Enjoy a budget-friendly seafood meal with these easy imitation crab recipes including crab cakes, crab dip, crab rangoons, sushi and more!
Sweet and delicious, crab meat is often mixed to create salads, soups, dips, pasta meals and more. It can be pricey, so a great alternative is to use imitation crab meat (also known as crab stick, mock crab or "krab").
What Is Imitation Crab?
Imitation crab meat is actually made from white fish, like pollock, that's made into a seafood paste called surimi. It's then formed into sticks, chunks or flakes to resemble crab meat in taste, texture and color. Although not exact, it's a great imitation and can be used interchangeably in almost all crab recipes, including sushi.
When imitation crab meat is used in sushi, it's referred to as surimi sushi, or cooked sushi. This is perfect for those who aren't sure about eating raw fish.
You can find imitation crab meat in your grocery store in either the refrigerated meat and seafood section or the frozen seafood section. It comes fully cooked in sealed packages that can be frozen or refrigerated, so it's cold-shelf stable.
Best Imitation Crab Recipes
Here, you'll find the best imitation crab recipes that are economical, delicious and easy to make.
Crab Pasta Salad
Perfect for a summer potluck, picnic, or lunch, this pasta salad with crab meat can be a side dish or an entrée. It's an easy recipe that includes cooked pasta shells, imitation crab meat, diced celery, peas and sliced green onion.
The dressing is a zesty Greek yogurt base that's seasoned with Old Bay seasoning, onion and garlic powders, lemon juice and fresh dill. It's great for meal prep since you can make it ahead and keep it well-chilled for up to 3 days.
Recipe by Running In A Skirt
Air Fryer Crab Rangoon
Appetizers are made easy with this air fryer recipe for crab rangoon. Wonton wrappers are filled with a creamy filling that combines imitation crab meat, cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and sliced green onions.
Just add the filled and folded wontons to the air fryer basket and give them a spritz of grapeseed oil. They'll need about 8 minutes to fry and become golden. Serve with soy sauce, peanut sauce or a sweet and sour sauce.
Recipe by Simply Stacie
Buffalo Crab Dip
Outrageously zesty, make this hot dip using imitation crab meat, cream cheese, white cheddar cheese, buffalo sauce and ranch dressing. Mix it, bake it with extra cheddar on top, and serve with tortilla chips so you can dip them right into this tasty appetizer. It's always a hit on game nights!
Recipe by I Am Homesteader
Imitation crab is perfect for sushi rolls, especially if you're on the fence about eating raw seafood. Since imitation crab is fully cooked, it's easy to include crab sticks along with sliced avocado, cucumber and sushi rice in this easy recipe.
Using a bamboo mat, place your nori sheet on it and spread the sushi rice over it. Carefully flip it over to create an inside out sushi roll where the rice is on the outside. Layer on the other ingredients and roll it up. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on it and cut it into slices to enjoy.
Recipe by Natasha's Kitchen
Turn enchiladas into a delicious seafood feast with the addition of imitation crab in the zesty filling. By all means, use fresh crab meat if you have it, but the imitation will work wonderfully, too. Sauté the crab with onion before mixing it with sour cream, cilantro, hot sauce and shredded cheese.
Fill your tortillas with the mixture, fold and place in a baking dish. Top with enchilada sauce and more cheese and bake until bubbly.
Recipe by Made In A Day
Japanese Potato Salad
Try this spicy potato salad that combines cucumber, shallot, and imitation crab meat. Prepare the potatoes by either steaming or boiling them until tender. Mash them and then add sliced cucumber, shallots and crab meat.
Toss with Japanese kewpie mayonnaise. Serve warm or chilled. It's a great side dish when you're looking for a different way to jazz up potato salad.
Recipe by Rasa Malaysia
Seafood Mac And Cheese
You can customize this mac and cheese dish by using a variety of seafood in it or just stick to one. Here, you can use imitation crab meat to offer a delicious addition to this creamy and cheesy casserole.
Cooked elbow macaroni is mixed with a homemade 3-cheese sauce using cream cheese, cheddar and Monterey Jack. Add chunk crab meat and mix. Before baking, top with bread crumbs for a delicious crunchy topping.
Recipe by Fox Valley Foodie
Spicy Crab Salad
If you love sushi and you love salads, you'll want to make this mashup recipe called Kani, which is a popular Japanese way of combining the two. It's a spicy salad made with imitation crab meat, cucumber, carrots and mango. It gets a little crunch from breadcrumbs.
It is drizzled with a mayonnaise dressing seasoned with sriracha and rice wine vinegar. It's also a great salad for meal prep. Hold off on the breadcrumbs, though. Add those right before serving.
