Looking for an on-the-go meal or a quick weekday snack recipe? Try my version of Soft Shell Crab Sandwich! This is a very simple recipe and is ready in just 12 minutes.
When Is Soft Shell Crab Season
The first full moon in May marks the molting season for blue crabs. May through September are the most productive months for these live softies and that is the time to make soft-shell crab sandwiches!
Where Can I Find Them
You don't have to live in Maryland to enjoy soft-shell crabs. I found some here at my local fish market and they were already cleaned.
Why This Recipe Works
- This soft shell crab sandwich recipe is so simple to make and cooks in just 12 minutes.
- Unlike a regular hard-shell crab, a soft-shell crab is easier to eat. No peeling and no hard shells to contend with.
- Since they are soft shells you eat the whole crabs and there's no need in having to pick the meat and figure out what you can and cannot eat.
For Soft Shell Crab Recipe
- Soft Shell Crabs
- Dry Ingredients: All Purpose Flour, Cornmeal
- Seasoning: Old Bay seasoning, Herbes de Provence seasoned salt, Black Pepper
- Olive oil
For Soft Shell Crab Sandwich
- Brioche buns
- Tomato and Green Leaf Lettuce
- Mayonnaise, Mustard, Tartar Sauce, Lemon and/or Cocktail Sauce
Please see the soft-shell crab recipe card below for specific measurements of ingredients.
How To Make
Cooking soft-shell crabs is very easy.
Step 1: Clean the crabs
Step 2: Combine flour and other dry ingredients.
Step 3: Combine wet ingredients and dredge crabs.
Step 4: Pan-fry the crabs on medium high heat.
Please see the recipe card below for specific instructions on how to make soft-shell crab sandwiches.
- To prevent from getting the dry and wet mixture from collecting on your fingers, do the three-step dredging process. That is DRY, WET, DRY.
- First, use your right hand, and thoroughly coat the crab on all sides with the flour mixture.
- Next, use your left hand, and dip the crab in the milk mixture.
- Finally, using your right hand again, dip the crab one more time in the flour mixture.
- Shake off any excess flour. Repeat this process for all the remaining crabs.
How To Store
It is best to cook live soft-shell crabs the same day you've purchased them. Wrap soft-shell crabs tightly in a plastic bag and store them in the coldest part with packs of ice. This will help prevent further ossification (hardening) of the shell.
How To Reheat
It is best to reheat the soft shell crabs by sautéeing them in hot oil and butter. This keeps the slight texture of the soft-shell crabs. I do not recommend microwaving them as it will make them tough and rubbery.
Key Ingredients Notes
Soft-shell crabs while you can find them in your local grocery store during the months of May through September, I get them from my trusted local seafood place. An added bonus, they pre-clean them which makes for quick prep.
Want more recipes? Go to recipe index to see other gourmet recipes sorted by category!
Soft shell crabs are eaten whole, crab legs and all. The meat of the crab is incredibly sweet, juicy, and bursting with pure crab flavor.
Soft-shell crabs are at most optimum when cooked the same day they're purchased from your trusted seafood monger. I would not recommend freezing them as they lose their texture and flavor.
They taste similar to lobster in that they are rich, buttery, and tender, yet lightly sweet.
Other Seafood Recipes You May Like
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📖 Recipe Card
- Olive oil
- 4 soft shell crabs cleaned
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon Herbes de Provence seasoned salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup low-fat milk
- 4 Brioche buns lightly buttered and toasted
- 1 to mato sliced
- 4 Green Leaf Lettuce
- Mayonnaise Mustard and/or Tartar Sauce
For Soft Shell Crabs
- Gently clean crabs by rinsing them in cold water. Dry the soft shell crabs and use paper towels to remove any excess water. Set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, combine the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, cornmeal, Old Bay seasoning, seasoned salt, and pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl, prepare the milk bath by combining milk with Old Bay seasoning.
- Dredge crabs by doing the "three-step dredging" process. That is dry, wet, and dry. See "Top Tip" below. Set the crabs on a plate then refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Set the crabs on a plate or flat baking sheet then refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- On medium-high heat, add olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. Fry the crabs two at a time for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the oil.
For the Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches
- For the brioche buns, I like mine slightly toasted. It adds an extra texture to the sandwich and keeps the buns from getting soggy from the condiments.
- Butter the flat side of the buns then toast them in an ar-fryer or warm skillet.
- Spread the buns with mayonnaise, mustard, and/or tartar sauce. Place the fried crabs on the buns then top with lettuce and tomato.
- Serve with coleslaw or potato chips with a side of cocktail sauce and a slice of lemon.
- Time-saving tips: Get the soft shell crabs already cleaned.
- For more flavor: Squeeze fresh lemon juice and/or a dash of Old Bay Seasoning on top of the soft-shell crab.
Love all the recipes you’ve posted! Can’t wait to see and try out more!