Sides & Salads

Delightful Deli-Style Crab Salad Recipe: A Sumptuous Summer Delight

Are you searching for a delectable way to savor crab meat this summer?

Look no further. Welcome to the world of crab salad, a timeless classic that elevates crab meat to a refreshing and satisfying dish.

Whether you’re a fan of imitation crab, lump crab meat, or fresh crab from succulent crab legs, this recipe is poised to become your go-to for a light and flavorful lunch.

In this article, we’ll embark on a culinary journey through the creation of this delightful dish, exploring the diverse options of crab, crafting the perfect dressing, and meticulously preparing the ingredients for a tantalizing outcome.


How to Make Deli-Style Crab Salad

1. Choosing the Perfect Crab

The heart of any crab salad is, of course, the crab itself. Your choice of crab will influence the character and taste of the final dish. If you’re looking to indulge, fresh crab legs like snow crab or king crab legs are the pinnacle of decadence. However, if cost is a concern, fear not. Canned lump crab meat offers an affordable yet still genuine crab experience. And for those embracing culinary adventure, there’s imitation crab, made from Alaskan Pollock, a wholesome and sustainable white fish. While it may not be true crab, it admirably mimics its appearance.

2. Crafting the Dressing

To concoct the dressing that brings this salad to life, gather two-thirds cup of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, half a teaspoon each of paprika and Dijon mustard, a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Combine these ingredients, stirring until a lusciously creamy mixture forms. Set the dressing aside, eagerly awaiting its union with the crab.

3. Preparing the Imitation Crab

Should you opt for imitation crab, the process begins with the defrosting of the frozen flakes or leg-style pieces. Once thawed, a light patting with a paper towel removes excess moisture that could dilute the dressing. To achieve a desirable size and texture, a quick chop transforms these chunks into more manageable, bite-sized pieces.

4. Embracing the Crunch

A key element in any protein salad is the delightful crunch of vegetables. For the crab salad, finely dice two ribs of celery, imparting both texture and freshness to the dish. Alongside the celery, finely dice about two tablespoons of shallots, lending a gentle pungency to the medley. Complement these with a tablespoon of freshly chopped herbs—chives, parsley, dill, or your personal favorite—to add a vibrant burst of flavor.

5. The Art of Assembly

Merge the chopped celery and shallots with the previously prepared dressing in a sizable mixing bowl. Gently fold the ingredients together until the dressing envelops every morsel. Hold off on adding the herbs just yet; their time will come at the finale. The result is a harmonious blend of textures and flavors, each element contributing to the mosaic of the dish.


6. The Final Flourish

For the last step, introduce the chopped imitation crab to the mixture, giving it a gentle stir to ensure even distribution. At this point, it’s crucial to add the freshly chopped herbs, be it chives, parsley, or your herb of choice. This final touch infuses the dish with a pop of color and a tantalizing aromatic note.

7. Savoring the Creation

With your crab salad prepared and adorned, it’s time to indulge. The salad boasts a creamy yet delicately spiced profile, harmoniously balanced by the crisp crunch of celery. The dressing’s richness is complemented by the freshness of herbs, a symphony of flavors dancing on your taste buds. The salad’s versatility invites various serving options, from pairing it with gluten-free bread or toast to wrapping it in lettuce leaves for a light and satisfying wrap. The options are only limited by your imagination.

Elevate your summer dining with this refreshing crab salad recipe! Enjoy the delectable blend of imitation crab, crisp veggies, and a creamy dressing. 🦀🥗 #SummerSaladIdeas #DeliciousDeliSalad

Tips and Variations

  • Experiment with different herbs to personalize the dish’s flavor profile.
  • Incorporate diced red bell peppers for a touch of sweetness and vibrant color.
  • Add a handful of chopped nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, for an extra layer of texture and richness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use fresh crab meat for this salad? A: Absolutely! Fresh crab meat, whether from crab legs or other sources, can elevate the dish’s decadence.

Q: How long can I store crab salad? A: Store the salad in the fridge for about three to four days. Freezing is not recommended due to potential texture changes.

Q: What serving suggestions are there for this salad? A: You can enjoy the salad on its own, on gluten-free bread, in lettuce wraps, or with crackers.

Kitchen Tools/Equipment Needed

  • Chef’s knife
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisk
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  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Delight in the exquisite fusion of flavors with this refreshing crab salad, an ensemble of imitation crab, crisp vegetables, and a creamy dressing.

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2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Imitation crab (flaked or leg-style), chopped

2 ribs of celery, finely diced

2 tbsp shallot, finely diced

1 tbsp freshly chopped herbs (chives, parsley, dill, etc.)




  1. Prepare the dressing by whisking together mayonnaise, lemon juice, paprika, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Thaw and pat dry the imitation crab, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Dice the celery and shallots finely, and chop the chosen herbs.
  4. Combine the imitation crab, celery, and shallots in a mixing bowl, then fold in the prepared dressing.
  5. Gently stir in the chopped herbs to complete the salad.
  6. Serve the crab salad on its own, on bread or lettuce leaves, or with crackers.
  7. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to three to four days.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Assembling


  • Serving Size: 4 servings
  • Calories: 250
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 450mg
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 18g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 35mg

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