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This healthier take on a lobster roll uses crab because it's usually easier (and less expensive) to buy. Serve this crab roll with coleslaw and an ice-cold beer.

EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2011; updated October 2022


Recipe Summary

20 mins
20 mins

Nutrition Profile:


What Kind of Crab Meat Should I Use?

Look for lump crabmeat in the fresh seafood section of your supermarket. Lump crabmeat consists of broken pieces of jumbo lump and smaller chunks of body meat. It's sweet, white in color and has a delicate flaky texture that's perfect for crab rolls.

How to Make Crab Rolls

Use freshly grated lemon zest. Lemon zest is the outer yellow layer of a lemon and has a bright intense flavor. We recommend using a Microplane zester because it removes just the zest and leaves behind the bitter-tasting pith.

Gently fold in the crab when mixing it in with the other ingredients, being careful not to break it up too much.

Toast the hot dog buns. A toasted bun adds a golden brown, lightly crunchy contrast to the tender crab.

How Long Will Crab Rolls Stay Fresh?

You can make the crab filling, then cover and refrigerate it for up to 1 day. Once the crab rolls are assembled, they should be served immediately.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, hot sauce, pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Thoroughly mix in shallot, celery and 3 tablespoons chives. Mix in crab very gently so it doesn't break up too much.

  • Line each bun with lettuce and divide the crab filling among the buns. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chives.


Crabmeat (already removed from the shell) can be purchased canned, in shelf-stable pouches, frozen or pasteurized. Pasteurized usually has the best flavor; look for it in the fresh seafood section of the supermarket. If you live in an area known for crab, you may be able to get freshly cooked crabs at the seafood counter of your local market.

To make ahead

Cover and refrigerate the crab filling (Step 1) for up to 1 day.

Nutrition Facts

1 crab roll, about 2/3 cup crab filling
238 calories; protein 21.5g; carbohydrates 29.3g; dietary fiber 4.1g; sugars 5.4g; fat 4.9g; saturated fat 0.8g; cholesterol 102.5mg; vitamin a iu 1306.9IU; vitamin c 10.4mg; folate 47mcg; calcium 162.3mg; iron 5.8mg; magnesium 46.2mg; potassium 269mg; sodium 768mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 4g.

1 1/2 starch, 1/2 other carbohydrate, 2 lean meat, 1 fat