These quick and easy crab melts make a perfect simple dinner idea when you’re in a rut.
Add a simple salad, fresh fruit, and chips and you’ll feel like you’re at the beach!
When we go on our annual family beach trips, the Peanut and I try to eat as much crab as we possibly can in a short amount of time.
This summer, we cooked our own meals in our beach condo. Since my husband and Little Pea aren’t crab fans, it sadly didn’t make the menu rotation that week.
We missed our annual fix this year, so the Peanut and I have been craving crab since our trip in June.
Last week I finally decided to splurge on a can of fresh crab meat from the seafood department of our local grocery store. At $22 for the pound, it was a little pricier than I would normally invest in a regular dinner. However, since the recipe turned out so amazing and made a surprisingly large amount of sandwiches, I could definitely justify the cost if more of our family enjoyed crab.
We invited my mom over for a special lunch because she loves crab, too. We needed help finishing it off!
This recipe was everything we needed to finally scratch that crab-craving itch. It was so delicious and so easy, it would make a perfect holiday party recipe, too.
Quick tips for making super easy crab melts for a busy night dinner:
Tip #1: Use good, fresh bread
The bread will make or break this recipe. Be sure to use something from the fresh bakery department of your store if at all possible.
I used the fresh artisan rolls from Costco as our base. They are about 4-inches wide and square. They are crusty ciabatta rolls that have a chewy bite to them.
If you don’t belong to Costco, just look for rolls that are similar in size and are crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside. Ciabatta or Sourdough rolls or French baguettes sliced into portions would work great.
Tip #2: Canned lump crabmeat works perfectly
I’ve never cooked with canned crabmeat before, this was a completely new experience for us at home. It went so well, I’ll be looking for other ways to used canned crab in the future!
The can I purchased was found directly within the seafood section of our grocery store. Some stores don’t package it in a can, they store it in plastic tubs with lids. What you are looking for is the lump crabmeat. It will come in large chunks within the package.
Crabmeat is extremely tender and will shred and fall apart easily. It should be the last ingredient to go into your mixing bowl. Do your best to fold it in gently so you can retain the lump texture you just paid a premium to get.
Tip #3: Freshly shredded cheese from a block melts better than bagged
I used pre-shredded Swiss cheese from a bag but ran a block of Monterey Jack through the food processor to mix with it. Pre-shredded cheese often comes with a powdery coating that prevents it from melting nicely. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but if you have the time to shred a block of cheese, it is worth the little bit of effort.
Tip #4: Don’t use too much mayo
The focus of this recipe is on the crab and the ooey, gooey, melty cheese. You need a little bit of mayo to bind it all together, but you don’t want the crab melts to be overly goopy.
I found that just 1 cup of mayonnaise is the perfect amount. If you’re a huge mayo fan, you could go up to 1 1/2 cups.
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 - 5 green onions, minced (both green and white parts)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 pound fresh crab claw meat, canned
- 8 (4-inch) crusty ciabatta rolls (we used the square artisan sandwich rolls from Costco)
- Hot sauce for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the shredded cheese, mayonnaise, green onions, and seasonings in a large mixing bowl. Stir together with a spatula until evenly combined.
- Add the crab to the bowl and gently fold it in to the cheese mixture until combined.
- Open each sandwich roll and place them cut side up on a large broiler-safe baking sheet. Divide the crab mixture evenly among each roll, using about 1/4 - 1/3 cup per slice. The crab mixture will be extremely thick and hard to "spread". Just use the spatula to gently pat it into an even layer on the bread.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Turn your broiler on and continue to bake the crab melts for 2-3 more minutes. Watch very carefully, they will go from golden brown to burned quickly. The crab mixture should be hot and bubbly with a toasted-looking top.
- Serve with your favorite hot sauce for a kick.
You can pre-mix the crab mixture in the morning and store in an airtight container in the fridge but do not spread it on the bread until just before baking.
This will not freeze well.