Crab Salad (Seafood Salad)

4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Crab Salad is a classic Seafood Salad recipe with imitation crab, shallot and celery in a creamy dressing with a blend of herbs and spices.

While real crab meat is best for more elevated Seafood dishes like Crab Artichoke Dip, Crab Cake Sandwich, and Crab Cakes, imitation crab is perfect for creamy Salads for the Summer.

Crab Salad with celery and mayonnaise in a serving bowl

Crab Salad, also known as Seafood Salad, is a beloved nostalgic dish that you can find just as easily at a seaside cafe as you can the grocery store deli. Whether it’s made with real crab, loaded with veggies, or spread on a hoagie as a sandwich, there are many favorite ways to make this classic seafood dish. This recipe features imitation crab, shallots, and celery, all enveloped in a creamy dressing infused with a blend of paprika, dill, plus a little salt and pepper.

If you’re wondering what to make with imitation crab, it doesn’t get much better than this Easy Crab Salad recipe. There are just a handful of ingredients, you don’t have to do any cooking and there’s hardly any prep work. The imitation crab meat is super inexpensive and easy to find at most grocery stores for a fraction of the price of the real stuff! You can use whole “leg” meat, or you can get the flaked-style crab to save you a step of chopping it up. Either way, it will make a tasty salad with some mayo, spices and fresh, crunchy veggies.

At first, it may sound a bit odd to mix seafood and mayonnaise, but if you’ve every had Tuna Salad or lobster rolls, you know that a creamy dressing is exactly what makes cold Crab Salad recipes so amazing! The cool, creamy mayo with the smoky paprika and tangy dill is perfect with the delicate seafood flavor of imitation crab and real crab alike. 

This tasty homemade Crab Salad can be enjoyed as a light and refreshing appetizer, a satisfying lunch option, or even as a classic sandwich. You can serve it with crispy crackers and veggies like bell peppers and cucumber slices for dipping at parties. Throw it on a bed of lettuce or a thick tomato slice for a low-carb, light lunch. Spread it on a hoagie roll for any easy, inexpensive twist on lobster rolls. Serve your Crab Salad Sandwiches with some Fruit Salad for a classic deli meal that is nostalgic, filling, and delicious.

What is the difference between Crab Salad and Surimi Salad?

Crab Salad and Surimi Salad are often used interchangeably, but they do have a subtle difference. While both salads use imitation crab as the main ingredient, Surimi Salad typically refers to a dish that incorporates more Asian-inspired flavors, such as soy sauce, sesame oil, or ginger. On the other hand, Crab Salad often features a mayo-based dressing with herbs and spices, like a more traditional creamy salad, similar to a tuna or egg salad.

How to Make Crab Salad

  • If your imitation krab meat isn’t already flaked, you will want to roughly chop it into small pieces.
  • Combine the mayo with the spices until it’s will blended.
  • Add the krab, shallots, and celery to the dressing and stir until everything is well coated.
  • Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Crab Salad with celery and mayonnaise in a serving bowl

More Delicious Crab Recipes

FAQs for Crab Salad

What kind of crab should I use to make Crab Salad?

This recipe uses imitation crab meat, sometimes referred to as krab or krab meat. However, just because it’s not actually made of crab, it is made with fish. This is actually why many people refer to Crab Salad as Seafood Salad.

What is Imitation Crab? 

Imitation Crab Salad (krab) is actually made with Surimi, a whitefish that is ground then bound with a starch and other additives to resemble crab meat. It is crafted to resemble the texture and taste of real crab meat. Imitation crab is widely available in most grocery stores and provides an affordable alternative to real crab meat for those on a budget or looking for a different flavor profile.

Is the Neptune Salad the same as a Crab Salad?

Neptune Salad is not the same as a Crab Salad, but it’s more like a seafood salad with the works. It often has baby shrimp as well as crab plus ingredients like eggs, corn, carrots, peas, etc.

Key Ingredients

  • Imitation Crab: Imitation crab, also known as krab meat, is made from a blend of fish, typically Alaskan pollock, and other additives. It has a delicate texture and mild flavor that perfectly mimics the taste of crab, but is much more cost effective than real crab meat.
  • Shallots: Shallots add a subtle onion-like flavor to the seafood salad, enhancing its savory profile without overpowering the sweet, mild taste of the crab meat. You could also use red onions but dice them very small so they don’t take over the flavors.
  • Celery: Minced celery provides a refreshing crunch and adds a hint of herbal notes, contributing to the overall texture and balance of the salad.
  • Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise serves as the creamy base for the dressing, providing richness and a luscious texture to the Crab Salad. The smooth, subtly tangy flavor is perfect with the sweet, mild crab meat and is a classic way to make seafood salad dressing.
  • Spices: This delicious Crab Salad only needs a few spices to add a bit of flavor without overpowering the delicate imitation crab. Paprika adds a warm, smoky flavor while dill brings a burst of freshness. They provide a pleasant contrast to the richness of the dressing and the sweetness of the crab meat. 

Can you make Crab Salad ahead of time?

Yes, Crab Salad can be prepared ahead of time to save you time and it gives all the flavors time to develop. You want to refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving, and it’s best in the first day or two. Remember to give it a gentle stir before serving to ensure the dressing coats the ingredients evenly.

