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Creamy White Crab Chili

February 26, 2020
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white crab chili recipe

Looking for a unique chili that’s sure to please, then you must try this creamy White crab Chili. Big crab flavor with white beans, fresh corn and a slight jalapeño kick. If you love cream of crab soup you will be quite pleased with this amped up Chesapeake crustacean creation.

If you like Cream of Crab you'll LOVE Creamy White Crab Chili

I have always loved white chicken chili so as a Marylander I obviously had to create a white crab chili recipe. The flavor profiles are similar to its chicken counterparts but instead of chili powder and paprika I used Old Bay as my base seasoning. Old bay is an incredibly versatile seasoning that is synonymous with seafood but also pairs great with a variety of dishes. Corn is something that is commonly seasoned with old bay especially in the mid Atlantic area so combining corn, crab and old bay was a no brainer.

What kind of crab should I use in soup/chili

When I make Maryland crab soup I prefer to use a combination of claw and backfin crabmeat. I think that jumbo lump is just a waist because the lumps will just get broken up in the soup. Cream of crab is different because most of the time the crab is added to each individual bowl and the lumps remain in tact. For this creamy white chili I went with the claw/backfin combo because I wanted the crab stirred throughout the chili. If you happen to have jumbo lump feel free to garnish with a few lumps on top. I chose to just varnish with a few large claw pieces on top and I feel that worked out just fine.

What kind of beans are best for white crab chili?

You can really use any beans you like for this white crab chili recipe. I used Cannellini and pinto beans because they have a creamy texture and are lighter in color. Butter beans, chickpeas or navy beans would also be great options. I try to stay away from the darker beans like kidney and black beans only because I wouldn't want them to discolor the White crab chili.

Fresh or Frozen Corn?

I personally love nothing more than fresh corn shaved right off the cob. If it’s not available you can substitute frozen corn but I would try to avoid canned corn. Canned corn has a mushy texture and is brined in a solution that can affect the flavor of your chili. If possible I always keep an eye out for roadside produce stands selling fresh local corn. It’s definitely an ingredient that can boost the flavor of the dish by using fresh corn.I use the fresh shaved corn in the white crab chili as well as a garnish on top.

Chesapeake White Crab Chili

Some like it hot, others do not

When it comes to the heat level of chili you definitely have two different camps. Some want chili so hot you’ll shed a tear while others prefer a subtle kick. I find that subtle is best for white chili so I let the heat come from the fresh diced jalapeño. To reduce the heat even further remove the seeds from the jalapeño. Serve the chili with sliced jalapeño as and extra old bay because Its a Maryland thing!

white crab chili with old bay

Go slow, don't burn the bottom of the pot. Your chili will thank you

One of the biggest mistakes I see when making any cream based soup is to have the heat too high on the burner. For this recipe you should never raise the heat above medium. Most of the cooking process should be done over medium low heat and at no point should this crab chili come to a boil. If it does you run the risk of the soup breaking or burning the bottom of the pot leaving a bitter burnt flavor. Use a wooden spoon and stir frequently. You are not trying to caramelize your veggies so go slow and gently soften the peppers and onions just until opaque. 

Bowl of creamy white crab chili topped with cheese, corn, jalapeño and tomato

Once it’s time to add the cream you will slowly warm it up just below a simmer and then add your cornstarch slurry. Be sure to mix the cornstarch with water or you’ll have clumps in the chili. After the chili has thickened you can gently fold in the beans and crab. They only need to be warmed through because the crab and beans are already cooked. Reserve just a bit of extra crab to garnish on top of the chili.

More Crab Inspiration

Chesapeake White Crab Chili

Creamy White Crab Chili

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chesapeake Crab, Chili
Prep Time: 14 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 547kcal



  • Dice up Bell peppers, jalapenos, onions and tomato. chop parsley and shave corn off the cob. Drain and rinse canned beans
  • in a 8 Qt. Dutch oven saute onions, jalapeno, bell peppers and cor with butter over medium low heat until veggies begin to soften. Deglaze with Dry sherry and Worcestershire.
  • Add Dry mustard and Old Bay to the pot and then stir in half & half and Heavy Cream.
  • Continue to simmer until the cream is warm and then stir corn starch together with 1/2 cup of water before whisking into the cream.
  • Stir frequently making sure not to burn the bottom of the pot. Once the cream begins to thicken add beans and crabmeat. Continue sturring until it reaches a simmer but do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat and Serve. Garnish with cheddar cheese, scallions, sliced jalapeno and diced tomato.


Calories: 547kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 188mg | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2053IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 168mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition Facts
Creamy White Crab Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 547 Calories from Fat 432
% Daily Value*
Fat 48g74%
Saturated Fat 30g188%
Cholesterol 188mg63%
Sodium 517mg22%
Potassium 288mg8%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 2053IU41%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 168mg17%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

creamy white crab chili recipe

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