Steve’s Famous Maryland Crab Soup

Have you ever sampled the “real” Maryland  Style Crab Soup?   You may think you have until you taste Steve’s recipe. This is a thick rich tomato based soup. This Maryland Crab Soup is a wonderful thing to have year round but it’s our staple during the winter until the fresh crabs come into season.  CrabsThere is no doubt that Crabs are the king of the Chesapeake Bay.  If you visit Maryland, you must try the crabs.  There are many other regional specialties but Crab is the most famous and the most popular. Then there is Old bay Seasoning and that goes along with the crabs.   There are many recipes that feature Crab but this time of year we celebrate springtime with a big pot of this soup.IMG_6300Maryland Crab Soup is a tomato-based soup with mixed vegetables, lima beans, potatoes, Old Bay Seasoning, and, of course, Crab Meat. Traditionally this soup is made with half beef broth and half chicken. Out Daughter in law has a beef allergy so we omit the beef broth – just in case she is here when we pull a quart from the freezer.IMG_6356Steve has lived his entire life in the Annapolis area and considers himself a connoisseur of all things crab.  There are very few restaurants he will even consider ordering crab soup from. He makes it himself, preferably outside. There are a few tricks to this soup. It is made in a big pot, so there is a lot of it. I used a 9 qt. pot and it was full.  IMG_6314This soup is a marvel; it’s thick rich and filling. When this soup is made, we have a party in the back yard. If there is any left over it goes into quart jars and we distribute it as a special treat to our friends. Once you taste it you’ll see why it causes so much excitement – It’s special.IMG_6299

4.9 from 17 reviews
Maryland Crab Soup
Servings: 16 - 20 servings
  • 4 tablespoons of Butter
  • I Large Onion, Finely Chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 Cup of Celery. Diced
  • 2 Quarts of Chicken Stock, preferably Homemade
  • 2 Quarts of Beef Stock, preferably Homemade
  • 1 teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning + more to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1½ Cups Cabbage, Finely Chopped
  • 1½ Cups of Lima Beans, Fresh or Frozen
  • 1 Pound of Potatoes, Diced (about 2 cups +/-)
  • 2 Pound bag of frozen Mixed vegetables - Corn, Peas, Carrots & Green Beans*
  • 1- 28 oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes**
  • 1 Pound of Lump or Backfin Crabmeat
  • 1 Pound of Claw Crabmeat
  • Salt
  1. Melt the butter in a large stockpot, then sauté the onions and celery until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the chicken & beef stocks and season the soup with the red pepper flakes, Old Bay Seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add the cabbage, potatoes, Lima beans, frozen mixed vegetables and crushed tomatoes. Bring the pot to a low boil for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, place the crabmeat in a bowl and gently pick over it for any shells. Add the crabmeat and simmer for five minutes until the crabmeat is heated. Season the soup with salt, then add adjust the seasonings as needed with additional hot sauce, old bay and/or Worcestershire sauce to taste.
  4. Thin the soup with additional stock or water as needed.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and serve.
*Fresh carrots, peas, corn and green beans can be used instead of the frozen. I like the fresh but the traditionalists use the frozen and tell me this is the way!
** If the canned tomatoes are acidic add up to 2 tablespoons of sugar.
***Feel free to use 4 quarts of chicken stock for the chicken and beef stock. I do this because of a beef allergy in the family.



  • Ohh this I would eat the entire pot of!! Love it!

  • Stacy says:

    I can see why your friends and family love it, Monica. Steve’s thick crab soup looks absolutely wonderful!

  • Carlee says:

    That looks so good! I have heard of red seafood soups before, but have never tried one. I wish I had one of those jars with me now!

  • Eileen says:

    This soup look so delicious.

  • Hezzi-D says:

    This sounds amazing! I love a good bowl of Maryland Crab soup!

  • Siobhan says:

    When do you use the beef broth or the crushed tomato? I’m in the middle of cooking it now and don’t see when you add it?

    • Monica says:

      It’s all updated now, hopefully it’s not too late! We don’t use the beef broth due to my DIL’s allergies so I modified the recipe – Thanks for the catch!

  • Liz says:

    No, I haven’t had this famous soup! But that MUST change! It looks amazing.

  • Sara says:

    We love crabs and soup! I can see why people would want to take home leftovers! It looks fantastic!

  • I don’t know that I have a pot that’s big enough, but you know I’m going to try! I love all those vegetables in this soup. Yum!

  • I love cracking crabs and drinking beer on a hot summer day. However the chances of me getting fresh crabs are slim to none and this soup looks wonderful. I can’t wait to try it.

  • I love the limas in this — a big Delaware favorite – can’t wait to try!

  • Maria says:

    Steve has just become my best friend… this looks amazing! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • This was the first soup we made in class so many years ago. I haven’t had it in a long time. I love your version!

  • That settles it, with all the great seafood recipes for Sunday Supper this week I have GOT to make a trip out east!

  • anne says:

    I think I will be traveling to maryland soon! This looks amazing.

  • Holly says:

    I love everything about this soup…the tomato base, all the yummy crab meat, the veggies. Can’t wait to make it!

  • Caroline says:

    This looks so delicious, I love crab and everything else sounds great as well. Must give it a try!

  • Renee says:

    I’m loving the tomato-based crab soup! Plus all the goodies in it. I’m so making this when the weather turns cold (too hot for soup here now).

  • I can see why you make so much at a time!

