Cooking crab at home is pretty easy but deciding what to serve with crab is the more complicated part. Crab is such a widely loved treat especially during crab season with distinct flavors not to mention, how fun it is to eat. How many foods do you get to crack open and pull delicious meat out to enjoy? It makes the meat that much more delicious because of how much work it takes to get to eat it. You have to earn it. There is not much better than a crab dinner.
First things first, you need a crab recipe. We created this post for how to cook crab that will be helpful to cooking the crab for this delicious meal.
As good as crab is, deciding what to serve with crab can make or break the meal. Here are some ideas for what to serve with crab.
The most obvious and well known thing is to serve crab with clarified butter. It’s by far the most iconic and widely used. While it is simple, it enhances the crab meat flavor rather than compliments it. The butter transforms them to a new level of delicious. To make this, melt regular butter (not margarine) and then allow it to cool which lets the milk solids sink the bottom. The butter left on top is clarified – which is what you serve. Then, we highly recommend you enhance that butter with fresh lemon juice and garlic for an incredible dipping sauce. Other ideas to improve the butter sauce that much more is rosemary, parsley, or Worcestershire sauce.
Pro tip: Clarified butter goes well with warm crab legs. Do not serve this with cold crab legs are it will solidify.
What to serve with crab legs
You definitely want to supply crab crackers, crab forks and if possible, bibs. Eating crab is messy and can take a lot of work but these tools make it much more pleasant.
Other than butter, you can create all sorts of sauces to serve with crab. For instance, mustard with dill, mayonnaise, lemon and salt and pepper. Another sauce you can try is spicy diablo dipping sauce. Or perhaps a hollandaise.
You can of course consider the most common and popular of all, cocktail sauce. You can even make this sauce at home by mixing together horseradish, Worcestershire, tabasco, lemon and ketchup. Play with different combinations and add pepper to give it an extra kick.
What side dishes go with crab?
There are countless side dishes that will pair very nicely with crab. We recommend keeping a pretty straightforward side dish so the crab does not get overshadowed. Below are many side dishes we recommend for what to eat with crab meat. You can find many crab side dish recipes for the suggestions below.
Another side option is a lemon rice pilaf. This is a nice comforting dish that complements the crab flavors in a delicate way.
Salad is always a great option as well. Crab is a nice light dish when steamed and thus salad is a wonderful accompaniment to keep the whole meal light. You can also serve salad with garlic butter roasted crab to balance out the richness of that preparation. One recommendation is a mandarin orange salad since it is a nice combination of crunchy and refreshing with a bit of sweetness. This can also be served as a first course before the crab to prepare the taste buds for what is to come.
Since vegetables have refreshing and earthy flavors, they are a nice complement to the sweet meat of crab. Not all veggies are created equal, though. Some of the best vegetables to pair are asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers and onions. Roasting them will caramelize them and bring out the natural sweetness that will pair so well with crab. This side dish can be served with warm or cold crab.
Another type of vegetables that is a really fun pairing is steamed artichokes. This food is along the same lines of use your hands, pull it apart, eat the meat, and discard the rest. It’s a great accompaniment once you’re already messy and letting your guard down.
First off, everyone loves mashed potatoes. Literally. I’ve never met anyone who actively dislikes mashed potatoes. Can you say, ultimate crowd pleaser? Any preparation of potato, really, pairs well with crab. But we know that mashed potatoes are that much of a widely loved fan favorite.
Another absolute crowd winner is, you guessed it, French fries. They’re absolutely delicious and super convenient to eat. Everyone loves them. And, you can even serve garlic fries to contrast steamed crabs or to complement garlic roasted crab.
Any type of corn can pair nicely with Crab. But to enhance the hands on eating experience, we recommend corn on the cob. Both elements are refreshing and take hands to eat so once you’re messy and getting in there, why not? You can prepare corn on the cob many ways like grilling it, steaming, boiling or even microwaving.
This one is the most obvious. Wine so clearly pairs incredibly well with crab. Especially white wine. Pinot gris, chardonnay and dry Riesling are the top recommendations for wine pairing.
Yes, crab tastes sweet and delicious. But, it is light. Light enough that you’ll still have room for dessert when you’re finished devouring your crustacean. To keep with the light and refreshing theme you can go with a lemon cheesecake. Or of course go for the classic chocolate cake.
What do you serve at a crab feast?
Just thinking of a crab feast makes us smile. These are some of the most fun meals to share with family and friends. Clearly, you need to serve crab at a crab feast. You should also let crab shine and all accompanying dishes should keep the spotlight on the crab itself. Must-haves include drawn butter, lemon, crab crackers, and tons of wine. Aside from that, you can serve many side dishes for a crab boil. Pretty much any of the options above but it’s most common to serve a light salad or even a mild pasta. These are great home options and if you want to check out what some other restaurants in San Francisco serve as their sides with crab.