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Crab Bake

This crab bake is super rich, comforting, and indulgent casserole! It’s loaded with lump crabmeat, fresh shrimp, and plenty of punchy Parmesan cheese, all served between layers of lasagna noodles. Just like a seafood lasagna! Try it with a light salad and bread for a seafood twist on a classic Italian favorite!

crab bake recipe served

If you’re a fan of hearty, cheese-laden meals, you’ll love this crab bake! It’s super easy to prepare and a real crowd-pleaser. I always make it when I’m hosting friends and family, along with my baked ziti with Italian sausage.

Why I Love This Recipe

This crab bake recipe features a luxurious blend of seafood and comforting Italian flavors. It’s like a seafood lover’s dream merged with the coziness of lasagna.

There is no imitation seafood here, either — only real lump crabmeat and fresh shrimp! Once baked with melty cheese, tender lasagna, and fresh parsley this dish has the perfect combination of sweet, savory, creamy, and bright elements.

Ingredient Notes

Creating the perfect crab bake is simple, especially when you start with the best ingredients. Here is everything you’ll need:

  • Lasagna: Makes up the foundation, holding the layers of cheese and seafood together.
  • Roux: I make a classic butter and flour roux to add richness and depth. For more information, check out my post on how to make a roux.
  • Milk: I use regular milk, but you can try whole milk for a more indulgent consistency.
  • Parmesan: Its sharp, salty taste elevates the flavors and adds an Italian touch.
  • White pepper: Offers a subtle warmth and complements the delicate seafood without overpowering it.
  • Ricotta cheese: Just like regular lasagna, you’ll need a creamy, mildly sweet layer to hold the crab bake together and balance the robust flavors.
  • Egg: Binds the ricotta mixture, maintaining a cohesive, luxurious layer.
  • Garlic: Its punchy and intensely savory notes infuse the dish with a complex flavor.
  • Mozzarella: Melts into gooey goodness, adding a comforting taste that pairs with the sweet crabmeat well.
  • Parsley: Brings a fresh, herbal note, brightening the rich flavors.
  • Shrimp: Their slight sweetness pairs perfectly with crab. I recommend using fresh shrimp, but frozen shrimp will also work.
  • Crabmeat: The star of the show! Lump crabmeat brings a delicate, sweet flavor that’s irreplaceable.

Substitutes

  • For a gluten-free crab bake, use gluten-free lasagna noodles and a gluten-free flour blend.
  • Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano make great Parmesan substitutes.
  • If you don’t have ricotta cheese, try cottage cheese.
  • Instead of mozzarella, experiment with provolone, fontina, burrata, or young Gouda.
ingredients for crab bake

How to Make

Learn how easy it is to make a crab bake with my straightforward, step-by-step instructions.

Step 1

Start by cooking the lasagna noodles as per the package instructions. Once cooked, drain them and lay them out separately to prevent sticking.

Step 2

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until smooth, then gradually add the milk, continuously whisking until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in ½ cup of Parmesan, along with salt and white pepper.

Step 3

In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, garlic, 2 cups of mozzarella, and parsley. In another bowl, combine the drained crabmeat with the chopped shrimp.

mixing together the cheese sauce for crab bake with mozzarella, ricotta, and egg

Step 4

In a greased 9×13 baking dish, start with a layer of sauce, then noodles, then a layer of the ricotta mixture, and finally a layer of the seafood mixture.

Repeat these layers, finishing with a top layer of noodles, sauce, and the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

crab bake topped with cheese

Step 5

Cover the dish and bake it at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly. Let the crab bake rest for 20 minutes before serving to allow it to set.

baked crab bake casserole

Expert Tip

Fresh, high-quality lump crabmeat and shrimp are essential for the best flavor. They both add a subtle depth and sweet element that elevates the dish much better than imitation or frozen seafood.

Similarly, using freshly grated cheeses rather than pre-shredded options makes the taste and texture of your crab bake so much better! This is one recipe I don’t recommend cutting corners on. I promise it’s worth it!

Cooking Tips

  • Keep the Noodles Separate: Prevent the lasagna from sticking together by laying the noodles out in a single layer while you prep the other ingredients.
  • Layering Technique: Make sure each layer is evenly spread to create a perfect balance of flavors and textures in every bite.
  • Baking Time: Monitor the crab bake during the final minutes of uncovered cooking to ensure a perfectly golden top without burning it.

Serving Suggestions

This crab bake is a showstopper on its own, but here are some ideas to make it a complete meal:

  • Salad: Pair it with a light, crisp green salad or a Caprese salad for extra nutrients.
  • Bread: Serve it with slices of crusty French bread or garlic bread to soak up the delicious sauce. You can even pair it with skillet cornbread or cornbread muffins
  • Vegetables: Roasted asparagus or air fryer broccoli make great side dishes that complement the flavors well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I prepare this crab bake in advance?

Yes, you can assemble the crab bake a day in advance and keep it refrigerated. Just add a few extra minutes to the baking time when you’re ready to cook it.

Is it possible to use canned crab meat?

While I suggest using fresh lump crabmeat for its superior flavor, canned crabmeat makes a convenient alternative. Just ensure it’s well-drained before adding it to the bake.

How do I make my crab bake creamier?

For a creamier texture, you can add more cheese to the ricotta mixture or increase the amount of sauce. Adding a splash of cream to the sauce can also increase its creaminess.

Storing & Reheating

The good news is this crab bake stores unbelievably well. Just make sure you let it cool to room temperature.

Fridge
To keep it at its best, transfer any leftovers to an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to 3 days this way.

Freezer
If you’ve made a large batch, you can also freeze portions of the crab bake. Wrap them in freezer-safe containers or bags, and they can be kept frozen for up to 2 months. 

Reheating

Thaw the crab bake in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until warm throughout.

More Seafood Recipes

Easy Crab Bake Recipe

Anna Kate
This crab bake is super rich, comforting, and indulgent! It’s loaded with lump crabmeat, fresh shrimp, and plenty of punchy Parmesan cheese, all served between layers of lasagna noodles. Just like a seafood lasagna! Try it with a light salad and bread for a seafood twist on a classic Italian favorite!
Servings 10
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound lasagna noodles
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour (plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated, divided)
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ¼ tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 30 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
  • 2 ½ cup mozzarella cheese (grated and divided)
  • ½ cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp (uncooked, peeled, roughly chopped into ½ inch pieces)
  • 2 pound lump crabmeat (picked and drained)

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and separate.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, add flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually add milk, whisking continuously until thick. Turn off the heat add 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, garlic, 2 cups mozzarella, and parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Drain crab meat. In a separate bowl, mix shrimp and crab. Set aside
  • In a greased 9 x 13 inch pan, layer 1 cup sauce in pan, place 3 noodles side by side, top with ⅓ of the ricotta mixture, top with 1/3 of seafood mixture. Repeat 2 more times topping with remaining sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • Cover and cook in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, uncover and cook for additional 10 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top. Allow to rest for 20 minutes to set.

Nutrition

Calories: 677kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 58gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 260mgSodium: 1773mgPotassium: 661mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gCalcium: 684mgIron: 2mg
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