Crab and Shrimp Casserole Recipe

Introduction to Crab and Shrimp Casserole

The Crab and Shrimp Casserole, a beloved dish among seafood enthusiasts, boasts a rich heritage that dates back to coastal regions where seafood was plentiful. Its origin is somewhat of a culinary mosaic, blending the traditions of various cultures that prize the ocean’s bounty. This casserole has evolved from simple seafood meals to a refined dish celebrated in both home kitchens and upscale restaurants. Its popularity stems from the delicate balance of flavors between the sweet crab and the slightly briny shrimp, all baked into a comforting, creamy casserole. The dish’s versatility and the ease of adding various ingredients to suit different palates have made it a favorite for family dinners and festive gatherings alike.

Essential Ingredients Overview

The heart of the Crab and Shrimp Casserole lies in its key ingredients: fresh or lump crabmeat and succulent shrimp, which provide the dish with its signature seafood flavors. These are typically combined with a creamy base, often made from a mixture of milk, cheese, and a binding agent like flour or breadcrumbs, to create a rich and comforting texture. Vegetables such as onions, celery, and bell peppers add freshness and a slight crunch, while seasonings like garlic, paprika, and thyme infuse the casserole with aromatic depth. The choice of ingredients can vary, allowing for customization based on preference or dietary needs, making the dish both versatile and universally appealing.

Health and Nutritional Benefits

Crab and shrimp, the stars of this casserole, are not only delicious but also packed with nutritional benefits. Crabmeat is low in fat and calories while being a rich source of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. It also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium, which are crucial for maintaining good health. Shrimp, similarly, is a low-calorie source of protein and offers significant amounts of iodine, a nutrient important for thyroid function and overall metabolic health.

Moreover, the dish can be adapted to include a variety of vegetables, boosting its fiber, vitamin, and mineral content. When prepared with whole grain or gluten-free alternatives for the binding agent and reduced-fat dairy options, the casserole can be a heart-healthy choice that fits into various dietary plans. The combination of high-quality proteins, beneficial fats from seafood, and the vitamins and minerals from added vegetables makes the Crab and Shrimp Casserole a nutritious and satisfying meal option.

Preparing the Ingredients

Preparing the ingredients for a Crab and Shrimp Casserole requires careful attention, especially when handling seafood, to ensure the dish’s flavor and safety. Begin by thoroughly rinsing the shrimp in cold water, peeling, and deveining them. For crabmeat, check for any shell fragments by gently feeling through the meat. Fresh vegetables should be washed, peeled, and diced uniformly to ensure even cooking. If you’re using cheese, grate it ahead of time for easier integration into the casserole. For ingredients like rice or pasta that might be part of the recipe, pre-cook them al dente since they will continue cooking in the oven. This stage is about preparing your components to meld seamlessly into the casserole, enhancing both flavor and texture.

Step-by-Step Cooking Guide

  1. Preheat the Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C), ensuring it reaches the right temperature for baking.
  2. Prepare the Seafood Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cleaned shrimp and crabmeat with diced vegetables, and season with salt, pepper, and any other spices you prefer. Mix gently to avoid breaking the crabmeat too much.
  3. Create the Creamy Base: In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux. Gradually add milk, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and blend in grated cheese until smooth. Season with a pinch of nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  4. Combine: Fold the seafood and vegetable mixture into the creamy base. Add pre-cooked rice or pasta at this stage if using.
  5. Assemble the Casserole: Transfer the mixture into a greased baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of paprika for color and texture.
  6. Bake: Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbling.
  7. Rest and Serve: Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes before serving. This step helps the flavors meld together and improves the texture.

Tips for Perfect Casserole Texture:

  • Ensure your creamy base is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; this prevents a runny casserole.
  • Don’t overmix the seafood to keep the texture varied and interesting.
  • Breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs on top add a necessary crunch against the creamy filling.

Variations of the Recipe

Vegetarian Version: For a vegetarian take on this classic, replace the seafood with a combination of mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and chickpeas. These provide a meaty texture and a rich flavor profile that absorbs the creamy sauce well.

Spicy Twist: To add heat to the traditional recipe, incorporate chopped jalapeños or a dash of cayenne pepper into the mix. You can also blend in some pepper jack cheese with the traditional cheeses used in the casserole base for an extra kick. Another variation is to stir in a spoonful of your favorite hot sauce or sprinkle chili flakes on top before baking.

Both variations offer a creative take on the traditional Crab and Shrimp Casserole, allowing for flexibility based on dietary needs or flavor preferences.


Can I use canned crab and shrimp? Yes, canned crab and shrimp can be used for convenience and are a great time-saver. Ensure to drain them well to remove excess moisture that could affect the casserole’s consistency. Opt for high-quality canned seafood to maintain the dish’s flavor integrity.

How to store and reheat leftovers? Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, place the casserole in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 15-20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed. Cover with aluminum foil to prevent the top from browning too much. Microwaving is also an option, though it may slightly alter the texture.

Are there any quick-prep tips for this recipe? To save time, you can use pre-cooked shrimp and crabmeat or opt for their canned versions. Preparing some ingredients ahead, such as chopping vegetables or pre-cooking rice or pasta, can also expedite the process. Additionally, consider making the creamy base a day in advance and storing it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Serving and Pairing

Serving Suggestions Crab and Shrimp Casserole is best served hot, straight from the oven. It pairs beautifully with light sides that complement its richness without overwhelming the palate. Consider serving it with a crisp green salad, steamed asparagus, or garlic bread. For a heartier meal, a side of wild rice or quinoa can add texture and further enhance the dish’s flavors.

Wine and Beverage Pairings A chilled glass of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc pairs wonderfully with the creamy, savory flavors of the casserole, balancing richness with acidity. For those preferring red wine, a light Pinot Noir can complement the dish without overpowering it. Non-alcoholic options include sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon to cleanse the palate or an iced herbal tea for a refreshing complement. Choose beverages that won’t compete with the dish’s flavors but rather enhance the dining experience.

Crab and Shrimp Casserole Recipe

This Crab and Shrimp Casserole combines the delicate flavors of the sea in a rich, creamy sauce, topped with a crispy breadcrumb layer. Perfect for a cozy dinner or a festive gathering, this dish brings a touch of elegance to any table.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Coastal
Servings 6 people
Calories 500 kcal


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • 9x13 inch baking dish
  • Oven


  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb crabmeat fresh or canned
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley chopped (for garnish)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine shrimp, crabmeat, celery, onion, and garlic.
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to create a roux. Gradually whisk in milk until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in mayonnaise and cheddar cheese until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Fold the seafood mixture into the sauce. Transfer to the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.


  • For a lighter version, substitute whole milk with skim milk and use low-fat mayonnaise and cheese.
  • Feel free to add vegetables like peas or diced carrots for added nutrition and color.
  • If using canned crab and shrimp, ensure to drain them well to avoid excess moisture.
  • This casserole can be prepared ahead and refrigerated overnight. Add an extra 10-15 minutes to the baking time if baking from cold.
Keyword Baked, Casserole, Crab, Creamy, Seafood, Shrimp