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Stuffed Crab Shells Recipe

Stuffed Crab Shells Recipe

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In Brazil we have a different species of crab, but I think the American variety, especially the Maryland blue, is one of the best in the world — meatier and sweeter. Because of this, I like to make this recipe (casquinha de siri) more often in the United States than in Brazil.

I love to serve the crab in a seashell. Most of the time, I use scallop shells instead of the original crab shells, but if you don’t have a sea creature shell available, just use a porcelain ramekin.

This is a fantastic recipe for entertaining because it can be completely assembled ahead of time.

Adapted from "The Brazilian Kitchen" by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz.


For the crab:

  • 1 cup diced white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup diced yellow pepper
  • ½ cup diced green pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup unsweetened grated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

For the crust:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup manioc flour (farinha de mandioca)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • Maldon sea salt, for serving


For the crab:

Place the bread in a bowl, pour the coconut milk over, and let soak for 10-20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients

Pick over the crabmeat to remove any excess shell and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion and the yellow and green peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until it is tender. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute, until they get hot. Add the wine and reduce it by half, 1-2 minutes. Add the bread, coconut milk, and the grated coconut. Cook, stirring, until everything starts blending together, about 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the crab, mustard, and lemon juice. Fold everything together. Some pieces of crab will naturally shred, but try to keep some big lumps. Add the butter and cilantro. Season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay. If your mixture looks dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut milk or wine. Transfer to a bowl and let completely. This can be done for up to two days ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the manioc flour and stir constantly, toasting the flour until it reaches a light golden color. Watch carefully so that the flour does not burn. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Let cool for 5 minutes, then add the Parmesan and mix it in evenly.

Divide the crab mixture into the scallop shells. Spread a thin coat of crust on top. Place the stuffed shells onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven until the filling is hot and the crust is a light golden brown, 12-14 minutes.

To serve, place a small pile of Maldon sea salt on the bottom of a soup plate and place a shell on top.

Crab pasta shells

We've used a mixture of brown and white crabmeat for flavour, but use all white meat, if you prefer. To make a vegetarian version, replace crabmeat with 150g crumbled goat's cheese, and the fish stock with vegetable stock.

(5oz) conchiglione pasta shells

(5oz) mix of cooked white and brown crabmeat

deseeded and finely chopped

Finely grated zest 1 lemon

Small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Bring a large pan of salted water to boil and cook pasta for 8min until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6. In a medium bowl mix crabmeat, ricotta, garlic, tomatoes and some seasoning. Set aside.

To make sauce, melt butter in a medium pan over low heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1min. Take off heat and gradually mix in stock until smooth. Stir in wine. Return to heat and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Simmer 4min, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning.

Pour sauce into a shallow 2.3 litre (4 pint) ovenproof dish. Fill pasta with crab mix and arrange (filling up) on sauce in a single layer.

Mix crumb ingredients and sprinkle over pasta. Cook in oven for 20-25min until golden and bubbling.

Deviled Stuffed Crab

I so love stuffed crabs! My Mama almost always made these from freshly picked crabs and then stuffed the cleaned and sterilized crab shells as I have here, but most folks would just make these into patties, or put them in those aluminum crab shells, which is perfectly acceptable!

After coming home with a nice seafood 'to-go' bag that Mom & Dad sent us home with from all that yummy stuff we had for The Blessing of the Fleet well, I had some real crab shells, so I sure used them!

Just be sure if you're using real shells, to thoroughly clean the shells, cut off the eyes and antennae, rinse them with hot water and boil them for about 10-15 minutes, or bake at 350 for about 10 -15 minutes, to sterilize them. After I sterilized mine, I just stored them in the freezer until I needed them.

This recipe is the standard crab mix with some variations that I use to make crab patties for po'boys, stuffed shrimp, stuffed flounder, stuffed mushrooms and of course, crab cakes. Add a nice mixed garden salad and a green veggie to round it out. If you love crabmeat, but have never had stuffed crab, I do hope that you will try these. They are simply delicious.

