27 Easy Imitation Crab Meat Recipes

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Craving succulent crab without the price tag? These imitation crab recipes are so good, you won’t even miss the “real thing!” From a rich bowl of hot crab dip to mouthwatering chimichangas to classic California rolls, get ready to enjoy your next seafood feast in budget-friendly style.

Sushi rolls, crab wontons, crab cake, crab sandwich.


Fresh shellfish is amazing, but unless you live on the coast, it can be hard to source and often comes with an eye-popping price tag. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to get your crab fix, you have to try these imitation crab recipes!

Imitation crab is fake crab meat made from white fish that’s minced and pressed to look like the meat of a crab leg. It’s perfect for satisfying your seafood cravings at a fraction of the price of real crab! I consider that a win-win.

If you’re craving crab all on its own, springing for the real thing is always best. But in recipes like hot crab dip, crab rangoons, or California rolls, even die-hard seafood lovers will hardly notice the difference! From your favorite appetizers to mouthwatering main courses, here are some delicious ways to use imitation crab.

Best Ways To Cook Imitation Crab Meat

1. Crab Salad

Celery, green onions, mayonnaise, and plenty of Old Bay seasoning makes this recipe a delicious take on creamy seafood salad! Enjoy with crackers or stuff it into a hoagie roll for a fun play on lobster rolls.

2. Imitation Crab And Corn Salad

Imitation crab meat sticks, pickles, and sweet corn are tossed in a light garlicky mayo-yogurt dressing for a crunchy, creamy, flavorful combination. This appetizer is a simple recipe that can be spread on toast, served over bread buns, or enjoyed as-is!

3. Spicy Kani Salad

For a refreshing and simple dish, this imitation crab salad recipe includes cucumber, mango, and carrot in a light and creamy dressing. It’s perfect for an easy lunch or dinner and only takes minutes to throw together.

4. Japanese Crab Salad

Refreshing cucumbers combined with a light kewpie mayo and imitation crab is a wonderful no-cook salad. Whip up a big batch and enjoy it all week long! This dish makes a delicious side, or you could turn it into a quick hand roll.

5. Hot Imitation Crab Dip

Cheesy baked crab rangoon dip is absolutely irresistible! Serve with golden fried wontons for a seriously crowd-pleasing appetizer. You can also prep this recipe up to two days ahead of time, then simply pop it in the oven before serving!

6. Buffalo Crab Dip

This warm and cheesy dip is packed with imitation crab and gets a kick of flavor from the buffalo sauce! Simply mix together the ingredients, then bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. It’s perfect for parties or game day!

7. Imitation Crab Meat Casserole

If you’ve ever tried this dish at a Chinese buffet, you’re going to love how easy it is to whip up right at home! The mild and creamy flavors make it a perfect appetizer to bring to your next potluck.

8. Seafood Enchiladas

Skip the takeout and whip up this Mexican-restaurant favorite right at home! It’s a super easy enchilada recipe that tastes amazing served with rice and black beans. Top with sour cream and green onions and enjoy!

9. Imitation Crab Chimichangas

These rich and decadent chimichangas are baked instead of fried, which makes them just a tad healthier than the restaurant version. You’ll be amazed how well the refried beans pair with the imitation crab!

10. Crab Crescent Bites

For a quick appetizer or game day snack, these tasty little bites are sure to be a crowd-pleaser! They’re a bit like crab rangoons, but they’re baked in crescent rolls instead of fried inside wonton wrappers.

11. Imitation Crab Ceviche

This refreshing and delicious recipe combines imitation crab meat, fresh lime juice, avocado, olive oil, fresh veggies, and cilantro for a vibrant medley of flavors! You can also throw in some serrano peppers if you want to dial up the heat.

12. Fried Crab Sticks Bites

A light tempura batter and quick fry turn these imitation crab sticks bites into an irresistible appetizer! Crab sticks are cut into smaller pieces and lightly fried. Serve them with a creamy tartar sauce and watch your guests devour them in the blink of an eye.

