What is White Crab Meat? A Complete Guide

Brown and white crab meat have the potential to turn an ordinary dish into a special meal. Both are good for you, and depending on what you want, one can be the main course or an important part of a meal.

If you have never tried either of these tasty treats before, you should know that they have different textures and tastes. For those who know how to get the most out of both brown and white crab meat, you will have a strong reputation in any kitchen.

White crab meat is a delicious and popular type of crab meat that comes from various parts of crabs. It has a sweet, delicate flavor and a flaky texture that makes it versatile for many recipes. But what exactly is white crab meat and where does it come from? This guide will cover everything you need to know about this tasty crab product.

Overview of White Crab Meat

  • Comes from the muscles of crab legs, body, and claws
  • Has a sweet, mild flavor compared to brown crab meat
  • Flaky, soft texture when cooked
  • Color ranges from white to ivory or light pink
  • Sold fresh or canned
  • More expensive than imitation crab, but cheaper than lump crab
  • Used in crab cakes, dips, salad, pasta, etc.

Where Does White Crab Meat Come From?

White crab meat is harvested from various parts of crabs

  • Body: Delicate body meat, top filler meat
  • Legs: Leg muscle meat, lighter color
  • Claws: Claw meat, often found in lumps
  • Shoulders: Nice body meat sections

The body and smaller leg/claw pieces produce flaky shreds of white crab meat. Larger claws contain lumpier white meat.

Popular crabs for white crab meat:

  • Blue crabs from the Atlantic (backfin)
  • Dungeness crabs from the Pacific
  • Snow crabs from Alaska (most economical)
  • King crabs from Alaska (largest quantity)

Flavor, Texture, and Appearance

White crab meat has these defining characteristics:

  • Flavor: Sweet, delicate, mildly briny
  • Texture: Flaky when cooked, can be stringy when raw
  • Color: White, ivory, light pink; no dark meat
  • Fat content: 1-2 grams per serving, low in fat

It provides a lighter flavor and color than rich brown crab meat The tender flakes stand up well to cooking without falling apart

Nutrition Facts

  • Protein: 17g per 3.5 ounce serving
  • Vitamin B12: Over 100% DV
  • Selenium: Over 50% DV
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 250mg per serving
  • Minerals: High in copper, zinc, phosphorus

White crab meat provides an excellent source of lean protein with healthy fats vitamins and minerals. It’s low in mercury compared to some seafood.

How to Buy White Crab Meat

When purchasing packaged crab meat, look for:

  • Color – Meat should be white with no dark bits. Avoid yellowing.
  • Smell – Fresh, mild seafood aroma, not fishy or ammonia-like.
  • Texture – No mushiness. Should not be slimy.
  • Labeling – Look for “harvested fresh” and “pasteurized” labels.
  • Expiration date – Use within 4 days of opening for highest quality.

Buying canned crab allows longer storage. Reputable brands like Bumble Bee ensure quality.

How Much Does White Crab Meat Cost?

Expect to pay:

  • $7 to $10 per pound for snow crab claw meat
  • $18 to $26 per pound for lump blue crab meat
  • ~$4 per 6 ounce can for canned white crab meat

White crab costs less than prized lump crab meat but more than imitation crab. Snow crab provides an affordable option. Stock up when on sale!

How to Cook with White Crab Meat

White crab meat retains its flaky texture when cooked gently. Avoid overmixing to prevent it from getting stringy.

Cooking tips:

  • Fold delicately into dips and salads
  • Add at the end to hot pasta, fish, or veggies
  • Bake in casseroles, souffles, quiches, etc.
  • Saute lightly for crab cakes, stuffed shells, etc.
  • Heat through for crab sandwiches, rolls, melts

Dishes to Make with White Crab Meat

  • Classic crab cakes or crab-stuffed fish
  • Hot crab dip with crackers or veggies
  • Crab salad sandwiches or wraps
  • Crab macaroni and cheese or crab pasta
  • Quiches, frittatas, or strata with crab
  • Chilled crab salad with mango or avocado
  • Crab-asparagus omelets and frittatas
  • Risotto or seafood paella with white crab

Take your recipes to the next level with sweet, flaky white crab meat!

Storing White Crab Meat

Follow proper storage methods to maintain freshness and flavor:

  • Refrigerate unopened pasteurized crab meat for up to 4 months.

  • Keep opened refrigerated crab meat in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

  • Freeze white crab meat up to 3 months if you won’t use it right away.

  • Thaw frozen crab meat overnight in the refrigerator.

  • Avoid refreezing previously frozen and thawed crab meat.

Proper chilling prevents bacterial growth and spoilage.

Is Imitation Crab Meat Made from Real Crab?

Imitation crab meat, also called surimi, contains little or no real crab. It is made from fish paste and flavorings.

Benefits of imitation crab:

  • Much lower cost
  • Uniform shape for easy use
  • Mildly sweet flavor


  • Less natural crab flavor
  • Can contain additives
  • Not as healthy as real crab

Signs of Spoiled Crab Meat

Always inspect crab meat thoroughly before use. Signs of spoilage:

  • Unpleasant sulfur or ammonia smell

  • Slimy texture or mushy spots

  • Grey, yellow, or brown discoloration

  • Mold growth

  • Unusual bubbling or foaming

When in doubt, throw it out! Stick to best practices for storage times.

Is Crab Meat Healthy?

Yes, when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Benefits include:

  • High-quality complete protein
  • Rich in B12, selenium, copper, zinc
  • Omega-3 fatty acids from cold water crabs
  • Low mercury levels compared to some seafood

Potential drawbacks:

  • High cholesterol for some types like blue crab
  • Sodium content in canned varieties

Overall, crab meat provides excellent nutrient density.

Key Takeaways

  • White crab meat comes from the lighter muscle meat of crabs.

  • It has a sweet mild flavor and tender, flaky texture.

  • White crab works well in delicate dishes like crab cakes.

  • Handle raw and cooked crab meat safely to prevent illness.

  • Store chilled or frozen and use within a few days for best quality.

With proper handling, white crab meat can be an amazing addition to seafood recipes.

what is white crab meat

Which Part of Crab Does the Brown Crab Meat Come From?

People who live in Norwegian seaside towns know that the brown crab meat comes from the opening in the crab’s shell. It is known as a natural pate, for its interesting texture.

Many people say that brown meat feels like a soft dip or, as we already said, a pate, while white meat feels more like meat.

The good news is that brown crab meat is often much less expensive than white crab meat. Hope this sounds good to you.

How Does it Taste?

People who enjoy brown crab meat love it for its rich flavor.

Brown crab meat is an ideal addition to sauces. Some people don’t like the tasty brown meat, but those who do love it can’t get enough of its wonderful flavors.

Best Crab for your Crab Recipe

What is white crab meat used for?

The meat on the left is white crab meat and the meat on the right is lump crab meat. White crab meat is best used as crab filling. White crab meat is less visually appealing as lump crab meat, but perfect as crab filling. Use it if you need a solid amount of crab for crab dip, crab rangoon, crab burgers, or crab meatloaf.

What does white crab meat taste like?

Compared to brown crab meat, white crab is much more versatile when it comes to both cooking and taste. The exact taste and texture of white crab meat will vary depending on what type of crab you’re eating. For instance, snow crab meat is sweet and delicate, while king crab meat is heartier, almost similar to lobster.

Is lump crab meat better than white crab meat?

Lump crab meat is more visually appealing and chunkier. If you want a dish where you enjoy finding chunks of delicious crab, use lump crab meat. Lump crab meat is much better for crab cakes than white crab meat. It gives a more diverse taste of both shell and claw meat, which bring different textures and flavors.

What are the different types of crab meat?

There are four main grades or types of crab meat. While jumbo lump, backfin and white crab meat all share similar coloring and flavor, the darker-colored claw meat has a bolder, more pronounced crab flavor than the other grades. There are two different kinds of lump crab meat: jumbo lump and backfin lump.

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