Recipe by Recipes From A Pantry
Crab Dip Cheese Ball
This crab cheese ball is a tasty make-ahead appetizer that uses imitation crab meat mixed with shredded mozzarella, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, scallions and garlic powder that's formed into a savory ball. Mix it and roll it into a packed ball. Chill well and roll it in scallions for an outer decoration, if desired.
Recipe by Simply Joy
Using shredded imitation crab meat is an easy and delicious way to make crab cakes. To the shredded crab, add minced onion, chopped celery, garlic powder, Old Bay seasoning, mayo, and egg. Mix until well combined and gradually add in bread crumbs.
Form into patties and fry in olive oil over medium heat, flipping to brown each side. Place on paper towels to absorb any grease before serving with your favorite sauce.
Recipe by Thrift And Spice
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
This classic appetizer makes use of finely chopped imitation crab mixed with a savory stuffing of cream cheese, sour cream, mozzarella cheese, scallions, garlic powder and herbs. Mix it well and stuff it into baby portobello mushrooms or white button mushrooms. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the filling is hot and bubbly.
Recipe by Culinary Hill
This seafood pasta dish couldn't be easier! Cooked linguine is topped with a sautéd garlic, onion, white wine and lemon juice sauce that adds in imitation crab, as well. Toss with the linguine and garnish with fresh parsley and lemon zest. Serve with garlic bread, a side salad and your favorite wine for a full meal.
Recipe by Sippy Cup Mom
Avocado With Spicy Crab Stuffing
Try this quick stuffed avocado recipe for lunch. Combine shredded imitation crab meat, mayo, sweet relish, wasabi paste, salt and pepper and load it into two halves of a pitted avocado. Serve on a large lettuce leaf.
Alternatively, you can chop the avocado and include it in the crab mixture and serve that on a bed of lettuce. Either way, delish!
Recipe by Instructables
Hot Imitation Crab Dip
Flavorful and irresistible, you'll keep dipping into this hot seafood dip that takes just minutes to make. That's right, with the help of your microwave, you can heat a mixture of cream cheese, spices, hot sauce, mayo and sliced onions until warm, completely skipping an oven session.
Fold in chunks of imitation crab meat and microwave for a few more minutes and call it done. Serve with crackers and veggies and enjoy this delicious and quick hot crab dip.
Recipe by Chew Out Loud
Crab Louie Salad
This easy side salad uses Romaine lettuce as a base that's topped with wedges of hard-boiled egg, chopped tomatoes and avocados. Add either fresh crab meat, canned lump crab, or shredded imitation crab. Drizzle with a zesty dressing made with horseradish sauce, mayo, lemon juice, ground cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and salt.
Recipe by Savory Tooth
Imitation crab is perfect for this bright and colorful ceviche that includes chopped avocado, bell peppers, jalapeño, minced red onion and a pinch of salt. Mix it all with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.
Chill it for at least 15 minutes, but longer is better for full flavor. Serve with tortilla chips.
Recipe by Aleks Get Together
You're just 30 minutes away from this delicious crab soup that's made with 5 ingredients. In a base of butter, milk and heavy cream, you'll add onions and chopped imitation crab meat for a hearty soup that comes together quickly right on your stovetop. Add a little cooking sherry to amp up the flavor and enjoy!
Recipe by Pip And Ebby
Crab Salad Sandwiches
Perfect for imitation crab or even real crab meat, these simple to make sandwiches combine the crab with mayo, finely chopped celery, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, fresh dill, salt and pepper for a quick mix to stuff in your sandwich. You could use two slices of your favorite bread but go with a buttery croissant to take it up a notch. What could be easier?
Recipe by The Kitchen Magpie
Shrimp and Crab Pasta
For an easy dinner, toss your cooked spaghetti with warmed up precooked shrimp, thawed from frozen, and chopped imitation crab. Make the homemade sauce of sautéed onion, garlic and seasonings.
Add in a can of diced tomatoes, with juice. Toss in the seafood to warm it and serve over the pasta garnished with fresh Parmesan cheese.
Recipe by An Affair From The Heart
Cheesy Crab Rangoon Casserole
Use the cooked pasta of your choice, or even egg noodles, and add them to a buttered casserole dish. Top with a cream cheese and crab mixture followed by a buttery and cheesy sauce. Repeat the layers of noodles, cream cheese crab mixture and sauce.
Bake it for 30 minutes before adding a buttery panko and parmesan cheese topping. Broil for several minutes until the top has browned.
Recipe by Pint Sized Treasures
Seafood Macaroni Salad
This recipe uses shrimp along with flaked imitation crab meat to make a delightful imitation crab salad that's perfect for summer. It's another crowd pleaser that goes with all your favorite cookout dishes.
Recipe by Whisk It Real Gud
These ideas show you how to recreate the taste of crab using imitation crab in a variety of recipes. Crab may be expensive but you can still enjoy the crab taste by using inexpensive imitation crab.
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