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Crab Marinara Recipe

  • Author: Maxine Dubois
  • Total Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This Crab Marinara is made with blue crabs, San Marzano peeled tomatoes, red pepper flakes, garlic, basil and served on spaghetti or linguini.  


  • 8 blue crabs, cleaned
  • 2 (28 oz each) cans of whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano peeled tomatoes are recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of red chili flakes (or less if you prefer less spicy)
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 lb of cooked spaghetti or linguini


  1. Blend the whole plum tomatoes into a puree with a blender or a food processor. Alternatively, you can squish them with your hands if you like your sauce on the chunkier side.
  2. In a large stockpot or dutch oven on medium heat, add the oil and wait for it to shimmer. Add the garlic for 1 minute, stirring. Pour in the tomato puree, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the basil and the crabs and make sure the crabs are nestled in the sauce. Cover and cook for 2 hours. 
  3. When there is 15 minutes remaining on the crab cooking, cook your spaghetti or linguini.
  4. Garnish with more basil.


  • Use fresh ingredients: Whenever possible, use fresh ingredients for the best flavor. This includes fresh garlic, parsley, and tomatoes.
  • Choose high-quality canned tomatoes: If using canned tomatoes, look for high-quality brands with no added preservatives or salt.
  • Use lump crab meat: For the best flavor and texture, use lump crab meat instead of canned crab meat or imitation crab meat.
  • Don't overcook the crab: Crab meat can become tough and rubbery if overcooked. Add the crab meat to the sauce at the end of the cooking process and only cook it until heated through.
  • Add a splash of white wine: Adding a splash of dry white wine to the marinara sauce can add depth and complexity to the flavor.
  • Use a mix of spices: In addition to garlic and parsley, experiment with other spices and herbs such as red pepper flakes, basil, or oregano.
  • Serve with a crusty bread: Serve the Crab Marinara with a crusty bread to soak up all the delicious sauce.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 Hours and 30 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 150.5
  • Sugar: 10.7 g
  • Sodium: 1,196.6 mg
  • Fat: 4.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.2 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21.5 g
  • Fiber: 3.3 g
  • Protein: 4.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 1.9 mg