13. Crab Rangoon

This recipe can be made with fresh crab meat, frozen crab meat, or finely chopped imitation crab. Whether you decide to bake or fry your rangoons, they will still turn out every bit as delicious as the ones from your favorite Chinese restaurant!

14. California Rolls

Have you ever tried making sushi at home? This step by step guide makes it so fun to create your own rolls! Imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber come together for a beginner-friendly sushi roll that’s as fun to make as it is to eat.

15. Crab Roll

You only need 6 ingredients and 5 minutes to throw together this crab salad sandwich! Mix the crab with mayo and chopped celery, add some Old Bay seasoning, squeeze a little lemon juice on top, then stuff into a hoagie roll and enjoy!

16. Seafood Macaroni Salad

A combination of shrimp, crab, and elbow macaroni makes this recipe the perfect dish for summertime cookouts! You can make it up to 4 days in advance for some luxurious meal prepping or to bring to your next potluck.

17. Crab Pasta Salad

This bright and fresh crab pasta salad recipe is bursting with summer seafood flavor! It’s super simple to throw together, and the taste is out of this world. You’ll want to make this dish over and over again.

18. Imitation Crab Cakes

Want to know the secret to the perfect crab cake texture? Use crumbled Ritz crackers as your binder! These cakes are easy to shape, then you’ll fry them up in some butter and finish them off in the oven for a truly decadent dish.

19. Crab Louie Salad

Avocado, hard-boiled eggs, and a tangy, spicy dressing make this crab salad a winner! Serve these simple ingredients over romaine lettuce for a quick and easy lunch or dinner that’s sure to satisfy your seafood cravings.

20. Imitation Crab Poke Bowls

This recipe is like a California roll in a bowl! Imitation crab, rice, creamy avocado, fresh cucumber, sweet mango, and a spicy mayo come together for delicious flavor in each and every bite.

21. Alaska Sushi Roll

This Alaska sushi roll recipe is a wonderful way to use imitation crab. Made with mayonnaise, cucumber, avocado, and topped with salmon. These rolls are delicious!

22. Sushi Bake

This recipe is popular on social media. Imagine a sushi roll in a casserole form. Great for a crowd!

23. Crab Pasta Bake

Hot pasta casserole that if full of delicious imitation crab meat, pasta, and seasonings. Serve with a side salad for a full meal.

24. Crab Stuffed Salmon

An amazing salmon recipe that is sure to impress. Salmon fillets stuffed with crab meat is a seafood lovers dream.

25. Crab Rangoon Egg Rolls

The best of crab rangoon wrapped in wonton wrappers. Try serving with a delicious dipping sauce like duck sauce or this hot mustard.

26. Crab Cabbage Salad

Crunch cabbage mixed with vegetables and imitation crab. A fresh salad perfect for BBQ’s, parties, potlucks, and more.

27. Crab Quiche

Crustless crab quiches is just what you need for your next brunch.

Imitation Crab Questions

Does imitation crab taste like real crab?

The taste is a little different than real crab. The look and texture is very similar but imitation crab meat has a more mild taste than fresh, real crab meat.

Can imitation crab be substituted with real crab in recipes?

Yes, typically you can safely use imitation crab as a substitution for real crab in recipes.

How to store imitation crab?

Keep it in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

More seafood recipes

Did you try any of these imitation crab meat recipes? Let me know in the comments below.

Sushi rolls, crab wontons, crab cake, crab sandwich.
5 from 1 vote

Imitation Crab Recipes

By Heather
Collection of imitation crab recipes plus this super simple imitation crab salad.
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 8 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1/2 pound imitation crab meat
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Chop the imitation crab meat into smaller pieces
  • Place mayonnaise, diced onion, diced celery, celery seed, paprika, salt, pepper, and crab meat.
  • Stir together to combine. Store in the refrigerator.


Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 570mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
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