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She Crab Mac and Cheese

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 8


Super delicious, dreamy mac and cheese that tastes just like she-crab soup but amped up with tons of cheese and pasta. She-crab mac and cheese is the mac and cheese we've all been waiting for! This is perfect for a cozy weekend, Valentine's Day, or even Christmas Eve.


  • 16 ounces short-cut pasta, cooked to al dente and drained, one cup pasta water reserved.
  • 16 ounces lump crab, picked through for any shell bits
  • 16 ounces fontina cheese, grated
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sweet/mild paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay or other seafood seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • extra salt, pepper, lemon wedges


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F and the pasta pot (or another large pot) from boiling the noodles to medium heat.
  2. Add the butter, onion, garlic, spices, and tomato paste to the pot. Stir to combine until the mixture is sizzling, then sprinkle over the flour. Whisk together to form a paste.
  3. Very slowly pour in the stock, whisking as you go, to create a thickened sauce. Pour in the cream and continue to stir.
  4. Let the mixture come just to a simmer, then stir in the fontina cheese 1 handful at a time until it melts, reserving 1 cup of grated cheese. When the she-crab soup base (and mac and cheese base) is done, turn the stove off.
  5. Add the pasta, crab, and remaining cheese to the pot. Stir gently to combine and taste: add more salt, pasta water, or cream to your preference. The mixture should be saucy but not soupy.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle with the panko and black pepper.
  7. Bake the she-crab mac and cheese for 15-20 minutes until bubbly, then serve with flaky salt, olive oil, cracked pepper, and lemon wedges.
  8. YES.


Since there is a good amount of stirring involved in making a cheese sauce, I measure everything for this recipe in advance, then stir + sip wine + chat while I make this. I find it very enjoyable.

This recipe is crab-forward, and the container I purchased happened to be 16 ounces. If you find 10oz, 12oz or similar that looks good to you feel free to decrease the quantity a bit!

Make in advance: Do everything but the final baking step, then keep in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. Baking time will be a bit longer, but 30 minutes or so until hot and bubbly should do the trick!

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes

Keywords: she-crab soup recipe, mac and cheese recipe