Crab soup has a rich broth brimming with fresh crab meat, shiitake mushroom, and napa cabbage accented with sesame oil, ginger, and sake. Warm up with a bowl of this delicious comfort food.
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Crab soup will warm you up from the inside out. It has a soothing quality so it’s perfect for those cold winter days. The key to the best soup is patience.
If you’ve had egg drop soup or Vietnamese crab and asparagus soup, you will notice similar tasting notes.
The homemade chicken broth is simmered low and slow for an hour in order to build up the delicious base of this crab soup recipe. The final result is a unique soup that’s full of complex, but not overpowering, flavors made from simple ingredients.
Why This Recipe Works
- Indulgent – Crab is such a premium ingredient. It’s always a treat when a meal includes it.
- Nutritious – This nourishing soup is packed with vegetables and loaded with collagen from the chicken wing stock.
- Delicious – The base of this recipe is a rich homemade chicken stock that boosts the savory taste. With hints of garlic, ginger, and the unexpected umami flavor provided by the sake, you’re in for a cozy soup.
Tools You’ll Need
Ingredients You Will Need for Crab Soup
- Chicken wings – I like to use chicken wings for stock as it’s the perfect base for this soup. Because there are more joints in wings, the stock will contain a lot more collagen and also will be robust in flavor.
- Scallions – Chop them into 2-inch long pieces and only use the green parts.
- Ginger – Unpeeled.
- Garlic cloves – Smashed.
- Black peppercorns – Freshly ground pepper yields a stronger flavor.
- Water – The liquid base of the stock.
- Kosher salt – I use Diamond Crystal.
- Sesame oil – This adds a pop of toasty flavor.
- Scallions – Finely chopped.
- Ginger – Finely grated.
- Fresh garlic – Minced.
- Shiitake mushrooms – Sliced.
- Napa cabbage – Sometimes referred to as Chinese cabbage, this veggie has a mild flavor that complements whatever it is added to. Use the stems and leaves for a nice balance of crispy and tender.
- Sake – I use Sho Chiku Bai Junmai Sake as a flavor building block. It tastes similar to dry white wines and has a soothing finish when warmed. It also provides an umami flavor.
- Light soy sauce – Not to be confused with reduced-sodium soy sauce. This type of soy sauce is used so as not to deepen the color of the soup, and yield umami flavor. I use this soy sauce which can be found in most Asian markets.
- King crab meat – The shells should be removed and the meat should be broken into pieces. You can use snow crab or lump meat instead for a more affordable meal.
- Potato starch – This thickens the soup but it doesn’t affect the taste.
- Water – This is used to mix the potato starch.
- Kosher salt – Add to taste. I use Diamond Crystal.
- Ground white pepper – Topped on the soup just before serving and has a distinct taste compared to its black pepper counterpart.
Where to Find Sake
For this crab soup recipe, I used this Sho Chiku Bai Junmai Sake. It can be found at most Asian stores in the alcohol section. It is relatively inexpensive and an ideal cooking sake. The bottle pictured costs $7-$9 dollars and will last you 2-3 months depending on the frequency of use.
How To Make Crab Soup
Gradually build the flavors in this crab soup recipe, starting with the delicious broth.
Make Chicken Stock
Add chicken, scallions, ginger coins, garlic, peppercorns, and water to a heavy-bottomed dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Skim and Strain
Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Skim any skum from the top, then cover and cook for 1 hour.
Carefully strain the broth and reserve liquid for soup. See below for tips on how to use leftover meat.
Sauté Aromatics and Mushrooms
Add sesame oil to a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add scallions, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
Then add shiitake mushrooms and napa bottoms. Cook for 3 minutes or until the cabbage is almost cooked through.
Add Sake and Chicken Stock
Add sake and cook for one minute, then, add chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.
Then add napa leaves and soy sauce. Cook for 8 minutes.
Add Crab to Soup
Add crab and cook for 3 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt. Stir potato starch and water in a small bowl, then add to the soup. Cook for another 3 minutes or until soup has slightly thickened.
Serve immediately in bowls and top with white pepper just before serving.
How to Use Leftover Meat
I try not to waste food in my kitchen so let’s put those chicken wings to good use. Keep leftover chicken from the stock and repurpose it in new recipes. Here are some tasty ideas:
Tips and Tricks
- Use a dutch oven. It’s ideal for one-pot meals like soup. Sauté the vegetables and aromatics and then use the pot to contain the soup.
- Don’t rush the simmer. The longer the soup sits, the better the flavor.
- Add noodles. For an even heartier soup, consider adding udon, soba, or rice noodles. Just be sure to cook the noodles in separate pot and add it to the soup just before eating.
- Make it spicy. Add Shallot Ginger Chili Oil, chili flakes or La-Yu in order to kick the heat up a notch.
- Add Shrimp. Don’t have access to crab? Use shrimp instead.
- Vegetable Broth. For a pescatarian dish, you can make mushroom broth instead of chicken.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I store leftover crab soup?
Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, warm it up on the stove over medium-low heat. But keep in mind, the cabbage will be softer.
Can crab soup be frozen?
Yes. The best way to preserve the flavor and texture of crab is to freeze it. Most crab recipes contain dairy but this one doesn’t so it can freeze for up to 2 months.
Can I use canned crab for crab soup?
Yes, canned lump crab meat works perfectly fine for this recipe.
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Crab Soup with Shiitake and Napa Cabbage
- Dutch Oven
- 1½ pounds chicken wings
- 3 scallions chopped into 2-inch long pieces, green parts only
- 4 coins ginger, unpeeled
- 3 large cloves garlic, smashed
- ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 5¼ cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, I use Diamond Crystal
- 2½ tablespoons sesame oil
- ¼ cup scallions, finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons ginger, finely grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup napa cabbage, stems
- 3 cups napa cabbage, leaves
- 3 tablespoons sake, I use
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 8 ounces king crab meat, shells removed and broken into pieces, can use snow crab or lump meat
- 1½ tablespoons potato starch
- 3 tablespoons water
- Kosher salt, to taste, I use Diamond Crystal
- Ground white pepper
- Add chicken, scallions, ginger coins, garlic, peppercorns, and water to a heavy-bottomed dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once mixture comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer. Skim any skum from the top, then cover and cook 1 hour.
- Carefully strain the broth and reserve liquid for soup. See tips for how to use leftover meat.
- Add sesame oil to a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add scallions, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add shiitake mushrooms and napa bottoms. Cook for 3 minutes or until cabbage is almost cooked through.
- Add sake and cook for one minute, then, add chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.
- Add napa leaves and soy sauce. Cook for 8 minutes.
- Add crab and cook for 3 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt. Stir potato starch and water in a small bowl, then add to the soup. Cook for another 3 minutes or until soup has slightly thickened.
- Serve immediately in bowls and top with white pepper just before serving.