What does crab taste like? [Answered]

Published Categorized as Fish Or Seafood Tagged

Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

When trying any new food, whether it be meat, vegetables, or even a new sauce, it can be quite easy to second guess trying it as you have no idea what to expect. Perhaps you are visiting a nice restaurant that is famed for its crab, but you want to double-check that it will suit your palette, thankfully you have arrived at the right article, as today we are going to be answering your question of “what does crab taste like?”

Table of Contents

What is crab?

This may seem like an obvious thing to answer, but for you to understand the flavor more, it is necessary. Crabmeat is white meat found within crabs which are shellfish, so you can expect it to be similar to other seafood.

There are many types of crab as they are diverse species. More specifically, crabs are cold-water crustaceans that can be found in both salt and fresh water. Humans have been eating crab meat for centuries, although not to the extent crab is consumed nowadays as they have become more and more popular over the years.

Crab is harvested from either the whole crab or by having claws and legs removed and having the meat harvested. Crab is typically sold like livestock and then cooked alive, similar to lobster however it is also common for the crab meat to be sold either frozen or canned similar to tuna and raw salmon.

What does crab taste like? [Answered]

Similar to other fish and seafood, crab meat is insanely high in protein while also being low in fat which makes it ideal for diets that call for this, or if you are looking for something to introduce to your diet when working out and wanting an increase in protein.

How does crab taste?

The answer to this is mostly dependent on what type of crab you are cooking and eating, as all the varieties have varying flavors. Crabmeat is known to have a soft and delicate taste yet also sweet and salty. The sweetness found in the crabmeat flavor is more of an aftertaste and is very subtle whereas the saltiness is quite bold, which makes crab pair amazingly with lemon juice or similarly acidic and bitter flavors.

Crab taste is commonly referred to as being fishy, but it is not an overpowering one. It is delicate and works in tandem with whatever other flavors you may introduce to it. It does not overwhelm all other flavors similar to how some fishy food might.

Crab taste is also commonly compared to other seafood such as prawns, shrimp, and tuna taste. While they may all share the same sort of flavor profile, crab tastes very different to all of them. It has a sweet yet subtle deep flavor and is very similar to lobster meat had a slightly sweet taste.


If a crab is not prepared properly or has been left too long it can easily become spoiled. Crab meat is notorious for being easy to spoil as it must remain refrigerated and fresh before consumption. The smell of gone-off crab is pungent enough for you to tell, however, the flavor will also significantly change for the worse. It will taste terrible and extremely fishy, in a bad way. The flavor of gone-off crab is similar to that of ammonia. This is less of a risk for canned crab, frozen crab, or imitation crab, but is quite a high risk for fresh crab you may buy from a fishmonger.

As mentioned, there are many different types of crab that all have varying tastes and flavor profiles. The main varieties of crab are:

  • King crab
  • Ocean crab
  • Dungeness crab
  • Snow crab
  • Stone crab
  • Coconut crab
  • Blue crab

What does crab pair well with?

One of the best ways to eat crab is with a dish that complements its flavor profile well. You can simply cook crab and eat it without any additives but that would not show you the full potential of how crab taste would be.

Obviously, some foods taste perfect on their own, but if there is a way to elevate any item of food to a higher standard, then it is always best to do so. The flavor profile, as mentioned, is mostly salty with a sweet aftertaste. This is known to pair well with acidity and bitterness, as they balance each other out. A simple dish of crab, with some vegetables in a salad would work great if there was some lemon juice poured on the king crab.

As crab is quite a light meal, it can be easily overshadowed if not treated carefully. Because of this, it is best to choose a side that either compliments or enhances the flavor. Roasted or steamed vegetables work well as they taste nice, can be flavored to enhance the crab, and also make the meal healthier and more nutritionally balanced.

Roasted asparagus, carrots and Brussel sprouts are known to pair well with crab as they complement certain aspects of the flavor profile. Such as the nutty and earthy undertones of the Brussel sprouts working well with the smooth sweetness of the crab.

What does crab taste like? [Answered]

On the other hand, if you don’t want to pair the crab with something subtle, there are some tasty options that enhance the crab meat flavor while also adding a whole new flavor to the dish. The best flavor for this would be spice. Adding a spicy sauce, or serving the crab on spicy noodles is sure to elevate the flavor by miles. A personal favorite of mine is king crab linguine with a creamy sauce with chopped spicy peppers to garnish.

When eating specialized crabs such as king crab meat or fresh crab meat, it is best to let the flavors flourish and speak for themselves. If you are eating canned crab meat or imitation crab meat then the flavor will still be nice, but canned meat is cheaper than fresh crab so it is okay if you experiment and try it in other dishes.

