backyard and pull up the crab pots for this delicacy. He and his siblings would bring home their prizes and they were prepared in the most traditional ways: steamed, formed into crab cakes, in a dip or prepared as crab imperial.

Traditionally this Crab Imperial is served in crab shells or stuffed into shrimp, the local rockfish or even lobster tails. Many recipes add a lot of ingredients and a sauce on top to call it Crab Imperial. We keep it simple. Our version of Crab Imperial is very similar to our crab cake recipe topped with our homemade tarter sauce.

Long ago, when I first moved to Baltimore, I found some glass crab shells at a yard sale. I held onto them and gave them to Steve, who loves to serve his versions of crab in them. This makes the most spectacular presentation for our Crab Imperial to serve as an appetizer or part of the main course. Another favorite is to top/compliment shrimp or other seafood, sometimes even a steak. There are many ways to use and serve this dish, which is really just an elegantly presented crab cake to me.

As always, the searching out the beat jumbo lump crabmeat is the key to this dish. We believe the best ingredients, prepared simply, give the best results.

5 from 1 vote

Crab Imperial

This recipe serves as an elegant appetizer or main course.  It can be served in crab shells, ramekins, or stuffed in shrimp, fish, lobster tails- you name it. To me it's a crab cake without filler.   As always, the searching out the beat jumbo lump crabmeat is the key to this dish. We believe the best ingredients, prepared simply, give the best results.

Servings 4
Author Monica


  • 1 lb Jumbo Lump Crab meat
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Parsley plus more for garnish
  • 4-6 tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup of Tarter Sauce* Homemade if possible


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the crabmeat into a bowl and gently, with your hands, remove any bits of shell or cartilage, taking care not to break up any of the lumps.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the egg with mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Old Bay, parsley and four tablespoons of mayonnaise together. Gently mix this into the crab meat, taste and add more Old Bay or mayonnaise if needed.

  3. Divide the mixture into 4 or 6 ramekins, top each with 1 tablespoon of the tarter sauce and and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then switch the oven to broil. Watch the ramekins closely and immediately remove them from the oven when browned. Plate the ramekins and garnish with a bit of chopped parsley, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Resist the impulse to add more Old Bay unless you taste it first. The Old bay is spicy and salty and it’s meant to enhance the flavor of the crab, not overpower it.

Today we feature the Sunday Supper tastemakers and their favorite recipes for two.  Valentines Day is coming so let’s celebrate in style!

Thanks to Candace from Authentically Candace for hosting this event! 

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