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Crab Pasta

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Crab pasta is comfort food with an elevated seafood twist! Tender pasta and chunks of fresh crab meat are tossed in a creamy and savory white wine sauce along with loads of fresh herbs and pine nuts. This incredible meal is the perfect dish for any seafood lover! 

A bowl filled with creamy crab pasta next to a glass of white wine.

This elegant meal is simple enough to make for a casual dinner but elevated enough for a special occasion or date night in.

The fresh flavor of sweet crab meat shines in this crab pasta recipe. Jumbo lump crab meat pulled from whole Dungeness crabs offers the perfect balance of sweetness in this creamy and savory pasta dish. 

While the delicate flavor of crab combined with pasta and a rich cream sauce makes an impressive, sophisticated meal, you will LOVE that this pasta dish is really quite an easy dinner to prep! 

Why This Recipe Works

Who can resist tender, thin pasta noodles and jumbo lump crabmeat from whole crabs tossed in a luxurious sauce?! 

Similar to our Seafood Mac and Cheese and our Squid Ink Pasta with Seafood, this is a simple seafood pasta to make.

Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • crab pasta is flavorful and elevated, yet remains simple to pull together 
  • it is a meal for any occasion
  • the creamy sauce pairs so well with the sweet flavor of crab meat
  • it is easy to make this restaurant-quality meal right in your home kitchen!
A cooked Dungeness crab on newspapers.

Ingredients for Crab Pasta

Here’s a look at what you will need to make it:

  • Cooked crab meat. We use the meat from two whole Dungeness crabs, but this recipe will work with nearly all types of crab meat including king crab, blue crabs and meat from snow crab legs. Just don’t use imitation crab!
  • Pasta. You can use any shape of pasta for this recipe, including pasta shells, linguine, fettuccine or a fantastic spaghetti.
  • Pine nuts. You will toast them in a pan before tossing them in with the pasta, which gives them an extra nutty flavor.
  • Olive oil. Use extra virgin olive oil.
  • Aromatics. Chopped shallot and a couple of garlic cloves add to the savory flavor of the pasta sauce. 
  • Liquids. Dry white wine, heavy cream and lemon juice make up the base of the sauce. A little bit of lemon zest adds extra lemon-y flavor.
  • Seasonings and spices. Old Bay Seasoning, fresh thyme leaves, capers and black pepper are all great flavor enhancers for crab. 
  • Garnishes. Fresh thyme sprigs and lemon wedges for that final, flavorful finish!

Ingredients for crab pasta.

The Recipe

Here’s a look at the steps required for this crab pasta recipe, but be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the printable recipe card with all of the instructions and ingredient amounts. 

First, you will need to cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and follow the package instructions for cooking to al dente stage, typically about 10-12 minutes. Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water (this will be used later to thin down the sauce). 

Next, follow the steps below to prepare the sauce:

Sauteeing the shallots and garlic in a skillet.

Saute the shallots and garlic, then add the wine. Cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol.

Adding the wine and cream to the sauce.

Add the lemon juice and lemon zest then stir in the cream.

Adding the seasonings to the cream sauce.

Add the seasoning.

Mixing spaghetti noodles with crab, sauce, capers, and pine nuts.

Stir in the pasta along with the rest of the ingredients. Toss to coat the pasta in the cream sauce.

? More Crab Recipes

If you love crab, you’ve come to the right place! From classic dishes like Dungeness crab cakes with garlic butter sauce to a simple crab melt sandwich, we have many more selections for you. Here are a few.

A large serving fork tossing the crabmeat in the skillet of pasta.

Recipe Tips for the Best Results

  • Feel free to use any shape of pasta for this recipe! Spaghetti, linguini, or Bucatini work well, but you can also use short pasta like penne or rigatoni. Use whatever you have on hand.
  • Bring the water to a boil before you add the pasta, and make sure you add plenty of salt to the water.
  • Cook the pasta just until it is al dente. It will cook more when you add it to the creamy sauce.
  • Other topping options include a little bit of fresh grated Parmesan cheese or a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. 

