She-Crab Soup

Alright…before you start playing word games with the title of this recipe, you’ve got to make it and try it first. That’s because we’re pretty sure that once you’ve had a spoonful of this thick, rich, delicious, Lowcountry soup, you’ll understand the meaning behind the name game!

She-crab soup was (and is) an icon from the culinary world of Charleston, South Carolina. It was a rich, creamy combination of crabmeat, roe (eggs), and a little sherry. The name stems from the meat of the crab used in the soup, which comes from the female crab. The meat of the female crab was deemed to be of a “sweeter” variety than that of the male crab, plus the red-orange roe gave the soup its deep, rich flavor and bisque-like, pale color. Hence, the name “she-crab” was coined for the soup.

The use of female crab roe is not commonly used in the soup these days, but it is essential to use fresh crabmeat. 

This true Southern tradition recipe for She-crab Soup is brought to you courtesy of

She-Crab Soup She-Crab Soup courtesy of

Yield: Makes 1 ½ quarts


  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • Dash of Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons crab roe (optional)
  • Sherry
  • Garnishes: chopped hard-cooked egg, freshly ground pepper, and fresh parsley sprigs


How to Make It:


Step 1: Melt butter in a Dutch oven over low heat; add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly 5 minutes or until tender.

Step 2: Whisk in flour until mixture is smooth. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in half-and-half; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in salt and next 6 ingredients. Add roe, if desired, and sherry to taste. Garnish, if desired.

...Put the finishing touches to the soup by garnishing it with hard-cooked eggs, some ground pepper, and sprinkling some sprigs of parsley to add a dash of color. If you want to add some tasty, buttery crackers on the side, go for it. One spoonful of this rich concoction, and you won’t be able to put it down!