We Found the Best Canned Crab Meat That Tastes Like Real Crab

What’s the best canned crab meat? We tasted nine cans of crab (don’t try it at home) to find the best canned crab meat for crab cakes, crab dip, crab salad, and more. 

For whatever reason, canned crab meat has not reached the high quality levels of things like canned tuna and canned smoked trout. Canned crab meat, for the most part, is bad. And when I say canned crab meat, I’m not talking about the expensive refrigerated stuff. I’m talking about shelf stable canned crab meat. I understand that crab meat is more delicate. It can’t handle the same processing as other seafood. But, come on. We have robots taking our jobs and we’re back on the moon—we can’t figure out how to preserve crab meat so that it tastes like good canned crab meat?

I tasted through nine cans of crab meat looking for flaky texture, sweet flavor, and decent quality. I found three that passed muster. If you’re looking to impress someone with a fancy crab dish, you’re going to need to spring for the refrigerated stuff, I’m sorry to say. But if you’re looking for the best canned crab meat to mix with mayo and bread crumbs for some cheap crab cakes or you want to make DIY crab rangoon with cream cheese and wonton wrappers or even some hot crab dip, then I can help you out with some recommendations for good canned crab meat. 


Crown Prince Fancy White Crab Meat

Best for Crab Cakes

Crown Prince Fancy White Crab Meat

Most of the canned crab meat I tried was stringy—make that thready. It was all tiny whisps of crab compacted into a can and soaked in water. All three cans on this list featured actual chunks of meat—even if they were small—and the meat in Crown Prince’s canned crab had the best texture of all of them. The flavor isn’t incredible, but it’s not objectionable, either. It’s mild. This is the best canned crab meat to toss with some good quality mayo, bread crumbs, and herbs for quick crab cakes. You won’t notice the lack of flavor and you’ll be pleased with the texture.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

6.5/10

Sporks

Polar Fancy Lump Crab Meat

Best for California Rolls

Polar Fancy Lump Crab Meat

Each can of Polar canned lump crab meat is filled with distinct meaty morsels of crab. And those little morsels taste like imitation crab—but in a good way. The meat is sweeter than fresh crab and the texture is a little bit firmer than fresh crab, too, much like fake crab or krab. I think this is the best canned crab meat for DIY California rolls or for mayo-ed up crab salad. The sweetness will stand up to other flavors and the extra firm texture will keep it from turning to mush.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Cole’s Select Snow Crab Wild Caught

Best of the Best

Cole’s Select Snow Crab Wild Caught

I’m sorry to tell you that the best canned crab meat is also the most expensive canned crab meat we tried. (But it’s still a good deal cheaper than the refrigerated stuff.) It’s worth the extra cash. You can tell it’s actual crab meat from different parts of the crab. There’s leg meat and claw meat and body meat. It’s not just uniform “meat.” And the flavor is good, too. It’s fairly mild, but there’s a buttery, fatty flavor that I really enjoy, as well. It’s not such good canned crab meat that I would recommend eating it on its own, but you can use it in a recipe without too much alteration. Try it in a crab bisque or a crab melt or crab linguine. You’ll get your crab fix without spending a ton of money. And that’s what this ranking was all about.

Credit: Merc / World Market

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Other canned crab meat we tried: Chicken of the Sea White Crabmeat, Bumble Bee Lump Crabmeat, Bumble Bee Pink Crabmeat, Kroger Premium White Crab Meat, Bumble Bee White Crabmeat, Roland White Crab Meat


About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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  • I like what your chaps are doing, but a few things need to be changed, mostly minor. How does the best food from North America compare to the European version? Comparing Cadbury chocolate, Coke, spreads, cheeses, biscuits (cookies US) Nestle products, and others. Take the most popular item and compare it to the European Item to see the difference. What tastes better when it comes to Ingredients? What is the real Item compared to the process Item? Please make an episode about European food comparison.

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