Storing Crab Pasta

If you have any leftover crab pasta, it keeps well for up to 5 days or as long as the crab still tastes fresh. To properly store it, place the pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To reheat the crab pasta, put it in a covered skillet and heat it over medium heat. Add a splash of water or chicken broth to loosen the noodles and create some steam.

What to Serve with Crab Pasta

This could easily become one of your favorite pasta dishes! It’s versatile, simple to prepare, and it goes with a variety of sides. We like to pair it with a bistro salad and whole wheat einkorn bread. Here are a few more suggestions:

Overhead view of a serving of crab pasta.

Frequently Asked Questions

What wine goes with crab pasta?

Ideally, a light white wine goes well with this dish. We like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or a Chardonnay. The most important thing is to choose a wine you enjoy (even if you want to break the rules and go with a red wine).

Can you freeze crab pasta?

You can freeze this dish, but it won’t be quite as good. The texture and flavor of the crab and sauce will not be as fresh when it thaws.

More Pasta Recipes

If you’re like me, then you can never get enough of pasta. So if you’re looking for some more fabulous pasta ideas, we have a great selection. From classic favorites such as tuna pasta casserole and carbonara to lighter options with veggies, like rasta pasta, you will find plenty of options here.

Helpful Tools

Some of the following are affiliate links. We may receive a small commission if you click on these links and purchase something. You don’t pay any extra, but it will help us keep the lights on. 

Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

Seafood Lasagna is such a delicious meal! This creamy, Italian-style lasagna features layers of succulent seafood in a rich béchamel sauce with your classic lasagna noodles. Serve it with homemade Dutch oven bread.

Our Romesco seafood stew blends spicy chorizo with scallops, shrimp, mussels, and cod. It is a filling meal that goes well with garlic focaccia bread and a burrata salad.

Our salmon stew is packed with tender chunks of salmon, fresh vegetables, and smoky bacon. Serve it with buttery cornbread and our strawberry spinach salad.

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A serving of crab pasta with a wedged of lemon and a fork in it.

Crab Pasta

Crab pasta is an amazing meal combining succulent chunks of fresh crabmeat in a creamy sauce made with white wine, garlic fresh herbs, pine nuts then tossed with your choice of pasta.
5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 645kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


  • 8 ounces dry pasta
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 large shallot chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 whole cooked Dungeness crabs meat removed and picked through
  • 2 tablespoons bottled capers rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges for garnish


Cook the Pasta:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente stage, according to manufacturers’ directions. (Most types of pasta will require between 8 to 12 minutes).
  • Drain the cooked pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.  Return the pasta to the pot, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and toss, coating the pasta lightly with the oil.  Cover the pot and set aside to keep warm.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the pine nuts to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Stir occasionally until lightly browned and fragrant.  Transfer the toasted pine nuts to a small dish and reserve until needed.

Prepare the Sauce:

  • In a large skillet heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat and add the shallots and garlic.  Sauté for 2 minutes, until soft, then add the white wine and cook for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol.
  • Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, then pour in the cream, stirring until blended.  Increase the heat to medium-high. When the sauce comes to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-8 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened.  
  • Add Old Bay seasoning, the crab meat, pasta, ¼ cup of the pasta water, pine nuts, capers, thyme leaves, and a few grindings of black pepper.  Toss to coat the pasta, adding additional pasta water if needed.
  • Serve immediately, dividing equally into four warm pasta bowls.  Garnish each serving with lemon wedges and thyme sprigs.


  • You can use any shape of pasta for this recipe.
  • Before you cook the pasta, make sure you salt the water very well. Bring the water to a boil before adding the pasta.
  • This crab pasta is also delicious with grated Parmesan cheese on each serving.
  • For a bit of spice, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 645kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 540mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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