However, if you are eating fresh crab and are wanting to add some flare to your dish, cutting off the crab legs and using them as a garnish on the plate can be a real game-changer while you use the meat from the body.

What alcohol does crab pair with?

Crab is by no means an incredibly expensive dish, but it is quite common for high-end restaurants to have crab dishes. With this in mind, when visiting a fancy restaurant it is custom to have an alcoholic drink with your meal if you drink alcohol of course. A common example of this would be steak and whiskey being a common pairing in high-end establishments. So what alcohol pairs with crab?

For your standard fresh crab meat taste, nothing pairs better than a glass of white rum. This can be served in a cocktail, with a mixer, or served straight on the rocks. It makes sense that a pirate’s favorite drink would pair well with crab but there is also food science behind it. Rum can be quite sweet, especially white rum. Which helps enhance your crab’s sweet flavor as they go together so well.

crab pair with white rum

Another pairing would be a nice and classic Chablis wine or a white burgundy. They are a bit more bitter than the rum, and they play off of the crab’s salty flavor by balancing it out. This is mostly for if you are having a crab dish that has fresh served crab. A dish that uses crab in linguine, however, would pair incredibly well with a Sauvignon Blanc as it will add notes of a citrus flavor that work incredibly well with the dish, and it will work even better if the dish is spicy.

How is crab prepared?

Raw crabs are the starting product. And by this, I mean fresh, living crabs that have been caught and this makes crab halal. After they have been caught there are quite a few options as to what is done with them. They can either be sent away, harvested or canned ready to be sold at supermarkets.

Another option is that they are sent to fishmongers and then killed and prepared to be sold by any means the fishmonger chooses. Finally, they can also be sold to restaurants that specialize in fish. These are the sort of restaurants that have a tank filled with living shellfish which will be chosen by you and then freshly killed right before consumption so that you have the freshest seafood available. After being cooked crab does not last long that is why you want to eat it right after preparing it.

This method may seem unusual and has been frowned upon by people who practice veganism, but having a crab die on the day of consumption ensures that the consumer is given the freshest food possible, which is worth the price alone for anyone who enjoys crab.

What does crab taste like? [Answered]

The same thing is done for killing lobsters at high-end restaurants. Lobster meat is quite similar to crab meat so it can also be prepared the same way. Although, lobster is more expensive than crab so it is less likely to be found in a can on a supermarket shelf.

Some companies may buy fresh crab meat and turn it into goods such as crab cakes which have the delicious crab taste mixed in with other additives such as potato and herbs. Crab cakes are insanely popular as they can be frozen and kept for ages and then you can reheat the crab cakes and eat them. It is also possible to find imitation crab meat crab cakes that have a very similar flavor but are actually vegan-friendly.


To summarize, crab meat can taste different depending on how it is served, how fresh it is, and what variety of crab it is. But it is more often than not going to have a salty taste with a sweet aftertaste. Crabmeat does not taste the same as lobster or other shellfish and has quite a nice and unique flavor.

What does crab taste like FAQ’s

Does crab have a fishy taste?

Crabmeat does have somewhat of a fishy taste, but that is only because it is primarily a salty flavor. Once the salt is looked past, crab tastes so a lot different compared to other fish or shellfish.

How does crab taste like?

Crab can taste different depending on the freshness of the crab and its variety and species. However, crab is known for being very delicate meat that is light in your mouth. It has a salty flavor initially that turns into a sweet aftertaste. The saltiness of crab allows it to pair beautifully with lemon and other bitter flavors. Crab is comparable to lobster however, the flavors are still very different despite sharing the same flavor profile.

What does crab and lobster taste like?

Crab and lobster are both crustaceans, which could make you assume that they taste similar. This is untrue as both crab and lobster taste very differently. While they both have a salty flavor with a sweet aftertaste, they are still entirely unique. Lobster and crab are both rich and deep with flavor, perfect to be paired with lemons and fresh herbs.

Is crab nicer than lobster?

To compare the two choices and crown one as being nicer than the other, we would have to set up defined criteria for what makes one better. They are both very delicate and flavorful foods that can be enjoyed in any restaurant, whether it is high-end and fancy, or common and homely. Crab and lobster are delicious yet subtle with their flavorings and can both be considered nice, with the choice of which one is nicer being personal preference.

Is crab supposed to taste sweet?

Crab is supposed to taste quite sweet. While it may surprise you to hear such a thing, crab has a sweet aftertaste that not many people expect. The bold saltiness that is first experienced eventually dissipates and is replaced with a delicate sweetness that has a great depth of flavor.