Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches

This image courtesy of Marlon Braccia 2008

Be sure the fish market has gutted and cleaned the crabs at the market. Keep refrigerated as long as possible so there is a significant difference in temperature when they hit the pan. Just before cooking, rinse the crabs off with cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel. There is absolutely no reason to remove any of the shell. Once gutted, you eat the entire crab!

NotesThe crab is sticking. What do I do?

Add a little more white wine, shimmy the pan and carefully try to loosen with a thin metal spatula. Consider turning down the heat a little.


Cooking Methodpan-frying


Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch

Type of Dishsandwich


  • 4 soft shell crabs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/4 t. chili powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 leaves butter lettuce
  • 1 baguette or 4 crusty rolls
  • 1 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. Beat the egg and mix in a little white wine to thin it out.

  2. Cut the bread for sandwiches in 6" lengths to fit the crabs and toast it lightly.

  3. Heat a skillet on medium high heat that is large enough to fit all the crabs without crowding. Cook in batches if your pan is too small. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil then stir in the butter. Cook for 15 seconds before adding the white wine.

  4. In the meantime, mix the salt, chili pepper into the flour in a flat, shallow bowl or on a paper plate. Dredge the crabs one at a time, first through the flour and then through the egg mixture, and immediately add each one to the hot butter-wine sauce in the pan. It should sizzle a little bit and float in the sauce enough so they do not stick. Shake the pan a little to keep them from sticking, but do not use a utensil until the coating has solidified or it will fall off.

  5. After 2-3 minutes on one side, carefully flip the crabs over and lightly brown the other side until it firms up a bit. By the end of the cooking there's likely be little sauce left in the pan. Spread whatever drippings remain plus a smear of Dijon mustard on to the toasted bread. Layer the toasted baguette with whole lettuce leaves and one crab for each sandwich. Squeeze some lemon juice on each crab, add ground pepper to taste, and top with the toasted lid. Yummm!


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