Crab and Shrimp Stew

This hearty crab and shrimp stew by Marcelle Bienvenu is perfect for cool autumn days.

Crab and Shrimp Stew
Serves 6
A hearty seafood stew.
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  1. 12 large live blue crabs
  2. ¼ cup vegetable oil
  3. ½ cup all-purpose flour
  4. 1¼ cups chopped onion
  5. ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
  6. ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  7. ¾ cup chopped celery
  8. 2 bay leaves
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  11. 6 cups seafood stock
  12. 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked free of shells
  13. 1½ pounds large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  14. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  1. Scald crabs with hot water to stun. Remove the back 
(top shell) from each crab, and clean out gills, lungs, and center of each. Crack crabs in half, and remove claws. Reserve claws for stock.
  2. In a large heavy stockpot, combine oil and flour, and heat over medium heat. Stirring slowly, make a dark-brown roux, 15 to 20 minutes. Add onion, bell peppers, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and seafood stock. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, add crabs, and simmer 20 minutes. Add crabmeat and shrimp, and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add parsley. Serve hot.
Louisiana Cookin


  1. Ron June 6, 2015 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Add some Old Bay to intensify the flavor.

    • Roy December 1, 2015 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      Yes, the Old Bay kicks in some serious flavor! Coming from Maryland, cooking with Old Bay is second nature.

      • Steven H December 30, 2015 at 11:18 am - Reply

        Old bay, not! Leblanc’s creole seasonings is the bomb!

        • Susan Reeves October 7, 2016 at 3:00 pm - Reply

          I love leblanc’s too!

          • Marie November 7, 2016 at 7:41 pm

            Being from Louisiana Leblanc’s, Tony Chachare’s or Slap Ya Mama! They are made for Louisiana recipes.

        • Sandi August 20, 2017 at 9:40 am - Reply

          That’s how we do it here

  2. Darlene June 9, 2015 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    That really looks good I’m going to try it

  3. Naomi June 17, 2015 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Now I would serve this week over rice for a stew, otherwise it is a soup. Also, I will use crabs already boiled, more flavor AND donT forget to sautéed those shrimp first before adding to the pot shrimp would be seasoned with garlic and onion powder and a little seasoed salt .

    • Doris October 30, 2015 at 3:33 pm - Reply

      thanks for the great ideas I will be trying this

  4. Caroline Stubbs-Sylla June 18, 2015 at 5:21 am - Reply

    I would definitely add some Old Bay and some stewed tomatoes.

    • RHymel October 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      it would then be a sauce piquant, not a stew. a southern stew is almost always brown.

  5. Deborah White June 18, 2015 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Where can you purchase seafood stock? Can you make your own?
    Lancaster,SC is my home, so please help. I am a crab love, have been since a toddler.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Editor June 19, 2015 at 7:57 am - Reply

      Thanks for asking, Deborah. Larger grocery stores (and specialty grocery stores) will carry seafood stock, but you do have some other options: here’s a recipe for shrimp stock ( ) OR you could combine 1 1/2 (8-ounce) bottles of clam juice with 4 1/2 cups of water. We hope that helps!

    • Morgan June 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Anywhere. right next to chicken broth etc. I wondered too cause if u never are looking for it you will never know it’s there.

    • JO ANNE O'QUINN-ARABIE July 31, 2015 at 5:13 pm - Reply


    • Michelle August 29, 2015 at 1:18 pm - Reply

      Also I am from New Orleans and we just boil the shrimp heads and there’s your stock….use only the water not the heads. I just strain it over a bowl.

    • Rich McKinney September 24, 2015 at 6:02 am - Reply

      I have a friend that works in a fish shop and brings me heads. I simmer a half dozen heads with onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, pepper corns, and salt. Sometimes a add a little white wine or Saki. Strain twice and enjoy.

      • Les Cambias November 16, 2015 at 9:43 am - Reply

        Rich: What you make is called a fish fumet, and it sounds like a good one. I would add a little thyme and tarragon, then some minced parsley at the end. This soup is also very good with bite-sized pieces of any fish added. In New Orleans, we put a scoop of steamed rice in each bowl and cover it with the soup.

    • Barbara Stark December 30, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      Save the water you boil your seafood in and/or save the shells, heads, legs, what ever you can salvage,add just enough liquid to cover and simmer, simmer, simmer. Add seasonings of choice, strain, let cool. Either freeze (you can use an ice cube tray, to make individual broth cubes) or refrigerate and use within a few days.

    • Kent December 31, 2015 at 8:51 am - Reply

      Take your discarded shells, both crab and shrimp, and simmer in water for awhile…

    • Frank Speyerer December 31, 2015 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      Look for the following at your local grocery, specialty food store, Wal-Mart or
      1. Bar Harbor® Seafood Stock at Thrive Market
      2. Kitchen Basics® Natural Seafood Cooking Stock at Wal-Mart
      3. Better Than Bouillon® Fish Base
      4. Swanson® Seafood Cooking Stock
      5. Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold®

      • Marie November 7, 2016 at 7:41 pm - Reply

        Way too much sodium……….homemade stock is the best.

  6. Elise June 22, 2015 at 6:23 am - Reply

    Ok im sure the “live” blue crabs are the key to this stew but I need an alternative to this part…what is a substitution? Can you purchase them already “scald to stun”/done(not sure of the terminology)?!!!

    • Editor June 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Elise. Instead of using live crabs, many seafood markets carry cleaned frozen crabs (depending on the season). Those will also work in this recipe.

