Maryland Crab Soup tasty any time of the year

Maryland Crab Soup: Lumps of crab tossed into a pot of simmering tomatoes, summer vegetables and seasoned broth. A traditional recipe, memorized, tweaked and handed down through generations of blue lump crab lovers. Definitely a popular summer soup but tasty any time of the year. With its tomato base, some may describe the recipe as a distant cousin to the San Francisco Cioppino.

For those who want to add more than crab to the pot, I’ve included: recipes from my blog entry: Cioppino: An American original from San Francisco.

To make this recipe your own: Texas and other Gulf states, simply substitute chunks of gulf shrimp and/or crab. Maybe add in a few slices of andouille sausage and a chopped roasted pepper for heat.

Interestingly, most vintage recipe books and kitchen recipe boxes I’ve researched from the mid-Atlantic area, don’t include Maryland Crab Soup recipes. Here’s a quick, easy version based on recipes collected from local-area residents.

DSC_4428 (1)Maryland Crab Soup

  • 1 can (28 ounces) undrained diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups of broth
  • 1 cup lima beans, frozen
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup yellow corn, frozen
  • 2 tablespoons grated or chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • Pepper to taste, optional
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped or 1-2 teaspoons, dried
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, cleaned

Combine tomatoes, water, broth, lima beans, carrots, corn, onion and Old Bay in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce to low. Add parsley and pepper. Cover and simmer five minutes. Add crabmeat, cover and simmer an additional10 minutes. Serve.

If you plan on cleaning fresh crabs for this recipe, add a couple of crab claws to the broth for extra flavor.

Variations, add to your liking:

  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • Chunks of baked ham

To keep in the middle of the road, one must be able to see both sides. Anonymous

Household Hints from Kitchens Past

Rub lemon on fish before cooking to enhance flavor and help maintain a good color.

Scaling fish is easier if vinegar is rubbed on the scales first.

When grilling fish, the rule of thumb is to cook 5 minutes on each side per inch of thickness. Before grilling, rub with oil to seal in moisture. Women of the ELCA, Emmitsburg, Maryland

 Noni’s Cioppino

  • Serves 12-14
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 heads of garlic, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • Chop the above ingredients and fry in ½ pint olive oil
  • Add:
  • 2-3 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 lbs. halibut (cod, haddock or any firm white fish)
  • Cook until fish turns white.


  • ½ bottle of dry white wine.
  • Simmer 15-20 minutes


  • 8-8oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 8-8oz. cans of water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Simmer about two hours. Remove bones and skin from Halibut. Add more salt if necessary.
  • 45 minutes before serving:

Add 2 lbs. medium prawns (deveined & wash ahead of time)

20 minutes before serving:

  • Add 1 dozen small clams (scrubbed and cleaned)
  • Add 6 crabs (6 lbs. in the shell), cleaned & cracked (wash & check for small pieces of broken shell)

Serve with rice, polenta. Two small loaves French or garlic bread.

Cioppino: St. Mary’s Church, 1970s

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Chopped parsley
  • Olive oil
  • 1 sprig of fresh basil
  • 1 large clean, cracked crab
  • 1 lb. shrimp
  • 1 lb. lingcod (Use a whole fish or a filet that can be easily skinned and deboned)
  • 1 can solid tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 small cans tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water