Maryland Crab Soups & Other Soup Recipes

Maryland is famous for it's crab soup whether it's the Maryland Crab, a hearty vegetable crab soup, or the exquisitely decadent Cream of Crab.  You'll also find Chesapeake Bay style Oyster Stews, Clam Chowders, and other soups featuring the bounty of Maryland agriculture.

Cream of Crab Soup
This is an old time recipe.

1 lb. crab meat
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chicken stock (the stronger the better)
1 quart rich milk
1 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. mace
dash of red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sherry
flour to thicken

Cook onion in butter until transparent; add chicken stock and slowly pour in milk. Add all the other seasonings except sherry. Stir in crab meat and simmer 15 minutes. Make a thin paste with about 2 tbsp. flour and a little water; stir into soup to thicken. Before serving, remove from heat and stir in sherry.


Maryland Crab Soup
Courtesy Old Bay Seasoning


1 can (28oz) whole tomatoes, cut in small pieces
3 cups water
2 cups beef broth
1 cup frozen lima beans
1 cup sliced baby carrots
1 cup yellow frozen sweet corn
2 Tbsp. chopped dry onions
1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 lb. lump crabmeat


In a 4 quart saucepan, combine tomatoes, water, broth, veggies, onions & Old Bay. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add crabmeat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Eat and Enjoy!


Bay Country Crab Soup
Courtesy The Crab Cookbook by Whitey Schmidt

A flavorful rendition of Maryland's most famous soup!

1 lb. beef shin, bone in
3 quarts water
1 large onion, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 1lb. can tomatoes
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 10oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
1 lb. regular or backfin crabmeat
1/2 lb. claw crabmeat

Place the first 8 ingredients in a large pot and simmer, covered, until meat is very tender, about 3 hours. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer, covered until vegetables are done. Makes about 5 quarts of soup.


Maryland Crab and Corn Stew
An Eastern Shore combo!

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white or black pepper
12 oz. or 1 lb. backfin crabmeat
1 cup whole kernel corn
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups half and half

Put onions, potatoes, water, oregano, salt and pepper in a large pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Mix in crabmeat, corn, tomatoes and green peppers. Continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add half and half. Cook until heated through. Serve at once or refrigerate for 1 or 2 days (do not boil when reheating). Serve with bread or rolls.


Cream of Crab Soup II
Another version of this elegant soup.

1 lb. crabmeat
2 cans potato soup
1 qt. Half & Half
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1 Tbsp. parsley
a little minced onion
salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, combine Half & Half with potato soup. Add butter and the rest of the seasonings. Heat slowly and stir often. Add crabmeat and mix well. Simmer about 20 minutes, stirring often. Do not boil. If you like you can add seafood seasoning or Tabasco sauce to taste.


Crab and Cheddar Soup
Courtesy Of Tide & Thyme Cookbook by the Junior League of Annapolis

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
4 cups milk
1/2 lb. grated cheddar cheese
dash Tabasco sauce or 1 tsp. prepared brown mustard
2 cups crab meat, shell and cartilage removed
chopped chives
Chesapeake-style seafood seasoning to taste (like Old Bay)

In saucepan melt butter and blend in salt, pepper, and flour. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add cheese, stirring over low heat until cheese melts. Add crabmeat and heat very slowly, Garnish with chives and seafood seasoning. Serves 4-6. To make 10-12 servings, triple the recipe, using 3 cups crab meat. Reheat soup on very low microwave setting. Seasonings can be adjusted widely to taste.


Patty's Oyster Stew
Courtesy Pat Slowikowski

A great version of the time honored stew made by generations of watermen.

2 quarts to 1 gallon standard oysters (reserving liquid)
1 gallon milk
1 can Pet milk or similar
1 bottle clam juice
1 lb. butter
1/2 stalk celery chopped
salt to taste

Over medium low heat, melt butter in a large stock pot. Add celery and cook until soft. Add oysters and cook until edges of oysters curl up. Add oyster liquid and remaining ingredients and cook over low heat until hot, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Makes a big pot of stew.


Oyster Stew II
Courtesy 100 Best Recipes For 100 Years by McCormick

Another great version of this Chesapeake classic.

1 cup butter
2 quarts oysters, with liquid
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 1/2 tsp. Bon Appetit
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. instant onion powder
1/8 tsp. oregano leaves
2 quarts milk
1 quart half and half or light cream

In 6 quart enamel or stainless steel kettle, melt butter. Add oysters with liquid and the next 5 ingredients. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in milk and cream. Heat slowly. Do not let stew boil. Makes 5 quarts. This recipe can easily be halved.


Solomons Island Clam Chowder
Courtesy Maryland Department of Agriculture

1 12 ounce can fresh shucked chowder-size hard clams (or 12 chowder-size hard clams in shell)
3 large potatoes
2 medium onions
3 carrots
3 green peppers
3 strips bacon
3 cups water
Clam liquid plus water to equal 2 cups
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Drain clams, reserving liquid. Finely chop clams; strain liquid if necessary (shuck and chop clams if in shell; strain and reserve liquid). Finely chop potatoes, onions, carrots, green peppers and bacon. Put in 4 quart pot, add water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 40 minutes. Add clams and clam liquid, simmer 15 minutes more. Add butter, salt and pepper. Makes 6 generous servings.


Basic Baltimore Crab Soup
Courtesy The Crab Cookbook by Whitey Schmidt

Easy to make and a Baltimore institution!

Ingredients and directions:
To 1 gallon of very hot water add:
1 lb. stew beef, diced and browned with fat
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. seafood seasoning
3 slices bacon, halved
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large can tomato paste
Cook 1 hour over med-high heat in an uncovered pot. After 1 hour add:
2 packages frozen mixed vegetables
3 large potatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 small cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup barley
Cook for 1 hour over medium heat. After 1 hour add:
1 lb. backfin or regular crabmeat
1 lb. claw crabmeat
Heat through.


Chester River Tomato Soup
Courtesy Whitey Schmidt

Using luscious fresh ripe tomatoes makes this delectable soup one of our favorites.

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
small piece of dried chili pepper, crumbled
1 1/2 cups 1 inch stale bread cubes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 medium fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
6 cups beef stock or water, or a combination of the two
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin oil to garnish

Heat 1/4 Tbsp. of the oil in a large pan. Add the chili pepper and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the bread cubes and cook until golden, then remove to a plate and drain on paper towels. Add the remaining oil, the onion, and the garlic to the pot and cook until the onion softens. Stir in the tomatoes, basil and reserved bread cubes. Season with salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the stock or water to simmering. Add it to the tomato mixture and stir well. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and use a fork to mash together the tomatoes and bread. Season with pepper and more salt if necessary. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Just before serving, swirl in a little olive oil.


Old Bay Cream of Crab Soup
Courtesy Crabby Patty


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk or half-and-half
1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes (dry)
1 lb. lump crabmeat
3 Tbsp. dry sherry (optional)


Melt butter in 3 quart saucepan on medium heat. Add onion, cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened. Add flour and Old Bay, whisk until well blended. Whisking constantly, gradually add milk. Stir in crabmeat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sherry, if desired. Heat 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with additional Old Bay and enjoy!