Hello lunch! This easy Crab Salad recipe is meaty, creamy, and brightened up with a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Fresh herbs add just the right amount of herbaceous flavor, while Greek yogurt keeps it healthy and light.
Why You’ll Love This Creamy Crab Salad
- The Flavors Are Big and Bold. So many deli-style crab salads taste like crab and mayo—there’s just not much else going on there. But this crab salad has a tangy dressing thanks to the Greek yogurt and lemon, lots of fresh herbs, and a bit of a kick from Dijon mustard.
- Budget-Friendly. While my Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Hot Crab Dip, and Crab Artichoke Toasts are made with real lump crab meat, I wanted to keep things simple and affordable for this crab salad, so I used imitation crab. Of course if you want to use real crab meat, go for it!
- No Mayo! Whether you’re an ardent mayonnaise hater or simply want to keep things light, you’ll be glad to know that this crab salad is made with plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo. It’s still rich and creamy, but Greek yogurt adds some tanginess, protein, and probiotics. (Who knew crab salad could be healthy?!)
- It’s Made for Seafood Lovers. If my Shrimp Pasta Salad and Salmon Salad are in frequent rotation in your household, you’ll want to add this crab salad to the mix.
- Endless Ways to Use It. Serve it on a bed of butter lettuce, make adult-friendly Lunchables and pair your crab salad with crackers, pack it into a soft roll, or pile it onto toasted bread for crab salad sandwiches. Options: you have them!
- It’s a Lightened-Up Version of the Classic. So many classic deli-style salads are loaded with mayo, salt, and even sugar. This crab salad recipe is much better for you, and even more flavorful. A total win.
How to Make the Best Crab Salad Recipe
- Imitation Crab Meat. You can use real crab meat if you prefer, but imitation crab meat (sometimes also known as surimi or krab) tastes great in this recipe, and it’s easy to work with so you can get your crab salad on the table fast.
- Plain Greek Yogurt. I used 2% for a creamy dressing.
- Green Onions. These add a subtle onion flavor without being overpowering.
- Celery. I love how celery adds a bit of crunch to the salad.
- Fresh Tarragon or Fresh Dill. Cilantro or fresh parsley also work if you have them on hand. Tarragon is my favorite here.
- Freshly-Squeezed Lemon Juice. You’ll need 2 tablespoons, which is about 1 medium lemon.
- Dijon Mustard. This really punches up the flavor of the dressing. Don’t skip it!
- Kosher Salt. My preferred salt for cooking.
- Freshly-Ground Black Pepper. You can add a little more for a peppery kick.
- Break Up the Crab. Use your fingers or a fork to flake apart the imitation crab meat in a large bowl.
- Add the Remaining Ingredients. Stir in the rest of the crab salad ingredients and ENJOY!
- Crab Pasta Salad. Add cooked farfalle (bow-tie pasta) to your crab salad for a mashup of crab salad and creamy pasta salad.
- Old Bay Crab Salad. Skip the fresh herbs and use Old Bay seasoning instead. This is a great option when you have everything you need for crab salad except the herbs!
- Crab Salad With Extra Veggies. Swap the green onions for minced red onions and add diced English cucumber too.
- Seafood Salad. Add cooked shrimp to the mix for a creamy seafood salad.
- To Store. Store crab salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
What to Serve with Crab Salad
- Bread and Bread-Like Things. Serve crab salad on bread, rolls, or croissants. Tuck it into pitas, fold it into tortillas, or serve it on crackers.
- Veggies. Add a tablespoon of crab salad to cucumber slices or an avocado half for an easy lunch or snack. You can also serve crab salad in lettuce cups or on a bed of greens.
- Other Salads. If you’re making crab salad for a picnic or backyard party side dish, pair it with other classic deli-style salads like Curry Chicken Salad or Creamy Cucumber Salad.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mixing Bowls. This is my favorite set of mixing bowls because they work for prep and for serving.
- Chef’s Knife. A tool worth investing in—you’ll use it almost every time you cook!
- Measuring Spoons. My go-to measuring spoons because they’re double-sided and magnetic.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Use Fresh Herbs, Not Dried. They add a brighter, fresher flavor than the dried varieties—it really makes a big difference! If you don’t have fresh herbs, try the Old Bay variation above.
- Leave Some Big Chunks of Crab Meat. When you’re flaking the imitation crab meat, don’t break it all down into small pieces. I like leaving some larger chunks for texture.
- Use Kosher Salt. Or, if you want to use table salt, start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more if needed. Kosher salt crystals are larger than table salt, so it doesn’t measure the same way.
- 1 14-ounce package imitation crab meat
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
- 2 green onions minced (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery 1 large stalk
- 1/4 cup fresh tarragon or dill* chopped
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium bowl, flake the imitation crab meat apart with a fork or your fingers. It’s ok (and even better) to have some larger chunks.
- Add the yogurt, scallions, celery, tarragon, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.
- *You can use cilantro or parsley if you prefer a different herb
- TO STORE: Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Do not freeze.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Imitation crab is pre-cooked, so you don’t need to heat it up first. Just open up the package and use it!
No, imitation crab doesn’t have to be washed or rinsed. It’s sold ready to use.
This crab salad recipe is very healthy! The imitation crab and Greek yogurt make it a great source of protein, and using yogurt instead of mayo helps keep it light.
No, you should not freeze this crab salad. The texture and flavor would suffer after freezing and thawing. Enjoy it fresh!