When the temperature rises and the season gets sizzling, a fresh seafood meal tastes like summer itself. Rich, tender crab meat works in a variety of versatile recipes, so grab a whole bunch of crustaceans, bust out the crackers, and get ready to dine in style. Add a few of these delicious crab dishes to your regular rotation and even professed seafood haters will come around.
01 of 13
Grilling Dungeness crabs gives them a sweet, slightly smoky flavor and a spicy ginger, jalapeño, and garlic baste adds a little kick. If you use live crabs, look for lively, alert specimens for the best taste. You can also go with frozen, but thaw them completely in the refrigerator before tossing them on the grill.
02 of 13
When the craving for crab hits, turn to this quick and easy seafood bisque that combines tender crab with sweet shrimp in a creamy, classic soup. A little sherry gives it a lovely depth, and the whole thing comes together in under half an hour. If you like, add flaky white fish, lobster, scallops, or other seafood to the mix and serve with hot biscuits or crusty bread for dipping. On warm evenings, the soup also tastes great chilled.
03 of 13
A light and fresh crab salad showcases the tender meat's natural sweetness. Spiced with Old Bay and dressed with mayonnaise and lemon juice, diced celery and bell peppers add color and crunch. This salad makes a lovely lunch or starter when paired with greens or spooned over avocado halves.
04 of 13
Start off a summer get-together with these crunchy crab rangoons with cream cheese. A little steak sauce gives flaky cooked crab an earthy kick and the cheese lends a nice creamy texture. They fry up in just a couple of minutes, so watch them carefully when cooking. Serve with sweet and sour sauce for dipping.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
05 of 13
A creamy coconut-lime dressing gives this Thai-style crab salad an island flavor that will hit the spot on a hot day. Canned, frozen, or fresh crab all work fine in this recipe that features a whole spectrum of tastes and textures. A diced fresh red chili gives it a kick, but you can omit it if you prefer a milder dish.
06 of 13
You don't have to give up crab cakes if you avoid gluten. This recipe comes out crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with that signature Old Bay flavor. Use any kind of lump crab you can find. Make them hockey puck-sized and serve over greens or on a bun as a meal, or shape them into smaller rounds as a fun appetizer.
07 of 13
Easy and versatile quiche tastes great hot and fresh from the oven or chilled as a light make-ahead lunch or dinner. Crab and Swiss cheese go perfectly together, and a dash of nutmeg and sautéed shallots give it a little spice. Use either a homemade or store-bought pie crust or make it crustless for a lower-carb option.
08 of 13
For an elegant-looking summer appetizer, try deviled crab. Zesty Worcestershire sauce, minced onion and green pepper, a little tabasco and cayenne, and fresh lemon juice give them a delightful flavor. You can also make them ahead and store them in the fridge before serving, to make party prep even easier.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
09 of 13
Sautéed crab meat makes a delicious summer weeknight meal because it requires very little time on the stove. Fresh chives and parsley give it a fresh herbal flavor, and butter lends a lovely richness. Try it over greens for a salad, on toast points for an appetizer or lunch, or spoon it over hot, cooked rice.
10 of 13
Pair your crab with a hint of spice in this zesty Thai chili crab recipe. King or snow crab tastes great this way, or you can use crab legs alone. Try the crabs steamed, baked, or deep-fried; whatever suits your fancy. Serve it with nutcrackers to break the shells and a stack of finger wipes, as this classic finger food gets messy.
11 of 13
This chilled crab and cream cheese dip goes great with Ritz crackers and tortilla chips, or carrots and celery sticks. Garlic powder and a little cayenne pepper create a nice kick, and fresh parsley, cilantro, or chopped green onions would give it a pretty color, too. A dash of Old Bay would add a classic Maryland note.
12 of 13
Soft-shell crab on the grill make a fun and easy summer backyard meal. A light tarragon sauce balances the rich, tender meat and grilling them, especially over charcoal, creates a delicious smokiness. Look for lively crabs for the best flavor.Continue to 13 of 13 below.
13 of 13
Rotini pasta, lump crabmeat or imitation crab, peas, cherry tomatoes, and both red and green bell pepper make a tasty chilled salad for warm days. Bottled ranch or peppercorn salad dressing makes it easy, but you can whisk together your own dressing too. If you use frozen vegetables or seafood, drain well before using so it doesn't make the dressing too watery.