Crab Salad with celery and mayonnaise on a sandwich roll


  • Veggies: Add some more fresh, crunchy veggies to your seafood salad like green onions, red onions, black olives, or bell peppers. 
  • Cheese: If you love all things indulgent, add some shredded sharp cheddar cheese or chopped up slices of American cheese to your cold Crab Salad.
  • Dressing: Instead of mayo, you can use Greek yogurt, mashed avocado or sour cream in the dressing to lighten up the salad. It’s best to do half mayo and half the substitute so it’s still got that deliciously smooth texture.
  • Seafood: You can add other seafood to the salad like baby shrimp, cooked mild flavored fish like cod or tilapia, or cooked scallops. If you want to splurge, you can use real crab or even make this salad with steamed lobster!
  • Seasonings: Some other popular flavorings for Crab Salad are Old Bay seasoning, celery seed, and even some cayenne pepper for a little kick. A squeeze of lemon or lime are a great way to add some zesty freshness. 

How to Serve Crab Salad

  • For an easy, amazing sandwich serve the salad on a toasted hoagie roll with lettuce and sliced onions.
  • Make a Seafood Pasta Salad doubling the dressing and mixing the Crab Salad with cooked pasta.
  • You can serve this as a dip with crackers or go low-carb with veggies like cucumber and bell peppers.
  • Another low-carb, classic way to serve cold creamy salads is to spread them on top of thick cut tomato slices or make lettuce wraps.

Easy Classic Creamy Deli Salads

Crab Salad with celery and mayonnaise in a serving bowl

How to Store

  • Serve: It is best to keep this recipe cold in the refrigerator until serving, but at most do not leave at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
  • Store: Sealed in an airtight container, Crab Salad will be good in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Give it a good stir before serving.
  • Freeze: It’s best not to freeze mayonnaise based salads, as the dressing will separate and not come back together after it thaws. 

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Easy Crab Salad (Seafood Salad)

Crab Salad is a classic Seafood Salad recipe with imitation crab, shallot and celery in a creamy dressing with a blend of herbs and spices.
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 pound imitation crab , krab meat
  • 1 shallot , minced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup celery , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


  • In a large bowl add all the ingredients together gently, stirring until well coated.
  • Refrigerate for an hour before serving.



Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 971mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Crab Salad (Seafood Salad) Collage
Crab Salad with celery and mayonnaise is a delicious and inexpensive delicious way to enjoy the classic Seafood Salad we all grew up with.
Crab Salad Seafood Salad Sandwich with easy to make Seafood salad!
Just ten minutes for this Crab Salad Seafood Salad!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. This was outstanding. My husband said it was better than the one I bought at the grocery store. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. That sounds like a “win”! Thank you Regina and thank you for the 5 star rating.

  2. This was excellent. The only thing I mucked up was using smoked paprika, which was a bit overpowering immediately after mixing. However I kept the leftovers in the fridge and it was perfect the next day, so I might just make ahead next time instead and keep that smokiness.
    Infinitely better than the soupy store-bought stuff. Also check your grocers, some sell larger packages of krab in their freezer section at much better prices. Just leave it in your fridge to thaw for a day.

  3. This crab salad is the best. I added black olives. Wish I could freeze it as I made way too much. Since it’s just myself eating it, I’ll definitely have to cut it way down.

  4. This is the crab salad recipe I have been looking for. The shallots did not overpower the mild taste of the “crab” but along with the celery, gave it the crunch that I like. I will say I didn’t use as much crab meat as called for but that was to my liking and not necessarily anything wrong with the recipe. And I used an extra spoonful of mayonnaise, again because I like it extra creamy. The only thing I would suggest is leave out the salt. Even that little bit makes it a bit saltier than I would like, but again, a personal taste thing. All in all, this is right on the money for a crab salad. I will definitely be making this again and again and again.

    1. 1 small shallot is approximately 2 teaspoons minced so 2 teaspoons of minced red onion. Enjoy!

  5. Added a sprinkle of PaYaa Cajun seasoning and thyme and left off the dill. It is over the top.

  6. Hello, I made this salad and it seemed to be less juicy than I like it. I added 1/2 C. Daisy Light Sour Cream and then I liked it much better. That is the only reason I gave it a 4 star rating. I will definitely be making this again with the Daisy Light Sour Cream.

    1. I had all the ingredients and used a 1.25 lb package of imitation crab meat that I had as well. I added just a little bit of each ingredient to even it out. I took some hot dog buns that I also had on hand and removed the crust from each end carefully with a very sharp knife. Using a little bit of butter in a frying pan, I seared three sides of the bun. Using the finest leaves from the 50/50 salad mix that was in the refrigerator I lined the inside of the buns. I then packed each full of this crab awesomeness.

  7. I just made this. I did not have any dill weed or paprika but I added some garlic instead and it is delicious!! I had organic smoked paprika and added that to the recipe and that took it up a notch delicious!!

  8. I’m a sea food lover , my family and I had a restaurant that served a sandwich call a shrimp boat! Big hit ,
    This recipe is very similar! We served ours in a warm pita bread with lettuce and arugula, yum

  9. Would not change a thing ?. Just let it marinate in fridge as long as possible to let everything meld together…