She-Crab Soup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    6 to 8


Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

She-crab soup, a specialty of Charleston, South Carolina, and of Savannah, Georgia, is one of the simplest of soups to make because its base is merely a white sauce of butter, a little flour, and milk. In theory, the soup should be made with the flesh and eggs of the female crab. Some books state that if you are unable to obtain the female meat and eggs, you may resort to the male flesh and add a few crumbled, hard-boiled egg yolks to the bottom of each soup bowl as a substitute for the real McCoy.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups picked-over crabmeat, preferably with a certain amount of coral or roe
  • 10 lemon slices
  • ¼ cup sherry


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. Add the milk, stirring rapidly with the whisk. Cook, stirring, until thickened and smooth.
  2. Add the nutmeg, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne and stir. Add the crabmeat, stirring gently, and bring just to the boil. Add the lemon slices and sherry and pour into a soup tureen or serve in individual bowls.