This she crab soup is rich, creamy, and delicious, made with plenty of lump crab, cream, dry sherry, and even roe if you like! A staple of Lowcountry South Carolina and Charleston cuisine, this soup makes for an impressive starter or main course served with a side of crusty bread.
What Makes This She Crab Soup So Good
- Not heading to Charleston any time soon? You’re in luck! You can make this classic Lowcountry soup at home super easily. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients or the instructions!
- It’s incredibly rich and luxurious. It’s a total star in its own right, too. All you really need to go with it is a perfect, crusty French bread and maybe a simple salad. Maybe. If you’re really hungry.
- The flavors blend seamlessly. Nothing overpowers or clashes with another.
- Every serving is full of delicious, juicy crabmeat – we’ve made sure of it!
Key Ingredients for She Crab Soup
Roe – “She crab” soup gets its name because it’s made from female crabs, with their roe. I don’t live in South Carolina, or on a coast, so it’s not easy (or maybe even possible) for me to get crab roe, but if you can, do it. I try to use regular fish roe when I can but it’s not a huge deal to skip it either! The extra flavor it adds is WORTH IT, but definitely make this soup even if you can’t find it! Don’t let Lowcountry purists tell you you can’t use fish roe!
Sherry – Just like in our lobster bisque, the sherry puts this she crab soup over the top. If you don’t have sherry, you can use white wine or brandy.
- Hot liquids expand quickly in a blender, which can push the lid off and create a huge mess (not to mention it could burn you!). In the recipe notes below, there are important tips for blending the hot she crab soup – be sure to read them before you get to that step!
- You can use fresh or canned crabmeat in this soup. If you’re skipping the roe, you’re technically making crab bisque instead of she crab soup, but I won’t tell if you won’t!
- The Old Bay seasoning gives the soup a little kick. Don’t worry, though, it’s not too much! You can add more if you like or dial it back a little to get your ideal flavor.
More Incredible Soup Recipes
- Italian Fish Stew
- Creamy Fish Chowder
- Best Ever Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
- Cheeseburger Soup (Whole30, Paleo, Dairy-Free)
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Irish Potato Soup
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She Crab Soup
- Small saucepan (or microwave-safe cup)
- Large heavy-bottomed saucepan with lid
- Blender (or immersion blender)
- 4 cups half and half see Notes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ cup dry sherry divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups fish stock or clam juice
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 pound lump crabmeat divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- ¼ cup roe preferably crab, optional, for garnish
- French bread optional, for serving
- In large heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add garlic, onion, and bay leaf. Cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
- Pour in ¼ cup dry sherry. Boil until liquid is mostly evaporated, reduced to just 1 tablespoon. Sprinkle in flour and stir.
- Pour in fish stock and whisk until no lumps remain.
- Gradually add in warmed half and half, Old Bay, paprika, ¼ cup dry sherry, Worcestershire, cayenne, and lemon juice. Stir constantly.
- Remove bay leaf. Transfer liquid to blender. You may need to work in multiple batches. Allow liquid to cool slightly before blending, then blend until smooth. See Notes section below for important tips on blending hot liquids.If using an immersion blender, blend liquid in saucepan until smooth.
- Return liquid to saucepan, if applicable. Add ½ pound lump crabmeat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Simmer soup 10 to 15 minutes, until liquid is thick and heated through. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
- Pour 1 tablespoon (¼ cup total) sherry into each serving bowl. Top sherry with remaining crabmeat, 2 ounces per bowl.
- Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped chives and 1 tablespoon roe per bowl. Serve hot with crusty French bread.
- Heat half and half in a small saucepan simultaneously with steps 1 through 4. Alternatively, gently heat the half and half in the microwave (use a microwave safe cup!) until it’s warmed but not boiling.
- Make it Gluten Free: Use gluten free flour and serve with gluten free French bread.
- Fill the blender no more than halfway. You may have to blend your ingredients in a few batches.
- After pouring the liquid into the blender, let it sit a few minutes to cool slightly before blending.
- Before blending, remove the center cap from the blender lid and cover the hole with a dish towel instead. This will keep pressure from building up inside the blender. Keep your hand on the lid to hold it down while blending.
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