  • John says:

    On the Crab Soup. My family always added Okra. Kind of a southern Eastern Shore thing I think. Really great though.

  • Colleen says:

    This looks delicious Monica!

  • Kelly R Price says:

    I ran and got the ingredients and then got confused. I had beef broth, not sure when to add it (I see a note that you stopped using it) So then what is the correct way to make this recipe? Do I add the beef broth or not and if not do I substitute 4 quarts of chicken stock? Next question, too late for me but maybe someone else can be helped…it says to season with worch. old bay and red pepper at the end of the recipe, is that on top of the seasonings added in the first steps?

    • Monica says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks so much for your input on the crab soup recipe! I’ve made the following clarifications per your comments:
      Add the chicken and beef stock together and adjust the seasonings as needed with additional hot sauce, old bay and/or Worcestershire sauce to taste. The recipe is updated on the site.

      How did your soup turn out?

      Many thanks for the comments and for stopping by!!!!

  • Jon Richt says:

    A local store here in central MA serves “Maryland Vegetable Crab Soup” I got addicted to, which resulted in me looking for a recipe. Of the half-dozen I found, this one looked the best/closest, so I made it for the first time last night. This was fantastic. I’ll probably make a few modifications to suit my own taste, but it’s a keeper. Thanks a lot for posting it!

    A quick question: what’s up with the chicken/beef stock? Is it simply traditional? It wasn’t bad (far from it), but I’d have thought seafood stock would work better.

    A quick comment: the instructions mention bay leaves, but the ingredients don’t list it. I tossed two in for a half batch; my family is small 🙂

  • Becky says:

    I just finished making this for Christmas Eve dinner and it is delicious! I doubled it in anticipation that it would be yummy and I am so glad I did! How do you freeze your quart portions? And quick, before my family eats it all!

    • Monica says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I do freeze them in quart containers but make sure to leave a little room for the soup to expand once it freezes so it doesn’t pop the top off. It is the perfect portion for the two of us or it is such a treat for lunch. Have a wonderful holiday!!!!

  • Melissa says:

    I made this for dinner tonight with some crusty bread perfect on a cold winter night!!

  • Cathleen says:

    Made this soup for the first time. My husband loved it! I will definitely be making this again.

  • Cathleen says:

    The best!

  • Jenny Hildebrand says:

    I had been looking for a good Maryland crab soup recipe. Well I have definitely found it. Being from Maryland I know good crab soup. This was possibly the best Maryland crab soup I’ve ever had I added okra and a bit more seasoning but otherwise I followed the recipe. And it was perfect. Do you have a cream of crab recipe that you’d like to share?

    • Monica says:

      Hi Jenny,
      Thank you so much! I love that you added okra to this recipe and seasoned it to your taste. That’s the beauty of recipes that we can adapt them and make them work for our families. I’m working on a cream of crab soup recipe and it should be published soon. I’ll let you know when it comes out! Thanks so much for the comment!!!!!

  • Steve R says:

    My Mom used to make the best Md crab soup, I especially loved the cabbage in it. She used to tell me it helped soak up some of the grease. Your recipe is the closest I’ve found to hers and I love it! Thanks so much for posting. Only thing I had to guess on was how many bay leaves? Put 2 in and it was fine.

    • Monica says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! I’ve heard that the cabbage soaks up the grease but I just love the flavor of it. I’ve made it without the cabbage and it’s good but I do miss the flavor. So sorry to have omitted the bay leaves, it’s fixed now but yes, there are 2 in there. Thank so much for stopping by!

  • Ginger says:

    I just finished making and having a bowl of this amazing soup. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. It is the BEST soup I have ever made and cannot believe it took me so long to make the MD crab soup. We have been living outside of Annapolis since the late 80s. Shame on me! Now, I have your excellent recipe and a big pot of the soup. Cheers!!!

    Tried to give 5 stars, but the website would not let me give more than 4 – weird.

  • Kathy says:

    Winter weather had us down and this wonderful meal brought us a dinner full of laughs telling stories of the summer an eating crabs. We are from Maryland and this is absolutely spot on and amazing. The entire family loved it, which isn’t always easy to do. Thank you so much!

    • Monica says:

      It makes me so happy to read this! I’m so glad you love this soup as much as we do and that it brought back lot’s of memories and laughter. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. You’ve made my day!!!!

  • Kim says:

    I just brought fresh steamed crabs home from Baltimore and I’d like to add them as well. After I pick them, when would I add?

  • Sue says:

    This recipe turned out perfect. My husband crabs every week from late July until it’s too cold to be out on the water..usually early November. We love Maryland crab soup and this turned out even better than any versions we’ve had at very nice restaurants at the beach. I’m always looking for a good crab recipe and this one is a keeper! Thanks Monica

  • Sue Ryan says:

    I’ve made this twice now, I very rarely stick to a a recipe without tweaking but this is that good…perfectly figured out, everyone loved it! I’m making another batch right now to freeze for an upcoming camping trip, I haven’t tried freezing and am hoping for the best. My husband goes crabbing from late summer until fall so we just pick those and are always looking for a good recipe…love this one it’s so nice on a cool fall day!

  • Judy Pfau says:

    Planning on making this soup soon! What kind of potatoes did you use? Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  • Buzz Hundley says:

    I recently visited family in Baltimore and had crab soup and crab cakes at G&M’s for both lunch and dinner. After some research, I decided to give this recipe a try. With some extra Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar, this recipe tasted very close to what they serve at G&M’s.

Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe: