Crab Imperial

Crab Imperial is a creamy, delicious, luxurious crab dish that’s so easy to make at home! Jumbo lump crab meat is the star of this seafood recipe, tossed with an imperial sauce and baked until golden brown. Dive in with a fork or serve with crackers on the side!

crab imperial in blue dish with fork

What Is Crab Imperial?

Never heard of Crab Imperial? Well, we’re here to blow your mind. Crab Imperial is an easy to make, crazy delicious seafood recipe that’s sure to impress your guests.

Lump crab meat gets tossed with an imperial sauce sand baked until golden brown. You can serve this crab dish as a first course or a main course, totally up to you.

We can promise you that however you serve this delicious crab recipe, everyone is going to flip for it.

Ingredients For Crab Imperial

Crab Imperial only requires a few simple ingredients, but starting with lump crab meat is a must.

  • Lump Crab Meat: For this recipe, you really need to go for it and get the lump crab meat. Lump crab meat is what makes this dish so sumptuous.
  • Old Bay
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Egg
  • Mustard
  • Hot Sauce
  • Parsley
ingredients for making crab imperial

What Is An Imperial Sauce?

An imperial sauce is a mayonnaise based, simple sauce that’s not cooked before using. Simply mix together mayonnaise, Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, parsley, mustard and a dash of hot sauce.

While some recipes for imperial sauce call for sugar, we don’t think it’s needed. Other recipes call for a splash of sherry, and we say go ahead and add a splash if you like. There’s never anything wrong with a splash of sherry in the mix.

The name “imperial” in this sauce comes from ancient times when rich and luxurious ingredients were used to make a dish. These types of foods were often given to the wealthy or people in power like kings and queens or emperors.

filling for making crab imperial

Can Crab Imperial Be Made Ahead Of Time For Parties?

Yes! Yet another reason why we love this crab dish. This entire recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready.

Take the dish (or dishes) out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before baking to take the chill off. Bake according to the recipe card below and serve! It’s the perfect make ahead seafood dinner!

How Do You Eat Crab Imperial?

Just a fork will do! Especially if you’re serving this seafood dish as a main course, just dive in with a squeeze of lemon and a fork.

If you’re serving this recipe for appetizers or a first course, a fork will also work. But you can also serve with crackers on the side for scooping up the crab. Ritz crackers are delicious for this, any type of buttery cracker such as those will be amazing.

baking dishes with crab imperial

What Size Dish Should I Bake This Crab Recipe In?

Many recipes that I have seen simply say to “add to a baking dish and bake”. So we’re here to break it down for you.

We used two of these small baking dishes that hold about 1 1/2 cups of the crab mixture. This dish is so rich that one small dish would be more than enough for one person as a main course, but really we would serve this as a portion for two people.

A large scoop of crab imperial onto a dinner plate with a tangy, crisp green salad on the side is just about perfection.

For a first course, you can use ramekins and make four individual servings.

What Side Dishes Go With Crab?

As we just mentioned, a side salad is really all you need to round out this delicious seafood dinner. But of course, we have many other options for you!

We’d opt for lighter dishes as opposed to a heavier side like mashed potatoes since this crab is so rich.

crab imperial in blue baking dish

Looking For More Crab Recipes?

crab imperial in blue dish with fork

Crab Imperial

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Crab Imperial is a creamy, delicious, luxurious crab dish that’s so easy to make at home! Jumbo lump crab meat is the star of this seafood recipe, tossed with an imperial sauce and baked until golden brown.



  • 1 pound lump crab meat, drained and picked through for shells
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the crab meat to a large bowl. Break apart gently with a spatula (or clean hands) being careful not to break the lumps apart.
  3. Add the mayonnaise, Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce, egg, parsley, lemon juice, hot sauce and mustard to the bowl. Fold together gently with a spatula, again being careful not to break the lump crab meat apart.
  4. Spoon the crab mixture into 4-6 ramekins (depending on the size) or a small baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle the paprika on top and bake for 20-25 minutes, then place under the broiler for 2 minutes to crisp up the top.
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

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