For more of my favorite crab recipes, click over to my collection on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

Recipe: Deviled Stuffed Crab

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min

Total time: 40 min
Yield: About 8 crabs

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium onion , minced fine
  • 1/4 cup of green bell pepper , minced fine
  • 4 slices of white or white wheat bread , toasted
  • 1 pound of fresh lump crabmeat
  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch of kosher salt , or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper , or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning , or to taste
  • Couple shakes of dried parsley
  • Bread crumbs for topping, fresh or dried, optional
  • 8 crab shells , optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion and green pepper cook until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, toast the bread slices, sprinkle each piece with a good spray of water to wet them and set aside in a bowl. Let sit for about 2 minutes. Pick through the crabmeat to check for stray shell set aside.

Squeeze out the bread and break it up. Add the egg to the bread and mix. Add the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, parsley and sauteed onion and bell pepper carefully turn until well mixed. Add the crab, mix gently and put into the crab shells or shape into 8 patties. Sprinkle with a small bit of bread crumbs, if desired.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes, checking at 20 minutes, or until the stuffing sizzles and the tops begin to brown. If using plain patties, pan fry in butter until golden brown.

Cook's Notes: Can be shaped into patties and pan fried in butter, stuffed into crab shells, place into ramekins or rolled into boulettes and oven baked, used for flounder or shrimp stuffing, stuffed into mushroom caps or made into po'boys.

Tip: To easily pick out any shell, spread crab on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in a 200 degree oven for 3 minutes. The shell will be visible and easy to pick out.

Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Easy Stuffed Crab Shells

Stuffed crab shells may require a lot of ingredients to make, but your efforts will pay off with this decadent dish that you can customise to your liking. For instance, you can simply make this recipe with store-bought crab claw meat.


10 Delicious Dishes Every Crab Lover Must Try At Least Once

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You could buy flower crabs, boil them and pick out the meat from the shells, but that requires too much time and work.

Making this dish at home also means you can be generous with the amount of crab meat.

Save the carapaces the next time you cook flower crabs. Clean and boil them before use. I was lucky to score clean flower crab carapaces, or shells, for this recipe. I used 140g of the crab mixture to stuff the medium-sized shells.

Deep-fry the shells over medium-low heat so that the exterior does not burn before the filling is cooked.

  1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients in the Filling and blend well. The texture of the Filling should be sticky.
  2. Stuff the Filling into the empty crab shells using a spoon. Smooth out the surface with the back of the spoon. Steam the stuffed crab for 5 minutes. Discard the water that seeps out.
  3. Cool the stuffed crab to room temperature after steaming. Heat up a wok with some oil. When the oil is heated, dip each crab shell into the beaten eggs. Make sure the filling is well coated with the beaten eggs. Transfer the stuffed crabs into the wok and fry them. As soon as the surface turns light to golden brown, dish out and serve immediately.

For the best result, please use freshly picked crab meat. You can use any crab of your choice. However, frozen crab meat will work just fine.
If you don't have empty crab shells, you can still make the dish. Just divide the Filling into 6-8 portions. Flatten the Filling into a patty instead of stuffing inside the crab shell. (Next time when you eat blue crab, you can save the shell for this recipe.
love serving this stuffed crab with my favorite chili sauce, Lingham Hot Sauce.

Recipe Summary

  • 12 ounces cooked fresh or frozen crab meat
  • 1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ⅓ cup butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup snipped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Lettuce leaves

Thaw crab meat, if frozen. Drain well. For fresh crab, remove meat.

Spread crumbs in shallow baking pan. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve on lettuce and garnish with crab legs, if desired. Serves 4.

When buying live hard-shell blue crabs, count on one to three ounces of meat per crab. To cook them, bring 8 quarts water, 2 teaspoons salt, and if desired, some crab boil seasoning to a boil. Rinse 12 crabs in cold water and plunge into the boiling water. Return to boiling and cook 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the crabs under cold running water until cool.


Combine first 7 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour and salt, stirring until smooth. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add 1 cup milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove sauce from heat.

Spoon sauce into crab meat mixture, mixing well. Add toast crumbs, reserving 1/4 cup. Mix well. Stir in mayonnaise.

