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Deviled Crab

September 2022
When you order deviled crab from restaurants in bigger cities like Charleston, you’re not getting the best deviled crab. City folks stuff these crabs with heavy breadcrumbs and reduce the essence of the dish—the crabmeat. This here is real deviled crab—not a lot of junk. Hard work, but worth the effort. Deviled crab is best when you kill, clean, and stuff the crab yourself, but you can find crab backs and crabmeat at the store to reduce prep time. Don’t be shy with stuffing your crab back. You want that deviled crab to be overflowing so it’s a real treat for guests. The Worcestershire sauce adds a light, tangy flavor, and you should add more if you like. It also doesn’t hurt to be generous with your breadcrumbs. They add that subtle crunch that, when combined with the crab mixture, can take you back to memories of a sunny, sandy beach.
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10 slices white or whole wheat bread
3 lbs. crabmeat, or about 20 blue crabs (if using prepared crabmeat,
you’ll also need 15 to 16 crab backs)
1/4 cup Nature’s Seasons, or seasoning of choice
2 cups diced onion
2 cups diced celery
1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus 1/4 cup for the crab tops
1 Tbs. mustard
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1½ cups mayonnaise


Preheat your oven’s broiler to 500°F or its highest setting. On your oven’s highest rack, broil all the bread slices for about two to three minutes, until golden and crisp, but not burned. Flip all the slices over and broil for another two to three minutes. Turn the broiler off and allow the bread to crisp in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and let cool. Using a hand grater, grate the bread slices into breadcrumbs. The crumbs should look and feel like sand. Set the breadcrumbs aside.

If using fresh crabs, cook them in a large pot of boiling water with one tablespoon of Nature’s Seasons, or your seasoning of choice. Drain, let cool, then remove the crab back from each crab. Then, remove what we call the “dead man” (the grayish crab gills) and pick the crabmeat from the shells. Set the crabmeat aside. Clean the crab backs and save the crab bodies to stuff later.

Sauté the onion and celery in 1/2 cup of the butter over medium heat for five to seven minutes, or until browned.

Transfer to a medium mixing bowl, add the crabmeat, mustard, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce, and use a fork to stir slowly and carefully so as not to break up the crabmeat. Add the breadcrumbs to the crabmeat mixture, saving about 1/4 cup for later, and toss gently.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Add the mayonnaise to the crabmeat mixture and toss gently with the fork until well mixed. If the mixture is still too dry, add more mayonnaise.

Fill each crab back with the crabmeat mixture. Be generous here! Each crab back should be filled to look like a mountaintop.

After stuffing the crab backs, top each with some of the saved breadcrumbs, and add just a dot of butter to the top of each crab. Set on a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown on top.