She Crab Soup


I had my first taste of she crab soup when I was lucky enough to get posted to Charleston in South Carolina. The soup is the city’s signature dish and most every restaurant and mother and grandmother has a version.

They say Scottish settlers coming to the Carolinas in the 1700’s brought the idea with them and we are glad they did. As blue crabs are plentiful in South Carolina waters it soon got adapted and become popular. Somewhere along the way crab roe (eggs) got added.


12 live blue she crabs choose crabs that are about 4 inches across the carapace

4 quarts water

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon plain flour

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons white onion finely grated

1 teaspoon fresh lemon peel finely grated

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

3 tablespoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped

2 tablespoons

1 1/2 teaspoons salt


Step One Bring the water and the 2 tablespoons of salt to the boil in a large pot.

Step Two Place the crabs in and bring back to the boil.

Step Three Gently boil for 15 minutes.

Step Four Drain the crabs and then clean and remove the shell.

Step Five Place the crab meat and roe to one side.

Step Six Gently melt the butter in a skillet over a medium heat.

Step Seven When the foam from the butter starts to subside, slowly add in the flour and then stir until kit the mixture has a smooth and bubbly texture.

Step Eight Stir the mixture frequently with a wire whisk. Slowly pour in the milk and cream and then cook on a high heat setting until the sauce comes to a boil and is both smooth and slightly thickened.

Step Nine Add in the crabmeat and crab roe and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the grated onion and grated lemon peel, nutmeg and white pepper. Stir gently as you add in all the ingredients so they are well mixed.

Step Ten Reduce the heat to low setting and then gently simmer, with the pot half covered for around 20 minutes, stir frequently. Then stir in the sherry, and season as required.

Step Eleven Serve in ramekins or a large bowl and garnish with parsley and serve immediately.



1 1/2 pounds flaked blue crab meat

1/4 cup crab roe

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 cup milk

4 teaspoons onion very finely chopped

3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon lemon rind grated

3 tablespoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves finely chopped


Step One Gently melt the butter and then add the flour and blend until smooth to make your roux.

Step Two Slowly add in the milk and the half-and-half, and stir continuously with a whisk until it thickens up.

Step Three Add in the onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, mace, cayenne pepper and the lemon zest

Step Four Bring to a gentle boil, and stir constantly

Step Five Reduce the heat to low, then add in the crabmeat and crab roe

Step Six Gently simmer uncovered for 5 minutes

Step Seven Remove from the heat and then add in the sherry, gently stirring to mix. Allow the soup to stand for 3 to 4 minutes before serving

Step Eight Pour the soup into heated soup bowls.

Step Nine Sprinkle the top with parsley and serve, it will serve 4 people.

There are many Great Crab Soups

She Crab Soup