  7. Mary Price June 22, 2015 at 6:51 am - Reply

    This is a very good recipe am going to make this as soon as I get back to San Antonio, Texas, we have a store by the name of HEB that carry the Lump crabmeat already picked out an ready to be used. I noticed in your instructions that it did not say when to add the shrimp.

    • Editor June 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      I haven’t shopped at HEB, but have heard great things about it! The shrimp are added along with the crabmeat near the end of Step 2. — Daniel Schumacher, editor

      • Regina from SE Louisiana November 12, 2017 at 1:08 am - Reply

        As a shrimp lover, I assumed that would be best. Over cooked shrimp are the worst. Thank you for the information.

  8. Francina June 22, 2015 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    try seafood bag you use for gumbo

  9. Bea June 23, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Can I use fresh crabmeat instead of boiling actual crabs?

    • Editor June 23, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      The whole crabs certainly add extra flavor to this stew, but they could be omitted, considering the additional pound of crabmeat.

  10. Lovely June 26, 2015 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    I would love to make this low carb. How can I thicken without flour?

    • Editor July 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      Without getting too far into roux science, the thickening power of the roux declines as it darkens. If you didn’t mind a thinner stew, something closer to a soup, you could just omit the flour.

    • Bob October 8, 2016 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Try some practice runs using flax seed flour. True New Orleanian here. I know the true roux is best, but this might work. Low Carb guy myself.

  11. Lacy June 27, 2015 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    How many servings for this recipe ?? How many people can eat from this recpie??

    • Editor July 8, 2015 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      This recipe will serve about six people. Enjoy!

  12. patricia June 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    off to the store to get ingredients so my daughter – in – law & I can spend this afternoon together cooking this mouth watering stew / soup.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  13. Antoinette June 30, 2015 at 7:16 am - Reply

    I love this and I can’t wait to try it. I’m here in Florida and seafood is my families thing. I shared this on Facebook so my daughter in Florida and Texas could get it.

  14. Suette July 14, 2015 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Some oriental stores are in Chinatown you can find the seafood stock

  15. shamell July 16, 2015 at 7:34 am - Reply

    I think this is a great recipe and can you use lump of crab instead of doing it yourself?

    • Editor July 22, 2015 at 8:12 am - Reply

      Because the recipe already calls for 1 pound of lump crabmeat, you don’t need to add any more if you’re going to leave out the live crabs. The stew will still be very crabby.

  16. LaQuita July 26, 2015 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I just made this on Saturday after carrying the recipe around on my phone for 2 months and OMG was it good. I doubled up on the ingredients and invited family and friends. It was a little expensive buying 2 LBS of loose crabmeat at 20.00 lb. And buying 3 lbs of shrimp and 24 crabs to kill and clean. I found the seafood stock with no problems at Acme. Everyone loved it. Even the vegetarians which I set aside a bowl without any crab or shrimp. This will b one of my signature meals. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe

  17. Elaine July 28, 2015 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    I just made this! OMG!! really good! I used the shrimp shells in addition to the crab claws for the stock.

  18. Kim August 3, 2015 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Can u add scallop to this

    • Editor August 6, 2015 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Of course! Just make sure to keep the total weight of the seafood the same. You’d want to add the scallops with the shrimp and cook them until just done. Overcooked scallops are a bummer!

  19. janice September 26, 2015 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Can I use shrimp broth

  20. janice September 26, 2015 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Oh and crab meat in the can

  21. Tillie October 11, 2015 at 1:59 am - Reply

    I was born in Louisiana and have carried family recipes around for years. Now I have the same recipes tucked in my tablet on the LC web site! Much lighter to carry around. My subscription to LC takes me home every time I open the cover. They are my coffee table books that visitors pick up to look at and forget to friend who is a non cook asked me if I really cooked all that stuff! I told her most of it in my 60 years of cooking. (Rolled eyes).

  22. Patty Mullen October 30, 2015 at 10:54 am - Reply

    I love “Louisana Cookin” and can’t wait for it to arrive in my mailbox. I am a native (5th generation) of Biloxi, Mississippi and have been in the Atlanta area now for almost 30 yrs. Even with the great chefs and resturants in Atlanta, no one can top the fresh seafood that we are so blessed to have on the Mississippi/Lousiana coast…Not to mention our great chefs ! So many receipes in your magazine, I remember eating as a child and even some I now cook for my family.

  23. Bonnie October 30, 2015 at 11:00 am - Reply

    I am in California, as a misplaced Texan with Louisiana heritage. I do so enjoy LC. Haven’t tried the recipe but will. We have enjoyed other recipes that come from you. Thank you.

  24. John October 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    NOT Ole Bay!, this is Yankee seasoning. Use local “Frere Jean Salt Free” to kick it up!

  25. John October 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Shrimp stock is so easy. Use the heads and shells along with any vegetable scraps, ie, tough celery root parts, onions skins, garlic skins, bell pepper seed and stem, etc. Boil all this until the vegetable are pretty much mush. At that point you have extracted everything you can out of it. Use a kitchen strainer. to get your stock and put the rest in the compost pile. Frere Jean Salt Free Seasoning comes in Cajun and Seafood (which has some dried shrimp in it.)

  26. Vanessa January 25, 2016 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    This was awesome!!! Had to make my own stock though.

  27. Susan H April 26, 2017 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Made this with some leftover crab meat, white fish and shrimp. Delicious!

  28. Steve Sterling October 21, 2017 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Steve S.
    I’m born and raised louisiana, Fordoche…….. l now live in NC, every time I’m home I bring back all the great foods of louisiana, this is another great from LC, can’t wait to make it and share with my friends here.

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