Fill crab shells or 6-ounce custard cups with crab meat mixture, then sprinkle reserved toast crumbs on top. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

  • Kosher salt
  • 6 ounces dry jumbo pasta shells (about 25 shells 170g) (see note)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling and greasing the baking dish
  • 8 ounces (225g) peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 pound (450g) lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
  • 8 ounces (225g) dry-packed sea scallops, cut into small pieces (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) mayonnaise
  • Dash of Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 medium shallot (about 2 ounces 60g), minced
  • Small handful minced flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons (50g) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (12g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (about 3 1/2 ounces 100g)

Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C) and set rack to middle position. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook shells according to package instructions for baked shells. (Many packages of jumbo shells will give a specific boiling time for dishes that are to be subsequently baked if yours does not, cook shells for 3 minutes less than the package's recommended cooking time.) Using a spider, slotted spoon, or mesh strainer, carefully transfer shells to a large bowl of cold water until cooled slightly, then drain. (Reserve pasta-cooking water for next step.) Drizzle shells very lightly with oil and toss to coat. Set aside.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Poach shrimp in same pot of pasta water until just barely cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain, chill in ice bath, then drain again. Chop shrimp into small pieces.

In a mixing bowl, combine crabmeat with shrimp, scallops, Dijon, mayo, Old Bay, shallot, and parsley. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons (20g) butter over medium-high heat (do not allow it to brown). Add flour and whisk to form a paste. Continue to cook, stirring, until raw flour scent is gone, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, add milk in a thin, steady stream, or in increments of a couple of tablespoons at a time, whisking thoroughly and getting into all corners of pan to maintain a homogeneous texture. The sauce will initially be very thick, then get very thin once all the milk is added. Add bay leaf.

Heat, stirring, until sauce comes to a simmer and begins to thicken slightly. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until sauce is thick enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.

Lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with oil. Spread 1/2 cup (120ml) béchamel sauce in an even layer on bottom of baking dish. Using a spoon, fill a shell with a large scoop of seafood mixture and place in baking dish with the opening side up. Repeat until baking dish is full. (You should be able to fit about 18 stuffed shells in the dish, and may have a few pasta shells left over.)

Spoon remaining 1 cup (240ml) béchamel sauce on top of shells. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons (30g) butter and toss with bread crumbs in a small bowl season with salt. Sprinkle bread crumbs all over shells.

Bake shells until heated through, about 25 minutes. Switch oven to broiler setting and, watching very closely to prevent burning, broil until bread crumbs turn golden on top, rotating baking dish occasionally for even browning. Scatter minced parsley on top for garnish and serve.

Crab Stuffed Shells With Creamy Tomato Sauce

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind! We closed up our house in Florida, returned to Umbria for our yearly six-month stay, rushed to clean our Umbrian farmhouse from top to bottom, then left for an eleven day trip around Sicily. Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it. The Internet in Sicily was very moody, so I wasn’t able to post anything while I was away apart from a few daily photos on Instagram and FaceBook. In fact, some days I was lucky if I was able to get my email downloaded on my iPad. We truly had a lovely time in Sicily, but it sure is good to be back home in Umbria!

I love baked pasta dishes for many reasons. I like a dish I can prepare ahead of time and then simply bake just before dinner. I also prefer baked pasta dishes when I am entertaining as they can even be made the day before and then refrigerated giving you lots of time for other preparations. Best of all, there is nothing so satisfying to me than pulling a bubbly hot, golden brown pasta dish from the oven.

This dish is another one that originated out of my need to use up ingredients in my refrigerator before we left Florida. I had a one pound container of crab meat along with ricotta cheese in my refrigerator. I have used this combination in everything from cannelloni to lasagna but decided instead to prepare a dish of stuffed shells, covered in a creamy tomato sauce. When pre-boiling pasta that will be later baked, the most important tip is to cook it much less than the recommended baking time to ensure it does not end up mushy. Although mixing cheese with seafood is typical not done, in this dish where the filling combines crab and creamy ricotta cheese, extra grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese just works.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2016


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  3. Azzam

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